In all of the established literature, there is a fish consistently praised for it's effective ability to control many types of algae commonly found in the home aquarium - the Siamese Flying Fox (Crossocheilus siamensis). In more recent times this planted aquarium 'must have' has been confused with similar fishes and has itself been seen under a variety of different names, including 'Siamese algae-eater' and the abbreviated 'S.A.E.' As with many common names, overlap between similar fishes can be problematic. Older literature refers to the Siamese Flying Fox as Epalzeorynchus siamensis.
The original Flying Fox (Epalzeorhynchus kallopterus) first introduced to aquarists is a species that now finds itself in the same genus as the popular but troublesome Redtailed Black Shark (E. bicolor) and shares with it a modest appetite for algae and a territorial nature. This handsome fish is a good tankmate for barbs in a robust community tank but is too aggressive for the average peaceful plant aquarium.
The fish most frequently mistaken for our subject is, rather ironically, related to some very effective and desirable algae eaters currently becoming rather fashionable thanks to a surge of interest in Asian Cyprinids. This aside, the frequency of this error has earned Garra taeniata the common name False Siamese Flying Fox. As might be expected from a family commonly known as the Stonelappers, this fish will eat some algae but exhibits a level of territorial aggression high enough to prove a nuisance in many aquaria. Unfortunately, many exporters supply this fish under the wrong name and perpetuate the error. This may be linked to an incorrect photograph used in the otherwise excellent Baensch Aquarium Atlas series (Mergus) where both volume 1 and the photo index 1-5 depict a juvenile Garra. The numerous cases of mistaken identity have literally given this fish a bad name and a more enlightened approach reveals this fish and it's close relatives to be worthwhile algae eaters suited to active community aquaria that benefit from the strong water movement that they prefer.
Tis the season for goodwill to all and this includes pets. I’d like to think that we all know the value of the companionship and pleasure that our wet pets give us and so it’s nice to include them in the festivities. So, what do you get for the fish that has everything?
Old favourites tend to be in the hobby for a long time with good reason, usually, it’s because they combine a lot of desirable traits. The metallic form of the Gold barb (Barbodes semifasciolatus) makes an excellent aquarium fish suitable for both tropical and temperate (unheated) setups. These young fishes at our Pyle store are a perfect beginner’s choice.