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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Cyprinids > Chinese algae eater
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the



Gyrinocheilus aymonieri

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri


    The very common algae eater. I believe it received this name due to its sucking disc. In my experience I have found them to be a poor algae eater. Nevertheless they are an interesting addition to your aquarium.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 10 inches usually much smaller
    Tank: 30 inches
    Strata: all, but not in open water.
    PH: 6.0 to 8.0
    Hardness: Soft to hard
    Temperature: 75 to 78°F (25 to 28°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Sub-order: Cyprinoidei
    Family: Gyrinocheilidae
    Genera: Gyrinocheilus

Gyrinocheilus aymonieri

Common name:

    Chinese algae eater, Indian algae eater, Algae eater, Sucking loach

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Found in streams of Indohina and central Thailand.

General Body Form:
    Long and cylindrical with a down facing mouth. The mouth has thick lips with many folds that form a sucking disc. This disc helps the fish feed on algae. It is also the basis of its common name. The Dorsal fin is well developed with nine protruding soft rays. The Anal, Ventral and pectoral fins are all rounded. The Caudal fin has a deep fork.

    The sides are a burnt yellow, with a Brown stripe running down the length of the body. This stripe is commonly broken up into spots. The eye is also Yellow. The tail and dorsal fins may have some small spots at the base and the general coloration is clear. The back is Brown. The coloration of this fish is not set and is quite variable.
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri Gold variety
Golden Variety
    The tank should be heavily planted and have a fairly strong currant. This will closely mimic its natural habitat. An easy fish to care for, they are vegetarian in nature but will accept flake food supplemented with algae wafers. Some say they are a fantastic algae eater and will make short work of any found in your tank. Younger specimens are suitable for a community set up. As they get older then tend to become more and more aggressive among themselves and even other tank inhabitants. One interesting adaptation of this fish is in its respiration. When it is attached to a rock or other object with its sucking disk the water for respiration enters through a small hole in the upper corner of its gill slit. This way the fish can stay attached in strong currents. Not the best choice in algae removal or community set ups this fish should be purchased with caution.

    Found in moving water among the vegetation, rarely seen in standing water.

    Little is known of the sexing of these fish. Breeding has occurred, but only accidentally.

