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FAQs on ""Chinese"" "Algae Eaters": Systems

Related Articles: Algae Eaters, Algae Control in Freshwater Aquariums by Bob Fenner, Dealing With Algae in Freshwater Aquaria by Neale Monks, (some) Algae (in moderation) Can Be Your Friend, ppt presentation, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, by Bob Fenner, OtocinclusLoricariidsSiamese Algae Eaters/Crossocheilus

FAQs on: Chinese Algae Eaters (CAEs), Gyrinocheilus aymonieri 1, CAEs 2,
FAQs on: CAE Identification, CAE Behavior, CAE Compatibility, CAE Selection/Stkg., CAE Feeding, CAE Disease, CAE Reproduction,
Related FAQs: Algae Control, Freshwater "Scavengers", Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease

Very good "jumpers" (as in out of your not-totally covered system)

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Mostly about stocking tanks; capacity) 4/21/09
Hello, WWM Crew, and thank you for taking the time to read this.
<Happy to help.>
I (personally) am revisiting an old interest; (trying to educate my daughter about the wonders of a home aquarium, and I kept a Tiger Oscar for 3 years successfully in the past), and I have begun to relearn all of the Fish Facts that I once knew. One thing I was never taught by anyone (even my father, who bred Angelfish at home when I was young, kindling the love Aquatic) until I read your site, was how EVIL the Gyrinocheilus aymonieri actually is.
<Not actually a secret; most anyone who's kept fish knows this, and yet aquarium shops keeping selling them...>
I must admit that I own ONE, and only one, and will not own another according to the sage advice I have received from WWM. I am committing a mortal sin (only going by what I have read) with my new starter tank, which has been running SUCCESSFULLY for more than 3 months so far.
Tank Specifications: 10 U.S. Gallon Cap.
1 5-15 Aqua Tech Filter
1 "Elite" 115V 50W Heater
1 "Elite" 802 Air Pump Bubble Wall (Opposable Variety)
Fern Bed
4 Plastic Plants
6" Hollow Clock Tower
4" Aztec Ruin Wall Section
The mortal sin I referred to was the AMOUNT of fish that I have in said tank: M/F Xiphophorus maculatus ("Mickey Mouse Platies") M X. Variatus??
("Green Platy") M Poecilia sphenops ("Sailfin Molly") M/F Poecilia sphenops ("Dalmatian Molly") 3 Paracheirodon innesi ("Neon Tetra") F Betta Splendens ("Betta")ONE EVIL Gyrinocheilus aymonieri ("CAE")
<Not only overcrowded, but asking for trouble. Mollies require fundamentally different conditions that Neon tetras; even if you decided (foolishly, in my opinion) not to add salt, you'd still need much warmer and harder water than Neons tolerate for long.>
Now I know (once again) that my aquarium is overcrowded, and I have seen my CAE in its "aggressive" state, chasing other fish around the tank (it even opened the belly of my M Dalmatian Molly, which has subsequently healed).
Although my tank is full, it is (by all appearances, a healthy and thriving eco-system, as my F "Mickey Mouse Platy" is completing her second birthing cycle ((3 fry survived from her first brood, and not sure of the second, will continue to update as the fry hide in the fern bed to survive)) and my Dalmatian Molly is expecting.
<That livebearers are breeding doesn't really imply good conditions; they'll breed almost regardless of conditions, in the sense that once pregnant, the females can/will produce a number of batches, whether they're healthy or not.>
I maintain a strict schedule for my water quality, performing a 25% water change every 3rd day ( I keep an 18L bottle of water covered with a cheesecloth aside for use, as it dechlorinates as it stands ((Info from my LFS, confirm please!!)),
<Tap water will indeed lose chlorine when left alone for a day or two. But this does nothing at all about Chloramine, which is also used widely now, and much more stable. Neither will this approach fix problems with copper (from pipes) and ammonia (from groundwater pollution). There's really no excuse for not using dechlorinator. None. Nada. Zip. And if you are using dechlorinator, or more accurately, water conditioner, you don't need to let the water stand for 24 hours.>
while adding Jungle's "Start Right" with Allantoin, Tetra Aqua "EasyBalance", and NutraFin Waste Control. (I don't use NutraFin Cycle Bio Filter Supp., as I have more than adequate lower level aeration to "lift" the ammonia from the bottom.) Water Temp is kept at a balmy 81F, <Far too warm for Swordtails and Neons! Both of these fish want to be kept around the 23 C/73 F mark. Swordtails live in fast, relatively cool streams, and Neons come from relatively cool waters as well. Cardinals in warm water, Neons in cooler water; that's the rule!>
and light cycle is kept to 12H maximum (although at times I have been caught away from home and forgotten to turn off the hood lamp). I have never had an algae problem in this tank, as I had a Pleco originally (Glyptopterichthys gibbiceps) and it died when I had to perform an emergency 100% water change.
<Not why it died.>
That was when my LFS told me that the CAE was better than a Pleco due to the cost of species (CAE was $3, vs. $11 for a Pleco) and like a noob, I swallowed that hook. D'oh!!
<Hmm... any, and I mean, ANY, aquarium book would tell you not to buy Gyrinocheilus spp.>
What started this whole novel was I am experiencing "hair-algae" in my Betta Bowl (I have a male in solitary confinement, which is how he likes it) and I wanted to know if it was safe to put the CAE in the bowl WITH him. After perusing WWM, I saw that this was a VERY bad idea (as CAE will eat the fleshy parts of his fins) so I removed Betta to a separate bowl (with pre-treated water, of course) and put CAE in to eradicate algae. I will leave said situation overnight and see what CAE can do. Will it alter the consistency of Betta's bowl?
