siamese algae eater

Siamese Algae Eaters: A Guide to Their Fascinating Care and Maintenance

Siamese algae eaters are a great choice if you’re looking for a variety of freshwater fish that can help clear up algae while also adding some color and character to your tank. These fish have been a popular option with aquarists of all skill levels for many years due to their peaceful temperaments and low-maintenance nature. Read on for everything you need to know about the care and maintenance of Siamese algae eaters.

siamese algae eater

Species Overview

Siamese algae eaters (Crossocheilus siamensis or Crossocheilus oblongus) are members of the carp family of fish species found in Southeast Asia, specifically in Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, as well as the basins of Mekong and Chao Phraya. As far as tropical fish species go, these bottom dwellers tend to prefer the habitats of rivers, streams, and even flooded forest regions during Southeast Asia’s rainy season.

These fish are identifiable by their beige-brown bodies and long black stripes running from nose to tail across the length of their body, including one stripe line along each side. Their fins are quite transparent, giving them a unique look compared to other fish. Additionally, female Siamese algae eaters tend to have broader midsections than their slimmer male counterparts.

Benefits of Adding Them to Your Tank

One of the main benefits of adding Siamese algae eaters to your aquarium is their ability to control algae growth. They are highly effective at consuming various types of algae, including filamentous, brush, and blue-green algae.

This can help to keep your aquarium looking clean and healthy. Siamese algae eaters are also active swimmers and have a peaceful nature, making them great tank mates for other non-aggressive fish species.

They are low maintenance and can thrive in a variety of water conditions, including planted tanks.

What Do They Look Like?

Siamese algae eaters are known for their slender shapes, striking black stripes, and lack of a “swim bladder”. Because they don’t have this organ, they won’t stay afloat if they don’t remain in constant motion.

That said, these fish can grow up to six inches long, so it’s important to have a tank that’s at least 30 gallons to provide them with ample room to swim and places to hide when needed.

Siamese Algae Eater Size

As mentioned above, these fish can generally reach sizes of up to 6 inches (16 cm), though occasionally beyond this. When considering the size of your tank, it’s important to remember that these fish need plenty of space to swim and plenty of places to hide.

Siamese Algae Eaters vs Siamese Flying Fox Fish: How To Tell The Difference

When shopping around for Siamese algae eaters, it can be easy to get confused between them and the similar-looking Siamese flying fox fish. To make sure you’re getting the right fish, look for a few distinctions between the two.

For instance, the flying fox tends to have a gold band along the top border of their black stripes, whereas the Siamese doesn’t have this feature. Additionally, the flying fox has orange-yellow tinted fins, whereas the Siamese’s fins are always clear.

Proper Siamese Algae Eater Care

Siamese algae eater care involves providing them with a suitable tank environment, including a minimum tank size of 20 gallons (76 liters) and a well-oxygenated tank with a moderate water flow. They prefer a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 and a water temperature between 75-79°F (24-26°C). It is important to keep the water quality in check by performing regular water changes and monitoring the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

Siamese algae eaters are relatively low maintenance and can adapt to changes in water parameters. They require a varied diet that includes algae-based foods, such as algae wafers, as well as live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

They also prefer a planted tank with plenty of hiding places, such as rocks, caves, and driftwood. Providing them with a suitable tank environment and a varied diet will help ensure their health and well-being in your aquarium.

Behavior and Temparament

Siamese algae eaters are known for their active and peaceful nature. They are social fish and prefer to live in groups of three or more.

They are also known for their interesting behavior, as they are able to cling to surfaces using their sucker-like mouths, including the sides of the aquarium, rocks, and plants. Siamese algae eaters are playful and can be seen chasing each other around the aquarium.

However, it is important to note that Siamese algae eaters can become territorial towards their own species, especially if there are not enough hiding places or if the tank is too small. It is important to provide them with plenty of hiding places and enough space to swim to prevent aggression.

Siamese algae eaters are generally peaceful towards other non-aggressive fish species and make great tank mates for a variety of community tanks.

Tank Mates

Siamese algae eaters are peaceful fish that can coexist with a variety of other non-aggressive fish species. Here are some suitable tank mates for Siamese algae eaters:

  • Tetras, such as neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and glowlight tetras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Guppies
  • Swordtails
  • Platies
  • Rasboras, such as harlequin rasboras and chili rasboras
  • Dwarf gouramis
  • Angelfish (if the tank is large enough)
  • Bristlenose plecos
  • Cherry shrimp (if the Siamese algae eaters have been raised with them)

It is important to avoid keeping Siamese algae eaters with aggressive fish species or those that may nip at their fins, such as some types of barbs or bettas.

Author Note: Make sure that the tank is large enough to accommodate all the fish and provide enough hiding places to prevent aggression.

Breeding Siamese Algae Eaters

Given the right conditions, breeding Siamese algae eaters is possible. The best course of action is to create a separate tank specifically devoted to breeding purposes, as this will give you more control over the environment and increase your chances of successful fertilization.

In the wild, these fish are bubble nesters, meaning they tend to float near the top of the aquarium. Keep a watchful eye over their population growth, as these fish are prolific breeders.

If you notice baby fish, be sure to provide them with plenty of food options such as small frozen brine shrimp or live brine shrimp.

Common Health Issues & Prevention

It’s important to keep an eye out for health issues in your Siamese algae eater. Keep watch for warning signs like reduced activity, color changes, differences in eating habits, and the presence of parasites. To prevent serious health problems, make sure to keep up with regular tank maintenance. Cleanliness is key in protecting your Siamese algae eater from bacterial, fungal, protozoan


In conclusion, the Siamese algae eater is a popular freshwater fish species that is known for its ability to control algae growth and keep aquariums looking clean and healthy. They have an active and peaceful nature and make great tank mates for a variety of non-aggressive fish species. Proper care involves providing them with a suitable tank environment, a varied diet, and monitoring water quality.

They are relatively low maintenance and can adapt to changes in water parameters. With their interesting behavior and compatibility with planted tanks, Siamese algae eaters are a great addition to any aquarium hobbyist’s collection.