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Siamese Algae Eater - misc info.


  1. [F] Siamese Algae Eaters FOUND!!!
    by () (26 Apr 1994)
  2. Siamese Algae Eaters
    by (john.m.gunser) (Thu, 9 Jun 1994)
  3. Siamese Algae eaters..Breeding?
    by (Liisa Sarakontu) (25 Sep 1994)
  4. [F][Plant] New Aquarium Images on WWW!
    by George Booth <> (Wed, 07 Sep 94)
  5. (No Title)
    by Neil Frank <> (Tue, 30 May 1995)
  6. Siamensis available in Mass.
    by (Jack D OLeary) (Tue, 25 Jul 1995)
  7. SAE and sources
    by "Thomas Narten" <narten-at-VNET.IBM.COM> (Fri, 16 Feb 1996)
  8. SAE source
    by Cindy Vann <> (Fri, 12 Jul 1996)
  9. Breeding SAEs?
    by Liisa Sarakontu <> (Wed, 25 Sep 1996)
  10. SAE temperature range
    by Karl Schoeler <> (Mon, 07 Oct 1996)
  11. Mayaca and SAEs
    by Neil Frank <> (Sat, 15 Feb 1997)
  12. Jumpin' SAEs
    by George Booth <> (Tue, 08 Apr 1997)
  13. Will the real SAE please swim forward?
    by (Tue, 27 May 1997)
  14. Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #726
    by "A. Inniss" <> (Fri, 23 May 1997)
  15. Hydrogen Peroxide, SAE feeding and Ceomat
    by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/> ()
  16. Heteranthera zosterifolia bloom
    by "K. A. Bryant" <smskahj/> (Thu, 04 Dec 1997)
  17. SAEs
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Wed, 23 Sep 1998)
  18. SAEs: gloom, doom, and factory fish
    by "Ted" <thamiter/> (Tue, 29 Dec 1998)
  19. Luckily SAEs are not extinct
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Wed, 30 Dec 1998)
  20. SAEs
    by "Ken Guin" <kenguin/> (Tue, 15 Jun 1999)
  21. Dichotomous Key for Algae Eating Cyprinids (and Look-Alikes)
    by "Andy Dilbert" <ixtapa/> (Sun, 14 Mar 1999)
  22. BBA and Willow moss
    by ac554/ (David Whittaker) (Sun, 27 Jun 1999)
  23. SAE's Seasonal?
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Fri, 2 Jul 1999)
  24. SAEs
    by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/> (Fri, 30 Jun 2000)
  25. worthless SAEs
    by PGagne2000/ (Tue, 16 May 2000)

real siamese algae eater

Drawing by Liisa Sarakontu

real siamese algae eater

real siamese algae eater

false siamese algae eater

Photos by Erik Olson

[F] Siamese Algae Eaters FOUND!!!

by ()
Date: 26 Apr 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria,sci.aquaria

I finally found a U.S. source for the true Siamese Algae Eaters,
Crossocheilus siamensis.  These are definitely the "good kind" as
pictured in "The Optimum Aquarium".  They are known to eat red brush
algae as well as almost all other kinds.  An excellent fish for plant

The Albany Aquarium in Albany, CA, regularly carries them.  They get
them direct from an exporter in Indonesia.  Since they are currently
"out of stock" due to yours truly, you might wait a couple of weeks
before hassling them.

They claim to specialize in hard-to-find freshwater fish AND plants,
so it might be worth a call to see what else they have.  Perhaps
someone local to the area could pay a visit and do a review for the

They were willing to ship Overnight Federal Express.  They charged me
5 for $15.95 (I got 10 altogether), plus $2.63 CA tax plus $20 to ship
with "next day" delivery.  If you get some, you might want to pay
extra for a styrofoam shipping box - they didn't pack mine very well
and the water temp was 60F when they arrived at 2:20 pm (of course,
we're having a temporary Winter here in CO right now).  One was DOA
but the rest seem perky and active.  Hope they weren't adversly

If you only want one or two, I'm not sure what they would charge for
shipping, if they would even bother for a small order.  Maybe groups
or clubs could band together on a larger shipment and amortize the
shipping cost.


