Siamese Algae Eater Size – How Big do They Grow?

Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more

If you are tired of cleaning algae and want to make your community tank more diverse with a new fish, then we have a great idea for you. Why not buy a Siamese Algae Eater? This fish knows no limits when it comes to eating algae. On top of that, it looks awesome.

Now you only need to know whether it is suitable for your aquarium at home. So how big does this species grow exactly? Their elongated body can get as long as 6 inches as they grow older. Of course, you need to maintain the ideal aquarium circumstances for this.

The males grow in the same pace as the females in the first 3 or 4 years. After that, the males start to grow rapidly until they get 30% longer and bigger than the females. However, you are going to have a hard time telling their sex while they are younger because they are basically identical.

Let’s see the appropriate tank size for this little shark.

Tank Size for Siamese Algae Eater

As long as the Siamese Algae Eater has enough space to swim, it will be happy to be part of your tank. For this species, we recommend you to buy at least a 25-gallon tank. Make sure it is at least 36 inches long to provide them a wider area.

Siamese Algae Eaters are Schooling Fish

Siamese Algae Eaters are Schooling Fish

The Siamese Algae Eater is a schooling fish that is most active when part of a 4-6 fish group. If you decide to keep more than one of them, then it is better to go up to 4 and they are going to have a great time together. For each additional SAE, you will need another 10 gallons.

If you are not sure whether the Siamese Algae Eater is the fish you are looking for, then let us show you some other alternatives. The 3 aquarium species we are going to show you are just as popular in the algae eater category thanks to their decorative looks and interesting behaviors.

Siamese Algae Eater Alternatives

If you have a small tank and want some good algae eaters, below are some alternatives you can keep instead of siamese algae eaters:

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

The Otocinclus Catfish is much smaller in size than the SAE. It can reach 2 inches in adulthood and has a very timid personality. However, you can make them feel safe and comfortable by keeping at least 6 of them in your tank.

As little as the Otocinclus is, it’s just as sensitive. You have to pay close attention to the water parameters if you choose to take care of this species. They certainly won’t eat all types of algae and can’t eat much of them either because of their small size.

Still, a group of 6 or more can do a pretty good job in cleaning your fish tank. They can get all the nutrition they need from a diverse diet of algae eater foods and vegetables.

Nerite Snails


Nerite Snail

If you want to add a beautiful specimen to your aquarium that is not a fish, then the Nerite Snail is going to be a great choice. They are available in various patterns and algae is their main food. These are probably going to be the smallest creatures in your fish tank.

Therefore, you will need plenty of them if you want to see that algae disappear. It is widely known about snails that they reproduce quite fast. As long as you don’t keep them in brackish water, this is not going to be a problem for you.

Nerite Snails are slow and peaceful so they are not going to bother any species around them. It is very important to ensure the water is hard enough in order to prevent their shell from deteriorating.  

Amano Shrimp


Amano Shrimp

If you are looking for the best algae eater that is not necessarily a fish, then the Amano Shrimp is the undisputed best in the category. They main activity is to move around the tank looking for algae. It doesn’t matter what type of algae it is.

Once the Amano Shrimp discovers it, it is going to be eaten. Since this is the thing they are mainly interested about, they are absolutely peaceful creatures. You can buy a few of them right away and put them together with tank mates that have a similar temperament.

With this shrimp, you can forget about water pollution as well because they are going to eat all the leftover fish food.

Can You Keep SAE With Shrimp or Smaller Fish?

Siamese Algae Eaters and Amano Shrimps are a great combination for any aquarium. They both are peaceful creatures that won’t bother each other at all. The SAE might get territorial during breeding season but this has nothing to do with the shrimp.

Besides the Amano Shrimp, you can choose many other shrimp species as tank mates. This also applies to smaller fish. There is a huge number of big and small fish that can be kept together with the Siamese Algae Eater.

This fish is simply not a threat to any other species. Just make sure the other fish are not too aggressive.

What is the Lifespan of Siamese Algae Eaters?

The Siamese Algae Eater can live up to 10 years if taken proper care of. Now the good news is that it won’t be a big challenge to keep them healthy for that long, even if you are a beginner. This fish can easily adapt and doesn’t need much extra care to strive.

A temperature of 75-80 °F with an acidity of 6.5-8.0 pH are the water parameters we consider ideal for this species. As long as you keep the water parameters right and provide them a mix of meat-based food and vegetables, they are going to be fine.


As you can see, the Siamese Algae Eater is a peaceful fish with pretty basic needs. It is not too big and comes with numerous benefits. First off, it cleans up the whole tank from algae before you know it. Secondly, it is a perfect choice for beginners.

You can easily set up a tank for them and watch them thrive. Then it is going to be straightforward to pick tank mates for them. The SAE is compatible with dozens of snails, shrimps and other peaceful fish, be it big or small.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *