Chinese Algae Eater
Published June 18, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Chinese algae eater, frequently referred to as "CAE" on the forum, is commonly offered for sale in local pet shops but is probably not the best choice for most tanks. As juveniles Chinese Algae Eaters perform their job of eating algae with gusto but as they mature they may eat algae less and become very territorial. As they mature they may also start to affix themselves to the sides of larger flat bodied tank mates (such as Angelfish) and they will damage the scales of their victims.
The Chinese algae eater can sometimes jump out of tanks so you will need a good hood with no escape points.
Just like other tropical fish, place your fish in a quarantine tank for a few weeks for monitoring before introducing them into your main tank.
As juveniles they should eat the algae growing on the walls and objects in your tank but it has been reported that they will eat algae less when they mature. Avoid placing them in newly setup tanks lacking algae for them to graze on. Algae wafers can be used to supplement their diet.
Chinese Algae Eater Fish Care Details
Scientific Name : Gyrinocheilus aymonieri
Common Names : Indian Algae Eater, Sucker Loach, Sucker Fish, Golden Algae Eater
Care Level : Easy to Medium
Size : Up to 11 inches (28 cm)
pH : 6.5 - 7.5
Temperature : 75°F - 80°F (24°C - 27°C)
Water Hardness : 8° to 12° dH
Lifespan : 5 - 10 years
Origin / Habitat : Asia
Temperament / Behavior : As a juvenile it should be ok in a community tank but as it matures it can become a pest and should be removed from community tanks. It's probably best not to get them for community tanks in the first place. There are better algae eaters available for community tank setups.
Breeding : Difficult to breed in the home aquarium.
Aquarium Size : 55 gallon (208 liters) or larger.
Tank Mates : As adults, they may attach to the sides of larger flat bodied fish such as Angelfish and damage scales.
Diet / Foods : Mostly algae but reported to eat algae less as it matures. Supplement with algae wafers.
Tank Region : Mostly on the bottom and sometimes on the tank walls and plant leaves.
Gender : Very difficult to determine difference between male and female.
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
Fish Lore Forum : Chinese Algae Eater Forum
Chinese Algae Eater Tips and Comments
These guys have a lot of personality, but tend toward agression. I had one that I liked before, they are very aware of the people outside the tank and seem to interact with you sometimes. I think mine chases the more peaceful fish just to spite me. In the future I will not keep them since they need a lot of space and bully the other fish. The one I have now (my second) chases my blue neon tetras and Blue Tetras for fun, my S. American Bumblebee Catfish for fun and territory but seems to leave my Black Neon Tetras and Guppies alone. They also can be skittish before they get comfortable with their people. My previous one was friendly with me but the new one is still nervous after a few months here.
I have had one of these fish in my community tank for about 4 months now and he does a great job taking care of the algae. He never stops searching and keeps my tank looking awesome, no algae here! I have not had any aggression problems as of now, he will occassionally chase off fish that get really close to him, buts that's the extent of his aggression. Very active and hardworking fish!
Our Chinese Algae Eater has become very agressive in our community tank. We've had this fish for about 1 year and recently has been sucking the sides of our other fish in the tank killing atleast 3 of them. We weren't sure why our fish were dying until I read about them on this site and observed his behavior. We will be taking him out of our community tank.
I must caution anyone who is purchasing otocinclus catfish to be aware that these 2 inch very peaceful algae eaters are often mistaken with the Chinese Algae Eater and that can be disastrous when your supposedly small sweet 'oto' turns into a fish eating beast and starts killing off your fish. This happened to me when I trustingly put what I thought were otocinclus in 4 of my tanks to discover some 3 months later that the shredded Betta, and unexplainably dead fish were being victimized by these impostors. As always buyer beware, if it's much more than 2 inches long it's not an otocinclus and needs to relocate if you value your fish.
I have had an algae eater for almost 5 years and it's now about 4.5 inches long. It shares a 25 gallon tall tank with 6 mixed tetras and a dragon goby. Other than burrowing through the sand and rearranging cobbles, eating the leaves off my broadleaf plants and devouring any fish that happen to die of old age in my tank, it seems harmless enough!
Mine is relatively harmless. He LOVES aquarium decor that he can rest inside of. I have a pirate ship with a hole in the side that he'll go in and poke his head out from (adorable!) Since these fish have been known to be territorial, this sort of thing can be considered his territory - and the other fish don't seem to mind that the pirate ship is his spot because they aren't agile enough to get inside of it anyway, and they don't rest in various places like he does. My other fish are 4 giant danios and 3 lemon tetra.
I bought a 1 inch algae eater at WalMart in June - it is now about 5 inches long. I put it in my outdoor fish pond (100 - 125 gallons) with goldfish and mosquito eaters. My sister put her Pleco in about a month ago. Both sucker fish are doing great. They have two rock piles to hide in and under, and they have really cut down on the algae in my pond (3 foot long strands of algae to 1/8th inch long strands of algae!) I don't see any aggression with them. I think as long as they have plenty of food and space they are fine. For the winter, I will be bringing them in to a 20 gallon long tank since they won't survive the cooler water temps outside in the winter.
I have a kuhil and a rainbow shark they get along great most the time, I was thinking about getting one. Because of this site I am not sure now and thanks to your comments I have made my choice just to get a different kind of fish. Thanks again for your help my fish lore friends!
My CAE mostly freaks out all over the place. I had to put him in solitary confinement for a bit when I first got him to let the other fish settle in before introducing him. He might be better off by himself instead of with the other fish. Although he's not aggressive, he will follow and bug the other fish a lot.
I am new to fish keeping and just discovered that what I thought were Otos are actually Chinese Algae Eaters. I have two of them in my 10 gallon tank and they chase each other but don't seem to bother the other fish yet. Of course they are only about an inch right now so that may change. Other tank mates include a African Dwarf Frog, 2 Rosey Red Tetras, 1 Dwarf Flame Gourami and 1 Dwarf powder blue gourami. I guess I will watch their behavior and see if they need to be removed.
We have 3 Golden Algae Eaters in our 50 gallon tank and while they can be aggressive I think having more than one helps, they tend to only chase each other. They are a pleasure to have as they are lively and I think tend to make the other fish swim around more.
I acknowledge that some people find no problem with these algae removing friends. Myself, I have found them to be terrible creatures to the other tank mates. I was frequently losing fish do to the over-agressiveness of the chinese algae eater. It was fine when it was young, but as it aged, it became very territorial. I would discourage people from this fish, and compel them to purchase a small pleco. instead.
I put 2 of these fish into our community tank and had to remove them a fortnight later. We started to find dead guppies and noticed that these two fish were very aggressive and chased the whole tank into the corners. I will not be keeping these fish any more.
Oh dear. Our poor blue oranda goldfish and his tank mate, a chinese algae eater were living quite peacefully until the algae eater began harassing it! Horrible to watch. The algae eater was great initially when he was small, but, I agree as they get bigger, they eat very little algae, and are very aggressive! Beware.
I've had my chinese algae eater for about 3 months now and these guys grow fast! When I first got him he was barely an inch long and now he is almost 5 inches. Some people might say that they are semi-aggressive or community but trust me, they can get aggressive and very territorial. My algae eater just hits my gouramis and he killed my guppy. Make sure you keep fish within the same size. Hope this helps!
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