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A young Chinese algae eater.
Front view of a Chinese algae eater.

Chinese Algae Eater

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The Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) is a medium-sized species of algae-eating bottomfeeder. These juvenile specimens are approximately 2" in length.

While the Chinese Algae Eater is a popular pet fish, they have some specific care conditions that might make them difficult to keep for some hobbyists.

Chinese Algae Eaters generally reach 6" in captivity, but this species can grow up to 10" long. For this reason, a 50-gallon aquarium is recommended for a single Chinese Algae Eater. These fish need a water temperature between 74 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Farenheit, and require a pH between 6.5-7.5. This fish species can easily live to be 10 years old. These fish do best in aquariums with a high flow and plenty of clutter. 

While these fish do primarily eat algae as they are growing, naturally-growing algae may not be enough. While young, these fish should be supplemented with algae wafers or pellets to keep them from starving. As these fish grow older, they become omnivores and will require meat-based foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp, along with plant-based foods.

Chinese Algae Eaters are a semi-aggressive species. We don't recommend keeping them with large, gentle fish species; adult Chinese Algae Eaters are known to latch onto larger fish if not supplemented with enough protein. We recommend keeping them with small, energetic semi-aggressive community fish such as tiger barbs, danio species, and larger tetra species. Do not keep multiple Chinese Algae eaters together, as they often become aggressive towards their own species.