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Good "Chinese Algae Eaters" do exist!

Hi all,

There's been a lot of discussion of late on algae eaters, SAEs vs. FFF in
particular. And of course, we all know that so-called "Chinese Algae Eaters"
are neither Chinese nor algae eaters, but simply bad news.

Perhaps it would be of interest to mention that there are fish that ARE
Chinese and DO eat algae. These fish belong to the genera Gastromyzon and
Pseudogastromyzon (as well as a few other related but more rarely seen
genera), and are in the loach family. In the trade, they are often referred
to as "Hong Kong plecos" (of course, they are not from Hong Kong and they
are not plecos). I have found them to be quite effective in removing soft
algaes. They are also quite fascinating fish to watch. They are very
weird-looking, and unlike most Loricariids, glide around actively during the
day foraging on algae.

On the down side (from the point of view of planted tank keepers), they
require high oxygen levels and water movement. At least those are the
conditions in which I have seen them thrive. My planted tanks are not
supersaturated with plant-produced oxygen, so I do not know if they would do
well in a tank that was still but O2 rich. It would certainly be worth a

Given that there are relatively few indigenous fish (except goldfish)
exported from China, and that many Chinese freshwater ecosystems are
severely threatened by pollution associated with China's breakneck economic
development, environmentally concerned hobbyists may be able to make a
useful contribution by learning more about these fish before they disappear
from the hobby.