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FAQs on ""Chinese"" "Algae Eaters": Health

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, Otocinclus, Loricariids, Siamese 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 Systems, CAE Feeding, CAE Reproduction,
Related FAQs: Algae Control, Freshwater "Scavengers", Aquarium Maintenance, Freshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease,

Im confused??? CAEs gone; wild!      2/25/17
Dear WWM crew,
I had two Chinese algae eaters and they were brown and clearish, they both died last night with their scales orange. i also have a Betta. Did the Betta do something or was is just natural???
- Melanie
<Yikes! Something very wrong-gone here.... Did you do something recently, like change all the water out?
Spray an ammoniated cleaner near the tank? CAEs are VERY tough; oh, and should never be placed with Bettas. See WWM re the neither Chinese, nor really algae eater. Oh, and send along useful data re water quality, the system set up, maintenance, foods/feeding. Thanks. Bob Fenner>

Chinese algae eater dies suddenly at 3 years 11/3/11
My apologies, this is really long, I've never emailed before.
<No worries>
FISH DETAILS: I had a Chinese algae eater. He was pretty large, I'd say 6" long, about an inch tall and probably an inch at his widest part (some photos are attached).
<Wow; very large!>
If you use them, his name was "Algae". I got him when I inherited 3 old guppies which maybe lasted a year and now he was alone. He was in a 30g acrylic breeder tank, which I get isn't the best, but is the best I could provide right now. I had plans to get him a 55g when I moved into a house. I had always assumed him a boy because he grew those horns.
TANK DETAILS: The tank had 3 planted plants and loads of fake plants and a giant log on the bottom he could stay under, swim through and above.
Ammonia dropper test kit always read 0, the nitrites always read 0 and the nitrates, were about 10-20ppm depending on how one would interpret that strip. Chlorine was 0, I know my alkalinity always ran low from the tap and pH was neutral. Tap water was dechlorinated with the Kordon NovAqua Plus. I live in Southern California, tank is 75F, does have heater, but rarely turned on. Used Aqueon 30g whisper filter system, which since the tank was a breeder and short/long actually gave it some motion, which he seemed to like. Had a bubble bar along the back and one small bubble ball he liked to pull around, so there was loads of aeration. The light source was strip bulb hooked up to timer- 10 hours of light day. I did a water change, approximately 10%, once a week. The electrical plugs were plugged into a GFCI shock buster strip outlet, so it's unlikely he was electrocuted.
QUESTION: Are CAEs susceptible to any particular diseases/conditions?
<Not really; no. Are generally tolerant, cooler water fish, able to adapt to wide water conditions>
Is there anything I can look at on the remains for a clue?
<Mmm, not much, no>
His slime coat was beautiful, fins were untattered.
He was eating and playing normally when I left for work. Came home and he was upside down lying on the bottom of the tank. Eyes were still very clear. Gills were nice pink color. I tested the water and nothing had changed. Nothing obvious I could see wrong with him, except he was gone.
By the way, he ate the algae in the tank, although I did supplement with wafers. He never harassed any other fish and was all in all a peaceful fish, he was actually kind of a wuss. Maybe he is an exception to the breed or was still considered young, but I really enjoyed having him and had read they lived 10+ years.
<Very rarely>
So I am just so sorry for him that something I did ended his life short. He was an awesome fish.
Thanks for any insight. I'm most likely not going to get another one, but it would be nice to know what I did wrong.
<Nothing reads as adverse to this fish in your details. I do think it likely "died of old age" (cumulative genetic breakdown). Three years is a long time for this species. Some do die from toxic algae ingestion in captivity, but as your other fish are fine, I discount this possibility.
Bob Fenner>

VERY nice pix, specimen!

