Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus)
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The Clown Loach is one of the most popular aquarium species due to its beautiful coloration, active nature, and inquisitive personality!
The Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus) is a colorful, active species that is One of the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. It is a very long-lived fish that gradually grows to a very impressive size with proper care. It is a very active, inquisitive fish that is very gregarious in nature. It can thrive in a relatively wide temperature range and is compatible with many other species.
The Clown Loach is an omnivorous species requiring a diet of meaty foods regularly supplemented with vegetable and fruit matter. It will accept high quality dry foods, but its diet should also include regular offerings of live/frozen meaty foods of invertebrate origin. It also eats a fair amount of vegetable or fruit matter, so these items should be offered in sparing amounts on a regular basis. There are some reports that the Clown Loach may occasionally eat soft leaf plants, so care should be taken to observe this fish when adding it to an aquarium with such plants. It is not known to bother more durable plants with heavier leaves, such as Anubias, Java Fern, Moneywort, and most mosses, among many other ornamental plants. In most cases, the Clown Loach will not do significant damage to well-established plants in a larger aquarium as long as it is well-fed, including regular, but sparing vegetable and fruit matter in its diet.
The aquarium of the Clown Loach should include plenty of plants, rockwork, and driftwood for it to explore. Plenty of cover is necessary for this species and will ensure the most activity and least stress. The Clown Loach is an active species that also needs plenty of clear room in the aquarium for swimming and exploring. It exhibits a very sophisticated schooling behavior and social hierarchy where each individual species constantly strives to be the “leader of the school” by swimming to the front of the group. While this behavior may seem aggressive, it generally involves no real fighting and results in an exceptional level of activity. As long as the school includes at least 6-8 specimens, aggression or bullying within the school will be minimal or nonexistent. However, if the Clown Loach is kept solitarily or in too small of a group, it can become withdrawn or aggressive. It will sometimes jump from the water, so a secure lid is necessary for its aquarium.
The Clown Loach will thrive in an aquarium with very clean, well-maintained, high-oxygen water of moderate or high water flow and is generally peaceful with other species of fish, although its boisterous nature can be stressful to other very passive fish. The Clown Loach should not be kept with timid, slow-moving, or long-finned species, but it can be an excellent tankmate to other fast-moving, more durable species. The Clown Loach, like most typical loaches, often preys on tiny shrimp and snails. This is very useful in helping reduce “pest snails,” but must also be considered with larger ornamental snails and shrimp. The Clown Loach is a predator of many invertebrates.
Please note: The Clown Loach, while slow-growing (especially after it reaches 6-8 inches/10-15 cm), eventually attains a large size. It MUST be kept in a large aquarium, particularly due its need to be kept in a group.
The Clown Loach is a truly entertaining highlight of the aquarium under the right conditions. Its personality, appearance, and activity make it a truly exceptional species that is beloved in the aquarium hobby.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Exceptional coloration
- Incredibly bold and active fish that almost never stops swimming and foraging
- Adaptable to a wide range of water parameters
- Very active in middle and lower levels of the aquarium
- Excellent candidate for the larger aquarium
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 75° - 86° F (24° - 30° C). Care should be exercised to maintain high dissolved oxygen levels at the higher end of this temperature range.
- pH: 5.0 – 7.0
- KH: 1 - 12 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 180+ gallons for a group of full-grown adults
- Diet: Omnivore. Live and frozen meaty foods, especially frozen foods such as cyclops, Daphnia, Artemia, Tubifex, and bloodworms will all be readily accepted. High quality dry foods are also likely to be accepted. Some plant and fruit matter, such as cucumber, zucchini, blanched spinach, and melon should also be offered.
- Social behavior: MUST be kept in schools of 6-8+ specimens. This species exhibits complex schooling behavior and will often become withdrawn or aggressive when kept by solitary or in smaller groups.
- Origin: Borneo, Sumatra
- Average adult size: 7.9 – 12 inches (20 - 30 cm), although older females are possibly even larger
- Average purchase size: 1 - 1.5 inches (2.5 - 3.8 cm)
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