Clown Loach – Care, Diet and Breeding

Clown Loach displaying orange and black banding


Clown Loach, scientifically named as Botia Macracantha, is one of the must-have species among freshwater fish. The Clown Loach is good at attacking nuisance snails and intruders that could otherwise cause widespread damage. This friendly but shy species of fish is also known as scale-less fish – the extra small scales embedded on its skin are difficult to see with the human eye. Clown Loaches are meek and are generally a great community fish. It should be noted that they can be a little aggressive when provoked and should be monitored for the first few days upon addition to their new home.

Most Loaches are nocturnal, but Clown Loaches are not. In fact, they are active during the daytime which makes them an interesting and lively choice. They often tend to stay away from light and hide behind plants and rockwork inside the aquarium. Owners often mistake this behaviour for sickness or disease but it is no cause for alarm.

Clown Loach Parameters

Temperature – 78° F to 87° F
pH – 6.5 – 7.0
Hardness – soft water fish
Maximum Size – 1′
Minimum tank size – 100 gallons
Diet type – Omnivore
Care Level Required – Moderate
Temperament – Semi-aggressive
Cost – $6 – $8

Clown Loach feeding from aquarium substrate

Other Notes & Facts | Clown Loach

Clown Loach originate from the Cobitidae family, native to Indonesia. They can grow up to a maximum length of 12 inches, although this is extremely rare in captivity. Their home is usually fast running streams and rivers which means the Clown Loach enjoys high current and flow within the aquarium. Submerged caves, rocks and objects will provide the Clown Loaches with a sense of security & help them to relax in their new environment.

Breeding Clown Loach

Breeding Clown Loaches is not easy, which is the reason it is rarely embraced by even the most dedicated hobbyists. To make breeding possible, you must find a sexually mature Clown Loach breeding pair, ideally each fish should be around 6 inches long. This is extremely difficult. In captivity it is hard to pair Clown Loaches and determine pristine specimens that display the qualities for active reproduction. Once ready to breed, place the chosen pair inside a heavily planted tank with maintained water. After spawning, both the female and male Clown Loach must be removed as they are high risk of consuming the young and eggs. Once the eggs hatch they can be raised like other freshwater fish fry. Live infusoria can be fed followed by baby brine shrimp and ground flakes. Odds of successfully raising the young are very low, expect loss of many fry during this process.


Feed Clown Loaches small meals more than a few times a day. Adult Clown Loaches can be picky when it comes to meals, but the younger ones eat just about any kind of prepared fish food such as fish food tablets and vegetable flakes. Meaty supplements like fresh, frozen, and dried shrimps also provide Clown Loaches nutrients needed for proper nutrition.

5 thoughts on “Clown Loach – Care, Diet and Breeding”

    1. Look at the anal fin. I might have it backwards but female anal fins are more straight where as males hook or curve inwards towards the body. Another tip is that males are usually slender in build where as females have room for babies back there.

      Keep in mind that sexing clown loaches at a young age can be difficult ^~^

  1. I bought 5 clown loaches that are 3/4″long for snail control in my 30 gallon long hilstream biotype aqurium:has live plants that native to their natrual home range&4variations of natrual driftwood!However while I was told that they mostly like to hang out around the base of plants&on driftwood there favorite place seems to be around the aquaeon power filter,Betta bowl water fall filter&the current circulation pump;I have no Idea why but for the most part they seem really happy with there new home!

  2. Can you leave the babies with the fish if they have a lot of room to hide?

    We bought a clown loach and a molly fish about a week ago, the clown loach has just given birth to four fry. There are 4 plants for them to hide in a 16-gallon tank. We would remove them but we do not have another tank to put the babies in.

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