Re: Chinese algae eater dies suddenly at 3 years 11/3/11
Hi Bob,
Thank you for the reply.
Oh wow, old age. That makes me feel so much better. I had read lifespan was 5-10 years and then some article had a user post where they said theirs was 26!
<Ah, no. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri generally live 2-3 years>
All night all I could think of was that pushing off the tank upgrade until after I moved had killed him.
I took a photo of him after I pulled him out, sorry if it is offensive. I only include it because he had actually grown even more since the other photos. Not that it matters now, but I was proud of him. He was actually just shy of 8" long and 1.5" tall at his thickest spot. I had considered him a staple around the apartment and didn't photo/video him as much as I wish I did now.
Could you point me in the direction of articles about toxic algae and also do you know any books/literature articles about CAEs specifically?
<Mmm, what little we have on WWM:
and the linked files above. And:
in places>
When I can set up a 55g I might get another one.
Thank you so, so, so much for the reply. I really do feel better that maybe he died an old man and not an obese youngster.
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: Chinese algae eater dies suddenly at 3 years
Thanks for the info, I will get reading.
I have a small request. You guys haven't done it yet and I don't know if you will, but could you not post those last 2 dead photos I sent?
<I did purposely leave them out Sariah>
I felt bad for estimating his length short, but now after thinking about it would rather him not be online forever like that. I am sorry for the bad judgment.
<No harm dear>
I saw him on the FAQ. Thanks for saying he was pretty!
<A superb specimen and very nice photographs. Thank you for sharing. BobF>
Re: Chinese algae eater dies suddenly at 3 years 11/4/11
oh thank you!!!
<Welcome. B>

Sick Otocinclus and Dead Corydoras 4/28/11
Last night when I got home from work I found my Otocinclus behaving very abnormally. It was swimming very erratically around the tank, mostly upside down.
Then it would just lay upside down on the sand for awhile and have a hard time getting back up off the sand. I have attached a picture of the Oto laying on the sand. It also seems to be breathing very heavily.
<On its way out>
Normally it just hides under the tank ornaments (possibly because I only have the one Oto).
<Are social animals, genus...>
Here is some background information on my tank. It is a 55 gallon tank with an Aquaclear 30 hob filter and an Aquaclear 70 hob filter.
<Mmm, well, should have sufficient dissolved oxygen then>
I have sand substrate, lots of plastic plants, and several hiding places.
The temperature is normally around 75 degrees F. Normal water conditions are: 7.8 pH,
<Whoa! Too high for this>
0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and 5 ppm nitrate. I have 10 silver Hatchetfish, 5 Celebes Rainbows, 1 Scissortail Rasbora (was supposed to be a Rainbow), 4 X-ray Tetras, 3 Panda Corydoras, and the one Otocinclus. The tank has been cycled for about a year. All of the fish were added after the tank was cycled. I started with more Panda Corydoras, but have lost several and no on seems to have them in stock right now.
<They come and they go>
I feed the Oto mostly algae wafers. I have tried Nori, peas, and lettuce, but none seem to get eaten. The Oto does not have the most varied diet, but it has grown to be about 4 inches long
<Wow, a monstah!>
and seemed pretty fat and happy until yesterday.
<Too fat, not at all happy>
I checked my water conditions right away after I noticed the odd behavior and they were 0.25 ppm ammonia,
<Yikes 2, trouble. Needs to be 0.0>
0 ppm nitrite, 5 ppm nitrate. I did not check my pH because it rarely changes.
Since the ammonia was high I did a 50% water change. I also added some Epsom salt with the water change to see if that might help the Oto.
<Mmm, this and most all other Amazonian organisms really do NOT like salts of any kind>
This morning I found a dead Cory and the Oto's behavior has not changed at all. The Cory did not appear to have anything physically wrong with it.
So I checked my water conditions again. The pH is slightly higher than normal at 8.2
and the ammonia has risen to somewhere between 0.25 ppm and 0.5 ppm
<Where is this ammonia coming from? Is something dead/dying in the system?
Someone add to much food?>
There was no change in nitrite and nitrate. I will do more large water changes to get the ammonia down, but is there anything you can tell me about what might be wrong with my Otocinclus.
<Very likely just the combination of high pH and ammonia presence. The two together are deadly>
I have learned a lot about keeping fish from your website and really appreciate all of the work that you guys do.
Thank you,
<Mmm, please read here... dang! I can't find my nomograph of the relationship twixt toxicity of ammonia at various pHs and temperatures. See Neil Frank's bit here:
Bob Fenner, oh... who should proffer that you need to find the source of the NH3/NH4OH and fix it... and do summat re the pH of the water, or select for livestock that "agrees" with it>

