View Full Version : Chinese Algae Eater!

06-22-2010, 12:55 PM
I went to the store to buy a couple of Oto catfish. They didn't have it so I bought what I thought looked just like them. I researched Oto fish beforehand, but all I knew was that the Chinese Algae Eater looks just liek them, only gets bigger.

Came home, looked them up . . . and discovered they are raptor dinosaurs.

Have I made a dreadful mistake? Will these cute little munchkins grow up to terrorise the tankmates? Everyone's saying they are tank killers!

What have I done? Should I return them? I didn't knowwww!

They're in the quarantine tank for the interim. I don't want them sucking on my adorable angels and pleco catfish...

06-22-2010, 01:03 PM
how big is your tank? CAE's get much bigger than otos. Do you have an algae problem you're looking to control? I've heard a lot of people say they're helpful with algae and not too hostile initially, but things tend to go down the tubes as they get older and bigger.

Lady Hobbs
06-22-2010, 01:14 PM
Not a nice fish, IMO, and I terminated those I had purchased. Once they mature some, they are lazy and no longer eat algae and terrorize not only each other but other fish.

06-22-2010, 08:40 PM
i had one, and it's not a nice fish. they're nice at first, but get territorial and tempermental(fish-nipping) when they grow. i may be wrong though, not all fish have the same personality.

06-22-2010, 10:52 PM
Here I go!Kept many of them for quite some time.While some did have some aggression issues,it was not anything more then territorial and was usually just a short chase off of a fish that wanted to hang out where the cae was.I have kept them as long as 4 yrs and all of mine still ate algae till the day they died.The key to happy sae is a tank of at least 55 gal with lots of bottom structure so they never really feel threatened.In an open tank with few hiding spots I could see how a cae should feel constantly ready to chase.They do not have a mouth they can bite with but they can suck onto another fish,there normal attack is just rushing another fish .How big is your tank?

06-23-2010, 07:19 AM
I have always used them for aggro tanks ever since i removed one that had stressed a krib to near death when i was a kid and tossed it in with my pair of convicts expecting him to get eaten. A wonderful thing happened then, the normal spousal bickering between the cons stopped as they became more interested in the cae that was constantly trying to eat their eggs. The cae got ahold of an egg every now and then and eventually the convicts did catch him. Ever since then ive tried to keep them with my agressive cichlids as with their terrorist attitude coupled with no ability to do any real damage keeps the cichlids off one another. Ive tried it 3 times and it worked every time so far. Im trying it again as soon as i get this tank cycled.

06-23-2010, 10:11 AM
My tank is 90L. I wasn't aware what "sucking catfish" were at purchase, yesterday; I went to buy ottos and was told this was all but the same. I've introduced them into the tank today. Very nervous. I'll watch them for a week, but now that I know they get big obviously they can't stay.

I went in to see the shop and had a long talk with the man. He assured me they were friendly. He's a good man, knows his stuff, won't sell me any ill fish, but this time I think he's wrong. Didn't think they were chinese algae eaters. But they're looks and form matches net pics I've seen.

I think they are.

At the moment they're barely a thumbnail long. My conscience will rest better the sooner I find an aquarium to take them... In any case, it will be years until they grow big, right? They look like they could fit in my angels' mouths, and they're only mid-sized themselves.

I know this sounds cruel... but boy do I hope they get eaten. Forgive me.

Lady Hobbs
06-23-2010, 01:57 PM
Nothing to forgive. I threw mine in the backyard.

Your guy may have simply been mistaken. They very much resemble the SAE and then to make things even more confusing is that there is the false SAE and the true SAE.

In the US, the true SAE's are sometimes not very plentiful and the false are sold in their place. There are some stickies in the "other catfish" section that may help you to identify them yourself without replying on fish store employers.

06-23-2010, 09:05 PM
Ok. For my peace of mind, I'll have to remove them. Find a shop to take them. Somehow.

06-23-2010, 10:12 PM
Post a pic of them.I have never seen cae sold that small.cae and sae do not look that similar at any age.The sae have a solid line with a pointy face,cae have a broken mottled line with a blunt face and a lower mouth.small cae and small otos could look very similar.Be sure you know what you have before you succumb to all the "OMG there monsters" talk.Geesh.
here are some pics to help you.



Lady Hobbs
06-23-2010, 11:08 PM
Good pictures! And you have the True SAE. Lucky guy.

06-23-2010, 11:39 PM
Good pictures! And you have the True SAE. Lucky guy.
Had:scry: ..................

06-24-2010, 09:06 AM
Smaug, thank you for that. I'm very sure it's the dreaded CAE... Same snake head. Same Mick Jagger lips. Same snake skin-like body coloration. Oh dear.

Even though they're tiny and young and I have years to worry about adult aggression, I won't have peace of mind unless I remove them. My angels are my primary. I have to rearrange the tank setup, so it's a good opportunity to take out everything... really, it's the only way I'll cath something that small and quick too. Good timing.

My small glass bowl is huge for them. That's where they're going until I visit the aquariums on sunday. I've got 4 locals; someone's got to want a couple free cute raptors.

I know a shop that sells the otocinculus catfish that I wanted. $10 a fish though. Outrage! They're smaller than the SHIFT key on a keyboard and don't get much bigger.

Tell me, what other fish eat algae off the glass besides catfish variants and snails?

06-24-2010, 01:33 PM
This won't be a problem any more. I regret to inform that they didn't survive the redecoration of the tank. I regret their loss, but ashamed to admit a little relief. Hopefully I'm wiser for the experience.