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FAQs on ""Chinese"" "Algae Eaters": Compatibility

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, OtocinclusLoricariidsSiamese Algae Eaters/Crossocheilus

FAQs on: Chinese Algae Eaters (CAEs), Gyrinocheilus aymonieri 1, CAEs 2,
FAQs on: CAE Identification, CAE Behavior, CAE Selection/Stkg., CAE Systems, CAE Feeding, CAE Disease, CAE Reproduction,
Related FAQs: Algae Control, Freshwater "Scavengers", Aquarium MaintenanceFreshwater Aquarium Water Quality, Treating Tap Water for Aquarium Use, pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Freshwater Algae Control, Algae Control, Foods, Feeding, Aquatic Nutrition, Disease

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
Not with:
Nor Discus, Angelfish 

The Trouble with Trumpet Snails...get it? MTS control, CAE incomp.      1/16/13
Dear WWM crew:
In case you didn't understand my subject line, I was making a reference to the original Star Trek episode entitled The Trouble with Tribbles, which dealt with tiny, cute creatures whose abundant reproduction cycle became a danger to the entire Enterprise, which I'm worried might be the case with Malaysian Trumpet Snails in my fish tank!
<Ah yes. Am very familiar w/ both>
 Like many other people who have contacted you, I have recently discovered--for the first time--snails in my 12-year-old aquarium.  I went from being excited at the new discovery, to confused as to how they came to be in a tank with no live plants, to frightened of a snail plague, to semi-knowledgeable from researching yours, and other, websites, to, finally, acceptance.  I have identified the snails as being Malaysian Trumpet Snails, or MTS, and I can only guess they came with the only addition to my tank of 12 years: a Chinese Algae eater I bought at Petco about 6 months ago.  I did not find anywhere on your website where you say that snails could hitch-hike into aquariums from buying fish, but I haven't added anything else.
<Can "come in" thus; as well as with wet foods, most anything wet>
After many hours of research and study on the MTS (most of which was on your website, so thank you!), I have decided that they could be an asset to my tank, but that over-population is a DEFINITE concern in the meantime. 
So, the least drastic response I could come up with was to remove all the snails I could find and place them in a separate 'tank' (I use the term loosely, because it is actually just a glass vase with rocks and some decaying lettuce in it).  I want to keep an eye on them for awhile to get a better idea what I am up against.
<Mmm, well; they/MTS do regulate their own population... to resources available>
 I vacuum 50% of the gravel twice per week in my established 55-gal. tank, and remove any additional snails I find, and add them to their own 'tank'. 
My question is one that I seem to be unable to find the answer to on your site or on the internet, despite much searching.  I may have overlooked it, but what I am wanting to know about is the very small, beige, rice-like specs that are all over the snail 'tank'.
<Likely gastropods/snails... do they "crunch" when squished against the glass, evidencing a shell of some sort?>
 I have watched the snails at length to try to figure out if these specs are their young or if it is their feces, etc.  Or perhaps it is a combination of both, because there seems to be two different things: One is very definitely shaped like a piece of rice, and the other seems to be more amorphous.  Both are the same color, kind of an off-white.  It appears that the amorphous mass of 'stuff' comes out from the tip of their 'trumpet', which is leading me to think it is their waste.  My research shows that they bear live young, but even with my magnifying glass I cannot make out if these rice kernels are mini, baby snails.  If I understand my research correctly, they carry their young in some sort of  'pouch' type thing around their head area. (A clutch?)  I do see that these rice kernel things are most often all around their head area, but also can be kind of hitch-hiking all over their shells.  I read that they can have up to 70 young at a time, so I am thinking that is what these specs are.  But even more of these rice-like specs are at the bottom of their 'tank', under the rocks/gravel.  I have probably at least 10 adult MTS in their 'tank' and numerous other 'juveniles', if that is the correct term.
  If these specs are indeed their young, then there are hundreds, and more likely thousands of them under the substrate (as I can see the underneath through the glass-bottomed container).  If I am correct, and these are their young, then I will probably not return the whole lot to my bigger tank, for fear of an infestation.  Can you help me identify if these specs are indeed their young?
<You'll have to provide image/s... either "blown up" from a photo, or one taken through magnification... a 'scope>
 I would imagine that in my original tank the filter, the gravel vacuum, and the other fish help keep the number of MTS young to a more manageable number, but I'm not sure I am willing to risk that!  My tank gravel is natural, so it makes it a challenge to find and remove the snails, and I would hate to have to use any poisons or even remove and replace all my gravel due to snail overpopulation.  According to my research I do not have any fish that will eat the snails and/or predatory snails in my tank, and my tank is too full to take on any other predatory life forms at this time.
 (I have a 12-year-old, 22" Pleco, 5 schooling Danios and 1 Chinese Algae Eater that I shouldn't have added.  Had I read your site instead of listening to the Petco employees I would not have added the Algae Eater at all! 
<Ah yes>

