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These entertaining, strikingly marked fish are a wonderful addition to any large home aquarium. Native to Borneo and Sumatra, clown loaches (Botia macracantha ) are not yet commercially bred. In their native countries, clown loaches are often used as food fish. These loaches are scaleless, having a covering of thick skin instead of scales.

Clown loaches are freshwater fish and like their water temperatures to stay in the ranges of 75-86 degrees. They require large tanks to accommodate their growth. In the home aquarium, clown loaches sometimes reach sizes of 8" and more. There are reports of clown loaches in public aquariums reaching sizes of over a foot in length! If well cared for, clown loaches can live for a very long time. It is not unusual to hear of clown loaches reaching the age of 10 years or more in the home aquarium. There is a public aquarium that boasts a clown loach in its collection that is over 40 years old.

Known for their bright orange and black coloration, the clown loach will often ‘gray out' when it is feeding, or if it is displaying dominance toward its tankmates. Their vibrant oranges and blacks return when the situation passes. Clown loaches are social fish and should be kept in groups of no less than three. They enjoy shrimp pellets, sinking goldfish food, flake food, live foods such as small snails and shrimp, and slices of zucchini, cucumbers, and other vegetables.

Clown loaches deserve the name they are known by, for they are quite amusing. They enjoy playing chase with their tankmates and love to dig in the tank's substrate. They are meticulous hole diggers and will spend hours digging holes one gravel at a time. They look as if they are tossing the gravels back over their shoulders!

Many clown loach owners have been startled to discover their loaches lying on their sides or backs, looking very much dead. Surprise! When the owners touch them with a fish net, the clown loaches zip away. Their habit of sleeping on their sides and backs can be unnerving until one becomes accustomed to them.

These charming fish make an excellent addition to the home aquarium. Their mild personalities, endearing tricks and lovely markings make them one of the more entertaining fish available.