Re: Sick Otocinclus and Dead Corydoras 4/29/11
Thank you very much for your incredibly fast response.
I cleaned the tank very thoroughly and could not find any obvious source for the ammonia. I have no idea where it is coming from, but will continue checking levels.
While the pH is unusually high at the moment, I thought that all of my livestock was ok with a high pH. Apparently I was wrong about the Oto.
<Due to their intimate physiology w/ the water about them, aquatic life processes are often severely affected by pH>
Should I euthanise the Oto? My boyfriend is a home-brewer so I have access to CO2.
<I would not... Oh, I'd definitely continue w/ the home brewing (!), but not euthanize this fish. IF the water quality is fixed, it may well rally.
thanks again,
Re: Sick Otocinclus and Dead Corydoras 4/29/11
> Hello Bob,
> I don't think that "Otocinclus" is anything of the sort. It looks to me like one of the Balitoridae, often sold as Hong Kong Plecos and other such names. These are adapted to cool, fast-flowing waters and rarely last for long in generic community tanks.
<Quite likely. Never heard of a four inch/10 cm. Oto.>
> I wonder if the growth of this animal has meant that it now needs more oxygen than the tank can provide?
<The over the edge, hang-on power filters should have provided this>
In any case, cooler, more oxygenated conditions would help.
> A sideways photo of the fish would be better than the belly-up view you were sent!
<Was about all that they likely could provide. B>
> Cheers, Neale
Re: Sick Otocinclus and Dead Corydoras 4/29/11
I have attached a side view picture of the Oto. Sorry, it is a little blurry, but the fish is not cooperating at the moment. It was sold to me at the local pet store as an Otocinclus, but I have since found this pet store to be very unreliable and no longer shop there.
<Mmmm, this is a CAE, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri...>
After this morning's water change the ammonia is back to 0 ppm. I will continue to keep an eye on it.
<See the Net, WWM re. BobF>

Re: Sick Otocinclus and Dead Corydoras 4/29/11
After a quick search online, it looks like my "Oto" is actually a Chinese Algae Eater.
<Ah yes.>
Sorry about the confusion.

