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Chinese Algae Eater


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i just got a chinese algae eater from a friend. he's tiny right now...about an inch. he's healthy but she just didnt want him so here he is. my betta tank is FULL of green algae so i've put him in there for now...but how do i take care of this guy? anyone know anything about them?

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Get some wood and a few hiding spaces for him and he'll be fine eating the algae off the glass and decor. They also like veggies like kale, spinach, or cucubmer. I wouldn't keep him with a betta, but that's just me (I keep bettas by themselves). Also, when he gets older he may get a little more territorial and agressive, so again make sure you've got plenty of hiding spaces for him to defend and pick his tankmates wisely. They commonly get to five inches or larger, so a little betta tank won't hold him long. And finally, keep the tank warm. If the water gets too cool, he may stop eating algae.

Is there a bigger tank you can put him in later? And do you have the water readings (pH, hardness, temp)?

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I have a small one in my tropical tank and I'd also be interested in any info on them. After I got him, the things I heard weren't encouraging. Things like they get very big and that after they get large they stop eating algae and become very territorial toward the other fish. Right now though he does a heckuva job on the algae in the 10 gallon. He's like a little worker bee!

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its an overgrown planted 5g hex with a terracotta pot and the base to the pot propped up against it for an extra cavey thing. wellington (my betta) is pretty laid back...rushed the bag once and was like "well, my job here is done." and went back to admiring himself in the corner. the tank runs about 76-78 at all times...ph is 7.2. ammonia 0, nitrate 0, nitrite 10. the algae eater is pretty tiny right now so i'm hoping that for now the 5g will be ok? he's literally an inch or less. i'm guessing when he gets bigger he may have to go to a new home...i just dont have room to dedicate a tank to him. plus if he gets aggressive when he's bigger he's going to need a new home...cant mix that with goldies and thats all i have in my other tanks. right now my betta tank is COVERED in green algae so he's going to get A LOT to eat for now. i'll see if i can add another pot or hidey hole for him when i do the next water change.

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One of my bettas, Pinkie, is also in the tropical tank. He's also very laid back...not like Ali my other betta at all. He's very gentle with the other fish and I wouldn't want to start having problems with Sushi (the algae eater) as my trops and Pinkie all co-exist very well.

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Yea, a lot of people put bettas in community tanks. I just never was a fan of it.

I'd think your algae eater would be fine for the time being. Just keep an eye on him, they start getting agressive around 4", but ofcourse he'll outgrow his tank before then. Atleast he'll be well cared for (and well fed!) while you've got him. :-)

Has anyone else see these guys bigger than 6"? Or seen them get agressive while still juvenile? They shouldn't, but every fish is different.

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Guest Katherine

Just to give you an example of my personal experience with a chinese algae eater;

I got one that was about 1/2 an inch long, and kept him with my goldies. For about three months he did fabulous with the algae and I didn't really need to feed him. Then, one day out of nowhere he attacked my pearlscale, and literally sucked all of his scales off. Needless to say, that fish passed. :[ Then I gave him to my lfs. At this point, he was only about 2 inches in length.

I don't really know how he'll react with a betta, but from my experience this fish grows pretty fast and will probably become aggressive. I'm also not sure if he became aggressive out of starvation or not, because I didn't feed him.

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I had a chinese algae eater and I ended up housing it in a tank on its own as it turned that aggresive it was attacking my male beta who it was in with.

I have never had another once since.

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Oh man. Isn't there anyone out there who HASN'T had any trouble with their Chinese algae eater? I'm hearing all of this bad stuff, and I really like the little guy. I haven't seen any sign of trouble. Do they ALWAYS do this? I'm not even sure the lfs will take him back, and I sure don't have a spare tank to house him in by himself.

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i definitely dont have a spare tank lying around. and he's TINY. i guess i'll keep watching him and as soon as the lfs will take him, he's gone. i really dont want to endanger my betta or my goldies! i keep watching him and so far, he's scared of wellington. every time wellington gets close, he bolts off to another spot. on the plus side, he's getting TONS of algae to eat. he has little tracks of clean spots in amongst the algae.

Edited by liz_marguerite
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Sushi is also very small, not even barely 1/2 inch right now. I also will have to keep an eye on him as I don't want my other fish harmed. The problem is that if Chinese algae eaters are like plecos, they will do their damage at night. Sushie is out during the day though and stays out when the light is on.

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Guest Katherine

In relation to your post vickielm, my chinese algae eater attacked my pearlscale while I was asleep, so the poor goldie was completely exhausted and being sucked to by my HOB filter. I'm not sure if this is the behavior of all CAEs or if it's just a coincidence, but I'd watch out.

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well it seems wellington is a bit more aggressive than i thought. he doesnt flare up or anything but he'll chase the little guy if he sees him. its really a half hearted chase but a chase none the less. i'll try and add a few more hidey holes until the lfs can take him.

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  • Regular Member

I have a CAE that i rescued from our school tnak, he has doubled in size and is living in my 20g tetra tank, he chases them once in awhile but he doesnt harm them, but he also doesnt eat any algae :glare: and his tank has a serious algae problem!

my guy is between 3 and 4 inches long :)

Edited by Shamu23
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i've read that once they get bigger they quit eating algae for the most part. yours might just be big enough to be in that category.

yeah i think so too cuz he eats no algae, just algae tablets lol. He's so cute though, I love him and would never get rid of him :)

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Guest Jake Minimuto

I had a Golden algae eater recently and he suddenly got all these pink and bloody red spots and blotches on him and he would kinda tumble around. The next day, he was stiff as a rock.

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