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Siamese Algae Eater
(Crossocheilus siamensis)


Siamese Algae Eater,Crossocheilus siamensis, freshwater fish

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Siamese algae eaters, Crossocheilus siamensis, belong to the family Cyprinidae more commonly referred to as the carp family. These bottom-dwelling algae eaters are not to be confused with the Chinese algae eater or plecostomus, two other popular varieties of algae eaters among freshwater aquarium owners. The Siamese algae eater is indigenous to the main lands of Southeast Asia including the Mekong and Chao Phraya River Basins. They inhabit streams and rivers and will spread into flooded out lowland jungle areas of the Malay Peninsula during the rainy season.

 Siamese algae eater are a medium sized member of the carp family. These fish generally reach a maximum adult length of 6 inches in an aquarium setting. They have slender torpedo shaped bodies with transparent fins. These fish have silver color palettes with a single horizontal stripe beginning in front of their eyes and terminating at the base of the caudal fin. Siamese algae eaters have a double set of barbels. Barbles are a distinguishing characteristic of the carp family. Siamese algae eaters are also marketed under the aquarium trade names Indian algae eater, Siamese headbreather, sucker loach, sucking loach, and biforated carp.

Siamese algae eaters make excellent additions to a community tank. They have peaceful temperaments and quite frequently ignore the activities of fish in the upper levels of your tank. They should not, however, be housed with fish with long, flowing fins like angelfish and bettas. They are reputed fin nippers. Unlike many bottom dwelling species, the Siamese algae eater exhibits no sign of territorial aggression toward conspecifics. Multiples will school together in home aquariums. It is in fact recommended that these fish be raised in schools. They have a particular affinity to broad leafed aquarium plants and will frequently be found resting atop of them, especially when they are younger. Adult fish are more prone to rest on the aquarium substrate. These fish will require a minimum tank size of 25 gallons. The average lifespan of a Siamese algae eater is 5-7 years but they have been documented to live as long as 10 years.

Siamese algae eaters are technically omnivores but lean quite far toward the herbivore side of the spectrum. The algae growth in your aquarium alone will not provide an adequate foods source. Sinking food wafers and algae pellets or dried algae sheets will help insure they receive enough food to keep them healthy and full of vigor.  Siamese algae eaters will readily nibble at green leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach. These make excellent supplemental food items.

This is a hardy species that can adapt to a multitude of living conditions. It is, however, only prudent to provide you with what would be considered premium water parameters for this species.  These fish thrive in softer water with a neutral to slightly acid ph factor. A pH level anywhere in the range of 5.5-8.0 is considered ideal. They prefer water temperatures between 75- 79˚F. Well circulated water with plenty of flow and a high oxygen content will simulate their natural habitat.

The males and females of this species look very similar in appearance. Females tend to be a little more rounded than males. This species rarely breeds in home aquariums. Their seems to be no information available as to whether or not these fish are commercially bred to supply the demand created from the fish hobby trade, which would tend to indicate that they are not.

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