Siamese Algae Eater – Care, Feeding, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Siamese Algae Eater, scientifically known as Crossocheilus oblongus, belong to the Cyprinidae family, which also includes closely related species such as carp.

They are native to Southeast Asia, including countries like Thailand and Malaysia, but have found a global presence in the aquarium trade due to their diligent algae-eating habits.

These lively and social creatures perform excellently in large groups or when kept individually. Their peaceful temperament makes them an ideal choice for beginners to add to their community aquarium.

However, one must be careful not to confuse them with the Siamese flying fox, which bears a striking resemblance to these diligent algae eaters.

As the world of aquarium hobbyists continues to expand, one fish species has consistently stood out due to its unique characteristics, practical benefits, and captivating beauty.

Meet the Siamese Algae Eater, a freshwater dweller from the Cyprinidae family, revered for its prowess in maintaining aquarium cleanliness and fostering an intriguing underwater environment.

Let’s dive into the fascinating details of their appearance, natural habitat, origin, growth, size, and lifespan.

Quick Stats About Siamese Algae Eater

Scientific Name: Crossocheilus siamensis
Common Name: Siamese Algae Eater / SAE

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Gold/Grey with Black Stripe
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Size: 6 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Cyprinidae
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater, Heavily Planted
Compatibility: Peaceful Community Fish

Siamese Algae Eaters Appearance

Siamese Algae Eaters, scientifically known as Crossocheilus oblongus, are an epitome of elegant simplicity. They exhibit a long, streamlined body that can reach up to six inches in length, making them a sizable and noticeable addition to your aquarium.

These fish are typically adorned with a pale gold or grey base color, which is elegantly punctuated by a bold black stripe running from the head to the tail.

This distinctive stripe not only adds a contrasting beauty to their appearance but also serves as a crucial identifier when differentiating between closely resembling species.

As Siamese Algae Eaters mature, you may notice their stripe intermittently fading, especially during periods of stress or mating displays.

Interestingly, this behavior is less common within the confines of an aquarium, where their natural camouflage instincts are less called upon.

Differentiating between male and female Siamese Algae Eaters can be a challenge until they reach about 3-4 years old.

At this stage, females tend to be approximately 30% larger in mass than their male counterparts.

Natural Habitat of Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese Algae Eaters are indigenous to the lush, vibrant rivers and streams of Southeast Asia. They thrive in these densely vegetated, tropical waters that offer a slightly acidic environment and slow-moving currents.

This environment is rich with plants, rocks, and logs, providing an abundance of shelter and food sources, primarily algae.

In their natural habitat, Siamese Algae Eaters spend a considerable amount of time hidden within these shelters, only emerging to forage on surfaces for food.

Interestingly, they tend to stick to their familiar territories and rarely venture up to the water’s surface, making them primarily bottom dwellers.

Origin and Distribution of Siamese Algae Eaters

The Siamese Algae Eater’s journey began in the freshwater expanses of Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Malaysia.

However, due to their efficiency in algae control and their appealing aesthetics, these fish quickly gained popularity within the global aquarium trade.

Today, Siamese Algae Eaters are bred and distributed worldwide, making them readily available for aquarium enthusiasts.

Not only are they easy to find in most pet stores due to their demand, but they’re also relatively affordable, typically costing between $3-$5 per fish.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese Algae Eaters are known for their impressive growth and longevity. In optimal conditions, these fish can reach up to six inches in length, making them a substantial presence in your tank.

One of the appealing attributes of Siamese Algae Eaters is their lifespan. With proper care and a balanced diet, they can live up to 10 years.

This longevity not only allows them to become a long-term addition to your aquarium but also provides ample opportunity to observe their fascinating behaviors and growth patterns over time.

Siamese Algae Eaters: Behavior and Temperament

The Siamese Algae Eater is an active yet peaceful fish, known for its energetic swimming patterns and tireless pursuit of algae.

They’re happiest when they’re busy scavenging and cleaning, making them not only captivating to observe but also incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment.

Being social creatures, they thrive in groups where they can interact with each other. However, they’re also comfortable living solitary lives or in pairs.

Despite their energetic nature, Siamese Algae Eaters rarely exhibit aggressive behavior, and their calm demeanor makes them an ideal choice for community tanks, particularly for beginners.

Tank Setup for Siamese Algae Eaters

Setting up a tank for your Siamese Algae Eaters involves paying close attention to their natural habitat and recreating it as accurately as possible in your aquarium.

Tank Size

Siamese Algae Eaters need ample space to swim and explore. A minimum of 20 gallons is recommended for a single Siamese Algae Eater. For every additional fish, consider adding another 10 gallons.