  Glenn Zappulla
  Albany Aquarium
  818 San Pablo Ave.
  Albany, CA  94706
  (510) 525-1166

Neil Frank: how about a blurb in The Aquatic Gardener?

George L. Booth                      The Technology of Freshwater Plant Tanks             __         Aquatic Gardeners Association
Software Development Engineer       /  \  /\        Colorado Aquarium Society
Manufacturing Test Division      /\/    \/  \         Rainbowfish Study Group
Hewlett-Packard Company         /  \/\  /    \/\         "Modern Aquascaping"
Loveland, Colorado  _____utah__/    \ \/      \ \___me____________kansas_____

Siamese Algae Eaters

by (john.m.gunser)
Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

> George Booth asks:
> There was some discussion a while ago about buying Siamese Algae Eaters
> from the Albany [CA] Aquarium fish shop.  Did anybody follow up on 
> actually buying some?  Did the arrive OK?  Just curious. 

I ordered 10 about 2 weeks ago. They sent 12 in case any were lost during 
transit. They arrived Fed Ex 2 days after I placed the order. All 12
arrived safe and sound and are all doing wonderfully in the 140 gal
plant/discuss tank. The charge was $5 per fish (charged only for the 10)
plus shipping. I would recommend both the shop and the fish. They are 
doing a great job of cleaning up the tank.

				John Gunser

Siamese Algae eaters..Breeding?

by (Liisa Sarakontu)
Date: 25 Sep 1994
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria

In article <35r748$> (Simon Eldridge) writes:
> I have 4 siamese algae eaters( got 'em at Albany aq. sometime ago).
> 2 of them a plump and a more slender one have started circling each other
> and chasing the other algae eaters away , then they circle each other
> over a broad amazon sword leaf.  They have both lost a lot of their side 
> markings (their stripe faded).

The two adult SAEs I have do the same thing every now and then. I think they
are of the same sex, because they have same body shape. 

Here is Finland, where nearly everyone has SAE in their tanks, I have heard
that some of them get very plump when adult, and if a fish like that dies
and you cut it open, it is full of eggs. According to books it hasn't been
bred yet in captivity. Something is missing - bigger tank, more flow, 
right temperature or pH?

Liisa Sarakontu                     INTERNET:
Helsinki University of Technology   WWW homepage

[F][Plant] New Aquarium Images on WWW!

by George Booth <>
Date: Wed, 07 Sep 94

> Thanks for the compliments, George.  (Though I'm guessing 40% of the 
> material in there's written by you.)

It looks like you put a chunk of effort into collection and
organization.  I have over 4 Mbytes of saved postings and stuff in 
my fish directory and I've often wanted to try to organize it but ...
what a job!

> Say, I'm getting a load of SAE's tomorrow.  Will they jump out of my open-top
> tank?  I have some hastily-constructed acrylic tops standing by, just in 
> case.

Yes ... kinda.  We've lost two or three from the SST over the years.
Most of the time, it's been when we added a new, smaller SAE - the
older, bigger one takes a leap.  We have acrylic covers on the SLAG,
but they tend to warp alot and cut down light.  I'm going to have some
pieces cut to make a 6" high "fence" around the edge.  I'm not sure
how high they jump or what direction they jump, but I hope that will

Dan Resler seems pretty happy with his.  They are great schoolers if
you have 6 or so.  You might keep all of them until they grow a bit. 
Dan said his were guppy-sized.  Mine were larger (1.5") when they

Did Glenn at Albany mention how much traffic he's gotten from my net
posting?  I visited him in June and he mentioned it; of course, no
freebies :-(. 


