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Re: The much feared CAE

> Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 06:26:49 -0700
> From: Wright Huntley
> Subject: Re: The much feared CAE
[writing in V4 #979]
> I have never observed any particularly violent behavior, even
> from fairly large ones who dig pits under rocks as daytime
> hiding spaces. They only try to defend their hidey hole.

This behavior is certainly consistent with my own observations. However, in

> As they get older, they become more nocturnal, and feed
> from the slime coat (and sometimes scales they can get
> loose) from the sides of fish that must sleep at night. Only
> close observation will show the round sucker marks they
> leave. The victims gradually die off from any one of dozens
> of diseases that the damaged skin permits to invade...

I must interject that _this_ behavior is foreign to the experience of anyone
I know personally that actually _keeps_ them.

It seems as though *anything* with a sucker mouth is blamed for this on a
regular basis, even the shy, diminutive Otocinclus.

The only circular marks I've _ever_ found on anything living are those left
by certain PLECOS all over the plants.

> The CAE is almost never caught in the act...

Certainly not. And I'll bet that when you *do* "catch" it in the act, it's a
misinterpretation of another action.

> Ask your friends who keep them just how long their Mollies
> and Bettas last in the CAE's tank. ;-)

Well, Vincent starts out all right with

>> Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 21:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
>> From: Vincent Chye
>> Subject: CAEs, not always aggressive, not always carnivores:P
[writing in V4 #980]

>> I've never had mollies or bettas, or loaches/plecos, or even
>> angels die or have any visible marks in tanks with CAEs...

I can add a whole slew of species to this list - easily.

>> They are not ideal fish, and hardly ideal algae eaters,
>> but by no means are they the 'devil' portrayed in most
>> discussions:)

I have a friend who actually loves CAEs - he gladly "rescues" them from
other aquarists. I've written about his tank before, although I don't recall
if this is one of the forums.

His 75- gallon contains 4 Bala Sharks, 5 Giant Danios, about 4-5 Otos (his
hide very well), 7 CAEs ranging from 3 to 6 inches, 4 Albino Corys, 6 Kuhli
Loaches, a lone surviving female Purple Spot Gudgeon from one of my tanks,
and a single, surviving male Cherry Barb.

The *Cherry Barb* is the _undisputed_ king of the tank. One of his antics is
to play "sheep dog" with the larger fish - herding them around the tank at
_his_ leisure, and for _his_ amusement. He does it most often to the Balas,
but neither the Danios nor the CAEs are immune to his "games".

So yeah - I guess even in light of Wright's testimony, I still have to

I can remember being introduced to CAEs about 15 years ago myself. In that
much time, I've _never_ seen a CAE do any more injury than was required to
protect a perceived asset. And I've never seen _any_ of them actually kill
or even "harass something to death".

Nor, in almost 35 years of fishkeeping and observation, have I noticed any
behaviors that I can attribute _to_ the CAE as being a substantial or
perceivable threat to any member of a community tank. Certainly nothing in
my friend Ron's experience, either - and he gets almost nothing but the
"rejects" from other tanks...


David A. Youngker
nestor10 at mindspring_com