This is the worst fish I've ever owned. Grew like a weed and got uglier and meaner the bigger it got. It either outright killed or bullied to death almost every fish I ever tried to keep with it. They can grow up to 12" and as they get bigger they tend to stop eating algae and instead outcompete all the other fish for fish food. I really would not recommend this fish.
i agree and feel this fish is not suitable for peaceful aquariums. they get large and stop eating algae. they have killed many fish in my aquarium, even larger ones. the albino ones do look nice when they get larger but i would stay far from them.
When small and fed extremely well these guys are peaceful. However, they do get aggressive if they're even the slightest bit hungry. I had one with koi long ago and these guys killed the koi. They like to eat the slime coat on bigger fish. And like someone mentioned before as they get bigger they stop eating algae. I think the change in diet might be due to some sort of preparation for breeding. They also get very lazy once they get large. I think these guys would do well with small fish like cardinals and other small quick tetras. Larger fish have larger bodies in which these guys can suck on and eventually kill.
I have four Chinese Agae Eaters, one in a 5 gallon tank with my guppies and three others in my 77 gallon tank with guppies, platies, swordtails, angel fish and three siamese algae eaters and a very large common pleco. Two of them are the kind with the zipper type stripe down their sides and one is a gold one. They have many fish they could kill if they wanted, but they all seem to get along. Like others have said they aren't good for cleaning algae off of tank surfaces, and when I got them a couple of years ago they were only 2 inches and I had no idea they and my two plecos got so big. They are now over 6 inches long. They do swim around all fast and crazy and wreck stuff sometimes, and they like to move the gravel around and dig under things, and they can be rough on the plants. But when others talk about them sucking on their other fishes slime coat it is because they are hungry. They need to be fed more than just flake food, and they do like algae, but they want it in wafer form, such brats. They also like cucumber, squash and other vegetables. If they are well fed they are much better behaved, but I won't ever buy them again, they get too big and can be too messy, especially the plecos. But I am a responsible fish owner and have true affection for my pets so I will keep them until they die. I would recommend them to people who have large tanks and enjoy large fish, they are not for the small tanked beginners and that is how the petshops sell them as. They really need to stock some other smaller algae eaters for the beginner.
I was recommended this fish to help clean algae from my tank. I listened to the man but I regret not following my gut. I had my CAE for only about 10 days and lost 3 zebra danios and 6 neon tetras (may have been weakened from petstore conditions). I have 3 zebra danios remaining, one of them is missing half of his face and the other has a severely damaged gill. I have not had any other injuries since returning the CAE. Please be very cautious when purchasing this fish. I would not recommend it to anyone unless they really know what they are getting. There are much better fish for cleaning up peaceful aquariums.
The "algae" part of its name is really a misnomer since it eats very little algae. It is also truly one of the most evil fish, which makes me wonder why fish stores even sell these guys in the first place, especially as algae eaters. They will kill any fish they can attach their mouths to. They are also extremely fast, so take care not accidentally buy these guys and place them in a heavily planted tank or a tank that has delicate features or stock because it will be impossible to catch him.
Before we start attacking the CAE, let me just say that I have 2 and have never had any problems (other than digging). They both are usually in or around their cave and will chase anyone off who tries to get in there (completely understandable). They also do a great job of eating fungus off of driftwood and make short work of many types of microorganisms. Mine have never attacked a fish or have tried to suck on them. A few isolated incidents can turn into mass hysteria. So before you say that all of them are bad, keep in mind the it varies fish to fish. These fish can grow to 11" but usually grow to a good 6" in home aquaria. A 20 gallon long could house a lone one, but they are best suited for 50 gallon aquariums. They come in a few different colors. There are main coloration ones and Gold colored ones. The main colored ones usually have beige colored stomachs and green to brown top areas followed by either a straight line running down the body, or several spots. I have seen first hand that their stripe may turn into several spots (or vice versa) at any given time. They may also be dark green or brown colored. Now, provide a cave or large piece of driftwood for them to hide in or call home. If there is not a hiding area available, they will attempt to dig under anything they can to seek refuge. They like fast moving water but will do just fine in slower currents. Having multiple will result in the larger chasing the others off. When not looking for food, they may swim together or even share the same cave. Aquarium covers should be used as you can spook them by turning on lights, causing them to swim in any direction possible. These fish do not clean algae, and should not be purchased to do so. As with any fish, it is your responsibility to research them and to watch their behavior closely.
At the beginning, really good at keeping algae under control. Now, at 3", they are a nuisance. They dig the substrate and uproot every possible plant. Quite difficult to remove them as they darts very quickly. I will only recommend this fish to bare bottom tank only and nothing else.
Have had a golden one of these for almost 18 months now. Awesome fish, cleans between all the nooks and crannies and hasnt ever nipped at anything from neon tetras to when he got moved to a 125g with big fish. Never had him uproot any of my plants either.
With regards to the gold variety: they're inexpensive, very active, love to perch on hardscape and plants, swim with similarly sized schooling fish, swim with loaches... basically fun fish. They also hang out together peacefully while smaller. I'm not sure if I'll ever see them get bigger than 4 inches - the one I had for 18 months took the leap of death. Now I've got 3 in a 55 and so far so good. I'll edit this if they get nasty.
my chinese algae eaters are great fish, they clean some algae and are a good five inches long. i have platies, swordtails, guppies, a male betta, giant dianos, and neon tetras in my tank. mine (all three of them) would never hurt a fly. they are pretty fish, they take over a little "cave" to call their own and they are fun to have. Edit: ok...maybe a fly but not another fish
I kept a few of these before at different times, both gray and gold ones, and they were usually pretty peaceful, but they would chase other fish sometimes and rip fins and were to quick to eat any dead bodies. I've never myself had one live past three inches long - one died suddenly, one jumped out, and one I gave away when I grew tired of it's pesky behavior. That fish grew to 6 inches in my neighbor's tank in only a year and didn't bother her African cichlids too much. Very, very fast also, making it one of the worst fish to catch - use two nets. Probably a great fish to live with turtles or other predators - would clean up what's left of their meals and able to avoid becoming one.
I have a Chinese algae eater and honestly I don't have any problem with him being aggressive towards my other fish. I think all they really need is a good hiding place where they can get away from the other fish and chill. My guy Shark is very shy and hides all the time he mostly comes out at night when the tank lights are off and it's extremely quite. It's also been said to only pair male an famales rather than male to male or female to female since that is the time they will get aggressive. Like I said I have had Shark for 3 years and he is a very gentle giant to my other fish.
i had my chinese algae eater (named mad max)for at least 6 mths now. i've recently noticed that i am missing a few tetras.so i took a look in the tank and there they were DEAD with the CAE eating them. it shocked me because i love mad max but now im thinking he may have to go into his own tank because he has become so aggressive towards my other fish (guppies, mollies, tetras). the aquarium shop that i got him from they said to me that he wont get aggressive towards my fish :-/..well i beg to differ. if your thinking about getting one do some research first or get more aggressive fish than the CBE.