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FAQs on ""Chinese"" "Algae Eaters" 1

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: CAEs 2,
FAQs on: CAE Identification, CAE Behavior, CAE Compatibility, CAE Selection/Stkg., CAE Systems, CAE Feeding, CAE Disease, 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,


Howsit? Hickey-time!

Re: HELP!! WORRIED    8/4/12
I got rid of them and now I have a Chinese algae eater
<Oh dear. A terrible fish. Gets to 35 cm/14 inches within 2 years; is extremely aggressive when sexually mature; and doesn't eat much algae except when young. As far as I can tell, this species is ONLY bought by people who do no research.>
do they do well in a brackish water
<No, they don't. I think you need to do more reading, less buying. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: HELP!! WORRIED... CAE, what WWM is/not...      8/4/12

i think you need to be more friendly amd less rude
<Perhaps. But I react to the incoming message. Since you didn't bother with a greeting using my name, capital letters, proper grammar and a thank-you at the end, then I assumed you don't care much about manners.>
and when your buying fish from an aquarium store who is helping u pick out the brackish water fish and gives you that one you cant always blame the consumer
<Sure you can. Your money; your choices; your responsibility to find out about something before you spend your money on it. That's the capitalist system. It's very popular in the United States for example. Boils down to this: "caveat emptor", which is Latin for "buyer beware". Retailers will happily take advantage of the ignorance of their customers and sell them anything they can! Now, the opposite of the capitalist system is where people volunteer a service without expecting a reward. That's what I do; WWM is all about "giving back". I'm an expert, I'm offering help, and I'm being completely honest. But if you don't like that deal, then feel free to go buy some expert help from a vet or some other qualified expert who isn't working for free. Your choice. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold Algae Eater Changing Color 3/14/11
Crew,
I am fairly certain from reading your answers to previous questions that the color change on this fish is normal. But, I wanted to send you a picture just so that you could see and give me your opinion. We went away on vacation for a week and when we returned, we found him like this.
Previously, he was solid gold. My children are quite attached to "Monster Fish" and I would hate for anything ill to happen to him. He lives in a 120 g tank that is heavily planted and stays at about 75 degrees F.
Thanks
Rick
<This is quite normal. Do be sure you understand that Gyrinocheilus aymonieri becomes rather nasty as it matures. It's not a good community fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Orange Algae Eater - changed color 7/2/10
Hi
<Hello,>
I have a reasonably large freshwater tank (120cm x 40cm x 50cm) I keep it around 24degrees (Celsius). I have two golden algae eaters about one year old.
<Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, I take it? The so-called Chinese Algae Eater that neither comes from China nor eats much algae?>
They both have been identical up until now but recently one of them has starting changing color. A brown color started on the tail and quickly spread over most of the body and tail of the fish (not the head). The overall effect is similar to the appearance of my golden barbs.
<Yes. This happens. The "golden" leucistic morph often develops dark blotches with age.>
Also in the tank is a 10 cm long Bristlenose catfish, a school of harlequin tetras, a school of Neons, a school of golden barbs and several zebra Danios. I realize after reading some of the advice on your website that perhaps the golden algae eaters are not the best tank mates for my peaceful fish (perhaps I need to find them a separate tank when they get bigger).
<Indeed not. One of the least useful fish in the hobby! While some remain peaceful even when mature, most do not, and they can be quite nasty and aggressive fish. I doubt two specimens will coexist in your aquarium for long, but stranger things have happened. Much depends on gender I'm sure, and they only become aggressive above a certain size, typically 15 cm/6 inches.>
I am still concerned at the change of color and wonder if it is normal or if it is sick. The other has not changed in appearance at all.
<If there are no signs of skin damage, bloodiness, fungus or bacterial infection, then I wouldn't worry. A photo would help me be sure, but for now, I'd assume it's just changing colour, as they often do. But do be aware that they "fight" by scratching at each other with their mouths, and they can create nasty bruises on one another. So be on the look out for suspiciously round, mouth-shaped "love bites".>
Thanks for your advice and help
Regards
Kiri from New Zealand
<And likewise cheers from England! Neale.>
Re: Orange Algae Eater - changed color 7/20/10

Thanks so much for your help.
<Happy to help.>
I have finally managed to take some photos.
<Yes, I see. Looks like a common colour change in this species. Will get darker with age. Nothing to worry about, except of course that this fish will also become increasingly psychopathic with age. Please do also remember not to send 8.5 MB of images next time! We do specifically ask for images under 500 KB, because attachments clog up our e-mail allowance, forcing other messages to be bounced back. Less kind people that me simply send messages with big attachments right back without answering them.>
The changed colour fish lives under the sunken ship and the unchanged one lives mostly between the rock and the driftwood.
<They are territorial, and will very likely try to kill each other unless this tank is huge, 200 gallons upwards.>
Could as you say below be love bites or just age blotches. I have attached photos. The unchanged colour fish looks orange and white in the photo but is actually all orange.
Regards
Kiri
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta sickness? 4/23/10
Hey there!
<Hello,>
I have a male Siamese Fighter. He lives on a 30 liter, heated tank, together with an Albino Chinese Algae Eater
<Yikes, big mistake there! Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is a bad fish. It is neither from China nor a good algae eater. It grows very fast, and gets to 35 cm/14 inches in length. Within a year it will be half that size, at which point it will be psychotically aggressive. Under no circumstances can this fish be kept with a Betta, unless the two of the were both dead and preserved in formalin. I'm not messing about here. Get this fish out of there!>
and an Apple snail
<A dubious choice too, but we'll let that pass for now except to say that when it dies prematurely, which it will, a rotting snail carcass will greatly mess up water quality in a tank this small.>
and he is fed tropical fish flakes and every other day frozen bloodworms.
He has been very happy and lively for the past 9 months. But, 4 days ago, I noticed that his belly is bloated.
<Does happen with Bettas. Likely a mix of dietary issues, genetics, and lack of exercise (just like humans, without exercise, the guts can't as easily move food along and out.>
I did some research on the internet and came across 2 possible diagnosis.
The one is Dropsy, but his scales isn't raised and he is still acting normal, so I don't think it is Dropsy?
<Nor do I. Given good environmental conditions, Dropsy is actually very rare.>
The other possible answer is that he is constipated. One of the websites said that if a Betta is constipated, I shouldn't feed him, as this can occur from overfeeding, and that it should be better in 2 days. So I have
tried that, but after 4 days, he is still bloated.
<Indeed. Starving is part of the answer in the sense of not giving high-protein, low-fibre foods. But you also need to replace those foods with low-protein, high-fibre ones. Also, adding Epsom salt to the aquarium helps relax the muscles, so that the laxative foods work better. Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettadiseases.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/BetDisNutrF.htm
In short, 1-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) per 5 US gallons plus the use of cooked peas and live daphnia/brine shrimp should do the trick. Don't use any flake, frozen or dried foods.>
Can you please give me advice, since I don't want to lose my Betta?
<There's a good chance he'll recover just fine.>
Thank you very much,
Christine,
<Good luck! Neale.>

