Scientific name:Chromobotia macracanthus (Bleeker, 1852)

Common name: Clown Loach

Synonyms: Botia macracantha, Cobitis macracanthus, Chromobotia macracanthus

Distribution: Malay peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra

Sexual dimorphism: Mature fish deepen considerably and females tend to be bulkier. There are various theories about caudal fin lobe shapes being different, but these are inconclusive.

Feeding: Defrosted frozen bloodworms, white mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, etc; chopped prawns are appreciated by larger fish; manufactured sinking wafers (algae, carnivore wafers…), fresh or blanched vegetables such as cucumber, zuchinni, lightly boiled peas. Other keepers have had success with foods such as watermelon and banana, quality flake food. Will enjoy nibbling at soft or fine leaved aquatic plants.

Water parameters: pH 6.5 – 7.0, Hardness: aim for softer water, Maximum DH: 12

Temperature: 78ºF to 83ºF (25-30°C)

Breeding: No confirmation of natural breeding in the aquarium. Some forced reproduction through the use of hormones on fish farms in the tropics is rumoured. It is known that they are raised by such methods in the Czech Republic.

Maximum size: 16 inches

Care: This is a wonderful loach, but too large for most hobbyist aquariums. Allowed a minimum of 75 gallons or more, young Clown Loaches thrive in groups. They require large turnover, efficient filtration systems and current supplied by additional power-heads, frequent water-changes and great attention to cleanliness in the aquarium.

The tank should have subdued lighting, a soft, preferably sand substrate, and numerous hiding places provided made from rock-work or driftwood. Plants should be strong and resilient because large Clowns can be hard on them. They may uproot them, or punch holes in the leaves. Plant species must be capable of low-light environments.

Clowns are somewhat nocturanal in nature and often very lively in the early morning and after dusk. The addition of a blue moon light tube, or some other form of blue lighting, phased to come on before the main lights, and go off after them, will allow the owner to observe the fish at their most liveliest and entertaining. This will also avoid the fish being shocked by a sudden change in brightness.