Aquarium Fish

Clown Loach

The Clown Loach is another favorite in the tropical fish world. This loach can live for a very long time, often 10 years or more if given good water conditions. They can be comical at times, like when they perform the strange behavior of laying on their side. Provide plenty of hiding spaces for them because they can also become quite shy at times.

This is one of those fish that are more susceptible to ich than others. In fact, they are usually the first fish to die when water quality declines. For that reason, they are not recommended for the freshwater fish beginner. If you are planning on keeping them in your tank it may be a good idea to set up a quarantine tank for any fish you plan on adding to your tank. A quarantine tank will help prevent the spread of ich to your clowns.

For fish food, they will go after vitamin enriched flakes and wafers but they seem to especially enjoy shrimp pellets.


Clown Loach


Loach Care

Scientific Name : Botia macracantha

Common Names : Clown Loach

Care Level : Medium, very prone to ich infestation and is not recommended for the freshwater aquarium fish beginner.

Size : 12 inches (30 cm)

pH : 6 - 7.5

Temperature : 75°F - 85°F (24°C - 29°C)

Water Hardness : 5° to 15° dH

Origin / Habitat : Borneo, Sumatra

Lifespan : 10 years and longer

Temperament / Behavior : They are generally peaceful and can usually be kept in a community aquarium.

Breeding : Breeding them can be difficult in the home aquarium. Read the following article for more information: Breeding Clown Loaches

Aquarium Size : 75 gallon or larger.

Tank Mates : Many given their peaceful nature. They do best when kept in a small school of 4 or more.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Will accept many types including flakes, freeze dried and live foods.

Tank Region : Mostly the bottom

Gender : Difficult to determine the gender.

Fish Lore Forum : Clown Loach Forum

References :


From: Manish
I would like to know what size would make the safest buy and what kind of substrate would be best for the them?
I've read reports that state that you should only get one that is 4 inches or larger because loaches smaller than that seem to be more sensitive. For substrate it is recommended that you use sand or a very fine aquarium gravel because they like to dig.

From: Dennis
Very awesome fish although had a heart attack the first time they played dead. All three on their sides and rolling upside down! They are like a pack of dogs in the aquarium and I love to watch them interact with each other! Tons of fun!

From: Nicola
I love them, they are beautiful calm fish, which definately prefer to be in pairs or more. I've never had any problems with them getting ill, although they do play dead sometimes, which is very worrying, but comical once you know it is just part of their behaviour. I've had mine for a long time now, I had two to begin with but the second one went missing. For the life of us, me and my partner don't know where it went. (He was too big to be eaten by another fish in our tank and we don't have any fish that aren't communal, and we checked the filter and floor to check he hadn't jumped out or something). The remaining loach became very slow and obviously lonely when the other disappeared, you can certainly tell when these fish aren't happy, they're very expressive. We recently bought a little baby one, and he/she's happy again! I highly recommend these wonderful fish.

From: Stevie
I had 1 Loach and he/she was very slow moving and didn't react too much. This past weekend I got a second one and they play and dive together! It is like they are inseparable. What a joy to watch.

From: Loach Lover
I just came on this site because I was concerned about my pairs 'playing dead' behaviour. They are now diving up and down the tank together in tandem! What a lovely fish!

From: Marc
I recently bought a pair of Loaches. The first day the one I now call "crazy" spent the entire day chasing bubbles from the aerator. It was hilarious. They are both a bit more chilled out but still love a good dive every now and then. I've only just noticed them rolling on their sides. Great fish.

From: Marc
I have tried them twice from two different stores (mainly for the purpose of a natural snail remover) and despite any precautions I take and medications I eventually have to administer, I can not get them to survive more than a week or two before dying of Ich. Any suggestions?
Sorry to hear about the problems with your loaches. First, get and use a aquarium test kit for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates (at minimum) and see how far out of whack your water parameters are from their recommended parameters listed above. Do frequent partial water changes to keep your tank water healthy. Get and use a quarantine tank where you can monitor them for several weeks before introducing them to your display aquarium. Slowly acclimate them to your tank water, preferably using the drip method of acclimation. Also give them the best foods you can. Vary their diets with frozen cubes and high quality flake foods and algae wafers.

From: Withheld
My loach is probably the coolest fish among all my others. He is very peaceful and just likes to dig his head into the gravel for loose food. He also seems to love to swim up and down the sides of the tank. I am definitely going to add another so he can have a buddy, even though he seems to be buddy buddy with my red tail shark.

From: Chris
I'd go along with the above recommendation to always buy biggish clowns, no smaller than 3", even though they can be harder to find, as they seem hardier. Small ones that you see in shops are a lot more sensitive and harder to keep I've found. I bought my present two at 3" and they're 6" now.

From: Mark
Very fun fish to watch. I do find it funny them schooling with tiger barbs, it's like there confused or something. Don't be surprised if you wake up one morning and there floating at the top... there just playing. I have 3 in my community tank and have had no problems with these great fish.

From: Peter
I have had 2 clown loaches since we got our 300 litre tank 7 years ago and they were about 1 inch long. They have seen us move house on 2 occasions and have had to be removed when the tank appeared to have a leak. One is about 7 inches long with the other about 3 inches. recently the small one disappeared for 4 days and we could not find it anywhere. It was like losing a family member. It came out 4 days later, I was so relieved. These are a great fish to have, to which you become very attached.

More Tips

More Loach Fish Profiles

Kuhli Loach
Ancanthophthalmus Kuhlii
Kuhli Loach
A smaller sized loach that does well in many freshwater setups.
YoYo Loach
Botia almorhae
YoYo Loach
The Yoyo Loach (Botia almorhae) is a very active and friendly fish that makes a good addition to any community aquarium.

© - providing tropical fish tank and aquarium information for freshwater fish and saltwater fish keepers.
SiteMap | Aquarium Fish SiteMap | Aquarium Fish Dictionary | Privacy Policy | Contact Us