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Re: The much feared CAE


On Mon, 23 Apr 2001, David Youngker wrote:

> > 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
> writing
> > 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 has been my experience and I do actually keep them.  I've had them for
years, and in fact still have one.  As youngsters (2 inches or less) they
are excellent algae eaters.  After that they aren't particularly effective
algae eaters and you're taking a risk keeping them with any kind of
flat-bodied, slow-swimming fish.   It's probably even a bad idea to keep
them with flat-bodied fast swimmers like the larger rainbow fish.

A few years ago I had one in a tank with some black veil angels.  It
chased the angels quite a bit, but as long as the angels were small they
could still dart away pretty easily.  When the angels got older they
couldn't dart anymore.  The angels started dying 1-by-1 with odd, oval
marks on their sides and loose or missing scales.  It took quite a while
before I associated the markings with the chasing by the CAE.

That fish was introduced to the garbage disposal.  Too late for the angel
fish and for the pearl gourami's that went before them with oval markings
and bacterial infections.  There may even have been some unrecognized
victims before that.

I still have one in a tank with mostly larger loaches.  He used to chase
the clown loaches, but gave that up.  I haven't seen him do it in a while
now.  That might be from age, or it might be that one of the clown loaches
demonstrated to the CAE just what a clown loach can do with that big,
sharp spine below his eye.

I've never seen them attack small fish and rarely attack strong-swimming
fish.  Some of the people writing in to say that "CAEs are OK" also list
tank occupants that the CAE probably wouldn't bother with anyway, either
because they are too small or because they are too mobile.

So *maybe* some of the warnings about the slime-and-scale sucking behavior
of CAEs is a little overstated.  Or maybe not.  It's your risk.

Roger Miller