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Clown Loach

(Botia macracantha)
  Click here for a larger image
Clown Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 1'
Color Form: Amber, Black, Brown, Cream, Orange Tip
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Indonesia
Family: Cobitidae

The Clown Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in Indonesia.

The Clown Loach is a peaceful fish that enjoys the company of its own species as well as other small and peaceful tank mates. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Clown Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it would appreciate currents in the aquarium.

Botia macracantha enjoys eating small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Clown Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Prepared foods such as vegetable flakes or tablets along with meaty supplements such as live, frozen, or freeze-dried worms will provide this species with the proper nutrition.

Distribution: Sumatra and Borneo
Length: Up to 12in (30cm)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, plant matter,and dried food
Water temperature: 75-86 F (24-30 C)
Community Tank environment

Clown LoachThe most colorful and popular of the loaches, the Clown Loach is moderately elongated and laterally compressed. It has an arched back, an almost straight belly profile, and four pairs of barbels. The barbels located on the lower jaw are very small. The head is large and the mouth faces downward, with thick fleshy lips. The spine in front of the eye is quite short. The general coloration is bright orange and the flanks are crossed by three wide, wedge- shaped black bands. The first band runs from the top of the skull across the eye and then obliquely down to the region of the mouth; the second starts in front of the dorsal fin and extends down to the belly, and the third covers a large part of the caudal peduncle and runs down onto the anal fin. The pectoral, ventral, and caudal fins are yellowish with black markings.

The Clown Loach is not a shy as the other loaches. Often quite active in the day, they can be easily kept in a community tank with other fishes. It is very helpful to buy Clown Loaches in pairs, since they are happiest with a companion. In fact, they have even been seen to form a small shoal with armored catfish. One unusual Clown Loach trait is resting on the bottom of the tank on their sides. Although this may alarm owners at first, most come to realize that this is, in fact, a normal behavior.

The tank should have a soft substrate that will allow the fishes to burrow for food. Clown Loaches will eat a wide variety of foods including: brine shrimp, bloodworms, snails, and various dried foods (The dried food should be high in protein). Rocks and roots suitably placed in the tank will provide shelter. Most clown loaches prefer homes that are only slightly larger than they are. The water should be soft and changed often.

Once they are established, Clown Loaches live for several years in an aquarium, where they grow slowly, but seldom reach the size recorded for wild specimens (About one foot). They have not been bred in captivity; probably because they do not reach full sexual maturity.

Due to the popularity of these fishes, they have become increasingly harder to find, and most of the available stock is quite small and expensive. If you do find some Clown Loaches at a decent size and price, buy them before someone else does!

The Clown Loach originally came from Indonesia. It is distinguished by broad black vertical bands on its flesh colored scaleless body and by red in its fins.  The Clown Loach is a bottom dweller and likes to hide in the day, so adjust the aquarium decor accordingly.  Make sure the aquarium is covered too, as this bottom dweller is also a jumper.  It will eat a large variety of foods including any snails in the tank and many of the plants.  If you have plants you are particularly proud of, keep them away from this fellow.  The Clown Loach can also be fed vegetable flakes, shrimp pellets and live or freeze-dried worms and brine shrimp.  It grows quite large and therefore needs an aquarium of at least 30 gallons.  Clown Loaches do better with 2 - 4 in a tank.  They seem to get ich easily, so keep the Quick Cure handy.

Clown Loaches will often stay in caves for days if they are stressed.  When they are comfortable, they will swim in groups and then rest lying over top of each other, on their sides or even upside down.  This can create the mistaken impression that they are no longer alive.

Clown Loaches are extremely hard to breed and most of them you find are wild caught.