Please help! I cant diagnose what's wrong with my goldfish. The usual lack of reading, data 11/20/09
Please help me.
<Will certainly try.>
I've been having a lot of problems with my goldfish recently.
<Almost always come down to the environment; or more specifically, the fishkeeper making unwise decisions.>
And can't seem to find a solution to my problem.
<Let's see if we can do any better.>
I used to have just 3 goldfish (of which I have had for a few years) and all were healthy.
<Don't forget these fish grow. Since they live for up to 30 years, and in that time get to more than 30 cm in length from babies only a few mm long, as the years pass, the workload on the filter and aquarium gets greater. A tank that works for a couple of baby Goldfish 3 or 4 cm long will be hopelessly overstocked by the time they're a couple of years old and pushing 10-15 cm in length. Hence the observation that everything was fine for a few years, but now everything is going wrong. So let me direct you to this article that summarised what you need to know:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm
Deviate from the recommendations there, and you'll be setting the stage for trouble. I draw your particular attention to aquarium size, filtration, diet, and water chemistry.>
Till one day one of them died and I decided to get 3 of those goldfish that are like janitor fish along with 6 other goldfish.
<No such thing as a "Janitor Fish". Anything anyone sells you to "clean up" your aquarium is a con trick. I'm guessing these are the golden morph of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, a big, aggressive, tropical fish that has NO business being kept with Goldfish.>
One of the janitor fish died that night and later on in the week I lost 3 more of my new fish. Then the smaller one of my old fish started to look sickly with a darkening face and died. Then another of the new fish died leaving only 2 new ones left and my large old one. I soon realized, that my big old fish had white spots on its head as well as a reddening tail, as well as a few bites on its body from the gold janitor fish.
<As is their wont. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri is a very bad fish for tanks like this for multiple reasons. In some cases, yes, they will attack slow-moving fish and feed on the mucous. This is most common when the aquarist has no idea what Gyrinocheilus needs to eat, so the poor Gyrinocheilus is half-starved, and forced to try out other ways of feeding.
But they are also aggressive fish, and will buffet (rather than bite) rivals.>
I then went to some fish specialists and they told me that my big fish was sick with white spot disease and that the gold janitor fish were biting him because he is ill.
<Doesn't sound much of a diagnosis to me. Whitespot (Ick) is very specific, and looks like salt grains on the fins and skin. It's easily treated, and generally shouldn't kill fish. Bloody sores, shredded fins and so on are likely to be Finrot, and this is indeed triggered by physical damage (as well as poor water quality).>
They gave me some medicine called TCD to treat it and to separate my janitor fish and gold fish. I did as I was told and the next day I came home to find that all my fish had bloodshot red vein like looking tails and fins, and the fins started looking shredded as if it was disintegrating and getting shorter.
<Finrot.>
I called the specialists and they told me to take out half of my water and replace it with a new batch.
<Is this really what they said? Or what you think they said? Sounds pretty dumb to me. Water quality is critical to avoiding Finrot, but once established, you have to medicate, and if you're doing that, you DO NOT do water changes until the course of medication is concluded (see the instructions that came with whatever medication you're using).>
I did so and since then their fins and tails seemed to stop disintegrating.
Apart from my big old one as he now almost has stubs for fins and his tail is so red and shorter. I am really worried as this is my oldest fish. And the white spots that were on its head have now seemed to scabbed over or something as the spots look slightly brown. Another worrying thing is that my big old fish has scratches all over its body and his face is darkening to an almost purple red colour and some scales seem to be missing and the fish looks paler than usual. In addition to that all of my fish including my big old one have started doing some crazy swimming in continuous patters.
<Dying.>
The big one keeps swimming round the whole tank and under the filter where it gets pushed by the water and another fish keeps swimming up and down and the other just stays still. I find this very strange and worrying.
<I'd say!>
I really love my fish and I have done some research but I cant seem to diagnose what is wrong. And another thing is that the water has gone a milky colour even though I changed it a day ago.
<Bacterial bloom... again, tends to imply chronically poor conditions.>
I don't know whether or not I should keep medicating them.
<Don't know where to start answering this! You have a huge problem here.
Likely an overstocked tank that is inadequately filtered, so if that's the case, you'll need to upgrade the tank and upgrade the filter. If you are dealing with Finrot, you need to treat appropriately (e.g., with Maracyn, Paraguard, eSHa 2000 but not junk like Melafix or salt). You have to follow the instructions on those medications *to the letter* paying particular attention to things like when to do water changes and whether you need to remove carbon, if used (carbon removes medications). Obviously, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri cannot be kept with Goldfish, so these species need their own, appropriately large, aquaria. Three Goldfish need, let's say, 30 gallons, and Gyrinocheilus aymonieri isn't suitable for tanks less than 55 gallons, and even then, just one specimen alongside semi-aggressive, fast-moving tankmates, such as Central American cichlids.>
Please help me and my fish.
<I want to, but I'm not a mind reader or a miracle worker. I need data on the size of the tank, filtration, water quality, and water chemistry.>
I would really appreciate it.
<I'm always happy to help so far as I can.>
Thank you.
Michelle
<Cheers, Neale.>

Huge Otocinclus... CAE
Non-Otocinclus Questions 11/20/09

Dear Crew- I am re-sending this as I was having computer issues and am not sure it was sent the first time. I am very eager to find out your thoughts on my issues (fish related ones, that is) that I thought I'd give it another try. Hope I don't appear too impatient....
You have helped me before with mollies and platy, and now I am eager to find out what you think may be going on with my Otos. Sadly, the mollies with which you helped me before are no longer with us. I currently maintain a 10 gal tank with 2 Otos, 3 Zebra Danio and 1 platy. I perform 20-30% water changes weekly, and my water tests are 0 ammonia and 0-5 nitrate/trite.
pH levels maintain at 7.5 I feed the fish Omega Flakes. The Oto love their algae wafers and deal with the Nori.
My question about the Oto is as follows:
1. He is HUGE compared to the other. Is this a normal size for an Oto?
He measure nearly 4 inches from head to tail. He appears healthy, if not a bit pale since adopted. The other Oto is the requisite 1.5 inches with a nice fat tummy.
2. The giant Oto (picture attached) spends most of his time eating or digging in the same corner of the tank. As he is so big, rocks are flung around as he digs and he creates quite the commotion. I am concerned this is stress related, but would like your opinion.
3. How do I purposefully grow green algae to supplement my Otos? I love watching the Otos and understand they are not as easy to care for as advertised in the stores. I would like them to have the most nutritious food possible, and enjoy the idea of growing algae for them. After reading an article on the site, I am inclined to get driftwood for the tank.
However, with the voracious appetite of Bruce, do I need to do anything special to get the algae going?
Thank you for your time and help. I have learned so much already from your site, and hope to become more knowledgeable about my Otos.
Best-Kim
< Your Chinese algae eaters can get up to 5 inches plus. At that size they are rather bothersome to other fish and are actually pretty poor algae eaters compared to Plecos and real Otos. Algae will grow when the conditions are right. Too much light and too many nutrients in the water.
Better to feed Spirulina flakes or wafers.-Chuck>

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.
<Garbage.>
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwsoftness.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
>
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:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/fwhardness.htm
>
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 ?
<Why?>
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.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bksfwbrneale.htm
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.
<Indeed.>
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.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
>
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.
<OK.>
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 !
<OK.>
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.
Sooz
<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.>

