Everything You Need to Know About the Clown Loach Fish

We've written a lot about fish that are known as bottom dwellers, or fish that like to forage at the bottom of the fish tank. Here's another favorite of fish experts that like to forage in the substrate of the freshwater fish tank. The Clown Loach is a tropical freshwater fish species of the family Botiidae. They are native to the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They need friends or tankmates! At least five of these Clown Loach fish should be in the tank together or they'll spend their time hiding. 

They're very social and enjoy chasing each other around the tank. These fish are orange with black bars. Their pointed nose is surrounded by sensitive whisker-like barbels and a sharp defensive spine beneath each eye. They can grow up to 12 inches. 

Tank conditions

Since they travel as a school and are plenty active they need a large freshwater tank. Experts say a 150-gallon tank for 5 fish is perfect. You should have caves and other places where they can hide as that's a major behavior trait of all Clown Loach fish.

Water quality is extremely important. The Spruce Pets tells us that this is critical to keeping them healthy.

"Take care to keep the water very clean, well-aerated and warm; an efficient filtration system and frequent water changes are critical. "

What do clown loaches eat? 

Fishkeeping World says treats should only be fed once a week!

You should feed them a mixed diet of sinking shrimp pellets and algae wafers.

"Frozen foods like shrimp and blood worms will support the healthy growth of the fish but should only be fed a few times a week. Live foods like bloodworms, earthworms and small shrimp are considered a delicacy to Clown Loach and should be fed once a week as a treat."

Typical behavior


Clown Loaches are social and peaceful fish that are often found closely foraging in the substrate. These fish need to travel in schools and are best kept in large community tanks.

Fish Keeping World recommends keeping a tank containing at least 5 individuals. If you keep less than 5 you will find them to be very timid and shy, spending most of their time hiding. Sometimes they lie on their side and appear dead and this is normal!

Remember that Clown Loach (common name) fish need hiding places. While they enjoy swimming around with tankmates and eating flake food from the bottom of the tank they need to feel safe from other fish.

Their water conditions also need to be pristine so you must find a large freshwater aquarium to keep adult size Clown Loaches happy and healthy. If you have 5 a minimum tank size is 150 gallons. Don't forget about plant matter!

These schooling fish can be found at pet stores and you should ask experts about their natural habitat so you can emulate it. They may also tell you that they're also known as scaleless fish.

Hobbyists will love watching them race around the fish tank.

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