A sandy substrate is ideal. It’s not only visually pleasing but also gentle on the fish’s body, preventing any potential injuries to their sensitive barbels as they scavenge the tank bottom.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Recreate the densely planted rivers of their natural habitat by incorporating plenty of live plants. These provide shelter and mimic the conditions of their wild homes.

Also, consider creating hiding spots with rocks, logs, and caves to offer them a retreat when they need it.

Water Parameters

Maintain a water temperature between 75-79°F and a pH level of 6.5 to 7.0. Siamese Algae Eaters are tolerant creatures, but it’s crucial to keep water conditions stable for their overall health.

Filtration and Aeration

A high-quality filter is essential to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.

Although these fish don’t require specific water flow conditions, a gentle current can help recreate the slow-moving rivers they inhabit in the wild.


Standard aquarium lighting is typically adequate for Siamese Algae Eaters. They do not have specific lighting requirements, but a moderate level of light will promote the growth of the algae they love to eat.

Tank Mates

Being peaceful by nature, Siamese Algae Eaters can coexist with a variety of tank mates. However, avoid aggressive or territorial species that might cause stress or harm.

Ideal companions include other peaceful fish, such as Corydoras, Tetras, Gouramis, and Barbs.


While they’ll happily devour the algae in your tank, their diet should be supplemented with high-quality flake or pellet foods, occasional meaty treats, and fresh vegetables.

This varied diet will ensure they receive all the nutrients they need.

Monitoring Health

Regularly monitor your Siamese Algae Eaters for signs of stress or illness. Healthy fish will be active and display vibrant colors.

Any changes in their behavior or appearance could indicate health problems and should be addressed promptly.

Creating a thriving environment for your Siamese Algae Eaters involves understanding their needs and providing the best conditions possible.

By following these guidelines, you’ll help your fish lead long, healthy, and happy lives, while also creating a vibrant, engaging aquarium for you to enjoy.

Tank Maintenance for Siamese Algae Eaters

Maintaining the health and happiness of your Siamese Algae Eaters requires more than just feeding them.

Regular tank maintenance is key to providing a safe, clean environment that’s conducive to their wellbeing.

Regular Water Changes

To keep the water quality high, plan for regular water changes, generally around 10-20% of the tank water each week.

This helps to eliminate any harmful chemicals that may accumulate over time, and it also replenishes essential minerals that get depleted.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Over time, you’ll notice a buildup of algae and debris on the tank’s sides and decorations. While Siamese Algae Eaters will happily munch on algae, they won’t be able to tackle it all.

Use an algae scrubber to gently remove any excess from the tank walls. Additionally, clean decorations periodically to keep them free from dirt and grime, but make sure to avoid any harsh chemicals that could harm your fish.

Filter Maintenance

The filter plays a crucial role in maintaining water quality, so it’s essential to keep it in good working order.

Aim to clean the filter every month, but remember to not clean all parts of the filter at once. Doing so could disrupt the beneficial bacteria colonies that help break down waste.

Instead, clean different components sequentially to maintain a healthy balance.

Monitor Fish Health

Regularly observe your Siamese Algae Eaters’ behavior and physical condition. Healthy fish will be active, have vibrant colors, and show a keen interest in their surroundings.

If you notice any changes, like lethargy, discoloration, or unusual behavior, it could be a sign of illness that needs immediate attention.

Maintaining a healthy tank is an ongoing responsibility. But by keeping up with these tasks, you can provide a high-quality life for your Siamese Algae Eaters.

Acclimating Siamese Algae Eaters

Introducing Siamese Algae Eaters to their new home is a delicate process that requires careful planning. This acclimation phase helps the fish adjust to the water parameters in their new habitat, reducing stress and potential health issues.

Begin by floating the bag containing the Siamese Algae Eaters in the tank for 15 to 20 minutes.

This aligns the temperature of the water in the bag with that of the tank, minimizing temperature shock. After the temperatures are aligned, gradually mix a bit of tank water into the bag over the next 20 minutes.

This helps the fish adjust to the tank’s pH and other water parameters.

Finally, use a soft net to gently scoop the Siamese Algae Eaters out of the bag and into the tank.

Try to avoid adding water from the bag into the tank, as it might contain contaminants. The entire process should take about 40-50 minutes, but this careful acclimation can ensure a smooth transition for your new aquatic friends.

Siamese Algae Eaters Diet and Feeding

Siamese Algae Eaters are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. Their dietary preferences are broad, making feeding them a rather straightforward process.

However, providing them with a varied diet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.


