toolbar powered by Conduit


Clown loach

The clown loach, Chromobotia macracanthus, or tiger botia is a tropical freshwater fish
belonging to the Cobitidae (loach) family. It is the sole member of the Chromobotia genus. It originates in inland waters in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. It is a popular fish in the freshwater aquarium trade and is sold worldwide. [1]

Taxonomy and naming
The fish was first described as Cobitis macracanthus by
Pieter Bleeker in 1852. In 1989, the scientific name was changed to Botia macracanthus.[2] In 2004, Dr. Maurice Kottelat split the Botia genus, containing 47 different species, into seven separate genera, resulting in the clown loach being placed into a genus of its own, Chromobotia.[3]
The genus Chromobotia derives its name from the
Greek word chromo, meaning "color", and the regional Asian word botia, meaning "warrior" or "soldier". The specific epithet macracanthus is derived from the Greek word macros, meaning "large" and the Latin word acanthus, meaning "thorny", referring to the large spines below the fish's eyes. The "Clown loach" common name comes from the fish's bright colors resembling a clown's makeup, and the fish's ability to entertain observers with its comical behavior when kept in an aquarium.[2]

Description and behavior
Information about the maximum size of the clown loach varies, with some estimates ranging from 11 to 14
inches (40 to 50 cm), and with typical adult sizes ranging from 7 to 10 inches (15 to 20 cm).[4] The fish's body is long and laterally compressed, with an arched dorsal surface and a flat ventral surface. Its head is large and its mouth faces downward with thick, fleshy lips, and four pairs of barbels. The barbels on the lower jaw are small and difficult to see.
The body is whitish-orange to reddish-orange, with three thick, black, vertical bands. The first band runs from the top of the head and through the eye. The second band lies between the head and the
dorsal fin, and wraps around to the belly, and the third band covers the start of the caudal peduncle and extends to the anal fin. There is some regional color variation in the species; the pelvic fins on fish from Borneo are reddish orange and black, while the pelvic fins on fish from Sumatra are entirely reddish orange.[5]
The fish is sexually dimorphic, with females being slightly plumper than males. In addition, the tips of the tail on the male curve inwards slightly, whereas the females have straight tips.[2]
The fish has a movable spine that lies in a groove below the eye, which may be extended as a defense mechanism.

The clown loach is a bottom-dwelling omnivorous fish. In the wild, its diet primarily consists of the food it is able to find on the substrate, including
snails, crustaceans, worms, freshwater shrimp, vegetable matter, and aquatic insect larvae.[4] In the aquarium it can mainly be fed carnivore pellets and bloodworms. It will also readily accept flake food that is floating around and it will also eat snails or other small invertebrates. A younger 3 inch clown loach can't consume tablets. Red insect larve can cause digestive errors.

Distribution and habitat
Clown loaches originate in
Indonesia, on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. For the greater part of the year, the fish lives in murky or blackwater rivers and lakes, but breeding adults migrate to smaller waterways to spawn annually.[4] They are especially predominant in the flood plains of the hill country.[6]
In its native habitat, the fish is found in water with a temperature range of 77 to 86 °F (25 to 30 °C), a pH between 5.0 and 8.0, and water hardness between 5 and 12 dH.[1]

In the aquarium
A harmless, very active, social fish, they are best kept in groups of 3 or more and due to their potential size a 50 gallon aquarium should be the minimum size used. These fish have bifurcated subocular (located under the
eyes) spines, which are used as a defence mechanism. If a loach deploys its spines while caught in a net, untangling it is difficult and can cause severe injury. It is also a good idea when moving larger specimens to double or triple bag them or use a solid container. Some owners have been stabbed while trying to catch or touch these fish. When kept in groups smaller than 5, they may spend more time hiding under obstacles in the water.
They are also found to make clicking noises when excited or eating. Sometimes they lie on their sides on the bottom of the tank or swim upside down and appear to be dead. This is a common event and the aquarist should be aware of this fact or unnecessary removal may occur.
If you have noticed that your clown loaches do not come out of hiding, there are some easy things to adjust so that your clown loaches will be more comfortable. A good tank setup for a clown loach should include ample shade, plants (plastic or real), hiding places and other peaceful fishes. Make sure the environment is not too bright. Provide shade from tank lighting. The tank should not be next to a window. Clown loaches are keen observers of other fish in the aquarium; they observe and react accordingly. If other fish are skittish and hide, clowns will observe this and do the same. Make sure that other fish in your community tank are docile and not prone to hide.
Because clown loaches come from
rivers and streams, they are accustomed to having other fishes and plants in their environment. Not having plants and/or other fishes can cause clown loaches to become stressed and to go into hiding. Another important thing to remember is that since they do come from a fast moving river environment, they need a tank with lots of clear, well filtered and fast moving water which can be achieved with proper filtration and the use of powerheads. Before introducing clown loaches to your tank, make sure the fish you currently have are compatible because aggressive fish will stress your clown loaches and may need to be removed. Clown loaches are particularly susceptible to Ichthyophthirius (ich), so they must be watched closely when initially introducing them to a tank and when new fish are added. Ich usually deals the typical clown loach a poor prognosis since the standard treatment is especially toxic to the clown's "skin-type" and the dose must be halved and is therefore less effective.
A variety of food should be provided for clown loaches, and their behaviour should be observed during feeding. In a
community tank other fish may take the food before it reaches the bottom, where the clown loaches feed. Most clown loaches accept commercial flake food and sinking pellets as their dietary staple, but thrive with a variety of food: live (worms, brine shrimp, small snails), plant matter, freeze-dried (tubifex worms, especially if it is fortified) and frozen brine shrimp (always thaw frozen food to aquarium temperature).
Clown loaches are also regarded as a natural way of controlling an infestation of small
snails in the aquarium. This being said, a person considering them for this purpose must also consider their future needs with regard to a large aquarium. A person getting clowns to remove snails in a smaller tank might be better served with one of the many other botia species that are as effective at the task but remain much smaller. Despite that utilitarian purpose, clown loaches are usually kept for reasons of appearance and personality.

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)