American Aquarium Products

Freshwater Fish Profiles

Botia, Loaches Aquarium Fish Profiles, information

LOACHES, BOTIAS, & DOJOS;

Clown Loach, Zebra Loach, Angelicus Loach, Kuhli Loach, Skunk Loach (Botia), Blue Botia, Ladder Loach


Recommended Resources

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Premium ATI Hydro Sponge Aquarium Filters for bio and mechanical aquarium filtration.

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Updated 1/19/14

CLOWN LOACH;

Clown Loach*Other common names: Clown Loach, Tiger Loach, Clown Botia

*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 Family- Cobitidae (Loaches)

*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.
Generally clown loaches are rather peaceful fish and one must be more concerned that tank mates are not harassing them. However, they have on rare occasions attacked and killed fish that loitered in their chosen lair or resting place.
Generally they are considered a docile community fish that will even coexist with much smaller fish of different species. Also, smaller clown loaches can be introduced into a school of much larger clowns with no worry that the smaller fish will be harmed. They will simply assimilate into the school and become part of the pecking order.

*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 although some aquarists suggest that softer water is best, I have seen clowns thrive in harder water. 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.
Clown loaches can become stressed by rapidly fluctuating water parameters and will be healthier if they are kept in a stable and well-established tank.
Further Reference: Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)

Since as of writing this article, most Clown Loaches are wild caught, many have a tendency to come in with internal parasites (often flagellates).
For this reason I recommend medicated baths using Methylene Blue and Metronidazole and possibly Metronidazole in the tank (especially if the fish is thin, despite a good appetite).

Product Resources:
*Methylene Blue from AAP
*Metronidazole from AAP


See this article for medicated bath information:
“Aquarium Disease Prevention; Medicated Baths”

*Typical food: Clown loaches 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.

Suggested Product Resources:
*HBH Tropical Fish Flake
*Hikari Premium Algae Wafers
*Sanyu Premium Tropical Fish Food Pellets
*Rain One Freeze Dried Fish Foods


*Breeding:

*Contributor Notes:

From "Kagome" of Everything Aquatic:
Clown loaches and all other Botia loaches must be kept in a group in order to thrive and be content; a shoal should include a minimum of three members and as long as space and filtration permits as many as fifty members can be kept in a tank quite happily. Because of their large adult size and the fact that they can live well over 20 years, consideration must be given to their long-term care.
Unfortunately, clowns are the most common Botia in the aquarium trade and are sold at their juvenile size and so many people buy them not realizing how very large they will become.

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.
Aside from these considerations, if you have the space and can meet their requirements these are absolutely delightful fish to keep. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they are very adept cleaner fish that scour the bottom of the tank for uneaten food.
They have many humorous tendencies such as swimming and sleeping on their sides or backs and they seem to form close bonds with the other members of their school.
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ANGELICUS LOACH;

Angelicus Loach*Other common names: Angelicus Loach, Angelicus Botia, Myanmar Botia, Polka Dot Loach, Polka Dot Botia, Burmese Border Loach

*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.
As juveniles these loaches have thick irregular black bands on their bodies on a silvery gold background. As they grow and mature the areas of black increase in size and come together so that they are marked with rounded dots, hence one of their trade names, the Polka-Dot Loach. As they mature the silvery gold color may darken to become the color of burnished gold and the black may fade to a chocolate brown.

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.
Other than their habit towards obsessive cleaning angelicus loaches are great additions to a peaceful community tank. Like other Botias these fish should be kept in a group of at least three and as many additional members as possible.
Angelicus loaches, and no other Botia loach for that matter, should not be kept with snails, at least not if you want the snails to live!!
A 20 gallon or larger tank is recommended.

*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:
Aquarium Chemistry

*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.
Like other loaches the Angelicus loves to eat snails and are a great solution for a snail infestation problem if tank conditions meet their requirements.