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.>

Question about nasty Chinese Algae Eaters! 8/11/08 Hi there, <Megan,> I recently bought a 28 gallon tank from my neighbour. Excited to get started, I went and bought myself six guppies (who now have babies! Woohoo!), six neon tetras, two small gouramis, <Colisa lalia by any chance? Do read my writings on this species elsewhere on WWM -- extremely poor quality stock in the trade, and serious problems with viral diseases mean that you must choose your specimens with the utmost care.> and four barbs. <And what, pray tell, are these Barbs? Do be aware that many barbs (e.g., Tiger Barbs) are notorious fin nippers when kept in too small a group (realistically less than a dozen) and your Fancy Guppies will be mincemeat once they get started.> I have live plants in my tank and I bought one algae eater to begin with. <If this is Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, this is too large for your tank (up to 35 cm/14") and extremely aggressive.> After a couple days I thought my algae eater was looking a little lonely. <They don't get lonely. They are territorial. Please be extremely careful about transposing human feelings onto animals. This path leads to all kinds of problems! Instead, research the animal and then act accordingly. Trying to cater to an animals social needs is absolutely the right thing to do. But those needs are not necessarily the same as ours. In fact they very rarely are.> I don't know much about algae eaters but I thought, what the heck? I went to the pet store and got three more of what I thought were the same type. A couple days later, my neighbour came over to visit and made a terrible discovery - I'd purchased three Chinese algae eaters. <Oh dear, yes, this is Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, possibly the single worst commonly traded fish in the hobby.> Now, one of them is growing rapidly and becoming very aggressive. The other two are growing, but not as fast. My neighbour seems to think the fourth algae eater (my original one) is of the same family, but we can't find it in books anywhere. It's almost albino looking - pale in colour and other than that, very similar looking to a Chinese algae eater. <Likely the "Golden" morph. If it has the same shape and look, but is just sort of yellowy-pink, that's the beast. Gyrinocheilus aymonieri also have very distinctive gill covers, with small holes at the top that allow the fish to breath in and out through the gills. As you probably know, most other fish breath in through the mouth, and out through the gills.> The pale algae eater isn't growing nearly as fast, however. I don't know what to do with them, so I want to know if you have any suggestions. I've tried just giving them to people, but no one seems to want them, and I can understand why! <Yep.> I can't bring myself to kill them unless it's completely pain free, and I've noticed on your website there are a couple different ways of doing so. <If in doubt, consult a vet. With large fish, the simple methods recommended for use with Neons and the like may be inappropriate. Large fish will need to be sedated first, then destroyed.> But before I take that route, I want to know if there is anything else I can do, and if you can give me any more information on them. <These are actually acceptable fish in certain situations, e.g., big cichlid tanks. They really need systems 750 litres/200 gallons upwards, where they are dynamic and attractive fish. So if you've called the local tropical fish shops and they won't take them, try joining some tropical fish forums and bulletin boards, and advertising on their "trade/swap/freebie" sections.> I really don't want them hurting my fish, especially my beautiful little gouramis who are peaceful. <Indeed.> Any help would be appreciated! Thanks Megan <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Question about nasty Chinese Algae Eaters! 8/11/08 Hello again! <Hail and well met.> Okay, so instead of trying to explain visually what everything looked like for proper identification, I decided to send pictures... probably would have been a smart move in the first place eh? <Right, the golden barb is Puntius sachsii, a species that gets to about 8 cm/3" in length. Like all barbs its sociable, so the more you have, the less likely it is to cause problems. But this isn't a particularly nippy species and with luck you should be okay. The algae eater and the golden algae eater are both Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, the big, nasty bruiser I was talking about last time around. The gouramis are Colisa lalia, in my opinion and utter waste of money. You appear to have two males, one of the "Red" variety and one of "Powder Blue" variety. Same species, same problems. I'm not saying they're bound to die after a short miserable life, but a lot of the do. Do a Google search for 'Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus' to learn more.> Thanks for the information on my algae eaters. I hate it that pet stores employ people with little or no knowledge about the species they're giving you. I asked specifically for two small, calm algae eaters. I assumed even though I didn't know much about them, the people they had working there probably would. I recall the girl giving me a confused face and then saying "Oh, yeah, these are what you want then!" <Agreed. Problem is that people often buy fish without researching them, going by price/colour first, and provided there's a market, retailers will stock them.> Note to self: Just because the fish is small at the time it's bought, doesn't mean it can't grow to over a foot long. And, also, those Chinese algae eaters don't look any different then an ugly old trout when they grow up. <They're not ugly fish when they're grown up. They're rather handsomely marked. But they certainly aren't community tank fish.> I forgot to mention that I only asked for two and received a little freebie in my bag - bringing me to three plus one mystery fish. <The photo labeled "Mystery Guy" is a golden morph of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri. The same species as the fish labeled "Evil". Notice how I use Latin names? Avoids all complications because this way everyone knows precisely what fish is being discussed. While you might think using Latin names is awkward, it actually dramatically simplifies fish shop shopping.> Argh. <Quite.> Anyways, I am going to call the pet store today and see if they will take them off my hands. And your idea about the forums was a great one! So I guess my next question would be what can I get to replace them that's going to be calm and friendly and preferably not cost me my next month's rent? <If you want small algae eaters, then the safest bets are Nerite snails (harmless, don't breed, don't damage plants); Cherry Shrimps (colourful, small, but will be killed by fish medications, as will snails by the way); and Bristlenose Cats (Ancistrus spp.).> I have attached a couple pictures. One of my gouramis, my barbs and my mystery algae eater. Thanks for your advice, it's all really useful! <Cool.> (PS - I am a sucker for placing human attributes on animals - I'm constantly thinking "oh, he looks so lonely!", when in fact the fish would rather be alone and I just assume it needs "friends".) <Note I'm not saying animals don't have feelings or don't like people. Animals surely do have feelings, just not the same ones as ours. Likewise many animals enjoy human company. Goldfish for example positively thrive when looked after well and attentively, as do most cichlids and pufferfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Gold sucking catfish... ID, dead 4/6/08 Hi! This is my first time here but I've read a lot of the Q's & A's to help me with my family's new hobby, and I have learnt so much - thanks! My query is since starting my own tank with balloon mollies and platies in October I had a gold sucking catfish, 'Sticky', that did wonders for keeping all clean, then he/she went belly up in February. I got 'Sticky II' who unfortunately only lasted not even 2 months and also ended up belly up. I do have salt for the mollies, but minimal because of the platies. do a 25-30% water change fortnightly, and not being educated in gallons the tank is 60x30x28cm. The ph is around 7.6, and ammonia, nitrites etc are all always no danger. Sticky added character and looked good so what can I do to make life good in my tank for another or should I be looking at getting a different type of algae eater? I know mollies and platies are algae eaters but the difference in the tank's cleanliness is definitely noticeable. Thanks in advance, Tania <Tania, the short answer is that if you've tried to keep the same species twice and both times failed quickly, it's best to forget about that species for now. Wait another 6-12 months when your skills have developed some more. Take the time out to identify the species in question ("gold sucking catfish" could mean anything). I fear you mean the golden morph of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, one of the worst fish in the hobby. In any case, identify the fish, read up about it, and concentrate on maintaining your aquarium as it is. Algae eaters don't actually make that much difference. Using a sponge or scraper once a week will do a million times better job, and without any extra loading on the filter. By the way, Platies are fine with a little salt, provided you raise the salinity slowly. 5 grammes per litre (about SG 1.002) would be an ideal balance between the needs of your Mollies and the tolerances of your Platies. If you wanted an algae eater for a slightly saline environment, I'd heartily recommend things like Florida Flagfish, Amano shrimps, and/or Nerite snails -- all much smaller and more effective than any catfish. 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>