<The idea that fish "fix" algae problems is a silly one. They don't. Think about this for a few seconds... that's all it takes. Algae grow because the environment suits them. Among other things, that includes nitrate and phosphate levels in the water. Every time you add a fish, or replace a small fish with a bigger fish, you are raising the rate at which nitrate and phosphate increase. Ergo, adding any kind of algae eater on top of the fish you already have tends to make the algae grow faster. So instead think about what would make life harder for algae. Top of the list is competition from fast-growing plants. Bizarre as this might sound, the tanks with the least algae are invariably those with the strongest lights because the plants simply pulverize the algae! Whether it's direct competition for nutrients, or something more subtle such as allelopathy is up for debate, but this is certainly what happens.>
Betta has been attempting to construct his "bubble-nest" and I don't want to have to completely change the water in the bowl and completely destroy it (although, while I think about it, its kind of stupid to think that way, because I am not breeding it, YET!!)
I am currently conducting an arrangement to obtain a 30 U.S. Gallon tank, that I will be able to transfer my fish to a larger "world" and allow them to not be so crowded, but I haven't attained that yet. Knowing this, what is my optimal Fish-to-Gallon Ratio?
<For small fish like Neons, it's about an inch per gallon. The bigger the fish, the more aquarium volume you need. But this is only part of the story. Filtration is an issue too: big fish need more "turnover". Small fish can get by with filters rated at 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour, but bigger fish will need 6 times, and things like Oscars and Plecs, 8-10 times. Surface area is yet another factor. A tall tank will hold less fish that a shallow tank of equal volume. So it's complicated. A 30-gallon tank would doubtless hold a couple of dozen livebearers of various sizes, some as small as Platies, and some larger ones like Mollies. Keeping Gyrinocheilus in there once mature would be daft, so I won't even comment on that beyond saying that this fish gets to 30 cm/12 inches and would claim that entire tank as a fraction of its territory in the wild.>
I was told it is "an inch of fish per gallon of water" but as I said, my lovelies are happy as clams! (Figuratively speaking, of course!)
<They can't be that happy if fish are dying because of the need for "emergency" water changes.>
And once I know my FtG, I wanted to keep the 10 G tank as my fry tank (especially when I start attempting to breed the Bettas, but please know I wont do ANYTHING in that regard until I know the regimen in my sleep!
<Look, the key thing isn't "how many fish can I cram into a tank this big", but rather, "how much space do I need for this species to do well".
Swordtails for example are fast swimmers, to long tanks suit them very well. But the males are extremely aggressive, so in 30 gallons, a single male together with 3-4 females might be a very sensible approach. Add a few cool water catfish such as Corydoras paleatus or maybe some Cherry Fin Loaches, and you'd have a very nice set up. You could certainly add some Garra flavatra if you really felt the need for an algae eater or three, but Cherry Shrimps and Nerite snails would be better. All these would thrive at the low temperature Swordtails need to live their full life span and show their best colours. Why mess about trying to cram in Neons, Mollies and other such stuff that don't belong? There's no sense to it.>
A link to that info, if available, would be appreciated.) Am I going out of my league here?
<Not out of your league, but I suspect you're not doing your research first.>
I just wanted a nice addition to my living room (something other than the TV to educate and amuse a 2 year old) plus I love to just sit and observe them myself! What fish owner (keeper??) doesn't enjoy the fruits of his/her own labours?
<The fish owner who is constantly fighting against problems of ill health, aggression, overstocking... I mention this because if you keep fish the proper way, with due regard to water chemistry, temperature, aquarium size, social behaviour etc., the hobby is easy. Neglect those issues and choose "one of everything" that catches your eye, the results are often disastrous.>
I have made the best possible attempt to give you the most concise information I could for your assistance in this matter. If there is anything else I can provide, please let me know.
And Thanks!! :)
<Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish, mis-stocked, Gyrinocheilus, no reading...  3/30/08 Hi I have a 10 gallon tank with 5 goldfish, <Much too crowded> I had an algae eater <... you haven't followed directions... and read on WWM before writing us...> in the tank until yesterday because I seen him sucking on the fish and my other fish are a black googly eyed fish, orange poofy cheek and an orange and white one that's stomach is shaped like a marble and an other little goldfish but my question is my orange bubble cheek fish is a slow guy and the algae eater was picking on him a lot and I seen that he was missing some scales on his back and there's a thin white tissue on his back and I talked to the petstore and they said put in some stress coat, that will work and that was yesterday but I see that the tissue has gone on his eyes, I think he cant see because he is swimming into a lot of things and he just doesn't look healthy at all and its really scary. What can I do? April <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above where you lead yourself on a wonderful journey of discovery and self-fulfillment... Thrill (!) as you find that you've been mistreating the life in your care! Excitement will be yours as you delve into the real care of your aquatic charges... Imagine (!!!) their relief at being taken care of properly!!! BobF>

