A basic guide to keeping Loaches.

Common names

•    Chinese Algae Eater
•    Chain Clown
•    Tiger Loaches

Geographical origin

Virtually worldwide distribution with the exception of South America and Australia.

Aquarium condition requirements for Loaches

Minimum aquarium size - Loaches should not be kept in tanks of less than 600mm x300mm x 300mm (24” x 12” x 12”). Bigger aquariums are much better as the fish tend to move around the tank searching for food.

Temperature - with a few exceptions, all are quite happy at temperatures between 20o/27oC 70 o/80oF. Water parameters: Loaches are undemanding, providing it is clean and clear. A weekly water change of 25% is recommended.

Habitat - most Loaches are found in rivers or hill streams (these are often considerably cooler and may be fast flowing). They like a well planted tank with rockwork or places to hide. Plants: all tropical plants are acceptable in the aquarium.

Loaches’ behaviour with other fish

Loaches are generally quite peaceful fish, that are well suited to a community aquarium. Many are nocturnal by nature, hiding away during ‘tank-lit’ hours. Large specimens of the Chinese Algae Eater (which actually isn’t a Loach) may become aggressive, as may groups of five or more of the Botia species.

Loaches’ diet

Loaches will eat dried, frozen and live foods such as Daphnia and Tubifex are all readily accepted. Algae wafers are beneficial to their diet.

Loaches’ health

Some Loaches - particularly the Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus) - are susceptible to White Spot. Treat with proprietary medicines but be aware that fishes with very small scales may be adversely affected by the remedy.

Habitat - freshwater tropical aquarium

Sociability - generally peaceful, but research the particular type you are choosing

Care - reasonably difficult as vulnerable to white spot fungus

The Pet Owners Association are grateful to the Federation of British Aquatic Societies for the above information and image.