LOACHES, BOTIAS, & DOJOS;
*Size: 8-16 inches for adults (20-41cm), females are usually larger and bulkier than males once they reach adulthood.
*Scientific Name: Chromobotia macracanthus; named Cobitis macracanthus in 1852, changed to Botia macracanthus in 1989, changed again when they were put into a genus of their very own in 2004 they are now named Chromobotia macracanthus
*Natural Habitat: Native to the mountain streams and flood plains of Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula.
*Description: Clown loaches have the typical body shape of the Botia loach genus, an elongated body that tapers to a pointed nose, an arching back with a nearly straight abdominal line, an erect dorsal fin that is almost always extended, a set of triangular pectoral fins, a set of smaller pelvic fins, an anal fin, and a bifurcated tail. Their bodies are slim as juveniles but become increasingly bulky as they become adults. They have a sharply pointed head with a mouth towards the bottom of their bodies that is surrounded by several flexible barbells with which they search for food in the substrate.
Clown loaches have three thick black stripes on an orange background and their anal fins are an orange-red color while their dorsal fin is mostly covered by the central black band. The first black band goes over the head and through the eyes. Below the eyes on either side of the head are a pair of hooked claws that generally are held retracted against the face unless the loach feels threatened. These claws can be used to scrape other fish, open the body cavity of a dead fish, and can become entangled in nets or poke through plastic transport bags.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: Although they do grow slowly once they become sub-adults, eventually these loaches will reach a size that requires them to be housed in at least a 55g (208 liter) aquarium. These fish enjoy swimming the length of the tank and so a longer tank shape is preferable to taller shape with a smaller floor.
*Water Parameters: In their natural habitat these fish are typically found in waters with the following conditions: temperature 75F-86F (23.89C-30C), pH 5.0-8.0, Gh 90-300ppm.
Consideration of additional mineral Cations (positive ions) whether by dissolving mineral blocks (usually at 1/4- 1/2) or mineral Cation drips should also be considered for long term health.
As of writing this article, most Clown Loaches are wild caught, many have a tendency to come in with internal parasites (often flagellates).
See this article for medicated bath information:
*Typical food: Clown loaches generally being Omnivores will eat a variety of foods and as such should be offered a varied diet to keep them happy and healthy. They will readily eat, quality flake food, brine shrimp, sinking catfish wafers, algae wafers, cooked shelled peas, bloodworms, and will nibble on some live plants but are not destructive to them. Large adults enjoy cooked chopped fish and shrimp.
Beware that most prepared fish foods have too high energy points (as established in studies), which can result in fatty liver and long term lower disease resistance. The main fish food that conforms to these established energy point levels is AAP Custom by fish food guru Clay Neighbors.
From "Kagome" of Everything Aquatic:
Since they are river fish they require excellent redundant filtration and it is best that a strong current flow through their tank for them to swim against and to supply them with the appropriate amount of oxygen. Also, as scaleless fish they are prone to disease and parasites and extreme caution must be used when adding salts and medications to their tanks as it can easily harm them.
Generally half doses of medication over a longer period of time with frequent water changes is the best way to treat any sort of infestation or illness. They should be provided with numerous hiding places and shady areas in the tank where they can rest.
*Size: as adults 4-5 inches (10-13cm)
*Scientific Name: Botia Kubotai; Family- Cobitidae
*Natural Habitat: They are found in Asia; in Myanmar ( Burma ), in fast running rivers or streams in their natural habitat.
*Description: Angelicus loaches have the typical body shape of the Botia loach genus, an elongated body that tapers to a pointed nose, an arching back with a nearly straight abdominal line, an erect dorsal fin that is almost always extended, a set of triangular pectoral fins, a set of smaller pelvic fins, an anal fin, and a bifurcated tail. They have a sharply pointed head with a mouth towards the bottom of their bodies that is surrounded by several flexible barbells with which they search for food in the substrate.
