If you are a saltwater hobbyist, chances are, you have either kept clownfish before, or are at least planning on doing so, and we don't blame you!
So, you will probably know that they are omnivores, requiring both plant and meat-based foods to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. But do they eat algae? Yes, clownfish most certainly will eat algae if you have it in your tank or plan to feed it to them.
Clownfish are not specific algae eaters, nor is algae the main part of the clownfish diet in the wild or in your aquarium, but we certainly recommend feeding them algae in the form of wafers and pellets from time to time.
When it comes to natural algae, there are many different types that appear in saltwater aquariums, and they are all pretty good for omnivorous fish, containing nutrients and healthy bacteria.
Different Types of Algae Clownfish Eat
We recommend feeding clownfish algae pellets or wafers once a week, or even once every two weeks. This is because you will likely have algae forming in your aquarium that they will likely feed on in-between the pellets you give them.
Typically, the most common types of algae to grow in saltwater fish tanks are black, brown, red, and green algae, as well as hair algae. Clownfish will feed on all of these types of algae, but only when they are settled and happy in their environment.
Seaweed is technically a type of macroalgae, which clownfish will eat. However, they will only do so as a kind of last resort. They much prefer seaweed-algae pellets, so, don't be too disappointed if your clownfish doesn't take to live seaweed.
Something to look out for with green hair algae is that it can sometimes get stuck in their throats as they try to consume it. If this happens, and you notice it, don't panic!
Either your clownfish will try and manually remove it by rubbing itself against something like a rock.
If this doesn't work, you should gently catch the clownfish and use a pair of tweezers to gently remove the algae. Clownfish are just not the same swimming around with algae hanging out of their mouths!
How Often Do Clownfish Eat Algae?
It is ideal when you have a fish feasting on aquarium algae because it saves you some work cleaning and scraping the algae off your tank every few days.
However, as mentioned previously, clownfish are not specifically algae eaters, and do require meat as well as other vegetable sources in their diet - so do not expect them to be cleaning your tank every time you have an algae outbreak, it is just not their thing.
Additionally, if you keep a well-maintained tank and do not get a lot of algae growing within it or keep an even hungrier algae eater, we advise you to feed your clownfish algae pellets or flakes as an addition to their main diet.
This is because of all the fantastic health benefits algae has for your clownfish.
Algae Health Benefits to Clownfish
There are tons of health benefits that come from eating algae, especially for omnivores like clownfish. Obviously, too much of anything is never a good thing, but clownfish will eat natural aquarium algae sparingly.
Alga typically contains calcium, iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, iodine, and a host of vitamins, including A, C, and K.
Eating foods that are rich in nutrients, like algae will help your clownfish achieve a balanced diet, which in return will promote growth and even help increase their bright coloration.
Clownfish are algae eaters, but from our experience, they do not adore it, nor will they feed on it all of the time.
So, don't expect your clownfish to magically clean your aquarium at all times. They require a balanced diet consisting of both meat and vegetable-based foods, so provide them with both, and if you want to add algae to their diet via pellets, you should definitely do so as there are many health benefits for Clownfish (and other fish) from algae consumption.