Chinese algae eater needs help 8/12/09
Dear WW Crew, I have a (what I believe to be ) a Chinese Algae Eater ( his name is AL . Yea, how original)
<You mean Gyrinocheilus aymonieri? This is a pretty useless fish to be honest. It's a lousy algae-eater once more than about half-grown, and as it ages, it becomes increasingly aggressive. Adults, which measure some 30 cm/12 inches in length, are often very nasty fish. I've kept adults in 200 gallon tanks alongside Central American cichlids, but I can't recommend them for the average community tank.>
(going by the colors of Crayola Crayons, he has the basic body color of lemon yellow with spots like that of a pinto horse the color of yellow-orange ) It is about 2 " not counting the tail.
<A baby still.>
I've had this fish since Oct of 2008 and got him as a juvie. He lives in a 5 g. hex along with 3 Blue Rams.
<Sorry, did you say 5 gallons? I'm going to start ranting here, so if you actually meant 55 gallons, forgive me. A 55 gallon tank would be adequate for Gyrinocheilus aymonieri. But a 5 gallon tank? Not a chance. Not only will the fish get too big to even physically wedge into this tank, water quality will suffer long before that becomes an issue. Blue Rams, which are an artificial form of Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, need completely different environmental conditions, and there's no way you can keep these together indefinitely. Blue Rams need soft, acidic water that is very warm, around 28-30 C (82-86 F). Gyrinocheilus aymonieri needs cooler water, around 25 C/77 F, and as it grows, it'll need more oxygen than this tank could
possibly provide. The fact it is only two inches long after you've owned the thing 10 months already indicates conditions are very, very poor for this species. A year-old specimen should be at least 10 cm/4 inches in length, and usually around 15 cm/6 inches.>
Everyone gets along.
<For now.>
Tank stats are ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are 0, ph is 6.
<Biological filtration stops working below pH 6, so I hope you're buffering this water somehow.>
These guys get a 50 % wc once a week without fail using RO water and API's Stress Coat with 1 drop per g inbound of Tetra Algae Control.
<You are using just RO water? Nothing else, no mineral salts? No tap water?
This is very, very bad for your fish. Just to recap, fish don't live in pure water. Even soft water fish will be living in water with some mineral salts as well as various organic acids. For Ram cichlids, your pH is fine,
but you'd be aiming for a hardness around 5 degrees dH. Who told you to use plain RO water?>
I had a hair algae problem and Al doesn't eat it.
<Of course not. Despite being called "Algae Eaters", they're not.
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri feed mostly on aufwuchs, which means they take green algae (not hair algae, which is red algae) alongside various small invertebrates.>
Temp is at 80.
<Too cold for Rams, too warm for Gyrinocheilus aymonieri.>
About two months ago he began developing a small 2mm-ish translucent blackish patch - not raised, not hole, just a color on the top of the head in-between the eyes.
<Likely a bacterial infection. Opportunistic, brought on by low immunity, triggered by poor environmental conditions.>
I say translucent as I can still see the body color under the spot. This spot has now grown and has elongated to a long diamond shape. It is now approx. 6 to 7 mm long extending from the back of the eye towards the snout. It has not touched the eye yet. He is also losing weight rapidly.
<I bet. This is a DIRE set up, and there's no way he'll survive in it.>
This gang gets HBH shrimp pellets ( Al's fave ) and Aqueon Cichlid Mini Granules pre-soaked and smooshed to sink. I might add that I have indeed been doing research to find answers but so far have come up dry.
<Where have you researched? What web sites told you these fish could live in a 5 gallon tank? Even the Blue Rams would need a good 20 gallons, and the Gyrinocheilus aymonieri at least 55 gallons.>
I'd like to find this answer before it is too late. Could this be a bacterial issue ?
<Well, yes, bacteria are likely involved, but only because you allowed them to.>
Thanks So Much for this website, I have found it to be very useful. Suz V.
<Glad you enjoyed the site. Hope you find information served "straight up" palatable. Some folks are a little sensitive about such things. But you're doing lots of things wrong, and need to sort them out, pronto. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Chinese algae eater needs help 8/12/09