Below the eyes on either side of the head are a pair of hooked claws that generally are held retracted against the face unless the loach feels threatened. These claws can be used to scrape other fish, open the body cavity of a dead fish, and can become entangled in nets or poke through plastic transport bags.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: Angelicus loaches are even more peaceful than their cousins the clown loaches. Although they may squabble among themselves for dominance this is more for show than anything else and they don’t actually do each other any damage.
They do sometimes annoy slow moving tank mates as they are such determined scavengers that they will attempt to search a slow moving fish to see if perhaps he is covered with any uneaten food.
*Water Parameters: temperature 75F-82F (23.8C-27.7C), pH 6.5-7.5, Gh 150-300ppm
Please Reference this article for more about pH & Gh:
*Typical food: Like other Botia, these loaches are omnivorous and should be fed a variety of foods to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy quality flake food, sinking catfish pellets, algae wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp, cooked shelled peas, zucchini, and blanched leafy greens such as collards or kale.
*Contributor Notes: From "Kagome" of Everything Aquatic.
These truly are delightful fish to keep. They are more active and less skittish than clown loaches once they adjust to their surroundings. They are relentless scavengers that leave no uneaten food in the tank and their antics are even more.
*Size: as adults 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm)
*Scientific Name: Botia Striata Family- Cobitidae
*Natural Habitat: mountain streams of southern India
b>*Description: Zebra loaches have the typical body shape of the Botia loach genus, an elongated body that tapers to a pointed nose, an arching back with a nearly straight abdominal line, an erect dorsal fin that is almost always extended, a set of triangular pectoral fins, a set of smaller pelvic fins, an anal fin, and a bifurcated tail; all fins are translucent. They have a sharply pointed head with a mouth towards the bottom of their bodies that is surrounded by several flexible barbells with which they search for food in the substrate.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: This is an active but peaceful schooling fish that should be kept in a group no smaller than three individuals and with as many more of the same species as space and filtration permits. They should be kept with other peaceful fish and not more aggressive tank mates. They should be kept in at least a 20g but of course larger would be better.
*Water Parameters: Temperature 73°F-81°F (23°C-27°C), pH 6.5-7.5, GH 100-300 ppm
Further Reference: Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)
*Typical food: Like most Botia these zebra loaches are omnivorous, but also sensitive to poor diets for long term health. They will accept quality flake or crumble food, sinking catfish pellets, algae wafers, blanched cucumber and zucchini slices as well as frozen or Freeze/Dried Brine shrimp and Blood worms.
*Breeding: There have been no confirmed instances of this fish breeding successfully in an aquarium.
*Contributors Notes: By Kagome (from Everything Aquatic)
I simply cannot express enough how this fish is a better choice for the average aquarium hobbyist than the clown loach. Its smaller size makes it a much more practical choice and it is easier to find in the pet trade than the Angelicus loach, which is relatively new to the industry. They are an attractive fish, a good choice for a peaceful community tank, and they are wonderful scavengers that will scour the gravel and décor for uneaten food left behind by surface feeders.
Although they are primarily a bottom dweller they will often swim at the higher levels of the tank. Like all Botia, they require well-aerated water; excellent redundant filtration and additional power heads to add extra flow to the tank water is highly recommended.
Like all Botia and scale less fish they are prone to Ich and other parasites and are very sensitive to salt and medications. Half doses of tank medications over a longer period of time are recommended in order to make sure they are not adversely affected. This is a delightful fish to keep and it is my hope that more life fish stores will begin to carry and recommend this fish to most buyers over the clown loach, it’s simply more pragmatic.
*Size: up to 4 inches (10 cm), usually stay even smaller in captivity though
*Scientific Name: Yasuhikotakia morleti Family- Cobitidae
*Natural Habitat: India to Thailand, Asian rivers
*Description: Once they have reached adult hood, the females will be a bit plumper in the abdominal area. The skunk loach looks just like a skunk with its long black stripe on its back, hence the name skunk loach. It looks just like any other loach in the Botia family with its distinctive mouth and body shape.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: This is a very active little fish which should be kept in groups of no less then 3, 5 is recommended. Even that it’s a bottom feeder, it swims in all levels of the tank.