 Scientific Name:   Botia macracanthus
 Family:   Loach
 Temperature:   25 - 30 C; 77 - 86 F
 pH   5 - 8
 Size:    6 - 12 inches
 Life Span:    10 - 15 years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg Layer

Tropical Fish Compatibility:

Bala Sharks, Barbs, Catfish, Danios, Gouramis, Loaches, Plecos, Rainbows, one Red Tailed Shark, one Rainbow Shark

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach The Kuhli Loach originated in Asia. It is also called the Coolie Loach, the Leopard Eel and the Striped Loach.  It is known by the scientific names Acanthophthalmus kuhli and Pangio kuhlii.  Kuhlis have long slender worm-like bodies with dark bands over an orange base color.  They have several barbels at their mouth.  Kuhlis will hide most of the time and will feed in darkness by scavenging.  They prefer clear water and a sandy substrate to dig in.  Floating plants will help reduce the lighting.  They will be much more active and visible if kept in groups, but they do not school.  They eat flake foods, freeze-dried foods and tubifex.  

 Scientific Name:   Acanthophthalmus kuhli
 Family:   Loach
 Temperature:   21 - 30 C; 70 - 86 F
 pH   5.5 - 6.5
 Size:    10 cm; 4 inches
 Life Span:     years
 Breeding:    Difficult, Egg layer

Tropical Fish Compatibility:

Barbs, Corydoras, Danios, Rasboras, Rainbowfish, Livebearers, Plecos, Tetras,

Distribution: Thailand, Malaya,Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Indonesia
Length: 3 1/2 in, possibly more
Diet: flakes, freeze-dried foods,any small live foods
Water Temperature: 70-75 F
Community Tank Enviroment

(Please Note: The following text has been taken directly from the March 1996 issue of Aquarium Fish Magazine. The author, Alfred D. Castro, was responding to a reader's request for more information about kuhli loaches.)

The kuhli loach ("coolie" is an often seen mistake) is a fascinating and hardy species that fits well into a small fish community aquarium. They like clean, clear water, and do best with aquarium gravel, such as fine sand, that does not have sharp edges. This approximately duplicates their natural habitat, which is the sandy beds of mountain steams or slow flowing rivers. They actually seem to do better in an aquarium that has a slight buildup of organic mulm or peat moss on the surface of the substrate.

They accept a wide range of water chemistries - pH of 5.5 to 7.5 and hardness up to 200 parts per million (ppm) - although optimum values seem to be more like a pH of 6.3 to 6.8 and a hardness below 80 ppm. Cool temperatures are preferred (70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit), but they will accept temperatures into the low 80s for short periods of time.


Image by Andy Isoft - (web site) Used with Permission

The kuhli loach will live for several years in an aquarium in which it is the only fish of its kind, but it seldom comes out in the open and cannot be enjoyed for its comical actions. If it is kept in small groups (I like to keep at least a half dozen together), the kuhli loach will be seen swimming in and around piles of rocks, under and over pieces of driftwood or around stems of plants. It will be out looking for food, playing tag with its friends or simply "sunning" itself on a raised object - in short, it will act more like it would in the wild.

I don't want you to get the impression that they are schooling fish, because they aren't. They are simply gregarious and feel much more comfortable in the company of their own kind.

Feeding the kuhli loach poses no problems. They are very adept at locating bits of food in an aquarium, and are often included in an aquarium to ensure that there is no buildup of uneaten foods under rocks or wood. They eat prepared flakes, freeze-dried foods and any small live foods that settle to the bottom, but have a real fondness for small worms or Tubifex. It is important to limit the amount of worms in their diets because worms are a rich, fat-filled food, and a balanced diet is much better for the fish.

I know very little about the breeding of this fish. I have only had five spawns of these loaches that produced babies, and have learned very little form these spawnings. On three occasions, pairs have scattered adhesive eggs over and in the aquatic plants (generally water sprite).

On one of these occasions, I siphoned out all the eggs I could find to a separate container for careful handling of the eggs and fry. I fed the fry on "green water," sifted Cyclops nauplii, newly hatched Artemia nauplii and microworms, and in this manner was able to raise seven fry to the age of one month in this container.

Then I noticed that there were some babies in the original kuhli aquarium. I added all the fry (the newly found fish and my "carefully" reared fish) back to the community tank. At the age of six months, there were still 22 of the young fish in the aquarium.