Yes, he cleaned the algae, but he is very hyper and nervous and zooms all over the tank whenever I approach or try to clean the tank.  But, until my Pleco became ill and I was forced to seek out your website, I did not know there was such a wealth of knowledge available to me other than the pet stores!)  I would also like to let you know that mostly due to your prompt and knowledgeable responses on this site, I was able to bring my sick Pleco, Elwood, to a full recovery.  I followed your advice and his recovery was slow, but he is doing wonderfully once again.  I have also added some things to my aquarium upkeep routine now that I did not know to do prior to learning them from your correspondences.  I can't thank you enough for helping me return Elwood to health, I am SO grateful for your help!
I guess how I handle these snails is really based again on what is best for Elwood, as he is my main concern.  I even regret getting the algae eater because he treats Elwood like a piece of aquarium furniture.  He has to always be laying underneath Elwood, and will wedge himself into the smallest spaces to keep himself under Elwood's belly.  Even when Elwood lays on the bottom to eat the algae eater wedges himself under him, or when Elwood is 'resting' in the corner of the tank I can always find the algae-eater pushed up against his underbelly.  It is very odd behavior.  I have tried adding hiding places for the CAE of all types to keep him away from Elwood, but he prefers to cling to my Pleco.
<Likely eating part of its slime coating. I would remove this CAE when the opportunity affords itself>

 Elwood seems fine with this and shows no signs of being stressed by it, which kind of surprises me, since Elwood is so mellow.  Have you ever heard of an attachment like this?
<Yes; way too common... the CAE feeding on the slime coat; often damaging, killing other fishes>
I would appreciate any response you could give to me regarding the specs in the MTS 'tank' and maybe even your thoughts on my CAE's strange relationship with my Pleco.  Your site is invaluable to me, as we have no local pet stores and the Petco in the closest city is a limited information source at best.  Thank you, in advance, for your time in reading my message and for any information you may have for me.  Sincerely, Teresa
<The MTS I wouldn't sweat. As stated, their populations achieve stasis in time. The CAE I'd remove, return. Bob Fenner>

