He might not be the best looking fish, but the the Chinese Algae Eater is certainly the hardest working. If you are battling algae in your aquarium, this little fish can help clean it up in no time at all! The Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) is not striking in appearance, he is a light brown with a dark stripe down the back. His mouth is located underneath which is typical of a loach and this placement helps him to grip onto rocks and things so he can remain in place in the current. In your tank you will often see his underbelly as he hangs on to the glass eating the algae and acting as a fast and efficient tank cleaner. While it may seem like one fish cannot do the job, believe me you will be surprised as he can literally clean up your tank overnight, and keep it clean.
In the fish store, you will find mostly young Chinese Algae eaters that are about ˝ inch to 1 inch in size. Even for this small size you will find that they eat an amazing amount of algae. Young fish will pretty much just go about their business, but older ones can be territorial so it is not advisable to have more than one Chinese algae eater in your tank. This tropical fish thrives in most aquariums and his optimum temperature is between 77 and 82 degrees.
They can probably tolerate lower temps, but if your tank gets below 69 degrees, the Chinese Algae Eater will stop eating so be sure to keep the tank warm so that your little living vacuum will keep doing his job. Eating a herbivorous diet, your algae eater will need, of course, lots of algae in the tank so you will need to be sure that the tank gets light in order for the algae to grow. If it seems like he is not getting enough food, or you want to give him something different you can hang a bit of lettuce or spinach on the side of the tank. You may find that your Chinese Algae Eater hangs around mostly at the bottom of the tank, and that is where he is most comfortable. Of course, he will scour the tank regularly for algae so you will also see him on your rocks, decorations and sides.
Although rather small at first, this fish can actually grow to 11 inches so you might want to be sure you have enough room to house him as an adult! The Chinese Algae Eater can be purchased at your local aquarium store and is readily available. If the salesperson doesn't know what a Chinese Algae Eater is, then try asking for an Indian Algae Eater or a Sucking Loach which are other names for this interesting fish. So if you want a fish that is more practical than pretty and that will do your cleaning for you without asking for a weekly wage, the Chinese Algae Eater is a sure bet!.
Lee Dobbins writes for http://www.fish-tank-guide.com where you can learn more about everything to do with your fish tank.