(No Title)

by Neil Frank <>
Date: Tue, 30 May 1995

Southern Tropical Fish, a tropical fish wholesaler in Lakeland, Florida 
is currently importing them from Bangkok.  The fish first showed up on 
the wholesale listing as small flying fox.  After we discussed the 
differences among the related species with this firm, the identity crisis 
is no longer a problem.  The true SAE are now regularly appearing in 
North Carolina and elsewhere in the Eastern U.S.  Ask your local aquarium 
store to contact Southern Tropicals to see if they can acquire this red 
algae eating fish for your area.

- --Neil

Siamensis available in Mass.

by (Jack D OLeary)
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria

Anyone who is interested in getting genuine Siamese Algae Eaters
in the Boston area can now find them at Uncle Ned's Fish Factory
on Route 109 at the Medway/Millis line (phone 508-533-5969).  These
are the genuine article, about 1/2 inch long, and appear to be healthy.

He will also ship these to anywhere UPS will deliver.

These fish are great algae eaters (they eat beard/brush algae) and
are quite peaceful, unlike the Flying Fox which they resemble.

- Jack O'Leary

SAE and sources

by "Thomas Narten" <narten-at-VNET.IBM.COM>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 1996

For those of you unable to get SAEs, talk to you local favorite local
store and see if they will order them from a specfic distributer.  The
source Neil Frank listed below has apparently been reliable. I got a
dozen of SAEs a couple of weeks ago for $1.65 each.

> From: (Neil Frank)
> Date: Wed, 6 Dec 95 22:24:17 EST
> Subject: Another SAE source
> Our local aquarium store found Siamese Algae Eaters (Crossocheilus
> siamensis) at another wholesaler: Finn's Aquatics, Inc in East Point
> Georgia. Their fish were listed as Thailand flying fox and other times as
> Siamese flying fox.  I saw the fish and they are the real McCoy.
> Retail price $1.65!!

SAE source

by Cindy Vann <>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996

Paul -

Three of us here in San Diego were also interested in ordering these guys.
At the beginning of June, one of us received this message from Uncle Ned:
>We ship almost anywhere via UPS next day Air. Siamese Algae eaters cost $6.50
>each...we have about 70 in stock.For a complete list of these and other fish
>call me at 508-533-5969 or 800-683-5165. You can also fax me at 508-533-5771.
>Thank you! --- Ned Bowers, Uncle Ned's Fish Factory.

We ordered 20 to be split up among us - when our order arrived, all 20 fish
had survived!! (I had ordered 10 previously from Albany and 2 were DOA and
another died a couple of days after receiving them).  The fish that I took
(11) have all survived.  They also gave us a great!! deal - they advertise
discounts on quantity orders.  We have all been _extremely_ pleased with our
dealings with Uncle Ned's and highly recommend them to everyone.  (BTW,
believe _everything_ that's been posted to this list about the algae-eating
capablities of these fish - they are fantastic!).
Cindy Vann                                 QUALCOMM Incorporated
Systems Analyst                            Phone:  (619) 658-4767
email:                 Loc  :  E-131

Breeding SAEs?

by Liisa Sarakontu <>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996

> From:
> Subject: Breeding SAEs?
> I'm confused. There have been a couple of postings recently mentioning
> SAE's. The last article I saw about SAE's was in  Aquarium Fish magazine by
> Neil Frank and Liisa Sarakontu. IN the article it stated that SAE's had
> never been bred yet at least two postings mentioned sexual displaying and
> one posting described a successful spawn. If it can be done, or has been
> done, I'd sure like to know more about it! I just got a bunch of SAEs in
> Germany and I'd love to look forward to spawning them.

Neil and I had never seen any reports on breeding SAEs during the time
when that article was written and published.  There had been rumours of
breeding, and some good reports on "breeding dance" without any egg
laying.  Now they have been bred and this has been documented:
Doug Underwood has just managed to produce viable fry this summer, and
you can find his posting about it from the APD archives.  So, it is
possible that your brand new SAEs will breed one day too!

Liisa Sarakontu                     INTERNET:
Helsinki University of Technology   WWW homepage

SAE temperature range

by Karl Schoeler <>
Date: Mon, 07 Oct 1996

Steve Pushak asked about SAE temerature ranges.

