Info On Sumo Loach?


Well Known Member
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1 year
Hi all,
I ran into a tank full of sumo loach at my lfs this week, and can't find much about them online, and virtually (literally) nothing here on FL. Say it ain't so, someone must know about these critters!!
Does anyone have them in a community tank? Temp and pH preference? Stock in groups, or without conspecifics? Pros/cons? Eat small snails?
Looking for personal experience here, beyond what's found on the usual species profile sites.


Well Known Member
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2 years
Just stumbled across this, and I know it's an old post, but I figured I'd give some input in case someone else stumbles across this. I have three in my community 55 gallon tank alongside livebearers, otos, A. australe killifish, and a female betta. I bought them from a lfs who had them for about two months, so I'll tell you everything I have from personal experience and from the lfs owner who I talked to for a long time about them:

-Hardy fish as far as pH goes, my tank is 7.6 and they're fine. Things online will say 6.0-7.5 or 6.0-8.0, honestly they would probably do fine with any pH as long as it's not off the deep end
-Get about 3 to 4 inches long
-No sexual dimorphism in color or size, but males have wider cheeks when viewed from the front or above
-Come from clear, clean water and should be housed in such (aka, don't really like/need tannins, and keep the nitrates down!)
-Come from rivers that move too quickly to house plants, so they don't need a planted tank - just hiding spots like rocks, and lots of them - like kuhlis, they need hiding spots to feel safe
-Need fast-moving, oxygen-rich water, but prefer tropical temps - not as demanding in oxygen/movement as hillstream loaches, though
-Will eat dry/flake/pellet food just fine - they are micropredators in the wild and should take live or freeze-dried bloodworms/adult brine shrimp/etc

Community stocking:
-NOT schooling like kuhli loaches - territorial among their own species, but can be housed together if there's a lot of rocks and/or plants to break the line of sight - maybe one per 20ish gallons?
-Try to keep in 1:1 ratio of male/female if you keep more than one (yes, I broke that rule, I have two males and a female from what I can tell)
-Will live on their own just fine
-Won't eat snails - the ones I have were housed with rabbit snails and apple snails of all sizes where I bought them
-Typically will not bother community fish as you can see with my stocking, but I have heard of SOME people having issues with the occasional fish being injured, although they were not sure it was their sumo loach to blame

-Will hide in crevices like kuhli loaches, and they LOVE stacked rocks, but they DO come out more often than kuhlis - at the store they had at least a dozen rocks at least six inches wide stacked up together and there would typically be one or two out in front sitting in the pebbles, but would dart back into the rocks occasionally and would "take turns" darting in and out of the rocks. I asked about them and the owner said he had them for two months and I was the first person to even notice they were in there (they were housed with about a dozen 5" koi and goldfish)
-They only have been bred once in captivity, and on accident - therefore any specimen you buy will be wild-caught
-They'll all come swarming out once they smell food, like most loaches do, which is quite a show!
-If you get them, don't be concerned if they glass surf for the first day or two. Mine took a few days to settle in and claim their hiding spots

I hope this helps any person who comes across this post!
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