So we know the true Siamese Algae Eater is the Crossocheilus siamensis which is often confused with the Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchus kallopterus) and not so similar Chinese algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) as well as a fish known as the False Siamese Algae Eater (Garra cambodgiensis) which prefers fish food to algae.

Often they are found in the fish store in a tank labeled – Algae Eaters which then house an array of fish that all look like a true Siamese Algae Eater.

Lots of shops mislabel these fish so Siamese algae eaters can also often be found under Flying Fox as well as other names.

The names in shops:
Algae Eater, Thai flying fox, Siamese flying fox, colorful flying fox, Epalzeorhynchos sp, trunk barb, Chinese catfish as well as an array of wonderful other names.

The only real gem for planted tanks is the Crossocheilus siamensis as this is the one that WILL eat brush algae (red algae) unlike most other fish…. All others also rather eat fish food and will not touch any algae.

So how do we tell them apart from a false Siamese algae Eater? Well the rule so far has been that the fins should be be all clear and the black horizontal line goes all the way to the tip of the tail. Sounds pretty easy but it seems one of those things so many get wrong…including publications (Baensch Atlas has a picture of a fake SAE instead of a true SAE in the book) and the internet has an array of wrong images listed under Siamese Algae Eater.

You may now smugly look at your tank and think ‘YES, I have a true siamensis’ but don’t get excited yet. Even if you have eliminated the chance of it being a flying fox, garra, or chinese algae eater there is more to come……