Siamese Algae Eaters, true to their name, are fantastic at controlling algae growth in the tank. They enjoy a variety of algae types and will happily graze on any available in the tank.

Commercial Fish Food:

High-quality commercial fish food forms a solid base for their diet. It can be in the form of flakes, pellets, or granules. These foods are formulated to be nutritionally balanced, ensuring your fish get a wide range of essential nutrients.


Supplement their diet with blanched vegetables such as zucchini, cucumbers, peas, and spinach. These provide beneficial fibers and can be a tasty treat for your Siamese Algae Eaters.


Though they primarily eat algae, Siamese Algae Eaters also need protein in their diet. Offer them live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms occasionally.

Feeding Schedule:

Feed them once or twice a day, giving only as much food as they can consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health problems.

Providing a diverse diet not only meets the nutritional needs of Siamese Algae Eaters but also keeps them interested in food.

With this feeding guide, your Siamese Algae Eaters can thrive, displaying their best colors and behaviors.

Siamese Algae Eaters Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for Siamese Algae Eaters, it’s crucial to consider their peaceful nature and active lifestyle.

You want to pair them with other species that won’t bully or outcompete them for food.

Here are a few good choices:

  1. Tetras: With their peaceful demeanor and similar size, Tetras make great tank mates for Siamese Algae Eaters. Examples include Neon Tetras and Cardinal Tetras.

  2. Rasboras: Rasboras, such as Harlequin Rasboras, are non-aggressive schooling fish that can coexist peacefully with Siamese Algae Eaters.

  3. Gouramis: Dwarf Gouramis and Pearl Gouramis are renowned for their peaceful behavior, making them a good match for Siamese Algae Eaters.

  4. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom dwellers are calm and tend to mind their own business, making them excellent companions.

  5. Cherry Shrimp: Cherry Shrimp can coexist with Siamese Algae Eaters, adding a pop of color to your aquarium.

  6. Mollies: These adaptable fish are known for their peaceful behavior and compatibility with various species.

  7. Platies: Platies are hardy and peaceful, which makes them good tank mates for Siamese Algae Eaters.

  8. Danios: Danios, such as Zebra Danios, are fast, active, and peaceful, traits that align well with the Siamese Algae Eaters.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Not all fish will get along with Siamese Algae Eaters.

Here are some species you should avoid:

  1. Cichlids: Most Cichlid species, except for the most peaceful ones, are too aggressive to be housed with Siamese Algae Eaters.

  2. Oscar Fish: These are large, predatory fish and might see Siamese Algae Eaters as food.

  3. Bettas: Bettas can be territorial and might not appreciate the active nature of Siamese Algae Eaters.

  4. Arowanas: Arowanas are large, predatory fish that can pose a threat to Siamese Algae Eaters.

  5. Red Tail Sharks: These fish are territorial and could harass the Siamese Algae Eaters.

Remember, when choosing tank mates, consider not only the temperament of the fish but also the size and water parameters each species requires.

Breeding Siamese Algae Eaters and Fry Care

Breeding Siamese Algae Eaters can be a challenging task, as they are not easily bred in captivity.

However, with the right conditions, it is possible.

Setting the Stage

  1. Sexual Maturity: Siamese Algae Eaters are usually ready to breed when they reach about two years of age.

  2. Tank Environment: Create an environment similar to their natural habitat. The tank should be densely planted with hiding spots for the females to lay their eggs.

  3. Water Parameters: The water should be soft and slightly acidic. Maintaining a temperature around 78°F can stimulate breeding.


  1. Diet: Prior to spawning, provide a high-protein diet to condition the fish.

  2. Behavior: During spawning, males chase the females who then lay their eggs on the underside of leaves or on flat surfaces.

  3. Post-Spawning: After spawning, remove the adults from the tank as they might eat the eggs.

Fry Care

  1. Egg Care: The eggs hatch in around 3-5 days. There’s no need for any specific care during this stage, but ensure the tank is free from any predators, including other adult fish.

  2. Feeding the Fry: Once the fry are free-swimming, they can be fed with infusoria or commercial fry food. As they grow, you can gradually introduce them to finely crushed algae wafers.

  3. Water Changes: Regular, small water changes are essential to maintain water quality. However, take care not to disturb the fry.

  4. Growth: Siamese Algae Eater fry grow slowly. After a few weeks, they will be large enough to consume the same diet as the adults.

  5. Observation: Keep a close eye on the fry for any signs of illness. At this stage, they are vulnerable and require careful monitoring.

Breeding Siamese Algae Eaters can be a rewarding experience for the dedicated hobbyist. With careful preparation and attention to detail, you can raise a new generation of these helpful and attractive fish.

