Siamese Algae Eater: Full Care Guide

Siamese Algae Eater is popular among freshwater aquarists for its algae-eating ability. They are the perfect algae cleaner. They will help you to tidy up their tank by clearing algae. You can keep them in both groups or alone. They will eat anything you put in their tank.

Siamese Algae Eater (Crossocheilus oblongus) belongs to the Cyprinidae family. They are often called SAE, which is an abbreviation from its full name.

They are active, social, and peaceful creatures. These fish are ideal for beginners to add to their community fish tank. The Siamese flying fox is almost identical to Siamese Algae Eater. At first glance, I was confused about which is which. In a later section, we will discuss how to differentiate between Siamese Algae Eater and Siamese Flying Fox. In this guide, we will discuss, how to care for them, their diet, habitat, tankmates, and more…

Care Level:Easy.
Color Form:Gold/Grey with Black Stripe.
LIfespan:Up to 10 years.
Size:6 Inches.
Minimum Tank Size:20 Gallons.
Tank Setup:Freshwater, Heavily planted.
Compatibility:Peaceful Community fish.

Overview of Siamese Algae Eater

They belong to the Cyprinidae family, carp is also belong to this family. So Siamese Algae Eater and Carp are closely related.

They originated from Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Malaysia. They are one of the best algae eaters available in aquariums, which makes them so popular across the world. Now they are bred across the world for the aquarium trade.

They move around a lot, other algae eaters do not move much (like nerite snails).

They are peaceful and easy to care for fishes which makes them perfect for beginner aquarists. They will clean your tank and also produce waste like other fish. So overstocking can be harmful to your tank.

The Appearance of Siamese Algae Eater

They have a long, narrow body that reaches up to 6 inches. You can find them pale grey or gold in color with a black stripe that spans from the head to the tail. The black stripe starts from the nose tip and goes till the tail fin end.

When they are stressed their black stripe becomes light gray.

You can not tell the difference between males and females until they are around 3-4 years old. You can only determine sex by measuring their size, Females are around 30% larger in mass than males.

Siamese Algae Eater vs Siamese Flying Fox

The Siamese Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus) often gets mistaken for the algae eater because they look similar. They both have a bold, black stripe running down their body.

You can check for flaps in the corner of the mouth. Flying Fox has them but Algae Eater does not have them. But, this is nearly impossible to check when they are alive and swimming around.

There is another to identify them. carefully look at the black stripe of their body. On the Flying Fox tends to be smoother and it ends where the tail fin begins. The Algae Eater’s black stripe is less uniform and stretches to the end of the tail fin.

The Behavior of Siamese Algae Eater

They spend most of their time in the bottom levels of the tank. They swim around until they find a spot covered in algae, they will likely sit there until it is gone.

Keep a few of them together they will form groups and you will find them feeding together in the same area. They are peaceful fish, but they are active and swim around quickly.

The Tank Requirements of Siamese Algae Eater

In the wild, you will find them in the densely planted rivers and streams of Southeast Asia. These waters are slightly acidic and do not tend to have a fast current. Under the water surface, you will find lots of plants, rocks, and logs that provide shelter.

They tend to stay around shelters they are familiar with and rarely venture up to the surface of the water.

Make sure that you cover your tank well. Sometimes they may jump out from the tank.

Tank size

You will need 20 gallons tank for one fish. The Recommend tank size should be 50 gallons. In 50 gallons tank, you can 4 -5 fish together.

Water Parameters

They can live at a wide range of water parameters. But they prefer neutral or a bit acidic water. Keep your water between 24oC-26oC (75oF-79oF). The pH level should be around 6.5-8.0. The water hardness should be 5-20 dh.


They spend most of their time near the bottom of the tank. A sandy substrate is a perfect form. The tank should be well planted. The plant will shelter them while keeping the water cleaner and oxygenated.

You can plant fast-growing species, like hornwort.

Create some caves around the tank to give them an escape. They are not territorial so there should not be any problem.


You can use Canister Filters which will also give moderate water flow.

Diet of Siamese Algae Eater

In the wild, they would eat algae, plant matter but they are herbivores. They will eat dead fish and insects which makes them omnivores. You can use flake and pellet foods from stores, and live foods. Use brine shrimp and bloodworms as live foods. You can also use frozen varieties.

Pellets are good for the bottom-dwelling fish as they are more likely to fall past fish higher up in the tank.

They would eat all day if you let them. Limit the feeding to an amount that they can easily finish in a couple of minutes each day.

Tankmates for Siamese Algae Eater

They are peaceful and non-territorial fish which makes them good candidates for a community aquarium.

List of the suitable tank mates:

And also you keep them with bigger fish like gouramis and barbs. Maybe they are big but they are not aggressive.

You can also keep them with shrimps;

Hey, I am Shuvradeb Biswas a content writer. Fishkeeping is my hobby. There are many problems I faced during my first fishkeeping. So, I made the blog to help new fishkeepers.

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