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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Cyprinids > Chinese algae eater
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the



Photo from: "Atlas of Aquarium fish" by, TFH.

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri



Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Aimee
I got this fish at a local pet sore, and they recommended it for an algae eater. After learning about it here, I realize they knew nothing about it and just wanted to make money off me! It attacks the other tank mates; my angel fish and silver dollars. I would not recommend this fish to others.
From: cwis
I have owned three and they are quite good consumers of algae. One however did get quite aggressive during adulthood, but never caused major damage to other tankmates, only occasional harassment.
From: Brian
I bought 2 of these because they were recommended at my local pet store. ha! I took them back after 2 days and reading alot on the Internet. They grow up to be mean and stop eating the algae altogether. I would suggest Siamese algae eaters. I have 3 and they rule.
From: Mike
Had 2 in a community tank,very healthy and hardy fish. I found them to be very aggressive. They would swim up from the bottom to harass my bala and rainbows. I believe they took a bite out of my Dwarf gourami and it died. Needless to say they have found a new home with a friend who has some more aggressive fish. Think ill go with a pleco instead.

From: Danni
I have 2 young algae eaters. They are the best to watch and are very friendly at the moment. I got them about 1-2 months ago and did not know any thing about them. I had just seen them there a week before and fell in love! I asked the pet shop assistant and he said that they stay small and are really friendly and I could keep them in a small pond outside. My pond is only 14 inches wide. I did not realize how big they get and they can get aggressive. This is a worry because I have 6 other 1 1/2 inch fish in there. I now think I need a bigger pond cause I don't want to get rid of any of my fish.

From: Brooke
I have had my Golden Chinese Algae Eater for about 3 weeks now and I love him. I had a terrible problem with algae and I can't get over how well and quickly he cleaned it up. In my experience, he is a wonderful algae eater, cleaning the sides and gravel spotless. I'm now worried about him starving, so I bought him algae wafers. He minds his own business in my community tank and is fun to watch.

From: Wayne
When they get older they become aggressive and scrape the sides of other fish leaving them prone to infection and disease. They even attack my full grown convicts.
From: sheri bee
I acclimated one to my 29 gal. brackish water tank and it seems to be happy and loving the salt. No one could tell me how it would do with the salt so I tried it and he is cleaning up and doing great.
From: Tony
I have three of these Chinese algae eaters-one in a small tank and as described in this section and two gold colored ones. They seem to get along well with their tank mates and have done a wonderful job of cleaning up the algae in both tanks. The one in the small tank does try to attach himself to the platy but to date has not been successful. I guess like everything else in this world it is difficult to make generalities about anything. I have only had them for a short time and all 3 are less than 2" long so things may change but I have been very impressed with this fish and they are fun to watch!:)

From: Randy
Mine don't bother anyone. In fact he is the one that gets chased. My Red tail Shark goes after him all the time. It is a very good algae eater