As always, remember to provide an environment that closely matches their natural habitat, and ensure that their dietary and health needs are met.

Signs of Stress in Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese Algae Eaters are usually robust and energetic, but stress can take a toll on their health. You’ll want to keep an eye out for signs of stress in these fish.

Prolonged lethargy or hiding, loss of appetite, erratic swimming, or rapid gill movement are significant stress indicators.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to identify and rectify the cause. This could range from poor water quality, inappropriate tank mates, inadequate diet, or a lack of hiding places.

Stress in fish can also lead to diseases, making it essential to tackle the issue promptly.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Siamese Algae Eaters

Siamese Algae Eaters, like any fish species, can be prone to specific health issues.

  1. Ich: Also known as white spot disease, Ich is a common ailment that affects Siamese Algae Eaters. It manifests as small, white spots on the fish’s body, and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.

  2. Fungal Infections: These are often a result of poor water conditions. Regular water changes and maintaining appropriate water parameters can prevent them. If your fish do contract a fungal infection, there are numerous effective treatments available at pet stores.

  3. Parasitic Infections: These can cause a range of symptoms, from loss of appetite to visible spots or worms. Again, various treatments are available depending on the type of parasite.

As always, prevention is the best cure. Regular monitoring, good tank hygiene, and proper nutrition can prevent most common health issues. If you’re unsure about a health problem, it’s always best to consult with a professional.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium is crucial for the well-being of all your aquatic inhabitants.

Here are some additional tips:

  1. Regular Water Testing: Test the water parameters regularly to ensure it’s suitable for your fish.

  2. Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can lead to stress and disease. Ensure your tank is of appropriate size for your fish.

  3. Quarantine New Fish: Before introducing new fish into your main tank, keep them in a quarantine tank for a couple of weeks. This can help prevent the spread of diseases.

  4. Proper Feeding: Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality. Feed your fish what they can consume in a few minutes and remove any leftover food.

Should You Get a Siamese Algae Eater for Your Aquarium?

Siamese Algae Eaters are fantastic additions to most community tanks. They are active, hardy, and offer the significant benefit of keeping your tank clean by eating algae.

However, they do require some specific care. With their preference for a vegetation-rich diet, ample hiding spaces, and a larger tank, they need an owner ready to meet these needs.

If you’re a hobbyist who enjoys a lively tank, and you’re prepared to provide the right conditions, a Siamese Algae Eater could make a great addition to your aquarium.

As always, remember that every fish is a commitment and requires proper care and attention.

With the right approach, your Siamese Algae Eater can be a healthy, long-lived, and beneficial member of your aquatic community.

Conservation Status

The Siamese Algae Eater is not considered a threatened species. However, like all aquatic life, they may be impacted by habitat loss and pollution.

Responsible pet ownership and trade practices can help ensure the future of this species. If you’re considering adding a Siamese Algae Eater to your aquarium, seek out a reputable breeder or dealer.

Availability & Pricing

Siamese Algae Eaters are relatively common in the aquarium trade due to their beneficial algae-eating habits.

You can typically find them in most pet stores or aquarium shops. Online vendors also offer these fish, often delivering them directly to your doorstep.

As for pricing, Siamese Algae Eaters are usually affordable, with a price range that generally falls between $3 to $6 per fish.

However, prices can vary based on factors like the fish’s size, the seller’s location, and the overall health and quality of the fish.

Frequently Asked Questions About Siamese Algae Eaters

1- How big do Siamese Algae Eaters get?

Ans: Siamese Algae Eaters can reach up to 6 inches in length when fully grown.

How long do Siamese Algae Eaters live?

Ans: With proper care, these fish can live for about 10 years.

What do Siamese Algae Eaters eat?

Ans: They are omnivores, feeding on algae, biofilm, and even some small invertebrates. They should also be provided with high-quality flake or pellet foods.

Can Siamese Algae Eaters live with other fish?

Ans: Yes, they make good community tank members due to their peaceful nature. However, it’s important to choose tank mates of similar size and temperament.

Do Siamese Algae Eaters eat snails?

Ans: While they might snack on small snails or snail eggs, Siamese Algae Eaters aren’t known as snail predators.


Siamese Algae Eaters can make a fascinating addition to your aquarium, providing both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits.

Not only are they interesting to observe, but they also help to keep your tank clean by consuming unwanted algae. They’re relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for both novice and experienced aquarists.

As with all pets, remember to provide them with the appropriate care they require.

A well-maintained tank, a balanced diet, and compatible tank mates will ensure your Siamese Algae Eaters thrive.

Happy fish-keeping!