When shopping for fish to add to your tank, you may become overwhelmed by the sheer number of freshwater species available, but you may also be looking for a fish to fulfill a specific job.
Siamese algae eaters serve a specific purpose; they’re ideal for anyone looking for a fish that will help them clean up their aquarium by removing algae.
They’re lively, gregarious creatures who thrive in both huge groups and alone settings. They’re easy to feed and will eat whatever you put in their aquarium.
These fish are perfect for novices to add to your community aquarium because they are quiet. One thing to keep an eye out for is the Siamese flying fox, which has a similar appearance to algae eaters and is sometimes misidentified as a result.
This post will cover all you need to know about purchasing and caring for a siamese algae eater, including how to care for them, how big they grow, what to feed them, and more…
Facts about the Siamese Algae Eater
Crossocheilus oblongus, or Siamese algae eaters, are freshwater fish belonging to the Cyprinidae family. Carp, a closely related species, is also found in this family.
They originated in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia, but are now bred for the aquarium trade all over the world. They’ve grown in popularity because they’re one of the greatest algae eaters on the market. They move around a lot, so they may quickly cover the entire tank.
While movement aids in the control of algae, it also keeps your tank lively and fascinating. A lot of other algae feeders aren’t very active (like nerite snails).
Because of their widespread availability, they may be found at most pet stores. They’re also inexpensive, costing between $3 to $5 per fish.
These fish are ideal for beginners because they make cleaning the tank much easier and their behavior is unlikely to be a problem. However, Siamese algae eaters, like all other fish, create waste. Overstocking your tank can make it dirtier rather than cleaner.
They spend the majority of their time in the tank’s lower levels. They’ll swim around until they find a location that’s coated with algae, and then they’ll sit there until the algae is gone.
If you keep a few together, they’ll form groups and feed in the same spot.
They’re rarely violent, but they’re a lot of fun to watch as they swim around. This means they shouldn’t attack other fish, although they could agitate and disturb calmer species.
If they are hostile, keep an eye on them for a few days; if the problem persists, they may need to be separated.
Siamese algae eaters have a long, slender body that can exceed six inches in length. They’re usually a light grey or yellow color with a black stripe running from head to tail.
You may notice that the stripe begins to diminish; this could be due to a mating display, stress, or a desire to blend in (which is less common in the aquarium).
Until they are roughly 3-4 years old, there are no differences between males and females, and the only method to tell their sex is by their size. Females have a mass that is roughly 30% greater than males.
Siamese Algae Eater vs Flying Fox
Because they seem so similar, the Siamese flying fox (Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus) is frequently confused with the algae eater. A bold black stripe runs down their bodies on both of them.
Checking for flaps at the corner of the mouth is the quickest approach to figure out which species you’re looking at. Algae eaters don’t have them, but flying foxes do. When the fish are alive and swimming around, though, it’s practically impossible to check, so you’ll have to make an informed judgment based on the color.
On the flying fox, the black stripe is smoother and ends where the tail fin begins. Algae eaters are less uniform and extend to the tail fin’s end.
Siamese Algae Eater Habitat and Tank Conditions
Siamese algae eaters can be found in Southeast Asia’s thickly planted rivers and streams in the wild. Closely related Asian Carp have similar environment preferences.
The water in these tropical areas is slightly acidic and has a slow current. There are many plants, rocks, and logs beneath the surface that give refuge.
The time spent by an algae eater is split between hiding in these shelters and seeking food on the surface. This is mostly algae, but there are also other creatures that sink to the river’s bottom.
They’re not the best explorers; they like to stick to familiar habitats and rarely travel beyond the water’s surface.
Their ideal living environment is a replica of their natural habitat.
Because they spend most of their time near the tank’s bottom, a sandy substrate allows them to swim around without scratching their bodies or injuring their sensitive barbels.
To make them feel at ease, plants should be added. They provide shelter while also cleaning and oxygenating the water.
If your fish can’t find anything else to eat, they may start nibbling on some of the plants. The greatest approach to protect your plants is to keep them well-fed. One method is to employ fast-growing species such as hornwort, which can regenerate quickly if any sections are eaten.
Bottom-dwelling fish, in particular, enjoy having a place to hide away from their tank mates. Make caves all around the tank to offer them a place to hide. There should be no bickering over who gets to go where because they aren’t territorial.
Although all fish can jump, some are better than others. Siamese algae eaters are active and fast, making jumping from the water easier for them. You won’t come home to a fatal escape attempt if you keep a lid on the tank.
To keep the water between 75 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need a heater. The hardness of the water should be between 5 and 20 dH.