Suggested Product Resources:
*HBH Tropical Fish Flake
*Hikari Premium Algae Wafers
*Rain One Freeze Dried Fish Foods
*Aqua Master Ultra Premium Mini Tropical Fish Food Pellets


*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.
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ZEBRA LOACH;

Zebra Loach*Other common names: Candy stripe Loach, Zebra Loach, Striatus or Striata Loach, Tiger Loach, Lined Loach

*Size: as adults 3-4 inches (7.5-10cm)

*Scientific Name: Botia Striata Family- Cobitidae

*Natural Habitat: mountain streams of southern India

*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.
Zebra loaches have a green body that is dissected by bands of blue and white. These bands are generally straight but some variations do occur. 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: 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.
Zebra loaches, as with any Botia, should not be kept with snails, at least not if you want the snails to live!!!

*Water Parameters: Temperature 73°F-81°F (23°C-27°C), pH 6.5-7.5, GH 100-300 ppm
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 of Zebra loaches.

Further Reference: Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)

*Typical food: Like most Botia these zebra loaches are omnivorous. They will accept quality flake food, sinking catfish pellets, algae wafers, blanched cucumber and zucchini slices as well as frozen or Freeze/Dried Brine shrimp and Blood worms.

Suggested Product Resources:
*HBH Tropical Fish Flake
*Hikari Premium Algae Wafers
*Rain One Freeze Dried Fish Foods
*Aqua Master Ultra Premium Mini Tropical Fish Food Pellets


*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.
They also require multiple hiding places for rest, play, and security. These fish can be easily stressed by rapidly fluctuating water parameters and so it is best to put them only in a well-established aquarium.
Product Resource: SunSun High Efficiency Power Head Pump

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.

Further References/Information:
*Aquarium Ich Treatment, Prevention, Ichthyophthirius Multifilis
*Use of Salt in Freshwater Aquariums
*Aquarium Medication Use
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SKUNK LOACH;

Skunk Loach, Botia*Other common names: Skunk loach, Hora's loach, Skunk Botia, Mouse Loach, Cream Loach,

*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.
Since they’re a bit feisty, they need space to swim and lot’s of hiding places. Watch out for aggression against other fish. Wouldn’t keep them in anything less then a 29 gallon tank because of how active they’re.

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.
Skunk loaches, as with any Botia, should not be kept with snails, at least not if you want the snails to live!!!

Further References/Information
*Aquarium Substrate, Gravel
*Aquarium Driftwood

*Water Parameters: pH 6.8 to 7.8; Temperature: around 78°-86°F
As with other Loaches/Botias, 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 of Skunk loaches.

Further Reference: Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)



*Typical food: They enjoy very much algae wafers as well as brine shrimp pellets. They also go for any Good Quality Flake food put in, for feeding other fish you might keep with them. Freeze/Dried Brine shrimp and Blood worms as a treat, are always appreciated and loved by them.

*HBH Tropical Fish Flake
*Hikari Premium Algae Wafers
*Rain One Freeze Dried Fish Foods
*Aqua Master Ultra Premium Mini Tropical Fish Food Pellets

*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. Also my crabs I have in there are content with them, they all get along perfectly. Back To Top


KUHLI LOACH;

Khuli, Kuhli, Coolie Loach, Leapord Eel*Other common names: Kuhli Loach, Coolie Loach, Leopard Eel, Prickly Eye

*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.

*Breeding:
What you will need
  • At least 6-12 adult Kuhlis (that means they need to be at leas 4 inch long)
  • 10 gallon tank which should be painted black on the outside, and already well cycled
    Reference: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, cycling
  • Sponge filter
    Product Resource: Premium Hydro Sponge Filters from AAP
  • bare bottom (makes it easier to catch the adults when you have to transfer them)
  • a few caves for them to hide
  • a couple of pieces of Java Fern
  • Only enough Water sprite (floating plant) to cover 1/3 of the tank surface
  • a large piece of Java Moss for the bottom.
    Reference: Aquarium Plant Care; Java Moss
  • A lid with light, which should only be on for 8 hours a day.
    Product Resource: CFL Aquarium Lights
  • pH should be around 6.8 - 7.2 and temp around 70-78 degrees
    Very important
    It's very important to keep the water clean. You should do a 25% partial water change every 4 days, but don't suck all the mulm from the bottom of the tank, because that will be essential for the fry to feed the first few days on.
    Also if you have very hard water put water in a bucket and soak Peat moss in it for a few days, before using it to refill your tank. HOWEVER, be carefull that you do no lower hardness so much the ESSENTIAL mineral ions are removed, as these are a must for proper fish osmoregulation and Redox Balance. I suggest adding a 1/4- 1/2 normal dose of a AAP Wonder Shell to replace these ions.
    Product Resource: Premium Wonders Shells; ONLY available from AAP