Yes, going by Live Aquaria.com's picture he [Gyrinocheilus aymonieri]
looks just like the one pictured only with yellow-orange patches over the base of yellow.
<Oh dear.>
[This species gets very big] At which point a trade in would be necessary.
<He's already too big for a 5 gallon tank. There's no discussion here, no question about "when" to move him. No fish, other than perhaps a fancy Betta, can be kept in a 5 gallon tank safely or responsibly.>
He is my first and most likely, last [fish], but he "is" cute and I kinda like him. Plus, he needed a home.
<Unfortunately, buying "needy fish" from pet stores doesn't actually do any good. For a pet store, a sale is a sale. Even if you think you're rescuing a fish, all the retailer sees is a successful transaction, and they are very likely to order more of that kind of fish. In the case of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, they're ordering in one of the worst aquarium fish in the trade. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, and letting pet stores lose money on fish that can't sell (and perhaps die) sends a strong message to the retailer not to buy in unsellable and undesirable fish.>
I originally had a Betta in this tank and needed an opportunistic scavenger. The LFS told me to get an algae eater.
I really wanted Corys but knew they can't have a good go of it beings that they need the security of numbers and a much larger home. I did research the fish and had the intent of moving him when he got bigger into my 45 g. and have attempted to catch him 4 times but he does not want to leave.
<Instinct, not desire. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri come from fast-flowing rivers, and they're superbly adapted to rapid dashes. To the fish, you're a predator, and he'll try and escape from you, no matter what.>
This also disrupts the Rams too much so I'm leaving them be... for now.
<Your choice, but you are deluding yourself, and if the fish is already sick, leaving it in a totally inadequate environment will only make things worse. All I can do is tell you what you should be doing; I can't force you.>
The Betta got pop-eye in one eye ( no , the Betta wasn't in there with the Rams. Just Al.) and was re-located to a different tank to be fed easier as his vision is affected and he can't hit his mark so I have to feed him piece by piece every day. I have had Fred the Betta in several different meds all claiming to cure pop-eye but with no luck so far.
<Pop-eye is usually caused by environmental issues or physical damage. In the case of an overstocked 5-gallon tank, either cause could be at play, so it's difficult to say. The sensible thing is to approach with an open mind, assuming both are issues, and act accordingly. Physical damage comes from aggression between fish and bumping into things, typically the hood when scared. Environmental things include non-zero levels of ammonia and nitrite, and less often, long-term exposure to high levels of nitrate, anything above 20-50 mg/l depending on the species.>
I just got some erythromycin to try next which will start tonight if I can ever get this e-mail out. I just finished writing the last one to you when updates ran and kicked me off and I lost the whole thing.
<Do read here:
A combination of Maracyn plus Epsom salt in the water is the usual solution. But this does, of course, assuming the background causes are dealt with too.>
I have had Fred for 1year 4 mo.s now.. A Wal-mart refugee. Sickly to start with but so very sweet. He is my first fish and I'm very fond of him. As long as he has the will to be here I will keep trying to get him well.
<A fine sentiment. Good luck!>
Yes. My fingers didn't stutter [I did say 5 gallons]. You are justified [at ranting]. I will consider myself shredded.
YIKES! [at comments about size, growth rate of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri]. I don't know how old this guy was when I got him nor what the growth rate should be as I've never had them before. He had been doing well and I can say he had doubled in size. All appeared to be fine in this tank until I had a huge algae outbreak that I could not control thru water changes so I started adding the algae drops and if I am right, then it was shortly after this by maybe , a few weeks, is when Al started developing this spot.
<Well, even the worst diseases start small.>
I got the Rams because they would stay small.
<Still too big for a 5-gallon tank.>
Yes. for now [everyone gets along]. [Biological filtration diminishes below pH 6...] This I did not know. How do I fix it?
<See here:
Only what I have listed [i.e., just RO water]. I am going to claim 100% ignorance on this one. I don't know how to use the buffers and other additives and I was afraid I'd screw things up. Please show me the way.
<See links above. For most community fish, a half-dose of the Rift Valley cichlid salt mix. Ram cichlids are different, and prefer very soft water.
One-tenth to one-fifth dose would be ample for them, though you'd need to keep up with the water changes to ensure the pH stayed stable.>
I do not test for this , so, Guess I oughtta start, aye ?
<At minimum, you should have a pH test kit to hand. If the pH stays stable from when you do a water change to just before you do the next one, you're probably fine.>
No one [told me to use RO water]. I just tested my RO to see how it went.
<I see.>
Because My PH is too high out of the tap as well as being well water with varying amounts of ammonia sometimes its zero sometimes its 2.0. I live out in the country on a farm and my water is hard and CRINGE run thru a softener.
<Look, hard water is fine for most fish. Apart from the Rams, which do need very soft water, both Bettas and Gyrinocheilus do just fine in "rock hard" water. Do see here:
Please don't bite me too hard on this one, Neale as I have just recently learned how you feel on this. But Being that I am where I am now what can I do to fix this ? Should I get a 55 g plastic garbage can to store the water and hope it doesn't leak ?
Any suggestions here ? See?!, my LPS said this would be ok, too. It amazes me what people will do to make a sale.
<When you buy a motor car, do you take on trust everything the salesman says about mileage and economy? Or when you're buying a dress, do you assume the sales clerk has great taste in shoes? When the real estate agent says a house has no structural faults or plumbing problems? Of course not.
