"Golden" variety. Photo Credit:
My Chinese algae eater has been in my 136 L tank for over a year and is 10 cm in size. It isn't very aggressive but will run off other fish if they get too close (in its comfort zone). It seems to do a good job on algae and enjoys the romain lettuce I put in the tank (not sure if it's eating it or cleaning it off). One of my favorite things this little guy does is lay on top of the magnet that holds the lettuce. He just hangs out and keeps an eye on everything that goes on in the tank. I was surprised to hear how large he will get. It must take some time or else mine is just a small guy.
I've had one algae eater for about 9 months, around 12 cm long now, in a 90 litre tank with a couple of goldfish and a golden rudd. Not exactly a tropical tank, but a warm coldwater tank (usually around 22°C) - they seem equally at home in either. He's by far the most entertaining fish to watch, whether propping itself up on its fins and giving the other fish evil looks, or darting up and down the tank walls munching algae. He's always been slightly aggressive, but it seems to be increasing over time. Oddly, he only seems to really hate the largest of the goldfish - he'll dart the entire length of the tank in no time at all to have a go - generally he leaves the other fish alone, only picking a fight if the largest gold is otherwise engaged. I'm just starting a tropical tank and may move him into that at some point - the temperature difference is fairly minimal (5°C at most) and the goldfish really do deserve some peace at some point. If it weren't for the visual character, I'd probably have taken him back a while ago, but he really does live up to his name as an algae eater.
I have had a Chinese algae eater for almost two years now. I bought him when I was 12, he was no bigger than 8 cm and I put him in a 19 liter tank with an African clawed frog. They survived that, but my frog died after about 2 years and the algae eater was by himself. So I moved him to my 75 liter tank and he has been there for about 6 months with my platies and tetras. He seems to be doing fine, except after so long that I have had him he is only about 10 cm now!
I have had my Chinese algae eater for close to 4 years now. He is such a great member to my community tank. He also has his own cave under a large flat river rock. He is very territorial of his cave, but other than that he shows NO aggression whatsoever. I have noticed though that he changes his stripe at times. I am not entirely sure what changes it, but at times he is spotted and at times he is striped. Of all of my fish, this by far is my favorite and I would recommend it to anyone for a community tank.
I've had a Chinese algae eater for around 18 months now. He shares a tank of 180 L with a shoal of cardinal tetras, 6 white cloud mountain minnows and a female siamese fighter. He rubs along fine with all of the smaller fish but is very aggressive towards the female siamese fighter and makes a point of chasing her down if he sees her. She doesn't appear to have suffered much damage, but she seldom comes out of the shelter of the dense thicket of plants. He used to share the aquarium with 4 corydoras, but had a pathological hatred of them so, for their safety, I moved them to another aquarium.
We've had a Chinese algae eater for almost 3 years now. He is in a 110 L tank with 5 cory cats and a school of platies. When we first got him, he was only a couple of cm in size, and actually followed the cory cats around. Now he's approximately 15 cm in length, and they follow him. He's definitely the king of the tank, but he has never shown aggression toward any of his tank mates. He's beautiful, and entertaining to watch. It's almost impossible to keep anything planted though...he loves to dig!