The Golden Algae Eater is a yellow/golden coloured fish from the Chinese Algae Eater family (Gyrinocheilos aymonieri). They are a suckermouth catfish that predominantly live off of algae & algae wafers. They are thought to be originally found in Northern India but are more commonly farm raised in Thailand.

Tank Requirements

  • Cautious Community
  • Temperatures between 21°C and 26°C
  • Water between pH 6.8 and pH 7.4
  • Lots of hiding spaces
  • Live plants & driftwood are preferred to enable varied algae growth
  • Minimum of 30 gallons (136 litres) per fish
  • They do better in an established tank that has algae growth
  • Kept in either a school of 6+ or as a single fish

These fish are semi-aggressive. When kept as a single fish in a community tank they get along with most other fish, they do not like fish that are the same shape as them such as Red Tailed Sharks & Silver Sharks. They should not be kept with fish like Angels or Discus as they will chase them.

Caution should be taken when buying one of these as they can grow up to 10″ – 12″ (31cm). As they become larger they can dislodge plants and rocks within your aquarium. Unlike Pleco’s these fish are less likely to damage plants, they will just eat the algae off of them.

Feeding

  • These are primarily herbivores
  • Algae that grows on rocks, plants, and glass
  • Algae wafers

In my experience, these fish are not averse to chowing down on a variety of foods including bloodworm pellets & frozen foods, however, they predominantly eat the algae that naturally accumulates within an aquarium.

Although they are algae eaters, they are not as good at keeping your tank clean as some of the more commonly found sucker fish such as Plecs.

Male Golden Algae Eater

Golden Algae Eater & Red Tailed Shark
Golden Algae Eater & Red Tailed Shark

Size: Maximum length 30cm

Colour: Yellow/golded on the top with a slightly lighter underbelly.

Sexing: Telling the difference between the males and females is difficult. It is thought that the males tend to grow more pronounced thorns around their mouths.

Female Golden Algae Eater

Golden Algae Eater
Golden Algae Eater

Size: Maximum length 30cm

Colour: Yellow/golded on the top with a slightly lighter underbelly.

Sexing: Telling the difference between the males and females is difficult. It is thought that the females tend to develop a more round belly than the males. Trying to sex these fish as juveniles is nearly impossible.

 Personal Review

If you are looking for a decorative fish that you intend to keep with fish like guppies & swordtails you will be fine. I keep mine in a mixed community tank (see stocking list) and the only fish it has a bit of a chase around with is my Red Tailed Shark, even then the chasing works both ways and it isn’t very often. They will often cruise the tank together quite happily.

Although they are an algae eater, they are not as effective at keeping the tank clean as a Plec would be. They enjoy a mixed diet and mine goes crazy for the bloodworm pellets I put into my tank for my Cory Cats.

They are more social than a Plec, and it is very rare for mine to hide, however, they are skittish. If you approach the tank too quickly or stick your hand in, it will dive into the nearest cave. They won’t stay in the cave for very long after you have left the tank and if you just sit and watch the tank it will be out and about.

Mine enjoys perching on rocks and just sitting quietly in the tank, at the moment it is not overly aggressive but I am prepared to re-home it if it becomes too large or claims a large piece of the tank as its own.