Chinese Algae Eater I have had two CAE for a while now, about a year.  Just recently one of them was disappearing for long amounts of time, I would look for it, and with no success, then it returned.  I watched it for a while and it had gone again, so I opened my filter up and it is staying in my filter, is this a normal thing, or should I get it out. Thanks <<LOL! This is one I haven't heard before. My guess is that he feels safe in there because it's darker and most algae eaters tend to be nocturnal. However, I have to worry that he'll inadvertently get into a spot in the filter that could harm him. If possible, use a mesh of some sort to block the area he's getting into. Plastic canvas might work well or if it's on the part of the filter where the water comes back out you could probably use a piece of a sponge or a filter pad cut to fit. You might also want to give him some sort of a cave that he can hide in. A small piece of PVC pipe or a clay flowerpot broken in half with the broken edges buried in the gravel should work. Ronni>>

CAE gone My algae eater was in my tank just the other day and last night when I went 2 feed my fish he wasn't no where 2 find in the tank but my other 2 fish was there and the only that takes care of them is me. I clean out my fish tank and he still wasn't in there. He no where 2 be find.  Kayla <Look on the floor, perhaps a smiling cat... RMF>

An Undeserved Bad Rap? CAEs - 08/25/2005 Everyone gives CAE a bad name. I have three CAEs and they never kill my other fishes for 4 yrs. I have 27 gal tank. I believe 10 gallon tank is the problem which may drive CAE crazy. <Proper stocking density, proper tank size, and proper tankmates are all at play....> It is the owner who should get the bad name, not CAE. <For not researching and selecting good tankmates, I agree.  -Sabrina>

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