Clown Loach – Care, Tank Mates, Size & Details You Need!

Clown loach (Chromobotia macracanthus) is one of the most popular fish available at the local fish stores. Originally native to Indonesia, the clown loach can be found largely in freshwater bodies.

Almost all pet and fish stores seem to carry them. Since clown loach is easily available everywhere, most people assume that they are easy to keep and take care of.

However, that is not true. Clown loaches can be difficult to take care of and can grow to large sizes in home aquariums. This species of fish is very amusing to feed and watch during the day.

Quick Stats

Scientific name: Chromobotia macracanthus
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Orange with black bars
Lifespan: 10+ Years
Size: 12 Inches
Diet: Omnivorous
Family: Botiidae
Minimum Tank Size: 75+ Gallon
Tank Set-Up: Tropical Freshwater
Compatibility: Community Tanks

General Information

Clown loaches are also known mistakenly as scale-less fish, the fish itself is not scaled less as it has tiny scales all over its body.

In the wild, they mostly occupy clear running streams and waterways. During the monsoon, when the yearly rainstorm surges, they can likewise be found in flooded forests, fields, and dim swampy territories.

However, their favored territory is a quick-flowing stream, and it is better if their aquariums are built keeping this in mind.

If you are considering buying clown loaches, you should know that this fish can grow to a fairly large size. Their lifespan is 15 years on average, but some tend to live for longer than 15 years.

In-home aquariums, clown loaches can grow up to 10 inches and there have been several reports of them growing above 18 inches in length.

Keeping their size in mind, it is to be noted that fish of this size requires a large aquarium to stay healthy and alive.

Before dealing with a clown loach, you should know that clown loaches have a movable spine that is located right underneath their eyes.

If you do not handle the fish carefully you can get your finger pricked which can lead to a painful wound. Hence, you must handle a clown loach with care.

How to Keep Clown Loaches in Aquarium

As mentioned above, clown loaches are larger than most fish and hence, require large aquariums. This issue becomes complicated when you understand the fact that clown loaches must be kept with at least 6 other clown loaches and each can grow up to 18 inches (45cm) long.

If they are kept in reefs of under six fish, they will end up hiding most of the time because they can become stressed.

However, you can place clown loaches in smaller tanks when they are young because the development rate of clown loaches is very slow. Once they grow up to 5 inches, their development rate will slow down.

It takes several years for a clown loach to develop to its maximum size. Which gives you some squirm room in tank selection.

The size of the aquarium you should provide to clown loaches should be roughly around 55-gallon (200 liters) aquarium. This is the suitable size of an aquarium for a school of loaches while most of them are still small in size.

Once they reach their large size the tank should be changed to a larger size of nearly 75 gallons (280 liters) aquarium. A 120-gallon (450 liters) size tank is very suitable for a school of averagely sized clownfish.

After the right aquarium has been chosen, choosing the right filter is the next step. Clown loaches feel comfortable with a high amount of current in their aquarium, which can be provided using a large HOB filter or a powerhead.

A canister filter might be a decent decision for a clown loach aquarium, however, simply make sure that they are you provide them with some current in some other form.

Clown Loach Feeding

Clown loaches are omnivores and will eat plant matter, insects, and invertebrates in the wild. Proper care of food should be taken when kept in home aquariums and a diet of good quality shrimp pellets and flake food is recommended. Clown loaches can also be given frozen food and snails as treat.

Their eating routine should be adjusted if they are kept with some other types of fish, as they infrequently eat any food off of the water’s surface and their tankmates will eat a large portion of the food.

To guarantee that they get enough food, they should be given sinking food as pellets or solidified food that tends to sink to the base of the tank. Some great frozen food is blackworms, bloodworms. A saltwater shrimp and Hikari Sinking Wafers are a great diet as well.

Clown Loach Breeding

Reports of successful breeding of clown loach in home aquariums are greatly uncommon. However, if you are planning to breed them, there are a couple of things you can do to expand your odds.