Every single time you go shopping for anything, you balance what the seller says against what you already know. In the case of a house for example, you'd get a surveyor in to double check the facts. People in the pet trade sell fish, and they sell more fish if people don't keep their fish terribly well. (When fish die, they buy more fish; when fish get sick, they buy medications.) There's no real incentive at a pet store to offer good advice. Many do, but not all of them. Even the best stores will have part-time or casual staff who know little about fish, particularly pet stores without a focus on fish. Such staff may be well meaning, but they don't actually have the depth of knowledge to offer reliable advice 100% of the time.>
So who CAN you believe ?
<Well, a good book is a start.
There's a book by Gina Sandford called "A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium" that you can get (used) from Amazon for just one cent. So there's no real excuse not to shell out on that! It's a good book, and covers all the basic stuff you need to know.>
I guess this explains why he [Gyrinocheilus] likes the shrimp pellets. He will not eat the small pieces of algae wafer I give him Though I have seen the Rams nibble on it.
Thinking back this all [the disease] seems to have started about or shortly after I started adding the algae remover.
<Perhaps; as you'll see on WWM, we don't recommend the use of snail- and algae-killing potions because they do have the potential to cause harm.>
Gee, I tried to keep the tank clean and Al really doesn't appear -as in visually-to be stressed.
<Difficult to tell when some fish are stressed; either way, physical damage like a blister is a good sign that *something* isn't right.>
I have tried other foods frozen, flakes but these were not eaten so I have to go with what they " will " eat. I know they " need " more variety but they won't eat it.
<Yes, they will. Be stubborn. Wet-frozen bloodworms are eaten by most everything. Personally, I recommend against freeze-dried foods, partly because they're ridiculously expensive for what they are, and also because lots of fish don't care for them.>
Well...just thought some folks were a bit overboard [when critical of small tanks]. In the past few months I have come to hate these little tanks and I am being swayed to the other side.
<Very good.>
Here's the part where I will speak on my defense... I am heading up my first year at fish keeping. This has been quite a ride ! It is just not as easy as I was led to believe from the LPS.
<It's not a difficult hobby, but there are some rules beginners shouldn't break. For one thing, someone new to the hobby shouldn't get anything smaller than a 10 gallon tank, and realistically, a 20 gallon tank is the best, safest starting point.
I do have a few starter books but they don't even begin to go where I need to go so I poke around online to see what I can find and boy, oh by is there ever a lot yet to be learned. They ( the LFS) have indeed steered my the wrong way many times and I am indeed taking risks every time I buy any fish from any of the pet stores in my area I have two to the left and two to the right and not a one will be honest, the other two just have teenagers...nuff said there.
<This is often the case, as mentioned above. With the best will in the world, a 17-year old doing a Saturday job isn't really motivated to research the fish he or she is selling. Rather, they're look to make sales and keep the floor manager happy. Sure there are some teenagers who know more about keeping fish than I do! But you don't often find them in pet stores...>
What I -have- learned amazes me and there is a very long way to go yet. Rome was not built in a day and neither is my own mental database for the quest in learning about these fascinating creatures. If I knew then when I got these little tanks, what I know now I most certainly would have done things differently right down to the 45 g.
So, What am I supposed to do if the water tests read in the Okie dokie range and you cannot see the bacteria ? What drug would be best for this guy ?
<Would probably start with an anti-Finrot medication, perhaps Maracyn.
Melafix is often suggested, but it is somewhat unreliable, and it wouldn't be my first choice.>
I have a great respect for life and all the creatures that live in my home and I do so want to do right by them.
<As do I.>
After much trial and error I have attained harmony in all of my tanks and it looks beautiful. I am smart enough to be able to tell when things do not look right and I do my best to fix it when it isn't. I am still learning and it seems that one can spend an entire life's time learning.
<I think that's the point; I doubt we were put on this Earth to watch the home shopping channel.>
I am an avid student of the art of Dressage and I have taken an Arabian horse of whom the prior owner said , and I quote, " He can't do it !" and made him a champion. To which I say. "No, he can't learn it in the length of time you are giving him. "
<Well done.>
But He can and he did and now at the ripe young age of 24 he is the best I ever hoped for and I made him through patience and good careful training into what he is.
<My aunt has a retired racehorse (a thoroughbred) some 20-something years old, and she did a lot of dressage with him, quite successfully. He's a bit old for that now, his joints a little stiff on landing, so mostly just goes hacking across the countryside.>
Dressage takes a lifetime to learn for both the horse and the rider and so goes for the newcomer to fishkeeping. Have patience with me, Neale. I am still new to fish keeping and apparently I have learned the wrong way.
<Patience I have. Feel free to write us as, when you need to.>
Sincerely Suz V aka, Betta Bubbles
<Good luck, Neale.>
<PS. If you do write back, just send a new e-mail. Your comments threaded between mine were fine to read, but really difficult for me to turn into what WWM posts on its pages. 40-minutes later, and a few interpolations (in square brackets) of my own into your replies to make it clear, I hope I've done justice to what you'd written. Cheers, Neale.>
<<An emphatic note, for emphasis. The CAE will likely kill the Betta here... Remove it ASAP. RMF>>
Re: More Re: Chinese algae eater needs help-- 08/14/09

