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SAE's food preferences

Several days ago, I posted some comments on the feeding behavior of Siamese 
Algae Eaters.  After that, some people have suggested that the fish in my 
tank are not true SAE's.  I can only state that, morphologically, they 
certainly appear to be SAE's (correct black line thru tail, clear fins, 
black line not smooth, etc.).  Also, they were purchased from Albany 
Aquarium in California, a known location that supposedly imports them from 
se Asia.

I would like to add that a friend bought some at the same time that I did 
and his fish completely ignore Rotala wallichii, which mine considered a 
delicacy.  Possible reasons:
   1.  Batches of fish purchased from Albany Aquarium can include both true 
SAE's and other species that one cannot distinguish using the usual 
physical characters.
   2.  There are behavioral differences among SAE's that may or may not be 
genetically based, i.e. w/in C. siamensis, there is some variation in 
   3.  There is some environmental factor that stimulates SAE's to develop 
less-than-ideal feeding behaviors.  This could be a lack of their favorite 
algae so that they feel hungry for something that is then satisfied by the 
fine-leaved plants.  
   I tend to favor #3 above.  Perhaps if I had not been so lazy and fed 
them more cucumber, they would have been content to graze on Cladophora or 
the other yukky algaes I wish someone would graze on.  But, I hated the 
gooshy cucumber experience, so I didn't do it.  Perhaps there is some other 
environmental factor that they respond to.
   Also, when I report that they seem a little aggressive, I realize that 
this is very relative.  I generally keep very gentle fish in my tanks and 
any fish in the barb group is going to seem pretty active to me.  My SAE's 
display quite a bit of territorial behavior, such as the largest one 
chasing away the smaller ones from Tabi Min food.  I call that aggressive; 
someone else might not.  Anyway, just a few thoughts on different 
perspectives on one fish species.
   Roxanne Bittman
Please note new email address:
Roxanne Bittman, Botanist                    Natural Diversity Database
Phone: (916) 323-8970                 __o    CA Dept of Fish and Game
Fax:   (916) 324-0475               _ \<_    1220 S St
Internet rbittman at kirk_dfg.ca.gov  ( )/( )   Sacramento, CA 95814