Loaches bring an interesting shape and color to your freshwater aquarium. Related to catfish, they have a flat belly, humped back and small whiskers called barbel on the sides of their sucker-like mouths. They are most active at night, making them a nocturnal fish, so it’s not uncommon for them to hide during the day or “play dead” by laying at the bottom of the tank on their sides. They are a relatively hardy fish with few needs, easy for novice aquarists to keep and fun to watch. This is a fish that does well in small schools of two or three. Because this is a nocturnal and slightly shy fish, it is important that owners provide them with a place to hide.

Sub-Species for Aquariums:

Clown – Perhaps the most popular of the aquarium Loaches, the Clown Loach can grow up to ten inches in length. Clown Loaches are a bright orange with three tiger-like stripes with one is always being placed over the eye. The dorsal fin is black and the tail a bright orange.

Coolie – Eel like in shape and movement, the Coolie Loach is an interesting addition to the tank. Light pink and black striped, it slithers along the floor of the tank in small schools.

European Weatherfish – While this variety of Loach is somewhat plain in appearance, it is still an exciting fish. One of the larger Loaches, its body is a light brown that’s spotted and striped in slightly darker browns. Watch this fish when a storm is brewing, however. They naturally become more active and playful when barometric pressure drops.


The Loach has few tank requirements. Water should be medium in pH and about 76˚F. Because they are floor dwelling fish, it is recommended that a soft substrate rather than hard pebbles is used so that your Loaches do not harm themselves on the sharp corners of pebbles while they dig in around for flakes of food.


While Loaches are happy to scavenge off the floor of the tank, this should not be relied upon as their sole source of food. Be sure that you feed foods that will sink to the bottom of the tank, such as catfish pellets. For a treat, consider giving your Loaches small worms such as blood worms.

Size: Up to 10 Inches
Freshwater/ Saltwater: Freshwater
Diet: Omnivore
Reef Compatibility: NA
Tank Mate Compatibility: 8
Lifespan: Up to 5 Years

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