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: Sandra
I have two of these in my tank. I have a divider in my tank with adult fish on one side and babies on the other, and one on each side. Normally I do my research before I buy ANYTHING, but I needed an algae eater, and I definitely did not want a plecostomus because they get way too big for my tank. I plan on upgrading my tank soon, but not as big as I will need for those guys because they get absolutely huge when you can keep them alive! I talked to the representative in the fish store to find out some more information about other algae eaters and she recommended these. So far they do very well. They have been absolutely wonderful these last couple months cleaning up my algae and the one I have with the babies doesn't bother them at all. The one with the adults tends to hide a lot though while the one with the babies is a bit more active. I have neons, Mickey mouse platys and guppies right now (My 2 year olds tank). If any signs of aggression arise, I do plan on separating them out of my tank since I do have small fish, and these guys aren't adults yet so aggression may still happen. Rich now though, I am very happy with my fish. fish!
From: Shane Lindsley
Over the years, I've owned several tanks and each one had one of these guys. My last one, the CAE was a bully, then I got a Jack Dempsey and once he reached maturity, he devoured the CAE. Currently, my CAE is toeing the line in a tank with a breeding pair of convict cichilds. Nevertheless, this fish is definitely NOT for beginners, as almost every LFS will say. Please do your research before buying any fish!
From: Rocky
I had one for seven years in a 55 gallon tank with 7 silver dollars, one angelfish, one pleco, and one red tail catfish. All of these except the angelfish lived together for the whole seven years. Him and the redtail catfish mildly fought over territory for a couple of years, but eventually they came to some agreement and settled down. This was a very interesting and lively fish. I would not discount him in the right tank.
From: Nick
I've had one of these fish for about two years in a community tank. Its bottom feeder buddies are a clown Loach, a pleco and two corydoras. The other fish in the tank are 8 neons, 4 black neons and seven harlequins. I also had seven platies, however, the platties were all wiped out by the same disease, which also carried off a black neon (completely un-CAE related deaths). My CAE has reasonably peaceful, and never done much more than chase the odd platy or neon for a couple of seconds, and I've got no deaths to blame it for. Based on some of the other comments here though, I'd lay that on being lucky enough to get a CAE with a peaceful personality. Still he's a healthy and reasonably good looking fish in my tank.
From: Andrew Givens
IMO Alison did the right thing and selected very tough tankmates for this (usually) very aggressive fish. I kept one when young and yes the small specimens destroy algae brilliantly, but as others have noted the aggression increased with size and was meted out to anything in range. A truly terrible aquarium fish, with only it's natural toughness to recommend it, along with the fascinating morphological adaptations (spiracles as mentioned in the profile, and the lack of functional swimbladder, causing negative buoyancy - which is why they sink when stationary). PS - they are frequently sold for coldwater tanks - do not keep these fish with fancy goldfish! The fantails won't stand a chance and that's not fair...
From: Alison
It's funny I didn't know about the CAE bad rap until I had successfully owned one for several years. When I bought my CAE I was relatively new to fish keeping and was sold the "community fish line". Normally I research everything like crazy. I guess I lucked out this time. My CAE just died this morning at the age of 7 and was a joy to have. His tank mates for the last three years were a rowdy bunch of African Cichlids. I only saw him make an aggressive move twice and both times a cichlid was stealing an algae wafer out from under him. Once the wafer was surrendered all was well. I even have three cichlids that were born in the tank and lived to adulthood with him around. My "recipe for success" was a 37 Eclipse gallon tank, extra air stone, enough rock to displace 7 gallons of water, about a dozen cichlids and a pleco. Maybe I was lucky but he was a great little fish.
From: Ben
I have a 90 gallon aquarium. The only fish that I have noticed any aggression from is my chinese algae eater. His tank mates are Barbs,Cory Cats,a Red Tail Shark and a Skunk Botia. This fish has quickly grown and now wants to dictate the harmony of my aquarium. If this doesn't stop soon my CAE will soon find himself in some ranchers cow trough.
From: Jamie
I have had my CAE for close to 5 years now. He started out in my 20 gal. Once he was full grown he started attacking and killing my other fish. I kicked him out of that tank, needless to say. I have since put him in my 125 gal tank and he is now like a new fish. His current tank mates are angelfish, assortment of tetras, bristlenose catfish and a butterfly pleco. He no longer bothers any fish. His best friend is the butterfly pleco. They are always swimming together. If you don't have a big tank these are not a fish for you. I would say anything less than a 55 gal would not be suitable. The smaller the tank the more you will see them being aggressive.
From: Kit
As much as I've read that CAEs are aggressive, the only aggression my CAE has shown was toward my large silver white female molly. He never bothered anyone else in the tank except her. As soon as she got close, he would chase her around the tank 'til he was satisfied. After a couple weeks of witnessing this, I moved him the my 20 gallon with the 6 tiger barbs, and 2 danios. Haven't seen any aggression since. I've had him for nearly 7 months without any real problems or deaths because of him. So, all in all, aggression really depends on the fish's personality (and possibly it's tank mates as well).
From: Sonn
I've had a CAE for awhile now. I would really really not recommend them for anyone who cannot provide a separate living space when they get larger. They eat tons of algae when they are small but when they get older and larger their diets completely change mine now prefers "meatier" foods over algae or any other vegetable based food. And if you do plan on putting this fish with other species make sure it is fast enough to get away or it will be a snack to this guy/girl.
From: Dean
Four Words... THESE FISH ARE EVIL!!! When I had them they killed almost every fish in my tank. To anybody who does not know, when the CAE sucks on the side of your other fish, your CAE is actually eating that fishes body slime.(Which is a bad thing, body slime keeps your fish more resistant to disease and keeps them happier.) I had to flush my CAE before it finished killing the rest of my fish. I had a group of tetras, a cory cat, and danios with the CAE. When the CAE was finished with his bloody fish rampage, all I had was one tetra and one danio.







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