On one other occasion I did not know a spawning had occurred because I didn't see any babies in the aquarium until I did my periodic cleaning under the subgravel plates. I inserted a siphon down the uplift tube, started to drain the water and accumulated mulm from under the plates and found 14 fry, about 1 inch long. This final spawning apparently took place in a large cave, although I'm only basing this on the fact that the adults always lived in the cave and that's where the fry were found. It has been reported elsewhere that the kuhli loach builds a bubble-nest, but I've never actually seen this.

The most disturbing aspect of my breeding adventures is that I have absolutely no idea what triggers the spawning activity. I know that it is possible to stimulate spawning with pituitary hormones, but I don't use them.

The last item worth mentioning is that all "kuhli" loaches aren't necessarily real kuhli loaches. There are a number of very similar species in the genus Acanthophthalmus . The real kuhli loach, Acanthophthalmus kuhlii , is a 3.5 inch fish from Indonesia, Sumatra, Java, Malaya and Thailand. It has 15 to 20 dark bars on its flanks that almost circle the body, but stop at the belly. There are two subspecies (maybe three) that have variations in the length of the bars and narrow bands within the bars.

The first impostor is the Indian thorneyes, Acanthophthalmus cuneovirgatus (Acanthophthalmus means "thorn eye" and refers to the sharp, two pronged spine at the base of each eye), from the Johore province of India. This fish grows to about 2.5 inches and has 10 to 14 short, dark bars that look like triangles over its back and part way down its sides.

Myer's loach (also known as Myer's slimy loach or giant kuhli loach), Acantophthalmus myersi , is a 4-inch species from southeast Thailand. This species is considerably heavier bodied than the normal kuhli loach, and the body has a more slippery or "slimy" texture. It has 10 to 14 long, broad, dark bars that nearly encircle the body.

The dwarf kuhli, Acanthophthalmus robiginosus, is a seldom-seen species from western Java that has about 20 broad dark bars separated by very narrow yellow to yellow-orange bands. The dark bars reach down to just past the mid line of the body. This very attractive species reaches barely 2 inches in length.

Acanthophthalmus semicinctus, the half-banded loach, is a 3-inch species with 12 to 16 dark bars on the flank. There are two or three bars at the head and one or two bars at the tail that circle the body, but the rest of the bars come only to the mid line of the body. This Indonesian species shows more reddish-copper color on the body and seems to prefer warmer waters - from 78 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another species with a similar color pattern is Shelford's thorneye, Acanthophthalmus shelfordii. Instead of distinct bars, the dark areas are ragged blotches in two horizontal bands. This 3.5 inch species comes from Borneo, Sarawak and the Malay Peninsula.

There are several other "thorneyes" that warrant keeping in the aquarium, but their color patterns are not similar to the kuhli loach, so they cannot be confused with this species. Care is much the same for all species of Acanthophthalmus , with temperature being the only real variable that matters. If you're not sure which species you have, I suggest keeping the water at about 75 degrees Fahrenheit until you can identify the proper temperature. And be sure to purchase these fish in a group to ensure that they are better able to adapt to your aquarium conditions.

Sidthimunki Botia Loach

(Botia sidthimunki)
Sidthimunki Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 2"
Color Form: Black, Silver, Tan
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised, Malaysia
Family: Cobitidae

The Sidthimunki Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originated from the streams in India. Currently due to the low numbers in the wild, they are being farm-raised in Malaysia. The body of this Botia Loach is silver to tan in coloration and, like other Botia loaches, this fish is identified by the four pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth area. The upper half of this fish is decorated with a checker-like pattern of black bars, which give this fish a very interesting look.

The Sidthimunki Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Sidthimunki Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Sidthimunki Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

Lohachata Botia Loach

(Botia lohachata)
Lohachata Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3"
Color Form: Black, Gold, Silver
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Cobitidae

The Lohachata Botia Loach, sometimes referred to as the Yoyo or Pakistani Loach, is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in India. These fish can be identified by their four pairs of barbels, protruding from the mouth area, along with their silvery/gold coloration with black irregular striping.

