The Siamese Algae Eater is one of the best algae eaters available. Since they’re hardy and peaceful, these fish are ideal for beginners to add to their community aquarium. Adult size: 15 cm, minimum tank size 80 litres.
Siamese algae eaters (Crossocheilus oblongus) are freshwater fish from the Cyprinidae family. This family contains carp too, which are closely related. They originated from Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia, but now they’re bred across the world for the aquarium trade. Their native tropical waters are slightly acidic and don’t tend to have a fast current with lots of plants, rocks and logs that provide shelter.
They’re active and social creatures that will do well in both large groups, and when kept alone.
Most of their time is spent in the bottom levels of the tank. Here they swim around until they find a spot covered in algae, they’ll likely sit here until it’s gone. If you keep a few together they’ll form groups and you’ll find them feeding together in the same area.
They’re rarely aggressive, but they’re quite energetic and swim around quickly. This means that they shouldn’t attack other fish but might disturb and unsettle any calmer species. If they are aggressive then watch them closely for a couple of days, they might have to be separated if the problem persists.
The reason they’ve become so popular is that they’re one of the best algae eaters available. They move around a lot, so they cover the whole tank quickly. While their movement helps with the algae, it also keeps your tank active and interesting.
They spend most of their time near the bottom of the tank, a sandy substrate makes it safer for them to swim around without scratching their body or damaging their sensitive barbels.
Add some plants to make them feel at home. They act as shelter while keeping the water cleaner and oxygenated. There’s a chance that your fish will start nibbling at some of the plants if they can’t find any other food. Keeping them well fed is the best way to protect your plants. One strategy is to use fast-growing species, like hornwort, that can quickly recover if any parts get eaten.
All fish like to have somewhere they can hide away from their tank mates, bottom-dwelling fish especially. Create caves around the tank to give them an escape. They aren’t territorial so there shouldn’t be any squabbling over who goes where.
The Siamese Algae Eater is an active and quick fish. which means they can occasionally jump out of their tank if not covered.
They produce waste just like any other fish. Overstocking can make your tank messier rather than cleaner.
Siamese algae eaters are peaceful creatures which means there’s a long list of potential tank mates. This makes them good candidates for a community aquarium.
Since these fish spend their time at the bottom of the tank, you need to think about what else will be living there too. Lots of bottom-dwellers can be territorial or just bully those that get in their way. Red tail sharks are a good example; they harass others to protect their territory when mature. This isn’t a battle your peaceful algae eaters would win.
There are plenty of peaceful bottom-dwellers for you to choose from. Corydoras are some of the most popular; this genus contains lots of different species.
Fish that live in other areas of the tank won’t have any territory disputes so there’s an even wider selection. Don’t add any notoriously aggressive fish because they might attack or eat your algae eaters. This usually means avoiding cichlids, many of which should only be kept in a species only tank anyway. There are some peaceful exceptions though, like angelfish.
Tetras, danios, and guppies work well because they’re small and not aggressive. You can also use bigger fish like gouramis and barbs because their size doesn’t come with added aggression.
It’s good to remember that your tank mates don’t have to be fish. Other animals can be added, most of which tend to eat algae too. The most common are shrimp (amano, cherry and ghost) and snails (like nerite snails). Mixing in shrimp and snails with your fish shows off some different behaviors, adding an extra interest to your tank. They still contribute to the biological load of the tank though so don’t overstock your aquarium.
You can keep more than one Siamese algae eater in the tank. They show off their best behaviors in schools of at least 4-6. This doesn’t mean that you need to keep them in a school though, they do well when kept singly or in pairs too.
At feeding time they’re easy and will eat anything put in their tank.
In the wild they would eat algae, plant matter, and vegetation but they’re not just herbivores. They’re scavengers so they will eat whatever they find, including dead fish and insects.
It’s easy to provide for them in the aquarium, they are not fussy and will eat most things you add to the tank. This includes flake and pellet foods from stores, algae wafers and live foods. Good examples of live foods are daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms, frozen varieties will work well too. Sinking foods like pellets are good for bottom-dwelling fish as they’re more likely to fall past fish higher up in the tank. If you don’t feel that there is enough algae in your tank, Algae Eaters will happily eat algae wafers.
Overfeeding can be a problem because they already have some algae and plants in the tank before feeding time. Sometimes Siamese algae eaters will stop eating algae in favor of the other foods you give them if you keep adding too much. They can eat a lot, they would eat all day if you let them. Limit feeding to an amount that they can easily finish in a couple of minutes each day.
The Siamese Algae Eater is a hardy fish and there aren’t any specific diseases that they are prone to.
See Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment at Rebel Pets for help with diagnosing and treating diseases.
|Adult Size:||15 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Beginner|
|Minimum Tank Size:||80 litres, +40 litres/add. fish|
|Temperament:||Peaceful, good community fish|
|Tank Level:||Bottom dweller|
|Diet:||Herbivore and scavenger|
|Water Flow:||Slow to Moderate|
|Temperature:||24 to 26°C|
|pH:||6.5 – 7.0 preferred, can tolerate 6-8|
|Hardness:||5 to 20 dGH (soft)|