How to care for Clown Loaches

How to care for Clown Loaches

  • Clown loaches are peaceful and sociable fish that can be kept with a variety of tankmates.
  • Suitable tankmates for clown loaches include peaceful community fish of similar size, such as tetras, rasboras, and gouramis.
  • Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as they may stress or harm clown loaches.
  • Clown loaches appreciate hiding places and plants, so provide them with suitable aquarium decor.
  • Monitoring water parameters and regular tank maintenance are essential to ensure the well-being of clown loaches and their tankmates.

If you’re a fan of the colorful and playful clown loach, you may be wondering what other fish can happily share their tank. Luckily, clown loaches are a sociable species that can coexist peacefully with a variety of fish. However, it’s important to choose tankmates that are compatible with these quirky loaches to ensure a harmonious aquatic community.

Clown loaches (Botia macracantha) are known for their vibrant colors and distinct clown-like stripes. They are native to rivers in Southeast Asia and are popular in the aquarium trade due to their unique appearance and entertaining behavior. Although clown loaches are generally peaceful, they can be sensitive to aggression and should be housed with compatible tankmates to ensure their well-being.

Best Tankmates for Clown Loaches

When selecting tankmates for clown loaches, it’s important to consider the fish’s temperament, size, and habitat preferences. Ideally, choose peaceful fish that are similar in size to clown loaches to prevent any aggressive behavior or harm. Here are some popular choices for tankmates that can happily coexist with clown loaches:

  • Tetras: Tetras, such as neon tetras or cardinal tetras, are small, peaceful fish that are well-suited to aquarium life. They are similar in size to clown loaches and add a vibrant splash of color to the tank. Tetras are schooling fish and will appreciate the company of their own kind.

  • Rasboras: Rasboras, like harlequin rasboras or celestial pearl danios, are another suitable choice as tankmates for clown loaches. They are peaceful, active fish that do well in community tanks. Rasboras can tolerate a range of water conditions and will happily explore the tank alongside the clown loaches.

  • Gouramis: Gouramis, such as honey gouramis or pearl gouramis, can also make great tankmates for clown loaches. They are peaceful and have beautiful flowing fins that complement the clown loaches’ vibrant colors. Gouramis prefer slightly warmer water, so ensure the tank temperature matches their requirements.

It’s always a good idea to research the specific needs and behaviors of any fish you plan to add to your clown loach aquarium. Compatibility is key to maintaining a peaceful environment for all the tank inhabitants. Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as they may stress or harm the clown loaches. Similarly, very small fish may become snacks for the clown loaches, so choose tankmates that are not significantly smaller in size.

Providing the Perfect Environment

Creating the perfect environment for clown loaches and their tankmates involves more than just choosing the right fish. Here are some additional factors to consider:

Tank Size and Decor

Clown loaches require a spacious aquarium to thrive. A 75-gallon tank or larger is recommended to accommodate their active nature and potential growth. The tank should also provide ample hiding places and swimming space. Adding caves, driftwood, or PVC pipes will create suitable hiding spots for the loaches. Live plants can also help simulate a natural habitat for the fish while providing additional filtration and oxygenation to the water.

Water Parameters

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of clown loaches and their tankmates. Aim for a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 and a temperature of around 75-86°F (24-30°C). Ensure good filtration and perform regular water changes to keep ammonia and nitrate levels in check.

Tank Maintenance

Regular tank maintenance is essential to keep the aquarium environment clean and favorable for all the fish. Perform routine water changes, test water parameters regularly, and keep an eye out for any signs of stress or disease in your clown loaches and their tankmates.

Incompatible Tankmates

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to avoid keeping clown loaches with aggressive or fin-nipping fish. Some species that are not suitable tankmates for clown loaches include:

  • Cichlids: Cichlids, including African cichlids or aggressive South American cichlids, should not be housed with clown loaches. Their territorial and sometimes aggressive nature may stress or harm the loaches.

  • Barbs: Some barbs, such as tiger barbs or cherry barbs, can be fin-nippers and may harass clown loaches. It’s best to avoid keeping these species together to prevent any potential harm.

  • Oscars: Oscars are large, aggressive cichlids that should not be housed with clown loaches due to their predatory nature. Clown loaches may become prey for oscars, preventing a peaceful coexistence.


When it comes to choosing tankmates for your beloved clown loaches, compatibility is the key. Opt for peaceful fish of similar size and temperament to ensure a harmonious aquatic community. Tetras, rasboras, and gouramis make excellent choices, bringing both vibrant colors and peaceful behavior to the tank.

Remember to provide a spacious and well-decorated environment for your clown loaches and their tankmates. Maintain proper water parameters and perform routine tank maintenance to ensure the well-being of all the fish.

With the right tankmates and environment, your clown loaches can live happily ever after, bringing joy and entertainment to your aquarium for years to come.