Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

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Gyrinocheilus

Gyrinocheilus is the single genus in the family Gyrinocheilidae, a family of small Southeast Asian cypriniform fishes that live in fast-flowing freshwater mountain streams.[1] They hold on to fixed objects using a sucker-like mouth, and, despite the name, feed on a wide range of detritus, rather than simply on algae.[2] A "golden" variety of G. aymonieri, the Chinese algae eater or "sucking loach", can be found in many pet shops and fish farms.

Sucker[edit]

The mouths of these fish have developed into a suckermouth, which allows the fish to cling onto objects in the fast-moving water of their habitat. They therefore stay close to the bottom, where their primary food, algae, is more readily available. Uniquely among fish, members of this family have gill slits with two openings each. Water enters through one opening, and leaves through the other. This allows the fish to breathe without having to take water in through the mouth, which is in use to cling to surfaces.[2]

The Chinese algae eater is sometimes kept in aquaria to control algae. It can range up to 11 in (28 cm) in length and has a reputation for becoming increasingly territorial as it matures, and can also be aggressive to other fish, especially slow, flat-bodied species. In the home aquarium, the Chinese algae eater generally makes a poor tank mate. It can be very boisterous, and when improperly fed, has been known to attack other fish and rip off scales, causing infection. It rarely takes food from the surface of the water as it is a demersal species, and as such an appropriate sinking food should be provided. It is very hardy and can endure water conditions that would be toxic to many other aquarium fish, but it should never be kept in such conditions intentionally. Thriving over a wide temperature range, 64-86°F (18-30°C), it is frequently kept in unheated indoor aquariums in some climates.

A golden sucking loach
A striped Chinese algae eater

Species[edit]

Similar fish[edit]

As "algae eater" is a common name for several fish, gyrinocheilids can be easily confused with other species. Most notably is the Siamese algae eater, Crossocheilus siamensis, which belongs to the family Cyprinidae.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). "Gyrinocheilidae" in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.
  2. ^ a b Banister, Keith F. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N., ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  3. ^ www.thekrib.com/Fish/Algae eaters
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Gyrinocheilus

Gyrinocheilus, also Chinese algae eater or sucking loach, is the single genus in the family Gyrinocheilidae, a family of small Southeast Asian cypriniform fishes that live in fast-flowing freshwater mountain streams. They hold on to fixed objects using a sucker-like mouth, and, despite the name, feed on a wide range of detritus, rather than simply on algae.[1]

Contents

Sucker

The mouths of these fish have developed into a suckermouth. This allows the fish to cling onto objects in the fast-moving water of their habitat. They therefore stay close to the bottom where their primary food, algae, is more readily available.

Uniquely among fish, members of this family have gill slits with two openings each. Water enters through one opening, and leaves through the other. This allows the fish to breathe without having to take water in through the mouth, which it uses to cling to surfaces.[1] The CAE is sometimes kept in aquaria to control algae. It can range up to 11 inches (28 cm) in length. It has a reputation for becoming increasingly jealous of its territory as it matures, and also can be aggressive to fish, especially slow, flat-bodied fish. In the home aquarium, the algae eater makes a poor tank mate. It is very aggressive and boisterous; they often attack other fish and rip off scales, causing infection. It rarely swims to the surface as it likes to be on the bottom of the tank. It is very hardy and can survive in semi-dirty water, plus a wide range of temperatures, 60 - 90F (16° - 32°C), allowing it to be sometimes kept in unheated aquariums indoors. Similar to the pleco, CAEs tend to hide in caves when they are not feeding. If a cave is not available for them to hide in, they will attempt to make one themselves by digging under large rocks or against the walls of the aquarium.

Though in the wild they feed exclusively on algae, in the aquarium there is some controversy on the effectiveness of the algae eater. While they are young, they may be effective. But as they grow, they may develop more of a taste for processed foods and consume those instead. Some aquarists also report large specimens attacking and consuming smaller fish, such as Neon Tetras.[citation needed]

Species

Similar fish

As "algae eater" is a common name for several fish, hence gyrinocheilids can be easily confused with other species. Most notably is the Siamese algae eater, Crossocheilus siamensis, which belongs to family Cyprinidae.

References

  1. ^ a b Banister, Keith F. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N.. ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 100. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
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