Sick goldfish, CAEs - 3/5/08 Hi, I have a question and wondering if you can help. I have a big goldfish that is 4+ years old. We got him at a carnival. He lives in a 20 gallon tank with two mollies and an algae eater. He has been sick for over a week. Usually I can get him better, but this time looks bad. He has been swimming upside down and sideways, and now his eye is bloody and clouded. He is also missing scales. I'm thinking maybe the other fish "picked on him" when he was sick? Now he is laying on his side at the bottom of his "sick tank". He is barely moving. Is there anything I can do? thanks Rachel <Hello Rachel. First, tell me what the "Algae Eater" is. The common or Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) is a fish that becomes increasingly aggressive with age. Adults often attack their tankmates, and many specimens have been observed to scrape the scales and skin from slow moving fish. They are simply not acceptable tankmates for community fish. I'm concerned because the missing scales could easily be caused by this. In any case, whatever you do, you will need to do the following: - Check water quality (a 20 gallon tank is too small for Goldfish once they get above about 8 cm/3", so I'm guessing that's at least one factor). - Use a combination Finrot/Fungus medication such as Maracyn or eSHa 2000. When you use medications, be sure and remove carbon from the filter if you've been suckered into using this stuff. Do read the article linked below for more Goldfish basics; if you're not doing everything outlined therein, that's probably where you're going wrong. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Algae fish sucking on goldfish 10/3/07 We have 2 goldfish and an algae fish. They have been in the same tank for about 6 months. Today the algae fish was attached to one of the goldfish and now the fish is floating on his side at the top of the tank. It seems like you can see through him and his fins look flat and torn. My question is do you think he was sick or did the algae fish kill him? Also, should we worry for the other goldfish? Thanks, Denice <Hello Denice. What you describe is actually very common. Under no circumstances should "algae fish" -- by which I assume you mean Gyrinocheilus aymonieri -- be kept with goldfish or any other large, slow moving species. Apart from eat the mucous from the skins of large fish, as they get bigger they become increasingly hostile, to the point where they can, do batter tankmates to death. Despite their widespread sale in aquarium shops, these ARE NOT GOOD AQUARIUM FISH. Most aquarium books say as much, so please let me remind you of the importance of researching a fish BEFORE buying it. The guys in the pet store often have no clue, and ultimately only care about making a sale. If you can, return the fish to the store. They are, of course, tropical fish, and unless your goldfish aquarium is heated to around 22-24 C, your specimen of Gyrinocheilus aymonieri will not last for very long. Cheers, Neale>

Guppies and Chinese Algae Eaters 4/8/07 Hi, <<Greetings, Matt. Tom with you.>> Just having a read through your website. Very helpful. <<Glad to hear it, Matt.>> I have a 25 litre tank with both male and female guppies as well as 4 golden Chinese algae eaters. Fairly small, the largest is 2 inches. The shop said it would be fine however your site is giving me some doubt! <<Again, I'm glad to hear this. Even without going into my usual diatribe on CAE's, Matt, they grow too large for a 25-liter tank.>> Will the guppies be fine as they should be too small and fast to be latched onto by a CAE? <<Just responded yesterday to a reader who found exactly the opposite to be true'¦sadly for one of the Guppies. Nearly identical circumstances, coincidentally. In short, your Guppies are not safe at all.>> There doesn't even appear to be algae in my time <<tank?>>, should I consider giving them the flick? <<Immediately, if not sooner than that.>> If so what other bottom dwelling fish can live in fresh water tanks at room temp.? As I mainly got them as they are something different! <<Oh, they're different all right! Personally, I'd look into a few of any of the Corydoras varieties of Catfish. Personable little fish that get along well with nearly all fish, certainly with your Guppies. Mine are kept at 78 degrees F. so you'll want to do some careful acclimating if 'room temperature' is far below this.>> Cheers Matt <<Best regards, Matt. Tom>>

Guppy problem need help soon... - 4/6/07 Hi, <<Hello, Shilpi. Tom here.>> I have a 3 gallon tank.. I have 2 Guppies one male, one female... 1 Neon Tetra... 1 Gold Algae Eater (Scavenger)... Yesterday, I saw the Gold Algae Eater going and sitting on the male guppy (Do not know if it was biting the fish or what was it probably up to?) So, I moved gold algae Eater from the tank to a different place... but the next day I saw the male Guppy with white round spot (kind of fungus) on its fin near the gills.. and the in a couple of hours it was dead... I removed the dead male guppy from the tank.. but I am afraid that remaining 2 fishes might get infected. Please tell me how to treat the tank so the other fishes are safe (I also think that my female Guppy is expecting babies)...... <<Shilpi, a 'Gold Algae Eater' is a color variant of the Chinese Algae Eater, a fish notorious for feeding on the slime coats and flesh of its tank mates. You don't mention how old the CAE is but this murderous behavior usually manifests itself as the fish approaches adulthood. The wounds inflicted are round matching the shape of the CAE's mouth. These wounds are also terribly susceptible to fungal infections since the protective slime coat is missing. Now that I've shared the 'bad news', the good news is that the fungus that developed on the wound of your Guppy was already present in the tank, anyway. Your healthy fish weren't, and likely won't be, affected by it. You took care of the 'problem' by removing the Algae Eater.>> Thanks, Shilpi <<You're welcome, Shilpi. Best regards. Tom>>

Gold and wild type Chinese algae eater... Wherefore art these? 3/14/07 Hello, I know that the so-called "Chinese Algae Eater" is a wild-caught species, <Mmm, not usually... has been largely cultured the last few decades> but is the "gold" albino variant wild-caught, <No, it is captive-produced as well> as well. I am not a fan of man-made fish, and so have no use for the gold variant if it does not occur in the wild. Thanks. Bill Day-Skowhegan, Maine <Mmm... well, for the sake of clarity... the flavistic CAE is the result of fortuitous accident, and perpetuation through selective breeding... No Frankenstein, genetic manipulation involvement. Bob Fenner>

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>

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>

Problem CAE 9/19/06 Greetings Crew, <Hi Jessica, Pufferpunk here> I've been reading some of the postings on your website concerning the Chinese Algae Eater. Having learned that this fish is not suitable for community tanks, I called the store that I purchased my CAE from in hopes of getting a refund or some kind of store credit. The guy that helped me said that the store doesn't do refunds. What should I do with the fish? I'm keeping it in a small 1.5 gallon tank at the moment, but I really don't want to keep a fish that isn't going to permanently inhabit my larger tank. Also, while it was in my larger tank (it stayed in there for about half a week), it kept swimming up & down the walls quickly, scaring my Platies & Dwarf Frogs. What should I do? I don't want it to die, but I don't want to keep it... Please advise!! =( <Forget about getting any $$$ back & just give it to them. It will die in that bowl. Even a pest fish has the right to live. Search around for a true Siamese algae eater or get a dwarf Pleco, like the Bristlenose. ~PP> Thanks, Jessica

No one has a answer... I do: Read... on WWM re goldfish sys., CAEs 5/15/06 I have asked a lot of people about these fish and the condition they have. I had a Fantail, a common Goldfish. For a few days my Fantail wasn't very energetic, but when I purchased 8 new babies <?> including two algae eaters she perked up. <... Chinese Algae Eaters? This species is incompatible... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/algaeeatersart.htm and the related FAQs file linked at top> Anyways just few days one of the babies started to get black spots on it fins and then it moved to its side and with in a few days it died. Then my Fantail died, the one other baby fantail had black fins when I purchased it the it went to almost a solid black before dying. It has spread to another fish and I know that it does not have much longer to live. I have changed water and moved the bigger one out and into a big fish bowl. <... what re water chemistry?> No one seems to have an answer. <You don't provide sufficient information...> I have put a fungus treatment in the water and everything else is fine. They eat very well right up till the end and they swim all the time. If anyone has any idea why this is happening then please let me know <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshsystems.htm and the linked files above. Your goldfish are likely suffering from an improper, vacillating environment. Bob Fenner>
Re... goldfish dis., CAE, incomp. - 05/16/2006
<I didn't catch your first E-Mail, but I'll take a crack at this one.> Everything with the water is just fine. I just cleaned everything and took out the younger goldfish. The algae eaters are not exactly trying to suck on the other fish at least yet. But I believe that you are right they are the CAE. I will be removing them ASAP. <If they are CAE, they will try to munch on your Goldfish, just a matter of time.> But I still don't understand why they got black blotches on them ( young goldfish). <Water quality! Likely you have high levels of Ammonia in your tank. If you don't know about cycling, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > And now my big goldfish has fin rot but I found a good remedy to cure that up with a peroxide dip. <I don't know if this will hurt your fish, but I don't think it will help. I wouldn't do it.> A fish farmer I know told me about this dip and he says that it works. Exactly what causes fin rot? <Almost always water quality. The only real "cure" is to start doing big water changes (30 to 40 percent) every day, maybe even twice a day. I believe that your tank is cycling. Please read the article linked above.> And is it common for a black moor to have one small fin on the side? I was thinking that she/he was in a crowded tank at one time and could not develop properly. Thanks for your reply. <Probably a genetic abnormality, nothing to worry about. As for your tank, you really need to read about Cycling, get your hands on a test kit and keep your Ammonia and Nitrite levels below 1.0 PPM! In the future, please give a little "back-story" in your E-Mails -- you may not get the same crew member responding to each E-Mail. Jason N.>

Sick Convicts?... CAE... 5/2/06 Hi! <<Hi, Sharon. Tom>> I recently purchased 2 female convicts for a 37 gallon tank. They will be the only inhabitants except for a Chinese algae eater later on. <<Sharon, you had me right up until the CAE. Do NOT add this fish to your aquarium! In my opinion, they shouldn't even be sold. They grow to a fairly large size and develop a "taste" for fish skin as adults, latching on to fish and sucking "juices" from tankmates - to death. The Siamese Algae Eater is, by far, a better choice but is a little more difficult to find.>> My question has to do with coloring. One of the females has beautiful dark stripes and coloring.. She has a little pink on her side. The other female is a bit smaller with drab stripes but with the female pink on her side. Is this because she is a juvenile? <<Likely but not all fish are created "equally". Some are just a little slow to develop. Also, it just might not happen. Time will tell here.>> Thanks. Sharon <<Welcome. Tom>> Thanks! I did not realize that about a CAE. I appreciate your help! <<Glad to be of assistance, Sharon.>> Sharon <<Tom>>

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>

Chinese Algae Eaters Eating Bettas Fins. - 03/18/2006 Hello ,I have a 5 gallon eclipse system cycled tank (3 months old), cycled with Bio-Spira. All the levels in the tank are great (ammonia, nitrites) ph 6.8 constant temp. of 70 degrees. To my problem, I started with a Male Betta, love these beautiful fish and built the tank for him. Tank has been doing great fish have been doing great, till today. Came home from work and the male Bettas' fins are mostly missing. The spines are still there for the most part but the "fleshy" part of the fins are gone. I have him isolated and using Melafix on him. He comes up for air but is pretty hurt, lays/floats sideways. In the tank I have him his tankmates are, a female he has been with for 3 months (they get along well, no flaring), a julii eye catfish, 2 medium Neons, a small American frog and a shrimp. Last week I picked up 2 inch algae eaters with sucker mouths. I thought they would be good for the algae growing on the glass. I would like to know what you think the culprit is. I am very sad that this happened to my buddy and am hoping to nurse him back to health , but would not like something to attack him again (if it was an attack). It does not look like fin rot, no discoloration at all, just as if the flesh was sucked off the spines. Any help would be appreciated. Sincerely Stephanie < While algae eaters do eat some algae, they will not pass up a meaty meal like the slim on larger slower fish or on the long flowing fins of Bettas. They are the ones who caused the problem.-Chuck>