The pH should ideally be between 6.5 and 7.0, but they can tolerate a broader range if necessary (roughly 6.0-8.0).
They have no unique water flow needs, which may come as a surprise given that they dwell in rivers. These would be slow-moving, and the stream in the riverbed where they live would be even weaker.
Siamese algae eaters are peaceful creatures, so there are plenty of options for tank mates. As a result, they’d be excellent candidates for a community aquarium.
Because these fish spend so much time at the bottom of the tank, you’ll want to consider what else might be there. Many bottom-dwellers might be aggressive or territorial toward people who get in their way. When red tail sharks reach maturity, they harass other sharks to protect their territory. Your calm algae eaters aren’t going to win this fight.
You can choose from a variety of tranquil bottom-dwellers. Corydoras are among the most well-known; this genus encompasses a diverse range of species.
Fish living in other parts of the tank will not have territorial problems, allowing for a greater variety of fish. If you add any fish that are known to be aggressive, they may attack or eat your algae eaters.
This usually entails avoiding cichlids, which should be housed in a species-only tank in the first place. However, there are some benign exceptions, such as angelfish.
Because they’re little and non-aggressive, tetras, danios, and guppies are ideal. Larger fish, such as gouramis and barbs, can also be used because their size does not add to their aggression.
It’s important to keep in mind that your tankmates don’t have to be fish. Other animals, most of which eat algae, can be included. Snails and shrimp (Amano, cherry, and ghost) are the most frequent (like nerite snails).
Mixing shrimp and snails with your fish produces a variety of behaviors, which adds to the intrigue in your tank. However, they still contribute to the biological load of the tank, so don’t overstock it.
Keeping Siamese Algae Eaters Together
More than one Siamese algae eater can be kept in the same aquarium. They demonstrate their best behaviors in groups of at least 4-6 people.
This isn’t to say that you have to keep them in a school; they can also be maintained alone or in pairs.
Their name contains the majority of their diet. They eat algae, plant matter, and plants in the wild, but they’re not merely herbivores. Because they’re scavengers, they’ll consume everything they come upon, including dead fish and insects.
It’s simple to cater for them in the aquarium because they aren’t picky eaters and will eat almost everything you put in there. This includes store-bought flake and pellet feeds, algal wafers, and live foods. Brine shrimp and bloodworms are good examples of live meals, although frozen kinds would also work.
Pellets and other sinking meals are ideal for bottom-feeding fish since they are more likely to fall past creatures higher up in the tank.
Because they already have algae and plants in the tank before feeding time, overfeeding can be an issue. If you keep introducing too many algae, Siamese algae eaters may quit eating algae in favor of the other items you feed them.
They can eat a lot, and if you let them, they would eat all day. Limit their daily feeding to an amount that they can readily eat in a few minutes.
These animals aren’t prone to any specific diseases, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get sick at some point.
Most diseases produce symptoms, some of which are more noticeable than others. The parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (often referred to as “ich”), for example, generates little white dots all over the body.
There are treatments and medicines for many ailments that can be purchased and used in quarantine tanks, but there are other ways to help prevent your Siamese algae eater from contracting diseases in the first place.
- Organ disorders are less likely to occur when you eat high-quality foods. Cheaper foods might promote constipation, which can have a cascade of negative consequences.
- Because dirty water is similar to breathing polluted air, water changes should be performed every two weeks to prevent pollutants from accumulating.
- Be cautious about what you put in your tank. Toxins can be carried by decorations, and disease-carrying water from other aquariums is a possibility.
Even though these fish mate in the same way as much other fish, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to breed them yourself. They’re only known to procreate with the use of hormones in farms.
Sexing them is difficult enough and necessitates a careful eye. Once completely matured, females are about 30% larger than men.
Changes in water conditions (temperature, pH, etc.) are likely to promote spawning, but little is known about how to breed them in home aquariums at the moment.
Is a Siamese Algae Eater a Good Addition to Your Aquarium?
Keeping Siamese algae eaters happy and healthy shouldn’t be difficult, whether you’re new to fishkeeping or have been doing it for a long time.
They’re calm and hardy, so they’re less prone to rookie errors.
They will thrive in a tank with plants and tranquil fish, as well as plenty of open space.
Your aquarium will appear cleaner and more active as a result of this.
What Size Aquarium Do Siamese Algae Eaters Need?
They’ll need a tank with a capacity of at least 20 gallons.
How Many Siamese Algae Eaters Can Be Kept Per Gallon?
For the first fish, you’ll need 20 gallons, plus an additional 10 gallons for every fish after that.
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