The clown loach (Chromobotia macracanthus), or tiger botia, is a tropical freshwater fish belonging to the botiid loach family. It is the sole member of the genus Chromobotia. It originates in inland waters in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. It’s a favorite fish in the freshwater aquarium commerce and can be marketed globally.
Clown Loaches can reach sizes of up to 30-40 cm (12-16 inches) in the wild, but in aquariums, typical adult Clown loaches sizes ranging from 15-20 cm (5.9-7.9 in). The fish’s body is very long and laterally compressed, with the arched dorsal surface and a horizontal ventral surface. Interestingly, the Clown Loach is sometimes referred to as a scaleless fish. But it does, in fact, have small scales embedded in its skin. Its mind is relatively big and its own mouth faces down with thick, fleshy lips, and four pairs of barbels. The barbels on the upper jaw are small and hard to see. the Clown Loach is active during the day but will shy from bright light and hide amongst plant stocks or in rockwork.
These fish are sexually monomorphic, meaning males and females are challenging to distinguish visually. However, mature females are usually larger and broader
Clown loach in Aquarium
In the aquarium, The clown loach is a favored for freshwater amateurs. It’s a calm fish and coexists nicely with almost any tankmate. They create appropriate tank-mates for almost any non-aggressive community fishes but don’t flourish when kept with bigger, more prominent species. Clown Loaches are big schooling fish, and they’re quite busy. This means you’ll require a huge tank with loads of space for the own pets to maneuver around.
Clown Loaches require a spacious, well-decorated aquarium with plenty of hiding spots created from driftwood, caves, or dense plantations. Given their potential size and active, social nature, an absolute minimum tank size of 55 gallons is recommended for a small group, with larger tanks preferable. As they grow, you may need to upgrade to a larger tank.
The aquarium should have a soft substrate to protect the delicate barbels the fish use to find food. They also appreciate a moderate current and well-oxygenated water, reflecting their riverine origins.
Despite their hardiness, Clown Loaches are sensitive to poor water conditions and can be prone to Ich, a common fish disease. Therefore, regular water changes, monitoring of water parameters, and a well-maintained filtration system are crucial for their well-being.
Aquarist Experience Level: Moderate
Minimum Tank Size: at least 50 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Water Conditions: 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F), pH 5-8
Diet: daphnia and mosquito larvae, and frozen foods like bloodworms
Length: 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in)
Tankmates: Clown loaches are peaceful fish and can be kept with a variety of other fish, including other loaches, catfish, and tetras. However, you should avoid keeping them with fish that are too small or aggressive.
Additional tips for keeping clown loaches in your aquarium:
- Introduce them to the tank slowly and allow them to adjust to the new environment before adding other fish.
- Provide plenty of hiding places for them to feel safe.
- Feed them a varied diet to keep them healthy.
- Monitor the water quality closely and make regular water changes.
- With proper care, clown loaches can live for 10-15 years.