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Siamese Algae Eaters

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Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  Akasha on Sat 09 Aug 2014, 18:33

Hello Very Happy

I have 3 Siamese Algae Eaters in my 240 litre tank, and they are the true SAE, not a false SAE or a flying fox but a true SAE. I got them about 5 or 6 months ago after reading that the true SAE will eat black beard algae. Well I had a major problem with BBA ... my tank was just covered and I was on the brink of breaking down the tank, selling my fish and giving up when someone told me about the SAE and that it will eat BBA.
So I set about finding out about them first ... mostly how to identify them and tell them apart from the false SAE and the flying fox. I found them at a local fish store labelled as flying fox and I spent about 20 minutes checking for the differences and making sure they were the true SAE. In the end I bought just one and added it to my tank. Within hours it was munching on the BBA. A couple of days later I decided to go back to the store and try and identify if the remainder in the tank were all SAE's or if they were a mixture of SAE and flying foxes. In the end I managed to identify two more that were definite SAE's and bought them. I told the staff member that they wern't flying foxes and that they were actually SAE's but I was met with the "I've been in this game for more than 30 years and I think I know a bit more than you do" I hit back with "doesn't matter how long you've been 'in the game' there's always something new to learn and those fish you have labelled as flying foxes are Siamese Algae Eater's and they have completely different requirements to a flying fox". I paid my money and left vowing to avoid that member of staff in future!

Anyway, the SAE's have settled in, they've grown massively and my BBA problem is no longer the problem it once was. I still have it ... I doubt I'll ever get rid of it ... but the SAE's have nice fat bellies and the BBA is now under control.

So, my main reason for posting about them ... out of the three, I have one that's always alone and two that stick together like glue. They will let the third one swim with them but in general they seem happier to be 2 together and one alone.
So today I was watching the fish and suddenly the 2 SAE's dart to the corner of the tank and start circling one another and bashing into each other. The dark lateral line had faded in both of them and at first I thought they were fighting but then a second look told me they wern't fighting, what I was seeing looked far more like breeding than anything else. I'd just fed the tank bloodworms ... perhaps the trigger?

Now, when I did all my research into them I read that they won't breed in captivity and so watching this breeding behaviour was a surprise! I've had another look online and all information I'm able to find about them says the same; they won't breed in captivity. Which begs the question ... why display breeding behaviour if they won't breed in captivity?

So I was wondering if anyone else has any SAE's and if they've seen the same behaviour from them? I don't really care if they breed or not - to be honest 3 is enough in this tank as I understand they can get quite big - but I am interested to know more about them and if what I've seen today is normal. Call me Miss Nosey  clown 
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Akasha

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Re: Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  wildreddeer on Sat 09 Aug 2014, 19:56

Big is not the word. Mine grew that big it was eating whole fish including angels. I got shut of it when it reached six inches. They appear to be able to live in any condition. I bought 4 old tanks from a fish shop and we stowed them in my garden for two weeks before we cleaned them out. Yep that's where we got the Siamese Algae Eater from. From the slush at the bottom of one of the tanks. It was barely one inch at that time. It done the rounds of the family tanks before ending back with me. It even lived in a cold water tank with carp in. Yes they are very hardy fish and ideal for keeping the glass clean, but be warned. When they get big they are a danger to other fish. They just hook on and eat their pray alive.
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Re: Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  Akasha on Sat 09 Aug 2014, 20:08

oh my god ... you've scared the c**p out of me now!

I'll monitor it and if they start anything like that I'll be rid ...
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Re: Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  Akasha on Sun 10 Aug 2014, 16:14

so I got so worried about what you'd said Phil that I went into research mode again!
I can't find anything that suggests that the SAE will attack other fish - even at full size. The flying fox meanwhile has a real reputation for attacking anything that moves once it hits full size ... I was just wondering if there was a chance you'd ID'd yours wrong? They are incredibly difficult to tell apart.

The main differences are that the true Siamese Algae Eater (crossocheilus siamensis) and the Flying Fox (can't find the latin name for it, perhaps it doesn't have one?) is that the SAE has only 2 forward facing barbels and the fox has four. The true SAE also has perfectly clear fins where-as the fox has black lines running through and sometimes a red edge to the tail too. Another difference is the tail. On the SAE the lateral line runs into the tail and tapers to a point where-as with the fox the lateral line stops at the base of the tail.
Just to confuse things further, there is a false Siamensis and the only difference there is the lateral line again ... in the false siamensis it runs into the tail but rather than taper off to a point it get wider instead!

Talk about being difficult to tell apart, this is why I thought I'd ask as I am worried by what you said.

Here's a picture of two of mine munching on BBA! ... all of that has gone now. They made short work of it lol



I've cropped it so hopefully it fits
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Akasha

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Re: Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  wildreddeer on Sun 10 Aug 2014, 20:21

No defiantly not a flying-fox.
It's me who's got it wrong.
It was a Chinese Algae Eater.
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Re: Siamese Algae Eaters

Post  Akasha on Sun 10 Aug 2014, 20:37

ahh ... they are nasty so-and-so's. I'd never give one of those tank space. I've got 5 little oto's and a couple of zebra netrite snails keeping my glass clean. I've got 2 ancistrus cats aswell but they're so lazy

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