Algae eaters do not have to be pretty, they should eat algae. This basic motto also applies to Garra lissorhynchus, for which the name “chocolate algae eater” was coined to promote sales, but which is mainly dressed by friendly grey tones. The 1-3 cm long juveniles of this species, which comes from India, or more precisely from the Khasi Hills on the edge of the Himalayas in northeastern India, are among the best algae eaters of all that are available for the aquarium. In this size the fish are very adaptable; in nature the pH-value of the waters fluctuates between pH 4.5 and 9 throughout the year and the water temperature can be 16-28°C, depending on the season. A fish that lives there must be correspondingly adaptable.
Unfortunately only the young are really good algae eaters. Adult specimens of practically all algae eaters need only little energy (young animals need a lot, they want to grow and algae are a low-nutrient food, therefore the diligence) and therefore adult algae eaters usually cover their nutrient requirements with the food of the other aquarium fish.
Our shipments of Garra lissorhynchus almost always contain other species of algae eaters as by-catch, mostly Garra gotyla and Tariqilabeo latius (formerly Crossocheilus latius). We cannot sort them without risking damage to the animals, so we leave that alone. Since all three species are equally excellent algae eaters, it doesn’t matter.
For our customers: Garra lissorhynchus has code 416261 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Algae are probably the most widespread of all the hazards that can hit an aquarium. However, algae are not a bad thing in themselves, they just do not correspond to our aesthetic ideas. In nature, algae growing on stones, plants and pieces of wood and the microorganisms living in them – together they are called „Aufwuchs“ – are the food basis for many fish species, which are therefore often used in aquariums as algae eaters.
Among the Asian algae eaters, the genus Garra is very species-rich. A species from Burma that is striking due to its spot pattern is Garra spilota, which we are currently able to offer again. Like all Garra species, this species, which grows up to 8 cm long, is an excellent algae exterminator. Among each other and against other fish Garra spilota are completely peaceful.
For our customers: the animals have code 416473 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
The genus Hypoptopoma comprises small to medium sized loricariids. The largest species known becomes about 10 cm long. At the first glimpse they look much alike a Otocinclus, but larger. Typical for members of Hypoptopoma is the position of the eyes. They are placed in way at the side of the head that the fish can look over almost 360° when it sits on a plant. This feature can be found among the loricariids only in Hypoptopoma and Oxyropsis. The latter, however, has a flattened caudal peduncle, while in Hypoptopoma the caudal peduncle is oval in cross section.
Sadly determination of species of Hypoptopoma is a tricky thing, although in 2010 a throughout taxonomical revision of the genus was published.
We obtain quite often a species from Peru which we think is Hypoptopoma gulare. This species has been described scientifically from the surroundings of Loreto where collectors of ornamental fish often work. Maintaining Hypoptopoma is comparable to that of the much better known Otocinclus, but of course the larger Hypoptopoma need more food. So in case there do not grow enough algae in the tank it is necessary to feed the suckers with food tablets or slices of vegetables to make sure they find enough to eat. Against conspecifics and other fish Hypoptopoma are completely peaceful. They are open spawners, the male guards the eggs until they hatch. It is not possible to distinguish the sexes of this fsh externally.
For our customers: the fish have code 262292 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer