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Clown Loach

Clown Loach
Botia macracantha

Length: 12.0"
Sex: Unknown
Feeding: Mostly bottom-feeders; omnivorous; mostly but not exclusively protein. Live or frozen is best for happy loaches.
Social Behaviour: Must be kept in groups of 5 or more loaches or will be stressed, shy, discolored and short-lived. Docile towards other species.

Up Keep: Neutral pH very important for coloration and temperament (will be very shy in suboptimal water). Change water frequently.
Breeding: Very unlikely in hobbyist tank. Only in perfect water conditions with lots of space and plants.
Comments: Wonderful, colorful (vivid orange and black stripes which fade somewhat as the fish grows), sociable fish, full of energy and personality, as long as they're kept in groups. Lone loaches will be VERY unhappy; their growth will be stunted, they'll be less colorful, and they'll die young. Feed them a mixture of food; they're naturally bottom-feeders but they'll happily take frozen bloodworms out of the water column, sometimes even from the surface. They like algae wafers and sinking pellets sometimes, but generally only after the lights are out. If you're having trouble getting your loaches to come out where you can see them, first check to see if your water quality is good, then try adding a group of tiger barbs or similarly colored, less shy fish to make the loaches feel safe. Important note: they are scaleless fishes, so if they get sick (primarily with ich, but sometimes with parasites, velvet or fin rot), DO NOT treat them with normal copper- or dye-based medicines; they will react to the irritants by producing extra mucus and they will suffocate in it. Instead, try raising the temperature to 90-92 degrees F for a few days and dosing with antibiotics. Your loaches will recover in no time and your aquarium's silicone seals won't turn blue. Of course, this is no substitute for frequent water changes which must continue while you're treating the fish; if they got sick in the first place, more small, regular water changes are often the answer.

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