Beginner's Guide to Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)

Published on October 10, 2016
Beginner's Guide to Chinese Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)

The Chinese algae eater is a fish type you may already find very often in freshwater aquariums.

Not only to add diversity to your aquarium, this fish is amazingly helpful in dealing with algae, since it's pretty much their food source.

It has multiple other names, such as Sucker Loach, Biforated Carp, Siamese Algae Eater, Sucker Fish and Honey Sucker.

If you want to find the fish in the wild, we recommend you to search in the Chao Phraya Basic as well as in the Northern Malay peninsula, Thailand, and the Xe Bang Fei River.

You can find them in lakes and rivers, but they can sometimes enter flooded fields as well. You can also find them in the clear and shallow waters as they need sun exposure at times.

And here is an interesting video about the fish.

Chinese Algae Eater Characteristics

This fish has a slender body and it’s also widely known for the inferior sucker type mouth.

When it comes to its body, you will realize that this fish is golden and it does have a dark band as well as a few dark spots. The belly is paler if you compare it to the base color.

A thing to note about this particular type of fish is that the dorsal fin has around nine-branched and soft rays as well as ~40 different scales throughout the lateral line.

The bad news is that it's also very hard to differentiate males from females!

Chinese Algae Eater lifespan

It depends on how well you take care of them. Most of the time this species will live for around five years, but there are situations where they lived for ten years.

Preferred environment

A thing to note is that the Chinese Algae Eater prefers waters with pH of 6.5-7.5.

The preferred water temperature is around 80F, and the water hardness should never be more than 12dKH.

Also, the recommended aquarium size is around 55 gallons or larger. The more space you can offer to this fish, the better it will be!

An interesting thing here is that they can be found on the bottom of the tank most of the time. However, there are situations when you might be able to find them on plant leaves and the tank walls. They aren’t as active as other fish.


The sucker loach is herbivorous in nature, and its main meal consists out of zooplankton, algae, periphyton and others. It will have around 13 cm in length upon reaching sexual maturity, but in up to 10 years it can double its size.

As they mature, you can add bloodworms, daphnia, and many others as they will need some meaty foods as well!


chinese algae eater breeding
By Gourami Watcher (Own work.) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Not that much is known about the breeding habits of this species when they are in captivity. But a thing for sure is that they are egg-layers, and you do need to have a good water chemistry to offer them a safe breeding environment.

They like a strong water flow as well. And it is also recommended for you to add vitamins to their food to boost their breeding chances.

Should you get your own?

This fish species looks great, and it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and care when compared to others.

They are also herbivore so regular fish food will do just fine, there’s no need for complications.

Overall, the Chinese Algae Eater is a mild fish, and it can be a pleasure to have one.

We recommend you to purchase this type of fish and add it to your tank; it does offer a great diversity and a nice set of visuals!

Featured image by Garthhh (I took this picture on my Sony DSC-H5 camera.) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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