The royal clown loach (Leptobotia elongata), also called the imperial flower loach, is a stunning fish that is becoming increasingly rare in itsnative range. Coming from the Yangtze
River in China, royal clown loaches are classified by the IUCN as
Vulnerable, due primarily to dams blocking spawning migration
routes, habitat loss, and pollution.
Their natural habitat features characteristics common to
subtropical rivers, with strong flow and heavy aeration. Royal
clown loaches do well with fairly neutral water chemistry with
a pH of around 7.0 and moderate hardness. Because of their
subtropical origins, the water temperature should be in the upper
60s to lower 70s F (around 20° to 23°C), meaning they’re often fine
in tanks without heaters.
When provided with the proper water conditions, royal clown
loaches are extremely hardy fish that seem naturally resistant to many
of the common aquarium diseases that plague other species. The
challenge in keeping them comes from a large natural size, potentially
reaching 18 inches ( 46 cm) or more, combined with their social
nature: At least three of these large-growing fish should be kept per
tank, which necessitates a fairly large aquarium.
L. elongata is a somewhat shy fish that will be most comfortable in
a tank with a decent amount of cover and relatively subdued lighting.
They’ll generally stay near the bottom of the tank, which leaves them
prone to scraping against gravel and getting raw spots on their bodies.
Substrates with smoother edges can help to prevent this.
Royal Clown Loach (Leptobotia elongata)
Let’s admit it: Pretty much all of us love cichlids, but not all of us have space to house as many as we’d like. Nanochromis transvestitus is a fantastic dwarf cichlid that stays below 3
inches ( 7. 5 cm), so you could easily keep a pair in a tank as small as
15 or 20 gallons ( 57 or 76 liters).
While N. transvestitus does come from Africa, its care requirements
are much closer to fish from the Rio Negro than one of the rift
lakes. Lake Mai-Ndombe in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a
blackwater lake with heavily tannin-stained water, very low pH, and
almost no measurable hardness.
In terms of personality, these fish are quite similar to many other
cichlids. They are relatively peaceful toward other fish but can
be highly aggressive toward conspecifics. A male will relentlessly
pursue a female until she is ready to breed, so make sure to have
plenty of hiding places for an unreceptive female. You probably
want to avoid keeping more than a pair because of their territorial
personalities, though some aquarists have kept them tightly stocked
in minimally decorated tanks where the aggression is widely
distributed, preventing too much stress for any individual fish.
Their natural habitats often feature a lot of rockwork on top of
a sandy bottom. In the aquarium, N. transvestitus will appreciate a
sandy substrate to dig in, and rocks can be used to create a range of
territories and hiding places for them. If you want to deviate from
their natural environment, they also do very well with driftwood
and plants. Just make sure there is plenty of cover for them.
Their species name is a reference to the fact that the male and
female seem to have switched clothes. Unlike most species of fish,
the females are much more brilliantly colored than the males, with
the females sporting a large purple splotch on top of their typically
have had success with frozen foods such as cyclops, bloodworms,
and baby brine shrimp. You’ll probably want to either have a
species-only tank or target feed to ensure that they have access to
E. ansorgii is a fairly shy and peaceful fish that will appreciate
substantial cover. Densely planted tanks are a good option, and
it’s not uncommon to see them sitting vertically among a clump of
hairgrass pretending to be just another blade. They are generally
sociable with each other and do well when kept as a group.
As long as you ensure that they get enough food, they can be kept
with other peaceful fish. Particularly good tankmates are hatchets,
African butterflyfish, and other surface-feeding species that will
be less likely to chase foods in the lower water levels where the
pipefish will be feeding.