Hey, re-read my note...the Betta does not live with the CAE any longer.
They were separated in January !
<Bob will be pleased!><<I am relieved. RMF>>
Fred the Betta has his own luxury condo...al to himself.
<Very good.>
The CAE bunks with German Blue Rams. And If I can ever get off this blooming computer today I will catch the little varmint ( CAE ) and relocate him today, try and fix his funk and bring him back to the place
from wherst he came !
I just spent the better part of the morning writing a reply to Neale only to get to the stage of proof reading and corrections only to have AOL boot me and I lost the whole darn thing ! POOF ! GONE.
<Bad AOL! Naughty AOL!>
Right at this moment I am livid and ready to hit warp zone pissed. I hope all of you can find it in your souls to forgive the mistakes of a rookie.
<Not a question of forgiveness, so don't worry about that. We're always ready, happy to offer what help and advice we can.>
Sooz V aka Betta Bubbles
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More Re: Chinese algae eater needs help
Hey Neale,
I'll try and write you again later.
Thanks for your input.
<Okay! I'm off on my holidays from Saturday, and will have limited web access, so please don't be surprised if someone else on the WWM Crew handles your query. Cheers, Neale.>

Algae eater problem 3/10/07 My algae eater has a bright red bump of some sort on the side of his sucker. <Is this a Gyrinocheilus aymonieri? See the Net re...> I don't know if it is a sore or like a growth. The fish is not very old and the bump has only been there for like 3 days now but tonight I looked at him again and it looks like he is getting more of them on the top of his face but they are really small yet. Do you know what this might be? <Mmm... likely environmental in origin... see the Net again re the natural, tolerable water quality conditions for this species (fishbase.org...)...> Is it something I need to treat? If you have any ideas please let me know. Chelsie <Umm... you need to know the actual information listed above... as the common name is not sufficient to identify this species... and you list no water quality, system, or maintenance information... Know the species, its requirements, then meet them... No need for ameliorative measures. Bob Fenner>

