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Photo source: Desirae



Fish News

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Explore what’s happening in the world of fish and learn how it affects you.




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Photo source: David Negstad



Introduction to the Clown Loach

By Aaron Guzman         

the clown loach, botia macracanthus

The clown loach, Botia macracanthus, is a quirky fun fish for the freshwater aquarium.


Perhaps one of the most eye-catching fish in the hobby, and clearly one of the most popular fish for freshwater aquariums, the clown loach is quickly becoming an icon in community aquariums.


The clown loach, Botia macracanthus, goes by several names, including Cobitis macracanthus, Botia hymenophysa, Chromobotia macracanthus, Hymenophysa macracanthus and the Tiger Loach. These fish are found in still and fast moving waters in Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo.


Housing the Clown Loach

Clown loaches are excellent candidates for community aquariums. They are a social, schooling fish and will do best if kept in pairs or small groups. While rare, clown loaches can grow to over 12 inches in length in the home aquarium. As such, they should be provided with plenty of space. A single adult specimen should not be kept in an aquarium of less than 40 gallons. The water should be kept at a stable temperature between 77-86 degrees F (25-30 C), and the pH should be maintained between 6.5-7.0.

clown loaches are schooling fish

Clown loaches are a schooling fish–they should be kept in pairs, small groups, or–if space provides–large schools.

Botia Macracanthus is very sensitive to water quality, so regular water changes and aquarium maintenance are a must. This species is also very prone to outbreaks of the Ich Parasite, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. Be cautious when purchasing specimens and be ready to treat for the parasite or quarantine new clown loaches before introducing them to a community aquarium.

Due to their peaceful disposition, clown loaches can be kept with a wide array of tankmates, even smaller species of fish. They should not be kept with invertebrates, however, as these animals comprise a major part of the clown loach’s natural diet, especially snails. Clams, mussels, shrimp and snails should all be avoided as tankmates.


Feeding Clown Loaches

As stated before, Loaches are very fond of snails and are excellent at snail removal for infested aquariums.

Clown loaches are omnivores and will readily accept packaged or prepared foods of all kinds. They will prefer some vegetable matter in their diet such as seaweed or algae, and may graze on small patches of algae in the aquarium, though they are not efficient at algae removal.

Live foods are in important part of this fish’s diet. Small worms such as bloodworms/tubifex worms or blackworms are excellent food choices. Brine shrimp will also be happily snacked upon. If live foods aren’t available, loaches will eventually adjust to frozen or freeze-dried alternatives.


Clown Loach Breeding

Clown loaches are great additions to community aquariums

Clown loaches are great additions to community aquariums and get along with all kinds of fish.

Breeding these fish in captivity is a rare and challenging endeavor. Some sources claim to have bred them in captivity, however these instances are most likely achieved through hormone-injection.

In the wild, clown loaches spawn during the rainy season in fast-moving, spring-fed streams. Once released, the fry stick to calmer, slow-moving waters and estuaries until they reach adult size.

Since breeding clown loaches in captivity has been largely unsuccessful, these fish are exclusively collected from the wild for the aquarium hobby.

If you plan on attempting to breed these fish, begin with a small to medium sized school and attempt to single out suitable pairs, or take note of fish that naturally pair-off. The female clown loaches tend to be thinner prior to mating, and the males have a more pronounced fork in their tail.


clown loaches eat snails

Clown loaches do well in planted aquariums and are great at getting rid of snails.

Clown loaches are an attractive and quirky addition to community aquariums. If provided the proper care, clean conditions, and a healthy diet they will be a happy and long-lived resident in the freshwater aquarium.






Photo Sources (top to bottom): Beckie, C.E. Timothy Paine, C.E. Timothy Paine, John



Two Fishers

Two Fishers, by Unknown

Two Fishers, by Unknown

By Unknown


One morning when Spring was in her teens,
A morn to a poet’s wishing,
All tinted in delicate pinks and greens,
Miss Bessie and I went fishing.

I in my rough and easy clothes,
With my face at the sun-tan’s mercy;
She with her hat tipped down to her nose,
And her nose tipped, vice versa.

I with my rod, my reel, and my hooks,
And a hamper for lunching recesses;
She with the bait of her comely looks,
And the seine of her golden tresses.

So we sat us down on the sunny dike,
Where the white pond-lilies teeter,
And I went to fishing like quaint old Ike,
And she like Simon Peter.

All the noon I lay in the light of her eyes,
And dreamily watched and waited,
But the fish were cunning and would not rise,
And the baiter alone was baited.

And when the time of departure came,
My bag hung flat as a flounder;
But Bessie had neatly hooked her game,
A hundred-and-fifty-pounder.



Photo Source: Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison



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Photo source: USFWS