From: unimpressed
The picture that you have above is of a Siamese algae eater, a much more compatible fish then the Chinese algae eater, who is more likely to attack tank mates as it ages then the SAE. The Siamese algae eater is a slender, grayish-brown fish with a distinctive black horizontal stripe. Maximum length is 15 cm (6") and might be obtained in two years, if the conditions are optimal. Normally They grow slower and don't always reach that size in captivity. They can live over 10 years. All the fins are transparent or slightly milky without any yellow or reddish sheen. The black band goes from nose to the fork of the tail and its edges are zig-zagged. When a fish is stressed or fighting the black color fades significantly. Underparts are silvery white and there is no light stripe over the black, but the whole upper body is brownish and every scale has a dark edge, which make the top look reticular. Some dark scale edges might be seen under the black stripe. It has a pair of thin, forward-pointing barbels but they might be pressed against the cheeks when fish is swimming or resting. The long black stripe is also easy to see in young fishes, but the scale edge pattern and zig-zag edges are not clearly visible until the fish reaches the length of 5-7 cm (2-3"); the ones that are normally seen in European shops are about 3-5 cm (1-2") long. Adult females are often slightly fatter than males, no other sexual differences are known. This slender algae eating barb is the only known fish that eats red algae. It comes from the flowing waters of Thailand and the Malay peninsula. It was first brought to Europe in 1962, but became popular in the 1970's when its ability to eat red algae was noticed. The fish is also known as Siamese Flying Fox, and Siamese Fox. It previous scientific name was Epalzeorhynchus siamensis. To those interested in the fine, but admittedly boring details of taxonomy, the genus Crossocheilus differs from Epalzeorhynchus by rhynal lobes (nasal lobes). It is an active and fast swimmer, which thrives best in schools but can also be kept alone or in pairs. It is a strong jumper and should not be kept in uncovered tank, because it will eventually jump. Siamese Algae Eaters often chase one another but they never get hurt in these fights. C. siamensis has a peculiar resting position: it doesn't lie flat on its belly but keeps its body propped up with its tail, pelvic and pectoral fins. Young fish sometimes rest on broad leaves, adult specimens prefer resting on bottom or dense, low plants like Cryptocorynes. The swim bladder is not very developed, so the fish can't stay in midwater but it must be in constant motion or it sinks. As they are not aggressive, they can be kept in any community tank big enough. Their active behavior might stress some sensitive species like dwarf cichlids and prevent them from spawning. They should not be kept with Red-tailed Sharks (Epalzeorhynchus bicolor) unless the aquarium is large and well planted, because that species is very aggressive towards all its relatives. Then for the Chinese Algae Eater, this Algae Eater belongs to family Gyrinocheilidae, although it resembles both loaches and Algae Eating barbs. Its English name isn't very accurate, because it comes from Northern India and Thailand, not China. It is also called the Indian Algae Eater. There are still some unclear points in the systematic classification of this genus and it is possible that the species most often imported isn't G. aymonieri but G. kaznakovi. There are also two other species (G. pustulosus and G. pennocki). Chinese Algae Eater is a bottom-dweller. The most prominent feature is a big suckermouth, which it uses for scraping algae and clinging to objects. There is a special opening on the upper part of the gill cover for the water intake so the fish can breath without using its mouth. This same feature is seen on Suckermouth Catfishes. The fish is light brown and there is a dark gray or brown horizontal pattern on its side, which can be either a zig-zag edged solid stripe or a row of separate spots or anything between these two. Young specimens are more colorful. There are some dark patches at the back and small brown spots at the tail. All the other fins are transparent or slightly brownish. Maximum length is 27 cm (11") but normally it doesn't exceed 15 cm (6") in an aquarium. Females are larger and fuller, adult males might show spawning tubercles on the head. It moves along all the surfaces of the tank scraping green algae with its suckermouth. Older specimens prefer artificial foods and are rather aggressive. Chinese Algae Eater is not very demanding on water conditions: pH may vary from 6.0 to 7.5 and the temperature from 22C (72F) to 28C (82F). Water should be well oxygenated, as it comes from streams. It eats all kinds of foods, but must get enough algae or plant food. It is reported that it will stop eating algae if the temperature drops below 69 degrees F (20 deg. C). It has not been bred in captivity. Minimum tank size 100 liters (25 gallons). Young Chinese Algae Eaters can be kept in community, but adult specimens can be aggressive to other fish. They most often attack slow-swimming, flat-bodied fish and shouldn't be kept with them.
From: Bob
I have a few of these in my tank... into which I just introduced two small (2 inch) red-bellied piranha. I've had one before that ate the tank clean of algae and then began relentlessly attacking the other fish (it preferred sucking on them to eating any food I presented it with). The two algae eaters I have now (which are the SAME SPECIES as the first) are much less effective grazers. (The algae is slowly building up in my tank) but on the bright side are much less aggressive to their tank-mates. ***To comment on the combination of these fish with the piranha however, I've noticed that the larger of the algae eaters now has a large bite out of its tail (the piranha were introduced ~3 hours ago). Make of this what you will.

From: Riel
I've had an Indian Algae Eater and it proved to be a great fish, not the greatest of algae Eaters but an interesting one at that. The one thing that most people don't know though is that the Indian Algae Eater and the Chinese Algae eater are a different fish. The Chinese version is a much better algae cleaner. You can tell by the black strip on the side. On the Chinese it goes all the way into the tail, the Indian it stops at the tail. So make sure your pet store isn't fooling you! ;) Have fun ya'll

From: Wade inTucson, Arizona
I have had a pair of the Algae eaters in my 20 gallon tank for over two years now with a family of Marble Mollies, Black Mollies and a male Betta...they were around two inches when I bought them, now they are now close to six inches! They have miles of personality and are very protective of each other. They love the dark, shady areas and I recently introduced a "rock cave" which they moved right into. Oh and by the way, my tank has NEVER had algae with those two crazy kids around.
From: Janet M. J.
I purchased an algae eater 6 weeks ago at a pet store, it was about 2"long and not a half inch wide. It is now almost 4" long and 3/4-1" wide. It terrorizes my Upside Down Catfish constantly and I don't know what to do. Its just a 10 gallon tank and he is being a pain. This is my first aquarium and the pet store told me these were all compatible fish. It doesn't bother the Fancy Guppies, needless to say I will buy my fish elsewhere from now on, but I don't know what to do now with this fish.

From: Todd
I had a bunch of algae on my acrylic tank and wanted it to go away without me scrubbing it. I got a bunch of these and they seemed to do the trick on the sides, but they also shredded all of my live plants. They don't eat a whole leaf and get full, they graze across the surface of all of the leaves so the whole plant breaks down. Unfortunately, at least a few of them also prefer the live plants to the algae on the tank and rocks. I'm currently in the market for a fish trap to remove some or all of them so I can replant my tank.

From: Dennis
Chinese algae eaters are great in my piranha tank. Too fast/agile for the piranha to catch and eats all the algae
From: tom
I have three of algae eaters and there the best. They are friendly and bother no one. They are very durable also. I have three plecosomus and they all died. Try feeding the weighted down cucumbers, they love them.






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