Siamese Algae Eater

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Crossocheilus siamensis - (Smith, 1931)
Siamese Algae Eater

Alert, active and with a voracious appetite, this fish has a reputation as the best algae grazer for planted aquaria.


The Siamese Algae Eater is built like a racer and is prized as the best algae eater for planted aquariums. It is distinguished from other Crossocheilus species in having a black longitudinal stripe on its sides. Unlike the similar-looking Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus), the fins of this species are transparent, and it has only a single pair of barbels on the upper lip. The mouth has thick lips with many folds that form a sucking disc to rasp algae off a variety of surfaces.

Family: Cyprinidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Does best in a densely planted tank with driftwood or rocky aquascaping where it can graze.

Maximum length: 15 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: On substrate, plants and aquarium decor.


Crossocheilus siamensis feeds on plankton and algae in the wild, and its diet in the aquarium must also include vegetable matter. Provide a variety of Spirulina-based foods, including flakes and wafers, as well as occasional treats of live foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp. Unlike most other algae-eating species, it will eat red and black algae, but will not harm plants.

Aquarium Compatibility

The Siamese Algae Eater is a peaceful, active species best kept in groups of at least three. It can be somewhat “testy” with its own kind.


No reports of breeding in the aquarium.


Like the Flying Fox, this species also exhibits a peculiar resting position: it keeps its body “propped up” with its tail, pelvic and pectoral fins.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW