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Re: Chinese algae eaters are not that bad

>Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 11:29:44 -0800 (PST)
>From: pete rose <bfordyce at yahoo_com>
>Subject: Chineese algae eaters

>I've kept chineese algae eaters before. They do eat 
>the green algae on the glass and rocks. Supposedly they
>will attach to the sides of fish and eat their slime, although I've
>never seen this happen. My main complaint is that they are sometimes
>very hyperactive. I had one in a 10 gallon tank with a sand substrate.
>I came home and all the plants were uprooted with a huge crater in the
>middle, and I know it was the CAE, because I caught him later. In
>larger tanks, they don't seem quite as spastic. They can get big. I've
>had some grow 6" long. People say when they get that big they eat less
>(or no) algae. They get kind of aggressive at that size, but I've used
>them in cichlid tanks at that size. It seems like they were eating at
>least some of the algae. I know that CAE will not eat hair algae. So,
>I think the bottom line is that CAE are better than nothing, but
>there's better alternatives. I'd definitely buy an Ottocinculus (aka
>Otto) before an CAE. Ottos seem to be easier to find than SAE. 

In nearly 20 years I have kept several 'Chinese' algae eaters (Gyrinocheilus
aymonieri) and I must say that they don't deserve the bad reputation they got.
I had one for about 12-15 years and it was about 6 inches, ate algae upto the
last minute and lived in perfect harmony with a range of different fish. Some
individuals will indeed turn aggressive and attack other fish, mostly slow 
and/or big timid ('expensive') fish, like discus, angels, elephant fish, and 
so on. In such a case the solution is to keep them in a school, introduce more
CAE's into the tank (at least 4) and they will leave the other fish alone. 
Small schooling fish (like tetra's, etc..) are never victims of lonely 
aggressive CAE's. They are good algae eaters, active all day and fun to watch.
They don't eat the long hair/beard/stringy algae because they can't, it sticks
out under their mouth preventing them to get a good grip at the surface by
sucking. But I read they eat those algae at a microscopic level, before they
develop into the 'hair'. They love to eat the green and brown algae, and it's
a hard to compare different algae eating fish with each other, but I read they
have the best developed suckermouth of all algae eating fishes. 

Hugo Hoekstra