The Lohachata Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Lohachata Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

Botia lohachata requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Lohachata Botia Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky.

Striata Botia Loach

(Botia striata)
Striata Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Brown, Tan
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Cobitidae

The Striata Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in India. The body of this Botia Loach is tan and dark brown in coloration, and like other Botia loaches, this loach can be identified by the four pairs of barbels protruding from its mouth area. The entire body and fins of this Loach is barred with alternating stripes of both tan and dark brown, which gives this fish a very interesting look.

The Striata Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Striata Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Striata Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

Orange-finned Loach (aka Blue Botia) (Botia modesta)

Source: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia
Length: Up to 12in (30cm)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects,and dried food
Water temperature: 77-86 F (25-30 C)
Species Tank enviroment

Though rather stocky and lacking the typical snakelike body of most loaches, the Orange-finned Loach has a laterally compressed shape and other features that easily identify is as a loach. It has three pairs of barbels. Its back is moderately arched and the belly profile very slightly convex. The front rays of the dorsal fin lie directly above the ventral fins and well in front of the anal fin- a characteristic of most tropical loaches. The caudal peduncle is short but quite high. The general coloration is gray-green to grayish blue and slightly darker on the head. There is a dark marking at the root of the tail but it is usually indistinct. Otherwise, there are no transverse bars or other markings that are usually found in so many of the related species. The caudal fin is bright yellow, and the other fins are grayish yellow.

Photo by Brian (BB) LynchThis is a hardy but rather shy loach that usually hides away during the day and comes out a night when it burrows for small crustaceans and insect larvae. However, when kept in small numbers, it can become agressive and should be carefully watched when introduced into a tank. It can be kept in an aquarium with a soft substrate and scattered rocks and roots. Since this fish is a vigorous digger, rooted plants are not suitable for this aquarium. However, a few floating plants would provide decoration in the upper parts of the tank. This species has not yet been bred in captivity.

Loaches such as this one utilize their intestines as an accessory respiratory organ. This enables them to live in oxygen-depleted waters. They rise to the surface and gulp a mouthful of air, which passes along the alimentary canal to the hind gut. There the oxygen is extracted by the dense accumulation of capillaries that line this part of the gut; the residue of air is passed out at the anus. However, clean water and aeration are important.

Dario Botia Loach

(Botia dario)
Dario Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Black, Tan
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Cobitidae

The Dario Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in India. The body of this Botia Loach is tan and black in coloration, and like other Botia loaches, this fish can be identified by their four pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth area. The entire body and fins of this Loach is barred with alternating stripes of both tan and black, which gives this fish a very interesting look.

The Dario Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Dario Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Dario Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

Gold Dojo Loach

(Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)
  Click here for a larger image
Gold Dojo Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 68-76F; pH 6.0-6.5; KH 3-5
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 8"
Color Form: Gold, Pink
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Farm Raised, Singapore
Family: Cobitidae

The Gold Dojo Loach originates within the Rivers, Lakes, and Ponds of Asia and is farm raised for the aquarium industry. Loaches are bottom dwelling scavengers with reduced or absent scales and a mouth surrounded by barbels in which they use to find food. They have an elongated, smooth body that is gold to pink in coloration. They are peaceful and very efficient scavengers that will make a welcome addition to any community aquarium.

The Gold Dojo Loach requires a 30 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of hiding places and water temperatures that range between 68 and 76 degrees. They do well in a planted aquarium, but larger specimens may uproot plants in their search for food. Gold Dojo Loaches are peaceful, and will not typically bother other fish in the aquarium. They make excellent tank mates for fancy goldfish. Use caution when housing them with small invertebrates such as Ghost or Japonica Amano Shrimp.

The Gold Dojo Loach is largely carnivorous, preferring freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as frozen and live meaty foods of all types.

