Clown Loaches and Their Care

William Berg

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The Clown Loach is a popular fish in tropical aquariums since it is very beautiful and not too difficult to keep. Its scientific name is Botia macracanthus and it is therefore also known as Botia fish. When you buy a loach it will typically need at least a 100 liter / 20 gallon aquarium to do well. They are usually sold when quite young and will therefore grow larger and larger as they mature. A fully grown Clown Loach will need a 540 liter / 125 gallon aquarium or larger.

Wild Clown Loaches inhabit densely grown waters in Indonesia and will therefore appreciate a planted aquarium or an aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves which the Clown Loach can hide among. A combination of both plants and caves are ideal. Adult Clown Loaches like to nibble on plants and you should therefore ideally choose tough and fast growing plants like Java Fern and Anubias. Juvenile Clown Loaches can usually be kept with all types of plants as long as they appreciate the same water conditions as the fish.

The Clown Loach loves to squeeze it self into caves, rocky formations and other tiny places that can barely fit it. To put it simple: the more decorations the better. The aquarium must be decorated when you bring your Clown Loach home from the fish store, since it is most likely quite stressed from the long journey from Indonesia. A majority of the Clown Loaches available in the aquarium trade is caught in the waters of Sumatra and Borneo. If you place your Clown Loach in a barren aquarium, it will not have a chance to recuperate. It will instead become more and more stressed. Stressed Clown Loaches are very susceptible to a parasite called Ich (White Spot Disease).

Don’t be afraid if you notice that your Clown Loach has squeezed itself behind a piece of aquarium equipment, chances are that it is not at all stuck, it just likes to feel safe. The Clown Loach is also found of digging itself into tiny places. It is therefore important to use a substrate without any sharp edges in the aquarium. In the substrate your can place a wide range of different things for your Clown Loach to explore and hide among. You do not have to limit your self to plants and rocks; PVC pipes, flower pots, roots and ceramic and plastic aquarium ornaments will also be highly appreciated. It is important that the decorations have no sharp edges, since the Clown Loach will like to squeeze itself into the smallest places possible. If you place floating plants in the water they will dim the light and make your Clown Loach less shy and more active during the day.

Vigorous filtration is necessary since Clown Loaches are sensitive to poor water conditions. A combination of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration is recommended. Change 25 percent of the water at least once a week. Smaller and more frequent water changes are even better. Even a slight disturbance in the water quality can harm you Clown Loach and in a community aquarium the Clown Loach is usually the first fish that falls ill or die when the water quality drops. Since your will find the live Clown Loaches in streams and rivers, the aquarium should ideally also have strong water circulation. The aquarium must have a will fitted lid since Clown Loaches are vigorous jumpers.

Read more about clown loaches, clown loach breeding and other loaches


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