Clown Loach

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Chromobotia macracanthus - (Bleeker, 1852)
Clown Loach

A handsome and popular species but not suited to small aquaria. Neil Hepworth


The best known of the loaches, the Clown Loach is a beautiful fish that is relatively long lived. It can start out in a 30-gallon (114 L) tank, but can grow large and will eventually need more spacious quarters. They are best kept in groups of at least three to enjoy their comical behaviors.

Family: Cobitidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Prefers an aquarium with subdued lighting and efficient filtration, as they are susceptible to poor water quality. Frequent partial water changes are a must. Provide fine-grade or smooth gravel substrate and plants should be artificial or potted and buried in the substrate.

Maximum length: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 208 L (55 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom to midwater.


Omnivore. Will accept a wide variety of live or frozen foods, including brine shrimp, bloodworms and mosquito larvae. Supplement with commercial algae or carnivore wafers, as well as herbivore fare and color-enhancing flakes.

Aquarium Compatibility

Although the Clown Loach is nocturnal, this species is seen out in the open during the day, mostly early in the morning when the lights are turned on and at dusk.


There are no reports of aquarium breeding to date.


It has the peculiar habit of “playing dead” on the bottom of the aquarium. Don’t be fooled—they are just resting. They also make “clicking” sounds like many other loaches. As scaleless fishes, they are susceptible to ich and should always be quarantined when first acquired.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: NH
Text credit: KW