The primary thing that you need to do is to look for a sexually mature reproducing pair. They typically take a long time to achieve sexual development and the most ideal approach to guarantee that you have a sexually mature match is to just look for fish that are somewhere around 6 inches in length.

The bigger the fish, the better your odds of effectively breading them.

You can differentiate male clown loach from a female one by examining their tails. The tail of the male clown loach is bent inwards while the female clown loaches have traditional tailfin.

The females will likewise be significantly plumper than the male, yet this can be hard to distinguish without having experience with this breed. Live food should be fed to the mating pair several times a day.

After taking proper diet, the female clown loach will start gaining weight, and mating might take place after proper conditioning.

After the spawn hatches and the fry start swimming, they should be fed with baby brine shrimp and other fry foods.

Powdered flake food and frozen food should be +after the fish is two weeks old. Once they start eating a proper diet they begin growing at a very fast pace.

Health Problems

More so than numerous different species, clown loaches are especially defenseless to two sorts of diseases.

Since this breed has a high-stress level which is further elevated when the fish is caught and transported, it is no surprise that their immune system is affected, and they become prone to some illnesses.

Be cautious for indications of white spot, particularly when initially introducing the fish to a new environment and be sure to set up to treat in case of early indication is of an episode.

Be cautious about the over the decision of treatment, as a few brands prove to be dangerous to clown loaches. However, there is not much research regarding this situation.

The second issue is regarded as skinny diseases and is an illness that is the internal infestation. A lot of newly imported clown loaches are prone to this illness especially the ones that are kept in high concentrations.

The disease shows itself as a consistent loss of weight, paying little attention to how much nourishment the fish eats.

Any Levamisole-based treatment will fix this, however, retailers should themselves cure the condition before selling the fish.

You should never buy any shop specimen that is not properly nourished and healthy.

Clown Loach Behaviour

Entertaining and benevolent are two words that best describe the clown loaches. These fishes will astound you with their shyness―which will come as unforeseen, as they were simply portrayed to be friendly. The nature of each clown loach is different from the other.

They can often be found settled joyfully at the base of the tank, trying to get away from your sight. On some days, you’ll see them swimming everywhere throughout the tank, trying to spread the joy around.

Their behavior depends on the behavior of the other fish in the tank (assuming any).

Clown loaches are known to copy the overall mood of the other fish in the tank, or, in other words, it is advised to not keep them with aggressive species in the same tank.

These fish love sticking to their corners and taking some time off from swimming around. They’re most joyful in dull corners, or, in other words, is important to fix the tank with live plants and different trimmings.

These fish are very fond of concealing themselves in hiding spots and dim lighting.

Their sleeping position is very different than that of other fish we usually keep at home. They lie immobile and horizontal and it’s easy to think that they have died the first time you spot them sleeping.

This is nothing to worry about, you can just slightly tap the tank to see them rush to find a cozy corner in the aquarium. At times, you can hear them making clicking noises when they come to the water surface to consume their food. They do this when they are hungry, excited, or happy.

Clown Loach Care

Clown loaches are filled with thin, tiny scales that grow on every part of their body. This is somewhat of an issue since the fish’s skin doesn’t shield itself from harmful substances that are present in tank water.

Therefore, it is important that only disinfected and clean water is added to the tank to make sure the fish’s health is not compromised. Do not add any drugs to the tank that can have adverse effects on fish’s scales.

Clown loaches require soft water in a tank that is controlled at all times with a balanced PH level. The water in the tank should be filtered and changed once or twice a week, depending on the water condition of the tank.

Clown Loach Tank Mates

Clown loaches are easy-going fish and they can easily adjust with other fishes in the aquarium. Good tank mates for clown loaches are Tiger Barb, Neon Tetra, Black widow tetra, yoyo loach, angelfish, discus, etc are good tank mates and they all can live peacefully together.

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