About 18 months ago I kept 60 SAEs in 64F for
about six weeks.  I acclimated them slowly and
they suffered no ill effect.  Many of them were
sold to other aquatic horticulturists and they
reported receiving them and having no problems.

I wasn't experimenting with them; it just happened
that way.

I also have kept them in 88F with no ill effect but
an extremely low fish load.

As Steve points out, proper acclimation is very

Karl R. Schoeler

Mayaca and SAEs

by Neil Frank <>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997

>They have a voracious appetite, and when there is
>nothing to eat they may work on these soft leave plants.
>Stangely enough, when the Najas leaves are at the surface, the SAE's do
>not eat the leaves.  They just clean them.  It seems as though they have
>too much trouble working the suface of the water and the leaves that are
>there.  Quite an interesting fish!  Do yours eat any Mayaca that 
>has reached the water surface?

I have just moved a few pieces of Mayaca to another tank for it to
regenerate. There is currently not enough Mayaca to even get to the half way

Regarding the SAE's feeding behavior... the very first tank I put my SAEs in
four years ago was a 40 gallon tank with red algae. The six fish quickly
eliminated essentially all the algae, except for some long filaments that
were growing out from the holes of the submerged Eheim filter spray bar.
Even after a few months, this algae remained, but was the only visible red
algae in the tank. I replace the spray bar with another one and dropped the
red algae covered spray bar to the bottom of the tank, and in no time the
algae was gone. 

This is another example of them not feeding near the surface. I had
attibuted it to the current, but its position may be the important variable.
I checked this morning, and I still have red algae on the active spray bar.
I did another switch, but this time moved the static bar to a position on
the front glass near the water surface. My eyes will be pealed.

Neil Frank      Aquatic Gardeners Association         Raleigh, NC

Jumpin' SAEs

by George Booth <>
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 1997

> >10)I managed to get some SAEs
> I think you will need a steady supply of SAEs if you run without a
> cover.   George???

Oh, yeah, fer sure.  

We had a 6" high plexiglas "fence" made for the top of our open tank.
It's made in two L shaped pieces for easy removal for maintenance. The
two Ls fit into the plastic molding on the tank and have notches to
clear the center brace and for cords and tubing clearance.

Haven't lost an SAE or Rainbowfish since we've had the fence.  

Two thumbs up. 


Will the real SAE please swim forward?

Date: Tue, 27 May 1997

        I did a little research on the genus Crossocheilus and here is
what I came up with. Let me first reiterate that cyprinids are not my
specialty. My area is Asian catfishes and my interest in Crossocheilus was
peaked when I found out that a Crossocheilus sp. (C. pseudobagroides) is a
mimic of the catfish Pelteobagrus ornatus. However, that is another
        The two SAEs that I am keeping really do chow down on black hair
algae. I honestly do not know what all species of algae this includes
since my brain only has enough room for the scientific names of fishes and
plants and I never plan on taking up algae farming as a hobby (thanks to
my SAEs).
        Tyson Roberts included three spp. of Crossocheilus in his book
"The Freshwater Fishes of Western Borneo" (California Academy of Sciences,
1989 ISBN 0,940228,21,1). One of these sp. is undescribed. Looking at the
photo all three fishes look exactly like what we call the SAE in the
hobby. The key to the genus uses such distinctions as "rostral cap with
14-15 fimbriae" so you can see how useful this is to the hobbyist with a
live fish. All of the "usual" guides that we use to tell the SAE from its
look-a-likes (such as the stripe goes through the caudal fin and above the
black stripe there is no yellow stripe) are the same between these fish.
        Tyson Roberts only noted one Crossocheilus sp. in his "Freshwater
Fishes of Java" (Leiden: Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, 1993 ISBN
90-73239-17-6). The book only contains a water color painting of this fish
so it is not very useful. An interesting note is that Kottelat and Lim in
the "Freshwater Fishes of Sarawak and Brunei Darussalam" do not mention
any spp. of Crossocheilus. Inger and Kong also make no mention of
Crossocheilus spp in "The Freshwater Fishes of North Borneo". I do not
know if this means that the genus is restricted to Western Borneo. I have
no information on Crossocheilus on the main land (i.e. the SE Asian
Peninsula). Liisa mentioned that someone was doing an article on the genus
right now. Until they publish, there will be unanswered questions.
However, there may be some truth to the theory that atleast two spp. of
Crossocheilus are being imported. One that likes hair algae and one that
does not.