Chinese Algae Eater question 3/15/06 Hiya! I made the mistake of putting a Chinese algae eater in with some goldfish, unfortunately I did not do my research first and believed the fish shop when they told me that CAEs get on well with goldfish. <... not eventually> He terrorized the goldfish and I have since removed the badly behaved CAE and put him in his own tank, but wondered do CAE thrive alone or prefer company? <Appear to be social animals...> Are there any fish they aren't aggressive towards? <Mmm, as-mean, fast, aware...> I have 2 other CAE in a tank with goldfish and so far they are behaving themselves, but if they start terrorizing the other fish could I put them in with the other CAE or are they also aggressive towards their own kind? Thank you for your help :) Laura <Are co-mutually aggressive. Generally get along as long as there's sufficient food. Bob Fenner>

Chinese Algae Eaters (CAE's) 12/16/05 G'day from Australia. I have 3 CAE's - 4-6" in length - in a 500 litre tank with cichlids ranging from OB Zebras; Convict; large Bala Shark and large Silver Dollars. The CAE's show aggression towards each other, but haven't notice them attacking the other fish. They still seem to be eating algae - will I have a problem down the track? Trevor < On big slower moving fish like discus and angelfish they have been known to try and feed off the slime from the sides of the fish. If you don't have any problems now then I doubt you will have problems in the future.-Chuck>

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

CAE and Shubunkins 9/3/05 Hello, I have recently purchased a 8 cm long Chinese Algae Eater as an addition to my 20 liters freshwater aquarium, which also consists of 2 Shubunkins. <Too crowded...> I would like to know whether the conditions are in my tank enough for the CAE and also about his behavior with the other fish. Attached, please find a photo of the fish tank. I replace about 30%-50% of the water weekly, and add one spoon of Terra Aqua's Easy Balance conditioner during every water change. <Good> The tank also holds one Elodea plant and a plastic ornamented structure to supplement the CAE. The CAE seems to like the castle shaped structure as a dwelling, and it constantly sits upon it and hides within it. <Typical> It regularly scrapes possible algae on its outside as well on different parts on the tank. I place a thin slice of cucumber in the tank once per week (as seen in the picture) to allow the fish to eat in case there is not enough brown algae present in the tank (I always see the CAE cleaning the different parts of the aquarium and gear). The Aquarium is equipped with a sponge air filter as well as an internal air pump which circulates the water (its electric cord can be seen at the right hand side of the photo). The Shubunkins do not seem to be bothered too much by the CAE, and they wander around freely in the tank, although sometimes the algae eater swims after them and nibbles at their tail (or appears to do so) when the goldfish are close to its cucumber or castle dwelling. Otherwise, they all swim and hang out next to one another without too much trouble. The CAE does not present a systematic hostile attitude towards the Shubunkins. <Good... but do keep an eye on it... can develop> Considering the aforementioned above, I would like to know if it is possible to keep the aquatic system under these conditions without removing the CAE. Plus, is one cucumber a week plus the algae in the tank enough for it? <Yes, all sounds very good... though will be too crowded for space with time, growth. Both types of fishes enjoy about the same water quality...> As far as I can tell, the fish do not appear to be overcrowded or distressed by the situation as it is now, and they are quite vibrant and lively. I will appreciate your knowledgeable advice on the matter at hand. Best, <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

gone!

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>

My Golden algae eater, is acting weird 8/9/05 Hey, Steph here, I have a golden algae eater, which I think is related or the same species as the Chinese algae eater, I got my golden algae eater a few days ago, and recently I have noticed, it has been by the glass looking at its reflection then swimming up the glass and poking it's head out of the water then coming back down, I know that there is enough oxygen in the water because all my fish seem fine even my gouramis. It has been doing this for hours now, and wont even stop even when flakes and algae was all around it. I want to know if this is normal behaviour or if there is something wrong with it, your help is greatly appreciated. <Just a very active species... actually a cooler water fish that is even more rambunctious in tropical settings. Bob Fenner>

My poor goldfish... CAE incompatibility 7/27/05 I have a 10gal tank with 2 small fantailed goldfish, and an algae eater. None of them are more than 3". <This system is too small...> My problem is that I thought the algae eater would eat the algae and goldfish poop, I have since done the research I should have and know this is not the case. Unfortunately the algae eater has started attacking the goldfish. <Likely a Chinese Algae Eater, Gyrinocheilus... are frequently trouble, particularly with goldfish> How do I condition it to eat the pellets and algae? Is that even possible? <Highly unlikely. Take it out> I was thinking of using my hospital tank. Please let me know. I don't have the space or budget for 2 tanks, but really don't want to give up Coco (he's the only fish who's coloring looks right to my red-green color blind son). Also would adding an apple snail to this tank be okay or would that just create more problems? Thanks for your time. Phil <The snail is an excellent substitution. Bob Fenner>

