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SAEs larger the lazier:)
To the poster who just bought a 3" SAE, I do find that as they get larger,they will tend to eat algae less and less. Even at a small size ~ 1inch or less, they would be the last fish to starve in my tank, they are not shy at all and go straight for any food I put inthe tank.
What i use for tetras and most of my other smallish fish is i get some good quality sinking catfish pellets, and use a pepper or salt grinder to grind it into small pieces straight into the tank. (use one that gives u fairly large chunkies:P) Some will float for your surface fish, and some will sink slowly, at a nice bite size...:)
But then, I have lots of catfish so any that hits the bottom is pretty much taken immediately. If you have a lower fish load, I would watch carefully, as the small pieces of food can get lodged in the gravel if you have large gravel.
p.s. I find even small SAEs to be among the hardiest fish I have ever kept... A shoal of 6-10 will skim around the tank like a wave of algae eating goodness - it really is quite cool... I dont know, maybe your source of SAEs is bad in some way, or they are starving as you said. Good luck!
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