I decided to stop drinking with creeps.
I decided to drink only with friends.
I've lost 30 pounds.
                - Ernest Hemingway

Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #726

by "A. Inniss" <>
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997

> A local fish shop keeps the SAEs in a tank that contains an
> ornament with guess what, attached black brush algae. They
> don't touch the stuff, nor do they eat a particular variety
> of hair algae also present.

        One explanation for this is that the SAEs are getting enough fish
food to curb their appetite for red algae.  Many have noted and warned
that SAEs' red algae consumption rate goes down when there is an abundance
of fish food, which they prefer.

 > I am a little disappointed that to date no one has
called into > question the blanket statement "siamese algae eaters eat red
> algae." The numerous letters that Doug has reportedly received
> testifying to the opposite casts doubt on the truth of this
> statement. That they eat the spores is a hypothesis.
> As you may have guessed, I have some basic questions.
> 1) Has anyone ever actually seen an SAE eat black brush algae?
        I have :-).  When we first received some in our store, I ran a
little experiment:  I isolated them all in one chamber of a system, and
began introducing red algae infested plants from other systems into the
chamber w/ the SAEs.  I watched them as they began to swarm over the red
algae, greedily nibbling away.  They virtually wiped out all the red algae
on those plastic plants, and on other plants I put in subsequently.  While
they were eating red algae in one chamber, I took other infested plastic
plants from other systems, and put them in the same system as the SAEs,
but in a different chamber.  The red algae remained on those plants, until
I moved said plants into the chamber with the SAEs.  These SAEs were
relatively young, being about 1.5".  During the couple of weeks I was
running this little experiment, I made sure to feed the SAEs very little
fish food.  The SAE chamber is now being shared with some young
surinamensis (or proximus or ...?).  Thanks to the gluttony of the little
surinamensoids, lots of food goes in there, and perhaps coincidentally,
the consumption rate of the red algae has slowed to just about 0.
Different size SAEs have been in there with the surinamensis, including
some the same size as the original batch, but none have shown that much
interest in the red algae.
        The red algae was, btw, not what i would call young and fresh,
since it had been on the plastic plants for some time, and much of it was
fairly long.  

> 3) Has anyone ever introduced SAEs into a tank containing
>    audouinella and seen the algae disappear all the while
>    maintaining adequate nutritional levels for the plants
>    and algae? If not how do we know that the algae decline
>    is due to the efforts of the SAEs and is not the result
>    of lack of nutrients.

        In addition to the above piece of pontification :-), let me add
that one of my co-workers took home a couple and put them in one of his
tanks which was infested with red and some kind of filamentous algae:  the
SAEs made short work of all of it.

 > > By the way, I really love these
little guys. > 

        They are kinda fun to watch, aren't they!


Hydrogen Peroxide, SAE feeding and Ceomat

by "Merrill Cohen" <amc2/>

Here I go again with cucumber -- it's so easy to feed and really
inexpensive.  It does not keep the SAEs from eating algae, but it does keep
them from nibbling at certain soft plants that they seem to enjoy when
cucumber is not offered.  They seem to have a voracious appetite and will
eat anything that you feed your regular fish, but that is not enough for
them -- hence, the cucumber.  Many fish seem to enjoy nibbling at this
vegetable and Altum Angels wait around for the softer seeds, so what can
hurt?  Of course, Clown Loaches love cucumber and will stop punching holes
in Amazon leaves.  I also noted that "That Fish Place" actually has a
cucumber feeder advertised.

