Chinese Hillstream Loach - Care Guide

Like the Reticulated Hillstream Loach, the Chinese Hillstream Loach is one of the most unique-looking critters we have to offer. This fish's beautiful, hydrodynamic shape is embellished with an intricate dappled pattern that resembles leopard spots. They are generally light green in color, and their spots are a darker, emerald green. Their elegant-looking dorsal fins fan in and out and are tipped with bright red.



The Chinese Hillstream Loach is also known as the Butterfly Hillstream Loach, Hong Kong pleco, and Chinese sucker fish. These fish come from the rapid-moving streams of Asia, and their streamlined bodies are built to withstand those strong currents. Thus, hillstream loaches prefer a fast-moving, oxygen-rich environment like the streams they came from. These conditions can be replicated in your aquarium by installing powerheads. These fish also prefer to live in tanks with live aquatic plants for cover (such as java moss, anubias barteri, green cabomba, etc.). Otherwise, hillstream loaches are relatively easy to care for as long as water parameters remain stable.  

These are freshwater fish and are suitable for community tanks because of their peaceful nature - they are totally safe to keep with other non-aggressive fish, snails, shrimp, and live plants. We sell these fish in schools of 3 or more because they are known to do best in groups of 3 or more. Like other hillstream loaches, they need plenty of oxygen in the tank to survive, as well as colder temperatures (68-75°F). Warmer water has less oxygen in it, so this fish is not likely to survive in temperatures above 75°. They should be kept in water with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH level. These fish make an ideal tank mate for other types of hillstream loaches and goldfish, since all of these fish require colder water temperatures. 



Beaufortia kweichowensis



These fish range from 2" to 2 1/2" in length.


Recommended Tank Parameters

  • pH level range: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Temperature range: 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Water type: kH 10-15
  • Notes from the owner:
    • It's best to use sand or fine gravel as substrate in an aquarium with loaches and other types of bottom-dwellers. Other types of substrate may have sharp edges that can be abrasive to the fish as they swim along the bottom of the tank.
    • All hillstream loaches thrive best in schools of three fish or more.
    • It is also important to provide plenty of hiding and resting places for these fish, which can be provided by driftwood and sturdy plants.
    • Hillstream loaches require especially clean water, so we recommend weekly water changes of about 30%.



 Hillstream loaches are omnivores and grazers, so they will feed on algae and biofilm in your tank. They also like to eat most kinds of live foods, such as insect larvae, tubifex, daphnia, and frozen or live brine shrimp. They will also eat fish flakes or pellets, as well as algae wafers. 



Breeding of hillstream loaches is considered very difficult to do in a home aquarium, but not unheard of. It can only successfully done by keeping your loaches in tanks that remain within the recommended water parameters for this species. Male hillstream loaches are known to perform a “dance” for a female loach, who will proceed to follow him if she approves. The male will then dig a small nest in the substrate, where the female will drop her eggs.  Hillstream loach eggs typically hatch in about 2 weeks. The adult loaches are not known to harm their offspring, so it is safe to keep the young in the same aquarium.


What to Expect from Us

We generally ship hillstream loaches that are almost grown to fully grown. They are shipped in breather bags, which are permeable and allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

All Aquatic Arts brand plants and animals come with a 100% live arrival guarantee, plus free email support directly from the owners! All that we require is that you send us a clear, digital picture of the unopened bag of DOAs, and we will replace them free of charge.