Common Names: Striped loach, zebra loach
Aggression Level: 1
Maximum Size: 4 inches
This is a completely innocuous little
loach that should be considered for any
community of peaceful fish. The thin gray/
green lines on their flanks vary in width,
and the body coloration can be dusky pink,
light orange, or yellowish. This Indian
species appreciates a fine sand substrate,
and is very active, while still being milder
and never playing as rough as some of the
more outgoing botias do.
macracanthus possess all of the desirable
personality traits of loaches, such as being
highly social, playful, and comical without
being aggressive or overly territorial. Once
in a while a large clown loach may get a
little possessive about its food, but other
than a few minor squabbles these fish are
usually model tankmates. One look at the
striking and colorful patterning on the
clown loach and it is no wonder why this
fish has become the most popular of all the
loaches for the home aquarium.
They do have a few drawbacks that the
hobbyist must take into account before
purchasing some of these orange and
black beauties. This is a massive, jumbo-size fish that puts out a lot of waste and
demands clean, oxygenated, warm water.
BOTIA SP. “TENASSERIM RIVER”
Common Name: Emperor botia
Aggression Level: 3
Maximum Size: 10 inches
Known as the “holy grail” of loaches,
this dazzlingly yellow species was once
considered unobtainable, and it dwelled, a
wish unfulfilled, on every loach enthusiast’s
most-wanted list. Loaches Online (www.
loaches.com) reports that the yellow and
chocolate emperor hails from the remote
Tenasserim River in Myanmar (Burma),
where access is impeded by military
protection. It is said that these botias can
only be taken out by an old drug smuggling
route hampered by drug dealers, civil unrest,
and remoteness. Imagine my surprise when
vendor Frank Greco informed me that he
had several pieces coming in that weekend!
He asked, needlessly, if I had any interest in
purchasing them. Despite their steep price,
the answer was an emphatic “yes!”
My close friend Soe Nyunt Tun of Yangon,
Myanmar has collected the emperor botia
alongside several other unidentified botias
in the Tenasserim River near the town of
Myitta. The other botias cohabitating with
emperors are extremely stocky, with patterns
similar to B. rostrata and histrionica.
Emperors make energetic, dashing show
fish that are not overly aggressive with
other species, but actively chase each other
around the aquarium. They have proven
to be durable captive subjects and it is
hoped that aquarists will have some luck
propagating this fish.
Striped or zebra loach Botia striata.
The emperor botia Botia sp. “Tenasserim River.”
Common Name: Clown loach
Aggression Level: 1 to 2
Maximum Size: 16 inches
The flagship of its clan, the beloved
clown loach is a perennial favorite and
a mainstay in the aquarium hobby. C.