The Chinese algae eater is a popular freshwater aquarium fish. It is also known as Algae eater, Indian Algae Eater, Siamese Algae Eater,Sucker Loach, Sucker Fish, Golden Algae Eater, Lemon Algae Eater, Honey Sucker, and Biforated Carp. It is found in the Chao Phraya basin, northern Malay Peninsula, Mekong basin in Cambodia, Yunnan province in China, Laos, and Thailand, Mae Klong basin and the Xe Bang Fai River. They inhabit large and medium sized water body such as lakes and rivers and occasionally enter flooded fields. They are often found in the clear, shallow waters of inflowing streams and tributaries that are exposed to the sun. They also migrate into deeper waters depending on the season. The fish spends most of its time on flat surfaces such as rocks.

Chinese Algae Eater’s Overview

The Chinese algae eater has a slender body with inferior sucker type mouth. Body is golden in color with a dark band that runs along its body and a series of dark spots are also present along the lateral line. The belly is usually paler than the base color. Some darker markings are also present along the back and on the caudal fin. Dorsal fin bears 9 branched and soft rays and 36-40 scales are present along the lateral line. Chinese Algae Eater is herbivorous fish and in wild, it primarily eats algae, peryphyton, Zooplankton and insect larvae. As it matures it likes to eat the slime, eyeballs of larger fish and smaller entire fish. They reach sexually mature at about 12 -13 cm in length.   It grows up to 28 cm in length and its life span ranges from 5-10 years. It prefers good water chemistry with pH of 6.5 -7.5, water hardness 8 to 12° dKH and temperature 75 – 80° F.

Scientific Name: Gyrinocheilus aymonieri

Common Name: Chinese Algae Eater, Indian Algae Eater, Sucker Loach, Sucker Fish, Golden Algae Eater, Lemon Algae Eater

Origin: South Asia

Adult Size: Up to 11 inches (28 cm)

Behavior: Semi-aggressive

Tank Level: Bottom

Minimum Tank Size:  55 gallon (208 liters) or larger.

Diet: Herbivore

Breeding: Difficult to breed in the home aquarium

Care level: Easy to Medium

Water pH: 6.5 – 7.5

Water Hardness: 8° to 12° dKH

Water Temperature: 75 – 80°F

Water Movement: Strong water current

Lighting:  Moderate – normal lighting

Lifespan:  5 – 10 years

Background of Chinese Algae Eater

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri or the Chinese Algae Eater is one of the best known aquarium fish. It was described by Tirant in 1883. It is found in large areas of Southeast Asia and southern parts of China. In its native countries it is used as both aquarium and food fish. It belongs to the family Gyrinocheilidae under order Cypriniformes of Class Actinopterygii. This species is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC). It has a wide distribution but some populations have declined in some parts of its range such as Thailand. It is considered threatened in China and Viet Nam.

Housing Chinese Algae Eater

A minimum of a 30-gallon aquarium is recommended with plenty of plants, rocks and driftwood for the fish to graze on for algae. It also needs lots of space for swimming. You can house multiple Chinese algae eater fish in a single habitat but it is best to keep at least six species. It prefers a mature well-filtered planted aquarium with lots of hiding places.  The tank should have shaded areas because they tend to like to avoid the bright aquarium lights at times.  It does well in stronger currents with well oxygenated water. As this fish matures it becomes aggressive towards tank mates and con-specifics. They should not be kept with smaller fish such as Neon Tetras or slow moving high-backed fish such as Angelfish and Discus. They must never be kept with Goldfish. They also do well in semi-aggressive fish such as African Mbuna Cichlids. The Chinese algae eater can sometimes jump out of tanks so you need a good hood to prevent jumping. It prefers good water chemistry with pH of 6.5 -7.5, water hardness 8 to 12° dKH and temperature 75 – 80° F. 25 – 50% of the tank water should be changed at least once a month. If the tank is densely stocked 20-25% should be replaced weekly or every other week.

Feeding Chinese Algae Eater

The Chinese Algae Eater is herbivorous fish which primarily eats algae during the young stage. The main source of food is algae on plants, rocks, glass, driftwood and other substrates. As it matures it likes to eat the slime, eyeballs of larger fish and smaller entire fish. In captive condition they accept meatier foods such as prepared aquarium foods, frozen crustaceans and small fish. It should also be fed with sinking algae wafers, blanched vegetables like zucchini, sinking catfish wafers and. Feed should be supplied once or twice a day.

Breeding Chinese Algae Eater

Little is known about the breeding habit of the Chinese Algae Eater under captive conditions. They are egg layer. Good water chemistry and strong water flow trigger the Chinese algae eaters to spawn. Before spawning the brood fish should be conditioned with vitamin enriched feed. Breeding tank should be 50 gallons with very few plants and strong water current. Tank water should have suitable temperature and pH which range from 77-82 0F and 6-8 respectively. The fry hatch in 2-3 days. Newborn fry should be fed with algae and fallen food.

Sexing Chinese Algae Eater

It is very difficult to make differences between male and female. It has multiple small tubercles or thorns around the mouth. These tubercles are more numerous and pronounced on males during spawning season than female. An adult female has a much thicker and rounder body wile a male body is thin and narrow.

Chinese Algae Eater for sale

The Chinese Algae Eater is a popular aquarium fish. It is usually kept in aquariums for the purpose of keeping algae under control. Most hobbyists purchase the Chinese Algae Eater for its well known ability to keep algae under control. The Chinese Algae Eater is very popular and readily available in pet stores and online and is moderately inexpensive.  To buy your favorite fish, look below for online vendors that I would recommend buying your next set of chinese algae eaters from.