Make sure that you have either sand or fine to medium gravel as a substrate so they don’t get hurt. Plants are very much appreciated so is definitely bogwood/ driftwood as well.
*Water Parameters: pH 6.8 to 7.8; Temperature: around 78°-86°F
*Typical food: They enjoy algae wafers as well as brine shrimp pellets. They also go for any good quality flake or crumble food put in but are sensitive to long term use of fish foods exceeding established healthy energy points/levels. Freeze/Dried Brine shrimp and Blood worms as a treat, are always appreciated and loved by them.
*Breeding: not known to breed in captivity
*Contributors Notes: By Eve (from Everything Aquatic)
I really like those little guys. I was absolutely fascinated when I found out that they will use the whole tank for their swimming needs and not just the bottom of the tank, which you would expect with bottom feeders.
They’re absolutely cute and fun to watch. I haven’t witnessed any attacks against my serpae tetras, which are currently the only fish inhabitants in my 29 gallon tank.
*Size: up to 5 inch in length, 3-4 inch is typical though
*Scientific Name: Pangio Kuhlii (Valenciennes, 1846) Family- Cyprinid
*Natural Habitat: Indonesia, Borneo, Sumatra
*Description: Kuhli loaches have a long slender body, more like an eel feel to it. They do have different colors and are striped.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: I recommend keeping them in no less then a 10 gallon tank, as they’re very active bottom feeders and should be in schools of no less then 3. They’re extremely calm and won’t bother any of the other fish you will have in your tank, they’re excellent community fish.
*Water Parameters: 76°F - 82°F is absolutely acceptable. pH can range anywhere from 7.0 to 8.4 without any problems
*Typical food: They will eat anything and everything they find on the bottom, especially leftover food. I feed mine every other day with brine shrimp pellets, which they love.
Conditioning and spawning them
How to raise the fry
*Contributors Notes: by Eve ( from Everything Aquatic)
I have acquired 5 of them over a year ago; unfortunately I’m left with only 2 of them.
Even, that many will tell you that you should have a sand substrate, I have never had any problems keeping them with medium sized gravel substrate, no damaged fins or their barbels in general.
*Size: 7-10 inches (18 - 26 cm.) in an aquarium
*Scientific Name: Yasuhikotakia modesta (Bleeker, 1865) Family-Cobitidae
*Natural Habitat: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
*Description: blue coloring, orange/red fins, typical loach mouth. Females are generally plumper then the males.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: 55 gal. to start them with, then 75-100 gal. Later
*Water Parameters: 78.8ºF to 86ºF(26-30°C)
*Typical food: Good quality flake or crumble food, sinking pellets, algae wafers, chopped earthworms, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, chopped Cocktail Shrimp
*Breeding: Have been bred in captivity.
*Size: Maximum 8 inches (20cm), kept in captivity they stay much smaller though, sometimes only up to 4 inch or less
*Scientific Name: Sinibotia rostrata (Günther, 1868 ) Family- Cobitidae
*Natural Habitat: India and Burma
*Description: Looking at this loach, it really looks like it has a ladder coloring. Females are a bit plumper then the males.
*Recommended Tank Size and Temperament: 30 gallon to start with, keep them in groups of 3
*Water Parameters: pH 6.5-7.5 Hardness: Medium, Suggested dGh: 12
*Typical food: Good quality flake,crumbles, sinking pellets, algae wafers, chopped earthworms, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, chopped Cocktail Shrimp. Avoid over-feeding.
*Breeding: not known
Please reference this very in depth article that is a MUST READ for anyone interested in moving from basic aquarium keeping to more advanced aquarium keeping:
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