Clown Loach Fish: A Complete Guide

Are you thinking of bringing the Clown loach to your aquarium? If yes then in this article you will get complete information and details that you must know about this fish. These fishes look very beautiful and attractive in the aquarium. These are the tropical freshwater fishes found in the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Not only that, they are very peaceful and have a good temperament. They can be seen playing around and chasing their mates. To know more interesting information about the Clown loach fish read the article till the end. 

Clown Loach Fish

Clown Loach fish is also known as the Tiger botia as it has a similar pattern of yellowish-orange and black stripes like that of a tiger.

The scientific name of this fish is ‘Chromobotia macracanthus’ given by Pieter Bleeker in the year 1852. The main attraction of these fishes is their body which has a color of whitish orange to reddish-orange. They also have three black vertical bands which give them a nice color contrast. 

The unique feature of these fishes is that they have a movable spine that they can use as a defense mechanism. They can use their spine to cause wounds or even as a predation tool. 

These tiger botia fishes can also make sounds when they are happy by the grinding of their pharyngeal teeth. 

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Clown Loach Size

The size of Clown loach fishes varies and they can grow up to 20 to 30 cm or 12 inches in captivity. When they are juvenile their size is about 2-3 inches in length. Usually, the females are slightly plumpy than male fishes and have a straighter tip. Whereas the male fishes have a bit curvy tip. 

Clown Loach Lifespan

The lifespan of Clown loach fishes is more in the wild as compared to captivity. It has been found that tiger botia fishes can live up to 20 years in the wild. In captivity, these fishes live only up to 10 years even with the right conditions and care. 

Clown Loach Behavior

From the research, it has been noted that these fishes are very social and peaceful. They live more happily when kept in a group of at least 5 fishes. They have a playful nature and can often be seen chasing around each other.

They are also known for their strange behavior of playing dead in which they lie down at the bottom without any movement. It seems as if the fish is dead but it is normal behavior of them to protect themselves.

The group of these fishes has a very different hierarchy and they are led by the alpha female. The other younger fishes copy the movements and actions of the alpha female. 

Clown Loach Food

The tiger botia fishes are omnivores and can eat both vegetation and small invertebrates. 

Live Food

Clown loach diet can include items like 

  • bloodworms 
  • brine shrimp
  • Earthworms
  • mosquito larvae
  • Daphnia
  • Tubifex

Vegetarian food 

  • algae wafers
  • blanched cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini


Clown Loach eat snails and it is among their favorite food items. You can also keep snails in the other tanks so as to feed them to your fishes.

Artificial foods 

  • Hikari sinking wafers
  • API fish food pellets
  • Fluval bug bites
  • Omega one veggie rounds

Clown Loach Care

Below I have mentioned some points regarding the care of the loach fishes that you must keep in mind. 

  • Loaches are very susceptible to an ich disease called White spot disease. It is very difficult to recognize this disease at an early stage and once you found any of the fish being infected by it. Take out that fish and keep it in a separate tank by applying formalin or copper sulfate medications. 
  • These fishes are sensitive to nitrates so make sure that you maintain good water quality and keep a check on it.
  • You must weekly gravel or substrate vacuums so that it removes any sort of parasitic spores from the aquarium. 
  • The water temperature should be maintained above the Loach fish tolerance limits that are 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Clown Loach Breeding

The breeding process of Clown loach fishes is quite difficult but you can do it by following the steps given below.

  • First, you need to take a pair of mature male and female fish and put them in a separate tank. During this period you need to feed them highly nutritious food till the time female grows larger.
  • Next, you need to place them in another aquarium and keep the water temperature between 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH of 6.2-6.4. 
  • Once the female lays eggs you should remove both the fishes from the tank and the fertile eggs will be of pink color.
  • On successful hatching, you can feed the small fry a cultivated infusoria. As they grow you can feed them shrimp and tubifex worms etc.

Clown Loach Tank Mates

Clown Loach fishes are not competitive and enjoy the company. They are usually found in a school in the wild and you can keep them together in an aquarium as well. 

Fishes To keep as mates

  • Royal clown loach
  • Neon tetras
  • Congo tetras
  • Dwarf rainbowfish
  • Tiger barbs
  • Rosy barbs
  • Blue gourami
  • Angelfish
  • Cichlids
  • Bolivian ram
  • Gold nugget plecos 

Fishes to avoid as mates

Many fish species are aggressive as well which you must avoid keeping with them like: 

  • Bettas, 
  • Goldfish
  • Guppies
  • fish species with long fins. 

Clown Loach Tank Size 

Now, I will tell you about the tank requirements and habitat of the Clown loach fishes in which you should keep them. 

  • The minimum tank size for these fishes should be around 150 gallons tank and there should be at least 30 gallons of water per loach. 
  • The temperature that you should maintain in the tank is between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • The pH level of the water should be between 6 to 7.5 and the water hardness can be between 5 to 15 dH. 
  • The flow of the water should be moderate to high so you should go for strong filters like Canister filters. 
  • The loach fishes are more active in dark than the light. The lightings of the aquarium should be subdued and not too much.

Clown Loach Fish Facts 

Below, I have given some interesting and quick facts about the loach fishes that you must know.

  • The scientific name of the loach fish is ‘Chromobotia macracanthus’.
  • These fishes are known to make clicking sounds when they are happy or when they mate.
  • The color of the tiger botia or loach fishes is determined by the waters they live in. The range of colors found in this fish is from orangish yellow to pale yellow.
  • When they are young their colors are very bright but as they age their color gets fade.
  • They also have pointy spines which they can use for their self-defense and it is located below the eyes. 
  • These fish species are sexually dimorphic. The males have brighter colors than the females and have larger tails.


How Many Clown Loaches Should Be Kept Together?

You should at least keep five loach fishes together in an aquarium. The minimum tank size for these five fishes should be 150 gallons that mean 30 gallons per fish.

Are Clown Loaches Aggressive?

No, the loach or the tiger botia fishes are not aggressive at all. They are peaceful and friendly fishes and can be kept with other fishes like Congo tetras, dwarf rainbowfish, tiger barbs, and angelfish, etc.

What Does A Clown Loach Eat?

The loach fishes are omnivores and they eat a wide variety of items like brine shrimp, earthworms, snails, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and tubifex, algae wafers, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini, etc.

Will A Clown Loach Eat Other Fish?

Loaches are not aggressive but they are opportunistic so if they find small fishes then they can eat them. These fishes are although very social and play around with other fishes.

Are Clown Loaches OK Alone?

Tankmates: Keep with others of its own kind. Easily the most recognizable of the Loach family, clown loaches are active and colorful fish, but they can grow to be quite large over time.

Do Clown Loaches Get Big?

These fish can easily top 12″/30cm and at that size need a tank considerably larger than your current one – 1.8m x 60 x 60cm/6’x2’x2′ or larger is usually recommended for a group long term. While your other Clowns have certainly grown since introduction I would expect them to be bigger than 7cm/2.75″ by now.

Is 2 Clown Loaches Enough?

Five or six is the minimum. What size tank are they in? Goes to 11! Clown loaches need more loach buddies than just one, 5 or 6 at a minimum.


Clown Loach is a good social breed of fish that can be kept in a home aquarium. Their vibrant and bright colors make them very eye-pleasing and attractive. These fishes can be kept in school and as well as the other fishes like rainbow fish, tiger barbs, congo tetras, and cichlids, etc. It is fun to watch these fishes as they are always swimming and playing around. They are peaceful and silent pets. However, you can sometimes here to the clicking sound that these fish make when it is happy. I am sure after reading this article you will get all the important and necessary information about the Clown loach fish.

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