Heteranthera zosterifolia bloom

by "K. A. Bryant" <smskahj/>
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 1997

I fallen a bit behind in the maintenance of my open top tank and have been
rewarded with the loveliest blooms on the Heteranthera zosterifolia that has
grown to the top.  I'm thinking of letting it remain at the top for a while
so I can enjoy these dainty flowers. Does anyone know if allowing this bloom
to continue will lessen the vigor of these plants?

BTW: This is my first open top tank (a 125 gallon).  About a week ago I
experienced the downside when I found my missing seventh SAE on the floor
behind the tank. Tonight, however, I discovered that I still have seven SAEs
(at least).  Apparently, they spawned.  It must have been some time ago
since the young SAE I saw was almost an inch long.  Wish I had noticed; I'd
have put sponges over the filter intakes at least.

All of this is very exciting. This is the first tank I've set up since I
started following the APD (though I been amending the others right along).
I owe a bunch of thanks to all of you who share your information so
generously on the list and to those who have taken the time for
amplification and clarification in private email. I've never before
experienced anything close to the phenomenal plant growth taking place in
this tank. And I'm both surprised and delighted with the positive affect
this environment seems to have on all the fish. I could go on and on.

Kim Bryant
near Rochester, New York


by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998

> Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 23:38:47 -0400
> From:
> to be preferred.  I wonder if you even _find_ the 6" long "whales" that we
> have in our aquariums in the wild.  My big older ones pick a perch, and sit

Hugh M. Smith (the "Smith" in Crossocheilus siamensis (Smith)) says in
his "Freshwater Fishes of Siam, or Thailand" that "Local fishermen ...
say it is good to eat and that it gets no larger than the type, 
which is 13.8 cm long."

13.8 cm is 5.4 inches, and so it reaches about the same lenght in
wild as in our tanks.  (And my 9-year-old and about 14 cm long SAE, 
Galaxy, sends his greetings to your "whales", Karen!)


SAEs: gloom, doom, and factory fish

by "Ted" <thamiter/>
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998

The following is reported by Harro Hieronimus of Germany in 
"Aquatic Survival:  Bulletin of the Aquatic Conservation Network, Volume 2,
Number 1 - March 1993" ( 

"...Crossocheilus siamensis - This loachlike fish is also one of the
most well known aquarium fishes as it is known as a good algae
eater. Thousands (to be honest, it must be tens of thousands) of
these fish are imported by wholesalers every year and it is no
problem to get as many as you want. However, according to my
information this species is extinct in nature now as a result of
the same dam building which is responsible for the vanishing of B.
sidthimunki. The fish are bred in Thailand, also hormone induced.
Nothing is known about the breeding biology of these fish except
for some reports (which are very superficial) of aquarists who
observed spawning."

I hope someone can comment, preferably to 'say it ain't so.'  

BTW:  I will probably be making a trip to Thailand this summer (to visit
family), and I suppose that there is an outside chance that I can gather
some sort of data that might help us to spawn C. siamensis... if you have
any ideas, write to me at

- -Ted 
Crockett, CA

Luckily SAEs are not extinct

by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998

Luckily this extinction thing isn't true, as far as I know.  I have heard
about that dam too.  Probably it had been built and it has affected many
fish populations, including SAE and Botia sidthimunki, but as both these
species live in much more than just one river or river system, they can't
be wiped out by just one dam.  Some fish importers say that sidthimunkis
have been rather rare and expensive, but still available regularly and
there has been no change in the availability of SAEs.  

If SAEs were bred in large quantities, there would probably be some change
in their quality, size or prize, but nothing like that has been seen.

About breeding SAEs:
go through the archives of this list and search for the breeding articles
by Doug Underwood and Shane Linder during summer and autumn 1996.