Black Kuhlii Loach

(Pangio sp.)
Black Kuhlii Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 79-86F; pH 6.0-6.5; KH 3-5
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 3"
Color Form: Amber, Cream, Pink, Tan
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Carnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Southeast Asia
Family: Cobitidae

The Black Kuhlii Loach is one of about 100 species in the Cobitidae family. Loaches are bottom dwelling scavengers with reduced or absent scales and a mouth surrounded by barbels used to taste. At times, the loach will lie on its side when there are insufficient hiding places, giving the impression that it is sick; this behavior is normal.

Largely nocturnal, loaches are shy fish that like to hide among driftwood, plant roots, rocks, and caves. Loaches are peaceful fish that get along well with other peaceful community tank mates.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Black Kuhlii Loach have not been documented.

Although it is a scavenger, Pangio semicinctus is largely carnivorous, preferring freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as frozen and live foods of all types. With time and training, the Black Kuhlii Loach may accept flake foods.

Redtail Botia Loach

(Botia modesta)
  Click here for a larger image
Redtail Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 10"
Color Form: Blue, Red, Silver
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Asia
Family: Cobitidae

The Redtail Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams throughout Asia. The body of this Botia Loach is bluish to silver in coloration, and like other Botia loaches, can be identified by the four pairs of barbels protruding from its mouth area. The fins are bright red to orange in color adding further appeal to this species. This beautiful species are active scavengers and will help control snail populations in a planted aquarium.

The Redtail Botia Loach is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Redtail Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. They are also a natural predator of snails, and will aid in their control in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Redtail Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

Angelicus Botia Loach

(Botia angelicus)
Angelicus Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Brown, Tan
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Cobitidae

The Angelicus Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in India. The body of this Botia Loach is tan and dark brown in coloration, and like other Botia loaches this fish can be identified by their four pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth area. The main color of the body of this Botia is dark brown, and the entire body and fins of this Loach is barred and spotted with tan markings, which gives this fish a very interesting look. This species has recently been re-classified as Botia kubotai.

The Angelicus Botia Loach is a peaceful fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other peaceful bottom dwelling fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Angelicus Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Angelicus Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

Tiger Botia Loach

(Botia hymenophysa)
  Click here for a larger image
Tiger Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 8"
Color Form: Black, Brown, Green, Silver
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: Asia
Family: Cobitidae

The Tiger Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams and rivers of Asia. The body of this Botia Loach is silver in coloration with a brown or green tone. Like other Botia loaches, this loach can be identified by the four pairs of barbels protruding from its mouth area. The entire body and fins of this Loach is barred with black stripes giving this fish a tiger-like appearance.

The Tiger Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The Tiger Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. They are also a natural predator of snails, and will aid in their control in a planted or community aquarium.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The Tiger Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp, and a quality flake or pellet food.

Source: Thailand, Malaya, Borneo, Sumatra, Java
Length: Up to 8.3in (21cm), possibly more
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, and dried food
Water temperature: 77-86 F (25-30 C)
Species Tank enviroment

This is an elongated and slender loach with a conical pointed head. Its mouth faces downward and it has three pairs of barbels. Below the eye there is a forked, erectile spine; its length is the same as the diameter of the eye. The upperparts are brownish or yellowish brown and the underparts are pale yellow. The flanks are grayish yellow or gray-green; 11 or more dark transverse bars, which are positioned slightly obliquely, mark the flanks. These bars are separated by narrow pale areas, but they do not reach the belly. The fins are yellowish or greenish; the dorsal and caudal fins have thin dark bands.

This rather shy loach can be aggressive. It lives on the bottom, remaining hidden by day but coming out at night to burrow for insect larvae and worms. It can be kept in a tank with a soft substrate and sufficient rocks and roots to provide plenty of hiding-places. The water should be soft, and at least a quarter of it should be replaced every month. As with Hora's Loach, there are no external sex differences.

