Name: Yasuhikotakia morleti
Origin: India to Thailand
I have had four skunk loaches for about 2 months now. I have them in a 190 liter community aquarium with many other types of fish, including kuhli, YoYo, zipper loaches and silver dollars. I fell in love with them upon first site. They have to be one of the most adorable fish, and their body movement while swimming is hilarious (like an underwater humming bird). They are VERY active. They are listed in several places as nocturnal, but in captivity with more than one skunk, mine stay out all day and night. I have a ceramic castle in the middle of my tank for them to 'hide'. Normally, you will see all 4 heads sticking out of the castle laying on top of each other, this is how they sleep. Be warned, these are THE most aggressive of all the loaches. I did not believe this till I got them home, but they quickly took over the tank. They will not actually kill any fish, or even bite them. They WILL chase any timid or sick fish for hours on end. I started with 2, and quickly purchased 2 more to try and keep their attention focused on each other. I think it's best to keep at least 3 or 4 if you have smaller fish, and I would try not to keep them with anything smaller than a lemon tetra. They have no fear though, as they sometimes 'play' with my full grown silver dollars (who could easily bite them in half - thank god mine are very peaceful). I also have a red-tail shark that used to be king of the tank. He quickly learned to share his space with the skunks, and now all of them get along. They are NEVER aggressive to my other loaches, and prefer their company to any other type of fish. These fish are very active and, it seems, permanently hungry. If you have a community, don't worry about target feeding them, they will eat EVERYTHING that hits the bottom. Some foods they like that I give as treats are bloodworms, daphnia and frozen algae treats. I usually have to vacuum my gravel twice a month, but since I've had these 4 skunks, there is barely any dirt to vacuum up anymore. They constantly overturn all of my gravel which also keeps the top layer very clean and algae free. Excellent cleaners they are. If you're a loach lover or thinking of getting your first loach, you will become quickly attached to these little guys and they are wildly entertaining to watch.
The skunk botia is a hardy, smaller loach than can be kept with larger, more aggressive fish. In fact, I have kept them with African cichlids and they held their ground quite nicely. They are excellent scavengers, always moving around the bottom of the tank looking for food. I have seen them kept by themselves, as well as groups of threes. If kept by themselves, they seem to bother other species, sometimes hurting them. But if kept in groups, the aggression is put upon the group. An excellent fish, I would recommend for loach lovers who have smaller tanks.
This is a very busy little fish and enjoyable to watch. They never seem to be at rest, always searching every nook and cranny in the tank. I had 2 in a 200 L tank with 2 Silver Dollars, 2 Otos, a spawning pair of Angelfish and 3 Clown Loaches. The only occupants that they didn't get along with were the Clowns. They chased the Clowns incessantly. I finally moved them to another 200 L tank with assorted Tetras, a Cory Cat and a Red Bellied Pacu, where they get along fine with all. Even though they are not a very colorful fish, their flat little body and fine black pin stripe down the length of their dorsal makes them quite cute.
I used to have one of these fish about ten years ago. They are a great way to keep your tank gravel clean and the snail population down. Mine was right at home in my tank with two botia modesta and a large jack dempsey. They will eat just about anything you feed them, but seem to favor crustaceans. They are very closely related to the botia modesta and basically act the same.
I have one small skunk loach (~4 cm) along with a bigger clown loach and some other fish. This skunk loach (my girlfriend nicknamed it 'zebra') is active and likes to show off other fish from its territory by making a clicking noise. Funny little thing. I enjoy looking at it scavenging through the aquarium.
Finally I know what they are called. I found one of these unusual creatures half a year back in one of the fish shops (that was this one and only time I've seen this particular species). I brought home two and another two on the next day. I had named them as pencil fish until now. I have a mostly cichlid tank and these creatures seems to live pretty well with them around. They dare to compete with the other larger tank mates for food, but aren't too aggressive to anyone. They are active at times, charging around the tank making a clicking sound, but most of the time hide in a shell or beneath wood. Once I removed the decorations from my tank to clean them up. I was washing the gravel half an hour later when I heard this clicking sound coming from the basin. Only then did I realize that one of these little devils was actually still hiding in one of the shells. It must have survived in whatever water left in the shell, anyway it was as healthy as it can be when I put it back to his tank. It is an interesting fish, but pity I don't find them anywhere anymore. One of mine died and the another one seems to be missing for quite sometime already. Cute little fellow to have in a community tank.