Name: Botia kubotai
Origin: Myanmar (Burma)
I bought two small Botia kubotai two years ago when they were first being imported - with a hefty price tag! I have always been a huge loach fan and the beautiful patterns and cheeky nature of these fish has to be seen to be believed. Like the majority of loaches, they are playful and gregarious. They enjoy a sandy substrate to allow burrowing, and like plenty of hiding places. Feeding is as for most loaches - offer a variety of foods from sinking catfish pellets, to cucumber, to live foods such as bloodworm. They are greedy little fish and click enthusiastically when they like what's on the menu!
As these loaches are wild caught and shipped from Myanmar to Thailand then to the UK/US, they can arrive in pretty poor condition. Ensure they have undergone a period of LFS quarantine - and then only buy healthy, fatter specimens. I bought the final 2 fish following their LFS quarantine, but sadly lost the smaller of the two within a week. The survivor remains happy and healthy, and is now about 8 cm in length.
It's well worth getting a group of 4-5 as they are sociable fish. Mine currently lives with a group consisting of two B. almorhae, one B. histrionica, two B. dario and two B. rostrata in my 400 L tank. B. kubotai are certainly not as 'nippy' as some loaches can be, and seem nicely matched to their fellow loach tank mates in terms of temperament. There was a little TOO much chasing on introduction - but they soon sorted out the hierachy!
It is believed that the markings are unique to each fish, and these change as they age. Be wary when you buy that you do not end up with the more common B. rostrata, as the two appear similar at first glance - many LFS seem to be confusing the two species! I have not seen any available locally to me (in Bristol, UK) for some time now, but they normally retail for around £6-10 per loach. Highly recommended!
I bought five Botia Kubotai in February 06, they stayed in my 20 L quarantine tank for about 4 months. They hid a lot in the quarantine tank, ate very little and I lost one towards mid-June. They liked meaty food, but also take sinking pellet. The hiding behaviour disappeared once I moved the remaining four to my 450 L main tank in June. They are now the first to feed, and dance around the front of the tank every time I walk by, with or without food. They are housed with 4 Botia Striata, 2 YoYo's, and an Acantopsis choirothynchus (Horse-faced loach). They get along well with my ruby shark (15 cm fat) too. Great fish; do need some hiding places. They seem to prefer hanging to driftwood than staying at the bottom, and like water movement from the powerhead. They are not as nippy as YoYo and Striata. I would not recommend mixing with Skunk or Tiger loach.
I presently have a 570 L with an assortment of small catfish and a few gouramies, kuhlis and black widows. It also contains 6 yoyo's, 1 rostrata, 1 striata, and 3 kubotai. All my Botias play, individually, with other fish species, as a group together, or mob handed on anything they decide, be it big, small, plant, rock or fish. They are a joy to watch, especially the kubotai when they swim in formation, then suddenly stop and glide slowly down together with fins spread. I feed spirulina, algae wafers, JMC brine shrimp cubes, cichlid pellets, etc. They eat pretty much anything, but definitely prefer live bloodworms and river shrimp. That is, with the exception of cooked, peeled John West prawns. These cause mayhem, HAHAHA. All my Botias are inquisitive, playful and very active, but the Kubotai do it all with more grace and beauty. I consider all my Botias a must have fish for hours of entertainment. The constant digging and scavenging is a huge bonus to my fine grained gravel and the overall cleanliness of my tank. Only ever seen slight aggression, and that was between 2 yoyo's months ago.
I've had 3 in a 100 L planted tank with Harlequin Rasboras, 2 Corydoras, a black Kuhli and an Otocinclus for about a month now and the loaches have eaten nearly all my snails that had previously infested my tank. They're quite playful and a real treat to watch as they dig through the fine sand substrate and check the filter sponge for food. They hide with the black Kuhli under a bunch of rocks when the lights are on in the tank and seem to have settled in quite nicely.
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