The related Botia berdmorei, up to 10in (25cm) long, comes from Thailand and Burma. It is an elongated loach, similar in shape to B. hymenophysa, and it also has three pairs of barbels. The general coloration is cream or pale yellow. The flanks have 10 or 11 rather indistinct transverse bars-much fainter than in B. hymenophysa- and numerous dark dots and streaks arranged in longitudinal rows. The fins are yellowish. This species, too, has not yet been bred in captivity.

Horseface Loach

(Acantopsis choirorhynchus)
  Click here for a larger image
Horseface Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 78-84F; pH 6.0-7.0; KH 3-5
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 7"
Color Form: Black, Silver, Tan
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet:  Carnivore
Origin: Singapore
Family: Cobitidae

The Horseface Loach originates from the rivers, streams and backwaters of Singapore. Like many of the loaches, they have an elongated, thin body that is well suited for burrowing into the substrate. The head and nose of this species is also elongated and is horse-like in appearance. The coloration of these fish will vary from gold, tan and silver with many irregular black markings. They are a peaceful scavenger well suited for a medium to large size community aquarium.

Largely nocturnal, loaches are shy fish that like to hide among driftwood, plant roots, rocks, and caves. Provide a medium to fine substrate for the Horseface Loach to sift through and to burry themselves when threatened. Loaches are peaceful fish that get along well with other peaceful community fish.

Unfortunately, the breeding habits of the Horseface Loach have not been documented.

Although it is a scavenger, the Horseface Loach is largely carnivorous, preferring freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex, as well as frozen and live foods of all types. With time and training, the Horseface Loach may accept flake foods.

Skunk Botia Loach

(Botia morleti)
Skunk Botia Loach
Quick Stats
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Tank Conditions: 72-86F; pH 6.0-7.5; KH 8-12
Max. Size In Aquarium: Up to 4"
Color Form: Black, Pink
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Diet:  Omnivore
Compatibility: View Chart
Origin: India
Family: Cobitidae

The Skunk Botia Loach is a scaleless fish and a bottom-dweller that originates from the streams in India. The body of the Botia Loach is pinkish in coloration, and like other Botia loaches it can be identified by the four pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth area. A black stripe runs from the nose back to the tail along the back of this fish, lending to its name, Skunk Botia.

The Skunk Botia Loach is an active scavenger that is a semi-aggressive fish that enjoys the company of its own species, or other semi-aggressive fish. It will school with others of the same age and size. The skunk Botia Loach appreciates caves, holes, and other places to hide, especially when it sleeps. Because it originates from streams, it requires water currents in the aquarium.

Distribution: Thailand
Length: Up to 4in (10cm)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, plant matter,and dried food
Water temperature: 79-86 F (26-30 C)
Species Tank environment

Hora's Loach
Photo by Mathias Mogensen
Click for full image

This is a squat, laterally compressed loach with a straight belly profile and prominently arched back. The dorsal fin lies directly above the ventral fins and therefore well forward of the anal fin. There are only eight soft rays in the dorsal fin. The head is pointed and relatively long, and the mouth faces downward and has three pairs of quite short barbells. Below the eye there is a two pointed spine that can be erected and locked into position. The general coloration is yellowish green with a paler belly and grayish upperparts. The flanks have four quite short narrow transverse bars but these are sometimes not very distinct. A black stripe starts at the tip of the snout and runs along the ridge of the back. It ends just in front of the caudal fin where it joins an intense black transverse bar on the caudal peduncle. The caudal fin is yellowish, and sometimes has dark spots. The other fins are either almost colorless or gray-green.

This is a hardy loach that lives near the bottom. It remains hidden by day but comes out at night (unless the aquarium is brightly lit) to search for food. It can be kept in a tank with a soft substrate and a number of rocks and roots arranged to give plenty of hiding places. The water should be soft and and changed regularly. There are no external sex differences and the species has not yet been bred in captivity.

The breeding habits of this species are not known, and successful captive breeding has yet to be recorded.

The skunk Botia Loach requires small amounts of food several times a day. Younger Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Feed them a varied diet of bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.

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