I have a 20 gallon (70 liters) freshwater aquarium with two comets, which are now about 2 inches each.

The aquarium gets dirty with algae covering the glass and all the plants very quickly after cleaning. This is nothing like the freshwater tank (same size) I had before, where I'd have up to 20 smaller fish (guppies, mollies, platys, rasbora) and really never having to deal with algae due to healthy plants.

I feed them flakes once a day using just a pinch. I've tried to plant out this aquarium densely with all different sorts, but many of the plants die off. I used to have 20 watt lightbulb, but doubled to 40 watt to help the plants. I had this same problem before doubling the light wattage. The light sources are new so the light spectrum shouldn't be an issue.

Water quality is tested and readings are all fine: pH 7.8, ammonia and nitrite are 0, nitrate was around 20ppm last time I checked. Tank is in a garage outside of direct sunlight.

Is there any plant likely to do really well in this situation and keep the algae at bay (by consuming excess nutrients).


1 Answer 1


Underwater plants in the Elodea genus do grow fast and absorb lots of nutrients. They are good oxgenating plants that absorb CO2 and this is positive for your fish.

Goldfish will probably eat some of this plant, so you will have the added bonus of free food for your fish.

An other plant you might try is watercress. The stems of this plant are air filled so they will float in the surface of your tank and you and your fish can eat it.

It grows fast, but it might shade the other plants in your tank if you let it grow too large.

  • I am having a similar problem but went into more detail in my question. Hope you can look at that and let me know if there are any updates. I hope to merge this question over to that one because that question has a lot more info. pets.stackexchange.com/questions/38053/… Sep 11, 2023 at 14:51

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