Conditioning and spawning them
  • Feed them with black worms, Grindal worms, micro worms and occasional with frozen Blood worms. It's best to feed them at nights.
  • Males/Females are hard to sex until the females have actually eggs
  • You will notice that some of them get plumber and show a green spot, which is their egg spot
  • When they're finally ready, they will start swimming nervously up and down on the sites of the tank, as well as over the tank. At this point it's good to do a bigger water change, like 50% in the evening
  • In the dim early light, you will see them pairing off, and swim up and down together. Eventually they will twine around each other and you will soon see bright green eggs being released and fertilized.
  • The eggs will float for a bit and then sink and attach them selves onto the Water Sprite, Java Moss and Java Fern.
  • All the eggs which fall to the bare bottom will be eaten by the adults, at this point it's a good idea to remove the adults from the tank.

How to raise the fry
  • The eggs will hatch after a couple of days, and the fry will start feeding a few days later.
  • The mulm on the bottom of the tank will be full of all kinds of protozoa that will provide an excellent first food for the fry. They will also eat much of the micro-fauna found on the Java moss and Java ferns, and the sponge filter.
  • Add supplemental foods, such as specially made commercial fry foods that sink to the bottom.
    Product Resource: Hikari First Bites, Baby/Fry Food
  • After four or five days, you can start adding frozen Cyclops and micro-worms.
  • After another week, you can start adding newly hatched brine shrimp, too.
  • Do small daily water changes to help keep the water quality at an optimal level.
  • The fry grow fast and will be nearly an inch long after six weeks.
  • At this size, it's a good idea to move some of them to another tank for further growing, as a good-sized spawn can number several hundred fry.
  • Once they reach about 2 inch in length, you can sell them. They are in high demand, so if you're good with an Owner from a Fish store, they will be happy to take them of your hands.

*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. However, those are ones of my favorite bottom feeders; they’re fun to watch and are very active.
It’s definitely fact that the more you have of them, the more you will see of them, as I have only a pair left, they’re mostly hiding.

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.
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BLUE BOTIA;

Blue Botia, Yasuhikotakia modesta*Other common names: Red-finned Loach, Blue Botia, Red tail Botia

*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)
pH: 6.5-7.5. Hardness: Medium, dGh: 12
While a generally lower GH, is considered best for Blue Botias, as with other Loaches/Botias, 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 of Blue Botias (if only to improve Redox Balance).

Further References:
*Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)
*Aquarium Redox

*Typical food: Good Quality Flake food, sinking pellets, algae wafers, chopped earthworms, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, chopped Cocktail Shrimp

*Spirulina 20 Premium Complete Fish Food Flake
*Hikari Premium Algae Wafers

*Breeding: Have been bred in captivity.

*Contributors Notes:
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LADDER LOACH;

Ladder Loach, Botia rostrata*Other common names: Twin-banded Loach, Ladder Loach, Sergeant Major Loach, Emperor Loach, Gangetic Loach

*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
As with other Loaches/Botias, 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 of Ladder loaches.

Further Reference: Aquarium Chemistry; GH & Depletion of Mineral Ions (Cations)



*Typical food: Good quality flake, sinking pellets, algae wafers, chopped earthworms, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, chopped Cocktail Shrimp. Avoid over-feeding.

*Breeding: not known

*Contributors Notes:



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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