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Types of Tropical Fish


Loaches are popular with a small number of specialist aquariums. They include snake like creatures living at the bottom of the aquarium and also some types that look more like a catfish. The most popular are Clown Loaches and Kuhli Loaches.

Clown Loach

Clown Loach, Botia macracanthus
Clown Loach

The Clown Loach originally came from Indonesia. It is distinguished by broad black vertical bands on its flesh colored scaleless body and by red in its fins. The Clown Loach is a bottom dweller and likes to hide in the day, so adjust the aquarium decor accordingly. Make sure the aquarium is covered too, as this bottom dweller is also a jumper. It will eat a large variety of foods including any snail larvae in the tank and many of the plants. If you have plants you are particularly proud of, keep them away from this fellow. The Clown Loach can also be fed vegetable flakes, shrimp pellets and live or freeze-dried worms and brine shrimp. It grows quite large and therefore needs an aquarium of at least 30 gallons. Clown Loaches do better with 2 - 4 in a tank. They seem to get ich easily, so keep the Quick Cure handy.

Clown Loaches will often stay in caves for days if they are stressed. When they are comfortable, they will swim in groups and then rest lying over top of each other, on their sides or even upside down. This can create the mistaken impression that they are no longer alive. Clown Loaches are extremely hard to breed and most of them you find are wild caught.

Clown Loach, Botia macracanthus
Clown Loach

Comments by carolo from our Forum: I have 7 clowns and all are still small. I have them with my gourmai's (not 3-spot) my bala sharks (also small) and a couple of other fish. I have one loach that is a real tiger, especially at feeding time. He chases the bala sharks around and even my gourmai's that are much larger. I love them but do wish this one loach would not be so aggressive to these peaceful sharks. Web sites can be conflicting on Clown Loaches, as well. Some sites mention they can become "very" large and others mention they won't get much over 5 inches. They can actually live 50 years in their native waters. wow

Clown Loach, Botia macracanthus
Clown Loach

Clown Loach - Profile

  • Scientific Name: Botia macracanthus

  • Family: Loach

  • Temperature: 25 - 30 C; 77 - 86 F

  • pH: 5 - 8

  • Size: 6 - 12 inches

  • Life Span: 10 - 15 years

  • Breeding: Difficult, Egglayer

Clown Loach - Compatibility:

Clown loaches are compatible with other Loaches, Bala Sharks, Barbs, Catfish, Danios, Gouramis, Plecos, Rainbowfish, one Red Tailed Shark, one Rainbow Shark

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach, Acanthophthalmus kuhli
Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach originated in Asia. It is also called the Coolie Loach, the Leopard Eel and the Striped Loach. It is known by the scientific names Acanthophthalmus kuhli and Pangio kuhlii. Kuhli Loaches have long slender worm-like bodies with dark bands over an orange base color. They have several barbels at their mouth. Kuhlis will hide most of the time and will feed in darkness by scavenging. Kuhli Loaches prefer clear water and a sandy substrate to dig in. Floating plants will help reduce the lighting. They will be much more active and visible if kept in groups, but they do not school. The Kuhli Loach will eat flake foods, freeze-dried foods and tubifex.


I just LOVE weather loaches because they're so crazy, but today I got a Kuhli loach and I have to say that this guy is totally nuts! He is hilarious to watch, just all over the tank. Also, already causing "problems"! - knocked over a tunnel, dug up the substrate, swiping his tail at the others. Very entertaining! It's hilarious! Kuli and one of my weather loaches (Snakey) are buddies. They lay together with their tails entwined, or lean on each other! So cute!! - karne

Kuhli's are the shiznits! I have a pack of 4 and it's cool to watch them hanging out on the leaves of my plants. It's almost like Koolio, Warren G, Snoop & Dr. Dre are just kicking back, chillin when on the plants. (I give my fish "group names") - obyone

I have 5 Khuli Loaches, 4 with stripes and one without. they look like ribbons whizzing across the tank. I have seen them play in the air bubble wand and it whips them around a bit and they keep going back into it. - sherylee

Kuhli Loach - Profile

  • Scientific Name: Acanthophthalmus kuhli

  • Family: Loach

  • Temperature: 21 - 30 C; 70 - 86 F

  • pH: 5.5 - 6.5

  • Size: 10 cm; 4 inches

  • Life Span: years

  • Breeding: Difficult, Egglayer

Kuhli Loach - Compatibility:

Kuhli Loaches are compatible with Barbs, Corydoras, Danios, Rasboras, Rainbowfish, Livebearers, Plecos, Tetras, Weather Loaches

Dojo or Weather Loach

Dojo, Weather Loach, Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
Dojo, Weather Loach

Horsehead Loach

Horsehead Loach, Acantopsis choirorhynchos
Horsehead Loach