Over 110 species of loaches live in fresh waters of Europe, Asia, and some areas of Africa. They have small scales and three to six barbels around the toothless mouth, which is set back beneath the snout. Loaches have two ways of breathing: gills and swim bladder. Many species breathe through the intestine. If the water becomes polluted, they come to the surface to gulp air, which they swallow. When their pond dries up, the loaches bury themselves in the mud and wait for rain.
The Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus) is an excellent addition to a community tank. You may keep several young clown loaches, but only a single mature one. When first imported, it is very delicate and prone to diseases, but once established it is very hardy. It has a habit of swimming in a shoal with similarly striped fish, especially Barbus tetrazon.
Clown Loach Chromobotia macracanthus
Like all animals, fish spend some of their lives sleeping. however, no other fish sleep in quite the same way as the clown loach; it takes its naps lying on its side on the bottom. Its vivid body markings help break up the fish's shape which gives effective camouflage, not least when the fish is sleeping. Their usual method of feeding is to comb the surface of the sand or mud, swallowing edible particles and passing solid grains through the gills.
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Like all freshwater fish, the Clown Loach is susceptible to Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (commonly known as freshwater white spot disease, freshwater ich, or freshwater ick). It is caused by the protozoan Ichthyopthirius and is commonly treated with malachite green. Scaleless fish, including loaches and catfish, are extremely sensitive to malachite toxicity. Clown loaches are best treated with temperature manipulation.3
- Exploring the World of Aquatic Life. John Dawes, Andrew Campbell, John P. Friel
- International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Maurice Burton, Robert Burton
- Ornamental Fish: Self-Assessment Color Review. Gregory A. Lewbart
- The Aquarium Fish Survival Manual. Brian Ward