Chinese Algae Eater Woes - 07/21/2005 Thank you so much for your website; it's a Godsend! <And thank you very much for your kind words!> I found out - the hard way - that what I have is a Chinese Algae Eater (CAE). I have since separated him into a solitary 5 gal tank with cave - He was not thriving amongst my other fish in the 10 gal - or should we say, the other fish were not thriving due to his aggression. <Understood.> I have been feeding him wafers every couple of days - which from reading your site, seems like too much. I plan to feed him twice a week instead. <Likely a good plan.> My question is two-fold: (1) can I augment his twice a week wafers with a scrap of lettuce or something <Yes, absolutely. Blanched spinach, zucchini, cucumber, or romaine lettuce would probably be best. I would also urge you to supplement with a meaty food, like frozen bloodworms, occasionally.> and do I let is float or sink it somehow? <Tie it to a rock loosely with a rubber band, or use one of those lettuce clips they sell for marine aquarium use.> (2) he seems to be changing colour. He has faded significantly. Almost white. He otherwise appears healthy. Is he sick? <Possibly, or perhaps very stressed. Provide him with more cover - live plants would be best. Things like java moss, java fern, and Anubias would be good choices, as they tolerate most any light, and are very, very hardy. See if improved cover makes him feel a little better.> Much thanks, Julianne in B.C. Canada <Glad to be of service. -Sabrina, in California, formerly in north Idaho, and really missing the occasional dinner at ABC's in Creston, BC.>

Algae eater 7/7/05 I recently lost my black Molly Fish of 5 yrs, I only have the 5 yr old algae eater left in my tank, He is a pretty big guy 2 or so inches long I am not sure how much to feed him I have algae wafers but need to make sure I am not over feeding or under feeding him. Please advise Thanks Molly <A small algae wafer/tablet every other day should do. Bob Fenner>

Wants Algae! Why? Gyrinocheilus Hi all, I have a relatively new 10 gallon tank ~8 weeks. It is freshwater and has several types of plants, a pair of swordtails, 4 Neons, 1 golden algae eater, and 2 male guppies. I know this is a bit crowded, but everything seems to be going fine. The pH is at 7.5, nitrates are 0, ammonia is 0, and nitrates vary between 20 and 40. I do a 20% water change weekly and feed them Top Fin flakes twice a day (the amount they can eat in 2 min.s each time). Instead of a flake meal, they get frozen brine shrimp about twice a week and seem to enjoy that. I know swordtails and algae eaters like to eat algae and when we got the algae eater, the plants had a nice coat on them. S/he since ate ALL the algae in the tank. The plants look 1000% better, but I'm worried that he and the swordtails are going to be hungry. In real aquatic systems, elevated nitrates lead to algae blooms, so I'm somewhat surprised I can't seem to get any growing. I know this is a backwards question, but is this normal? Thanks, Catherine <Not a worry. Green algae takes a while to become established in a new tank. And the CAE may be holding it at bay. But no tank grows enough algae to feed your fish full time. Most will take there share of flake and many other foods. Some eat the slime coat off the other fish. For this reason they are not good community fish. Plus they get big and aggressive. I would look at replacing him with a few algae eating shrimp or snails. With him out of the picture your stocking level is very good. Nice readings on this new system. You seem to have cycled just fine. The nitrates are a little high, but not bad at all. An added water change per week would help keep them down. Also, in many well planted established tanks no algae control is needed. The plants will starve it out. Don>
Wants Algae! Why? pt 2
Thanks for the quick advice. I've noticed my GAE is somewhat aggressive, especially to the female swordtail, chasing her around the tank. The local fish store said he wouldn't be. Grrr. Anyway, right now the GAE is only about an inch and half long. How fast will s/he outgrow a 10 gallon tank? How big will s/he be when he needs new surroundings? I know that depends on water temperature and food and other conditions. But is that something like a year or only months? Finally, are there any fish that would be compatible with it? I'd rather have a "boring" tank than a stressed one, but having a couple of fish is fun. Could I put in 2 or 3 color morphs of Chinese algae eaters or will they just pick on each other? Thanks, Catherine <No, don't add any more. One is too many. Really, not a good fish. I strongly suggest you donate him back to the LFS. I had a pair of G/CAE in my 55 for a few months. They went from about two inches to over six very quickly. They did a poor job at algae control as they got larger. A true Siamese Algae Eater is a more peaceful fish and is one of a small group that will eat hair algae. But they also get big. My pair is less than a year old and are over five inches. A few shrimp or an Apple snail would add little to your bio load while controlling any algae outbreak. Or you could replace him with a pair of Corys to add action to the bottom of the tank. Catfish will add to the bio load, so keep testing if you go this route. Stay away from Plecos. They also get big, over a foot for a Common, and will add greatly to the waste produced in your system. Don>

Re: Sick Fantail, possible predatory CAE... Hello again Bob, <Darlene> I was just reviewing our previous email exchange and was wondering what you meant by "Typical... this is likely a CAE, Gyrinocheilus... can be dangerous, ride goldfish in time.."? I was wondering because my lovely little chipper fantail seems to have lost his tail in rather short order. Does the Gyrinocheilus hang on the goldfish's tail or eat the tail? Curiously yours, Darlene <Yes to keeping your eye on Chinese Algae Eaters... you will likely see the one fish riding your Goldfish that's affected if it is the culprit. If so they need separating. Bob Fenner>

Getting rid of a Chinese Algae Eater We have (what I suspect is) a Chinese Algae Eater. We got him when he was small (on the recommendation of the employees at PetSmart), but he is now more than 4" long (see attached picture). I think he is killing our other fish. A few have died because of mysterious wounds and right now a black skirt tetra that we have had for a year has a nasty wound on his side (see picture). How do I get rid of the Algae Eater??? I don't want to flush him and end up putting him into the rivers here. Should I give him back to the pet store? Please help----I don't anymore of our fish to die because of him. <I would definitely trade in this CAE... it is likely a/the killer here. Bob Fenner>


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