OBplant: I just had a crypt (probably Cryptocoryne affinis) bloom in my
tank for the first time ever, and today I noticed that a Pistia has a
flower too, cute Christmas decorations :-)  And Happy New Year to all
of the readers of Aquatic Plants List!



by "Ken Guin" <kenguin/>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999

Zsolt Csillag was asking about SAEs and what they looked like. I believe
someone provided a pretty good site that describes SAEs fairly well.
However, I would like to add a few additional tidbits about them. I have had
SAEs for over two years now and while they do help in controlling algae,
they are not miracle workers. You will still have to do your part in
controlling algae (lights, nutrients, water changes, substrates, etc.,

Another fact about SAEs that I have learned the hard way relates to their
seemingly lack of tolerance of low oxygen levels. After losing several SAEs
following severe plant trimmings, I finally wised up and started allowing
for more surface agitation for at least 12 hours after any trimmings that
amounted to more than just removing a couple of leaves. I am not sure, but
it seems to me that plants don't produce as much oxygen after they have been
trimmed. I don't know if it is just the lost of plant surface because of the
trimming, or if the plants actually shut down after being trimmed. However,
I do know that oxygen levels decrease significantly afterwards and you have
to keep an eye on your SAEs becoming overly stressed.  I have even had some
larger ones jump out of the tank in search for more oxygen. I might add that
I inject CO2 and I could decrease its output for 12 hours too, but surface
agitation is easier for me.

One other thing I have learned over the years is that there are usually two
SAE characteristics that you can depend on spotting with SAEs even when they
are under a lot of stress.  Look for the lack of color in the fins. If you
see ANY color, it is almost a sure bet that they are NOT SAEs. Also, in most
cases, the dark lateral strip will go all the way to the end of the tail
(not just to the base of the tail).  Sometimes, if they are completely
stressed out at the LFS, it might be hard to tell if the stripe is all the
way to the end, but give them a few minutes to calm down and you can usually
see it. If the strip is not completely to the end, they are NOT SAEs.

I have found that in your home aquariums, SAEs do school and Flying Foxes
don't. However, all of them will school when they are stressed out in the 10
gallon tank at the LFS. So I wouldn't rely on that trait when buying them
from a LFS.

For those of you who are lucky enough to have places to buy them, I hope
these few hints will help you find the right ones.

Ken Guin

Dichotomous Key for Algae Eating Cyprinids (and Look-Alikes)

by "Andy Dilbert" <ixtapa/>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999

I recently acquired 5 SAE's for my tank, and I am kind of surprised by their
appearance...  I think it would be beneficial to have an easy-to-follow
dichotomous key for SAEs those looking for SAEs!  Below is a proposal with
just a few species, but feel free to contribute your improvements and any
additional species.

I've personally observed all the species in this Key except "False
siamensis."  I included "False siamensis" in this Key because I had found
some high quality pictures of them.  If you've seen any other "SAE
mistakables" (like Garra sp. or Epalzeorhynchus sp., please change the key!)

1A.    Mouth is in the form of a clinging suckermouth
                Goto 2
1B.    Mouth is not in the form of a clinging suckermouth
                Goto 3
2A.    Horizontal stripe is well defined
                Otocinclus sp.
2B.    Horizontal stripe is irregular or "checkered"
                Chinese Algae Eater, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Tirant, 1883)
3A.    Dorsal fin has dark top, with white edging
                Flying Fox, Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus (Bleeker, 1850)
3B.    Dorsal fin does not have distinct dark top, with white edging
                Goto 4
4A.    Lower rays of dorsal fin are dark
                "False siamensis,"   (Epalzeorhynchus sp. or Garra taeniata)
4B.    Dorsal fin clear
                Siamese Algae Eater, Crossocheilus siamensis (Smith, 1931)

Other Characteristics of above species:

Otocinclus sp.:  Color above horizontal stripe is dark, and below is light.
Small.  Often seen clinging to aquarium glass.

Chinese Algae Eater, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri:  Color is a brownish-grey.
Large distinct scales.

Flying Fox, Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus:   Boldly colored fish.  Horizontal
stripe continues on into tail.  Horizontal stripe edge smooth.  Distinct
yellow stripe over dark horizontal stripe.

"False siamensis,"   (Epalzeorhynchus sp. or Garra taeniata):  Horizontal
stripe does not continue on into tail.  Horizontal stripe edge smooth.
(NOTE: Any personal observations of "False siamensis welcomed!)

