Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides




Tank Temperature:





Most omnivorous; snails, algae, detritus; flakes, sinking pellets, freeze-dried, and frozen foods, including brine shrimp, Daphnia, and mosquito larvae


Most very active, need tanks with suitable swimming space; Larger loaches may prey upon smaller tankmates or stress passive, slow-moving species; Jumper, keep tank covered, lid recommended.


Generally Community Safe with caution; should not be kept with slow-moving or passive fish or with much smaller fish; Suitable tankmates include some tetras, barbs, danios, some cichlids.

Species Overview

Loaches are bottom-dwelling fish that can resemble eels, sharks or flattened plecos. They are found in many sizes and may be peaceful or predatory, depending on the species. Two families comprise the group of fish known commonly as "loaches": Cobitidae and Balitoridae. Cobitidae loaches are generally slender and active with pointed noses and small whiskers. They range from the eel-like burrowing Kuhli Loaches (Pangio sp.) to the large, very boisterous Clown Loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus). Balitoridae loaches are very different in appearance, being flattened and closer in appearance to plecos and algae eaters.

These two groups are very different in temperament as well as appearance. Cobitidae loaches are generally far more active while Balitoridae loaches are more sedentary and accustomed to high-flow streams and waterfalls. They are much smaller than many Cobitidae loaches that can grow to over a foot in length and must have a suitably large aquarium.

Both groups contain fish that are mainly herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores (feeding on both plants and meaty items). Some Cobitidae loaches will feed on snails and can be used to keep snail populations under control in planted aquariums. Many loaches are schooling and can be kept in groups, while others can become territorial and may only be able to be kept singly in the tank unless it is suitably large with visual territory boundaries. Loaches like Kuhli Loaches and Schistura loaches are scaleless and sensitive to some medications and can be injured by sharp-edged substrates or ornaments.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

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