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Siamese Algae Eater

Crossocheilus siamensis


    The Siamese Algae eater is an interesting and fun fish to watch, especially when in their natural habitat, being a planted community aquarium. These Algae Eaters are not to be confused with the Chinese Algae Eater

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: May grow up to 6 inches (15cm) in length, however these fish usually grow to around 4-5 inches.(10-12.5 cm)
    Tank: 25 gal minimum
    Strata: Bottom, Middle
    PH: Soft, acidic water, PH 6.2-8.0
    Hardness: 5° - 20° dH
    Temperature: 70°F to 84°F (21°-29° C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Family: Cyprinidae
    Genus: Crossocheilus
    Species: siamensis


Common name:

    Siamese Algae Eaters, (SAE)


    Badmans' Forum

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Siamese Algae Eater


    Flowing waters of Thailand and the Malay peninsula.

General Body Form:
    Slender and elongate body with a slighly flat belly.

Siamese Algae Eater

    Grayish-brown fish with a distinctive black horizontal stripe.

Siamese Algae Eater

    These fish are omnivores, but their diet is mainly based on plant matter. These fish should be kept in planted community aquariums where there are no aggressive fish and the tank has an abundant source of hair algae, thread algae, and other types of 'brush' algae that most occurs in planted aquariums. SAE should be put in a planted tank a few weeks after it has been established, once the alga begins to grow. The SAE is capable of eating algae in hard to reach places, as well as algae that grows on leaves and stems, where it is unpractical to scrape off. Once the algae supply runs low, however, the SAE will look into other food sources, such as moss and soft leaved plants. Good tankmates for the SAE include all non-aggressive community fish, mainly gouramis, charachins, Apisstogramma, loaches, and cory catfish. The SAE, when coupled with the Amano shrimp (Japonica amino), can deliver a knockout punch to any algae-ridden tank! The Siamese Algae eater is an interesting and fun fish to watch, especially when in their natural habitat, being a planted community aquarium. These Algae Eaters are not to be confused with the Chinese Algae Eater. The Chinese Algae eater's main food is not algae, per say, but tends to be a meat or flake eater. Also, the CAE grows 4 inches longer than the SAE, and is quite territorial.

    Their natural habitats are streams and rivers as well as flooded forests during the rainy season.


    Unknown, I have not seen any reports of tank breeding.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Andrew Givens
My two C siamensis lived in my Duo120 180-litre cyprinid community tank, with heavy planting and pebble-to-gravel mixed substrate. Temp25c, pH7, with Fluval 305 filter and Eheim 400 airpump driving 2x12" airstones. Tankmates were various Puntius sp and Synodontis ocellifer; my C siamensis (also sometimes referred to as Siamese Flying Fox)did indeed eat the hair algae & also took any dried/frozen foods - with a characteristic head-up attitude at 45degree angle. They are hardy and peaceful. Having also kept the true Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus)I would say that the SAE's main advantage is it's tolerance towards it's own species - it will happily live in groups whilst E kalopterus is territorial and squabbles with conspecifics. A lovely fish and pleasingly iridescent in the right light!
ps: re Kieve's comment about his betta's tail being nibbled - in my experience most herbivorous cyprinids seem to associate the undulating betta finnage with leaves and cannot resist the temptation to nibble - this can be disastrous for the betta! My recommendation is not to keep bettas with active herbivores - it courts trouble, it would seem. Good luck!
From: Kieve
I had two Otos in my dwarf puffer tank to be the cleaning crew. Took them out per advice I received on the forum, and the hair algae started to cover the glass --- everywhere! So I went back to the LFS and was recommended the SAE. I brought two and put them into the puffer and the tetra tank. Hair algae was gone in a week. One of the SAE was nipping the tails of my male betta, which was very strange. So I took him out and put him in another tank so he won't bother the betta, and another tank will get cleaned.





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