Siamese Algae Eater, Crossocheilus siamensis:  Horizontal stripe continues
into tail, but it is no as bold or thick through the tail as it is through
the rest of the body. Horizontal stripe edge somewhat grainy or "zig-zaggy".
Sometimes possesses lighter stripe over horizontal stripe.  The light
stripes in the specimens I have observed were not so distinct as in the E.
kalopterus.  Assumes peculiar resting position, raised off of the floor on
its dorsal and tail fins.  Nose has a somewhat "rat-like" appearance.

Thank you Liisa Sarakontu and Neil Frank for you article "Algae-Eating
Cyprinids from Thailand and Neighboring Areas."  Available Internet: and .  What an awesome article!

And thank you Aquatic Gardeners Association for your "Cyprinid Photos" page.
Available Internet:

- -Andy Dilbert

BBA and Willow moss

by ac554/ (David Whittaker)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999

Thomas Barr suggested among other things that I try SAEs to clean
my willow moss of BBA. My response was, "As for the willow moss,
I think that the SAEs would have trouble cleaning it without
tearing it apart." I tested his suggestion anyway, and it worked.
I cleaned the tank and removed all fish and snails. In five days
the four SAEs did a respectable job of eradicating most of the BBA.
They do not appear to have torn or shredded the willow moss.

Thanks for the advice.

I still waiting to hear from someone with BBA on a Schluerti sword.

- --
Dave Whittaker
Gloucester, Ontario

SAE's Seasonal?

by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999

> Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 00:21:33 EDT
> From:
> Subject: SAE's Seasonal?

>      Also I'm wondering if the SAE is a seasonal fish, perhaps there are more 
> available at certain times of the year?

Andrew, SAEs have a breeding season once a year in wild, and it seems
to be in spring or early summer.  The youngsters are most often
caught on autumn, when they are 2-3 cm (about 1") long and then they
are most easily available at least here in Finland.  



by Liisa Sarakontu <lsarakon/>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000

Jon Hammond wrote:

> Another of my Siamese algae eaters died today.  Just out of curiousity how
> long are these little guys supposed to live ? The ones I have are about 2
> years old and are about 13cm long...

They are rather long-lived, and live easily 10 years or more.  Your
fish didn't die of old age.


worthless SAEs

by PGagne2000/
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000

In a message dated 5/16/00 3:52:48 PM Eastern Daylight Time, D. Chang writes:

<<  don't know why SAE's and Amano shrimps EVER got so popular w/ us plant
 people.  SAEs are finniky algae eaters w/ low appetites.  You have to watch
 them for days to see them eat any algae!  They have never served as
 effective tools for algae control in my tanks (I have never had red hair
 algae). >>
    That last line is the important one.  The SAEs are valuable because very 
little else eats BBA.  If you never had it, you wouldn't need them.
    The effectiveness of these fish was recently demonstrated to me.  To 
fight a green water outbreak with daphnia, I suspended a breeders box wrapped 
with a nylon stocking from the tank's center brace.  This was the favorite 
surface of my three young SAEs, they would constantly clean the outside 
surface of it with their mouths.  When the water was clear, about ten days 
later, the outside of the nylon was clean while the inside had a uniform, 
half-inch layer of black hair on it, thick enough to significantly restrict 
current through the box.  There was no other visible algae in the tank.  
        BTW, I had no trouble related to the use of nylon stocking in the 
tank, but since another contributor had trouble with nylon poisoning, I would 
make sure to use only stockings that had been washed several times in the 
    For what it is worth, the daphnia were very effective, but the box looks 
silly.  Since it is a recurring problem, I use a flocculant and a diatom 
filter.  If I had a sump, I could probably make a permanent refugium in there 
for the daphnia, as mentioned somewhere in the KRIB.  
    I was going to ask what FFF was- just realized it is Florida Flag Fish. 
    Pierre Gagne
    Kensington, MD

Up to Fish/Animals <- The Krib This page was last updated 30 July 2000