My Chinese Algae Eater, mis-stocked w/ goldfish in too small a world   12/1/11
Just 2 days ago I bought a CAE along with a weather loach as a addition to my tank. My tank has approximately 30l and already holds three single-tailed goldfish.
 The pet shop I bought the CAE and the weather loach told me that the CAE won't be aggressive to my goldfish and will be comfortable in cold water. I guess they were wrong. It was my fault I didn't research the CAE first before buying it and now I have things complicated. The CAE is just about 3 cm long and already turned out to be aggressive. After I researched the CAE and read the WWM forum about him I decided to take action immediately.
 I couldn't stand the thought that the CAE might be that aggressive.  I noticed that one of my goldfish has a pink, almost red gill on one of the sides and was swimming a bit uneven. It looked like something sucked to it and it wasn't there before. From what I then researched, I assumed it was the CAE so I moved him into my emergency aquarium and decided to bring him back to the shop tomorrow. I'm writing to you for advice not only on the CAE and the goldfish, I'm writing because I'm a beginner fish keeper and need a lot of advice. Firstly, did I do the right thing about moving him into a different aquarium and what should I do if the pet shop won't have him back?
<Mmm, t'were it me, destroy this fish. Humanely. See WWM re euthanasia>
 How could I ensure he has a safe trip back to the pet shop?
<Place in a chemically inert container w/ a half a pint/litre of water or so...>
Secondly, if the goldfish was hurt by him what should I do?
<Nothing really; other than provide good water quality and nutrition>
 And thirdly, is the weather loach suitable for my tank?
<Yes; though this volume system is too small for all... or will shortly be so>
In the past I already had about 3 fish tanks but sadly, all are gone. So I'm writing to you for advice about my current tank because I don't want my fish to end up like my last few. Firstly, the first 2 fish in my tank were from my mothers work after an accident. The tank smashed and my mother brought them home, it was about 3 months ago. The 2 fish are both single-tailed goldfish and from what I researched, are about 1 year old. 2 months ago I bought another single-tailed goldfish to keep them company and they're all getting together fine. 2 days ago I bought the weather loach and the troublesome CAE. My tank doesn't have a heater but I'm currently searching for the cheapest option but I do have a filter. I have 2 plastic plants, one small decoration and one driftwood with fake flowers. Is my tank big enough to hold my 3 goldfish
<Sadly, no. Please read here re:
and the linked files above>
 and the weather loach (which I named Steve)? (I'm bringing the CAE back to the pet shop so I'm not counting him)
I'm a bit concerned about the weather loach... Again, it's my fault I didn't research it before buying it and listened to the shopkeeper. I noticed that one of the goldfish picked at him once but it didn't do it after that. Still, I'm worried about the weather loach and I'm not sure if I should turn him back along with the CAE or not. Should I give him a bit more time? From what I read about the weather loach, they can grow quiet big but they aren't aggressive, I just wanted to make sure because this is one of the only sites I trust really. Is it normal for the weather loach to suddenly stop in mid-water for a few seconds?
I noticed him do that quiet a lot and I'm a bit worried... Do the weather loach need a specific temperature?
<... please learn to/use the search tool on WWM... your answers are all archived there>
 I don't have a heater yet but I can make some heat from a red lamp from my lizard (who's gone now, she caught a deadly disease and sadly didn't make it). The red light gives out quiet a lot of heat but I'm not sure if it would be suitable for an aquarium, any advice?
<If the temp. doesn't vacillate a great deal where the tank is, it should be fine w/o a heater>
I need some help with finding out the gender of my goldfish.
<Not important.>
I searched and searched for any useful advice but I only found really advanced ones. Could you please give me some useful and easy to read advice for a beginner?
<Yes, become familiar w/ WWM. See here:
scroll down to the tray on Goldfish>
 It would mean a lot. My gold fish are about 8-10 cm in length, could you tell me the age of them?
<Not really; they're likely stunted. NEED to be moved to larger quarters STAT!>
 There's this particular goldfish I'm worried about. A few days ago, a red line formed at the top of her head were her brain is, what can it be?
<Environmental stress...>
 She swims normally, has a normal appetite and isn't bothered by that thing at all but I'm still worried about her. I don't have a picture of her because she wouldn't stand still. But if you need a picture I can always try harder to take one. The third goldfish seems normal.   
I'm attaching a picture of my tank and the injured by the CAE goldfish. If you can't see the photos please say so. If you have any more additional advice, please, I need as much as I can get.
Thank you for reading this,
A concerned person.
<Convert your concern to action. READ re your aquatic charges, meet their needs, and you'll have long-term pets w/ little maintenance. Bob Fenner>
Re: My Chinese Algae Eater

Thank you for replying. I will take action as soon as I can.
<Tres bien! BobF>

Betta sickness?  4/23/10
Hey there!
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:
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,
<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:
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.
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.
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.
<Cheers, Neale.>

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>

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>>

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.>

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>

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>


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 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>

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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