Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sanford, Florida
SAE: The true Siamese Algae Eater, C. Siamensis. When SAEs are young (6 months or less) they eat the hard stuff and work their way down, which is cool. They start out with string algae, BBA, and clado, and then start working on GSA and GDA once the other stuff disappears. SAEs are social fish and should be in groups no less than 3, but 5 is really a much better number. SAEs have SEVERAL large downsides. First off, they get big, really big, like 6+ inches...digest the last two sentences: they should be in groups of 5+ and grow to 6+ inches. In case you can't put it together, these fish need AT LEAST a 55g tank but really belong in a 75g+. On top of all that, after about 6 months, they stop eating algae, and instead turn to anything and everything else: shrimp, small fish, hairgrass, moss....anything and everything but algae. So now you've got a bunch of huge fish that don't eat algae, great. But wait, there's more! SAEs also become more and more territorial as they get older and they'll quickly turn on your other fish. In short, these are not the miracle fish you've been led to believe.
I think you have the SAE mistaken for the Flying Fox? I've kept a group of 5 true SAE's in my 75g for over two years now. I think they are maxed in size at about 4 1/2 - 5 inches. They do not eat my small fish or mosses. I can't comment on shrimp since i have never had any in my tank. They are only semi aggressive with each other and my Red Tail Shark bullies them all.
You did a great job with this article but in my personal experience i have never had a problem with the SAE's.