Rescued Oscar and CAE - 04/15/06 Recently I rescued an Oscar that is about 10 inches long (Around 1 1/2 years old. He is a orange albino.) from a 20 gal tank that had no filter or heater or bubbler. I have no idea how long the fish was in this water but you could not see the fish through the murk. The Chinese Algae Eater (CAE) has green growing on his back. I have had the two for about three months in a 50 gal tank with a double bio wheel and another filter two bubblers and a good heater. The Oscar has started thrashing around the tank flaring his gills out and attacking everything. He flips upside down and rubs his face and gills on everything. He seems like he is fighting himself on the side of the tank, his head will start to twitch then the gills flare then the attacking starts. It seemed like he was trying to scratch himself. He has also turned very dark and sometimes he will lose his color and you can see all of these blotches all over his fins and head. I don't know if they are scars or sores. There are no lumps. I was sure that he had gill flukes <Why?> so I started treating him with clout and then parasite buddies parasite clear. This seemed to make it worse <I'll bet!> so I then gave him a salt water dip <ouch!> and changed out all of the gravel in the tank. <Why?> I know this has now killed the biological filtration <Not killed, but set back. Don't forget those two Bio Wheels> so I have been checking the levels and changing water daily. <Great!> I have also discontinued use of the parasite meds. <Greater!> I just put the filters back in <Huh? You removed the filters? The whole thing or just the carbon filled inserts?> and I am letting the tank get back to normal. Also the Oscar has a strange relationship with the CAE. He want it to suck him. He will lay on top on the CAE until it has no place to go but to suck on the Oscar. Most of the time it just runs away from the fish. I am so baffled as to what this could be. The pH has a tendency to get low so I have been putting pH 7.0 in the tank and the ammonia has gotten normal and the nitrite is almost back down but the nitrate is high. I know this is a lot of info but they all seem to coincide with each other. Please help before he dies, the only thing he will eat is crickets now and the twitching and thrashing is worse, I ALSO CHECKED THE THERMOSTAT AND HE ACTS THE SAME SO I DON'T BELIEVE HE IS BEING SHOCKED> Thank you so much Mike Raegan and OTCH <First I want to personally thank you for rescuing the Oscar. (Please note I did not mention the CAE) He has major skin problems from his time in the foul tank that are now being made worse by your water conditions. You need to do as many water changes as it takes to get ammonia and nitrite to ZERO, nitrates BELOW 20PPM. 50% at a time, twice a day, (a few hours apart) if needed. Once a day at least. Test the pH of your tap. If within a very few tenths of 7 stop using the buffer. More on this latter. The only thing you should use right now is dechlorinator. That's a must. Do not use anything like Stress Coat. Continue to test and do the water changes as needed until ammonia and nitrite stay at zero without a water change. Nitrate should be the only thing spiking. Now set a water change schedule to keep it under 20ppm. Oscars are very messy fish. I assume he will need about two 50% water changes a week after the tank is cycled. But right now you need to do them big time. Use a gravel vac to siphon out as much organic matter as possible. You want his tank pristine clean while he heals and adjusts to his new, and far better, home. About pH and the use of buffers. The best pH for almost any fish is a steady pH. And as you have noticed, pH tends to drop as the water ages. Now this poor fellow was in such poor conditions for so long that his tank's pH was probably very low. Then you quickly (I assume) brought his pH up to 7. I think this, along with the high nitrates, are his main problems right now. After the tank recycles and you have the nitrates under control you can use the buffer to keep a steady pH between water changes. But right now you'll be doing them often enough that none will be needed. If your taps pH is not close to 7, then add only enough to correct. Interesting to note the Oscar using the CAE as a cleaner fish. As a CAE ages it eats less algae and more fish skin. Not a good community fish at all. I suggest you remove it as soon as possible. Right now the chewing feels better than the itching to the Oscar, but not for long. Don>

New Golden Algae Eater Inactive 12/1/05 Hi, I have a new tank (3 weeks old). <Check your water parameters, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, pH, etc.> I bought a golden algae eater which has been very active. However, as of yesterday, he goes into hibernation like behavior, sitting on the gravel, only changing its position once a while. <This is somewhat normal..> He looks sick and doesn't want to eat algae all around him. <Well if he looks sick, check the water parameters first, I would not treat with any medication because it does not sound like he has parasites or an infection. Is his gill movement fast or normal? Good luck, IanB> Please advice. Thanks Hsu

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