The Chinese Algae Eater Resource

Chinese Algae Eater

Chinese Algae Eater“Chinese Algae Eater” is the common name for the Gyrinocheilus aymonieri species.

Adult size: 5.5-11 inches
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
pH: 6.8-7.5
Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
Decor: Rocks, driftwood, and plants
Substrate: Any
Lighting: 8-10 hrs/day
Diet: Herbivore

How To Keep Chinese Algae Eaters
How To Breed Chinese Algae Eaters
Other Information About Chinese Algae Eaters


How to Keep Chinese Algae Eaters


If you adopt Chinese Algae Eaters from a contaminated source, your aquarium may become infected. As a result, you should ensure you only adopt ones that are kept in a healthy environment.

They can be adopted from:

Before adopting them, understand:

  • Chinese Algae Eaters have an average life expectancy of 8-10 years.
  • Chinese Algae Eaters may be identified under the common names of: Honey Sucker and Sucking Loach.

Tank Requirements

Tank Size & Population Density

If your Chinese Algae Eaters are in an aquarium that is overstocked, they will become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases, and they won’t grow to their appropriate size. As a result, you need to follow the rule of one inch of fish per gallon of water, but keep in mind:

  • Chinese Algae Eaters must be kept in at least a 30 gallon aquarium when they’re growing. When they reach their adult size though, they must be kept in at least a 55 gallon aquarium.
  • Chinese Algae Eaters grow to be 3 inches long

How do I setup a fish tank? (Opens new tab)
How do I determine the size of my aquarium? (Opens new tab)

Canopy & Lighting

The canopy of your aquarium ensures:

  • Your fish don’t jump out of your aquarium.
  • No contaminates enter your aquarium.

As a result, equip your aquarium with a canopy that completely covers it.

As far as lighting goes, if you want your Chinese Algae Eaters to be most comfortable, the amount of light they get needs to mimic the amount of sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. The amount of time you should leave their aquarium’s lights on to achieve this varies. If it’s in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, you should turn their lights on during sunlight hours. However, if it’s is in a well-lit room, then 2-3 hours per day is all that is necessary.

Water Movement

Chinese Algae Eaters appreciate a strong current in their aquarium. In order to achieve this, ensure you equip their aquarium with a pump or powerhead with GPH of four times the volume of their aquarium. To determine what this equates to for you, use this calcualtor:

Decor & Substrate

When keeping Chinese Algae Eaters, they will thrive if you decorate their aquarium with decor and substrate that mimics their natural habitat.

The natural decor for them consists mainly of rocks, driftwood, and plants, so you should add plenty of them to their aquarium. When arranging these things though, you need to ensure you:

  • Make sure there are plenty of open swimming areas.
  • Place the decor in a fashion that allows you to see them – don’t create a barrier for them to hide behind.

As far as substrate goes, sand or gravel are both suitable options for Chinese Algae Eaters. Regardless of which one you decide to put in their aquarium, you need to ensure you:

  • Clean their substrate beforehand. Otherwise, the residue that is on it will make their aquarium cloudy.
  • Fill their aquarium with at least 2 inches of substrate.

Water Parameters

If the water in your Chinese Algae Eaters’ aquarium doesn’t reflect that of their natural habitat, they can become stressed – weakening their immune systems – causing them to be more prone to diseases. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has a pH level of 6.8-7.5 and a temperature of 72-78°F (22-26°C).

• pH
pH can be measured by using a Freshwater Master Test Kit. If you measure your water’s pH level and it needs to be altered: remove your fish, adjust the pH, then acclimate your fish back into your aquarium – since they are sensitive to drastic changes of pH.

• Temperature
To measure your aquarium’s water temperature, equip your aquarium with an aquarium thermometer.

Ammonia, Nitrites, & Nitrates

The subject of Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates tends to be very dry. In its simplest form, they are all a byproduct of fish waste (fish poop & uneaten food) and are toxic to Chinese Algae Eaters. As a result, you need to ensure their aquarium has:

  • An Ammonia concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrite concentration of 0-0.2 mg/L.
  • A Nitrate concentration of 0-20 mg/L.

If you need to test these concentrations, use a Freshwater Master Test Kit.

If you need to reduce these concentrations, ensure proper:


Chinese Algae Eaters are herbivores, so their diet regimen should consist of algae and vegetables. The way you should feed them to achieve this varies, depending on their size:

Of course, this is just our feeding method. You are more than welcome to design your own diet for your Chinese Algae Eaters. In either case though, ensure you:

Health Issues

Chinese Algae Eaters are most-commonly affected by Cloudy Eye, Ich, bacterial infections, and fungal infections.

Tank Mates

If you are keeping Chinese Algae Eaters with other species of fish, you should ensure both species are compatible together. Fish that are compatible with the Chinese Algae Eater are:

If you are ever unsure if two species are compatible or not, check this Compatibility Chart.


How to Breed Chinese Algae Eaters

Chinese Algae Eaters have rarely been successfully bread in captivity, therefore there is little information available about the process.


Other Information About Chinese Algae Eaters


The Chinese Algae Eater naturally inhabits flowing bodies of water that feature boulders, pebbles, gravel, sand, driftwood, and tree roots. Because of this, the Mekong River, the Srepok River, the Tonlé San River, the Chao Phraya River basin, the Mae Klong River basin, and the Dong Nai River basin are all areas they originally inhabited.

After their discovery though, they were exported to Germany in 1956 to enter the aquarium trade and were also used as a food source in it’s native countries. Unfortunately, because they are used as an ingredient to produce a popular fish sauce in Thailand (called “nam pla”), these fish have been over-caught. As a result, their population in Thailand has decreased.

Where do they currently reside in the wild? (Opens new tab)

Conservation Status

The Conservation Status of Chinese Algae Eaters was most recently published in 2012 as Least Concern, according to the IUCN.

Taxonomic Status

The Taxonomic Status of Chinese Algae Eaters was most recently published in 1883 by Gilbert Tirant as:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Gyrinocheilidae
Genus: Gyrinocheilus
Species: G. aymonieri


Before you go: