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Botia striata
Zebra Loach

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Zebra Loach - Botia striata

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Photo Credit: James Forgan

I recently bought a Zebra Loach which was called a Tiger Botia. I'm pretty sure that it was the same fish, however it's not peaceful and calm! I bought 2 more clown loaches with it because I was able to get a deal at my local pet store, and from the time I added the three loaches to my tank the tiger started chasing and nipping at the 2 clowns. I went to bed after seeing the Tiger calm down, and the next morning I couldn't find one of the clowns, and the other clown had parts of it's tail fin nipped off. I'm still looking for my clown loach and haven't been successful, however the tiger loach isn't behaving still and is attaking my other clown. I'm going to have to put one of the two remaining loaches in another tank. On a good note, my tank is now snail free, and man did I have a bad snail problem!

Contributed by Mike Kleinberg

I have 2 of these little fellas in my 180 L tank. They are always pestering my congo tetra. The smaller one of the 2 even managed to get itself stuck behind the background in my tank, but no harm done to him, just a chuck missing out of the backing!

Contributed by Emma Green

Zebra loaches have a great character. You put a little food in and they are still hovering around searching for it 3 hours later. Sometimes they may dispute with one another, but do no damage due to their barbels. I have had one in my community tank and he is the most GENTLE fish I have ever least as gentle as a coolie loach and as graceful and deliberate as a swallow chasing butterflies over a meadow in late July.

Contributed by Simon Cole

I recently bought two of these little fish and placed them in a community tank with some clowns, yoyo's, plecs, Congo tetras, black mollies, platys and a full grown rainbow shark. Firstly I found that one zebra constantly chased the other around the tank, and both of them chased the yoyo's. Both zebras were constantly pushing and shoving to try to share the rainbow shark's abode, even though ample other hides were provided. I eventually moved the zebras into separate tanks (each with yoyo's in it) and they then became individually aggressive to the yoyo's in each tank, although I must say that they do get on very well with clown loaches. To summarise my exeperience...put these two together and one totally dominates the other and makes it miserable. Separate them and they become equally aggressive to yoyo loaches. Answer...don't risk yoyo's and zebras in the same tank, it can become a nightmare. Keep about a minimum of four zebras together, or singly with clown loaches. To my knowledge, they don't seem to have any problems with other species.

Contributed by Mike Glaiser

For those of you who like personality fish, this is a great choice. They stay small and are hardier than most other loaches. Just keep your water quality up to par and they're more likely to adapt it without getting Ich - just no salt, please. All the personality punch of a clown loach in a littler package. When you see those little heads poke out at you, and when they flutter around greeting you at the front of the tank, or just sit there with their heads curved upwards checking you over, you'll melt. I've even seen one of mine walk on his fins, and it's a hoot watching them try to play with other clueless fish. These and my angelfish are my definite favorites.

Contributed by Karen Heiby

I acquired my Zebra Loaches almost 14 months ago and they have been an impressive addition to my tank. They spend a great deal of the day in and about the large piece of driftwood in my tank, darting in and out of the crevices. They get along great with the other fish; 3 golden gouramis (each 10 cm), three albino cory's and a couple of Oto's. They devour the live food and I can coax them up from the bottom when I dip the end of my finger into the water after handling the live food. They are a pleasure to watch and I have found that feeding them live bloodworms [flash frozen] makes their colorings much higher contrast. I would definitely recommend them but advise against getting any less than three, since they are very social fish and appear to do best in groups.

Contributed by Bonnie Van Tassel

From what I have heard and using my experience, I would say that zebra loaches are very variable in terms of personality. They can be terrors, but may also be very peaceful. My two loaches are quite shy, but are adorable when they play games of chase with each other. I think part of the problem with aggression is when the loaches are kept in tanks without suitable hiding places. They should always have a selection of caves or at least some plant cover, or they will become nervous. The aggression is a way of feeling secure. Also, before you buy, check on their behaviour. Remember they are nocturnal and need to be given some privacy. If they are provided with adequate cover and good water parameters (preferably neutral pH and moderatly soft) they should thrive. They love insects and food such as frozen bloodworms.

Contributed by Joseph Bartram

Zebra Loaches are very peaceful community fishes that need to be kept in schools of at least 5-6. They are very attractive, and can be quite boisterous! It's important to provide these loaches with plenty of caves to hide in - this will make them feel more confident and you will see them more.

Contributed by Rowan

This loach is very peaceful and should always be kept in groups due to its gregarious nature. They are occasionally kept in singles or pairs, but this is detrimental to them and it is much more fun to keep them in large groups! I keep mine with an Angelfish, a Panda Garra and a school of Western Rainbowfish in my 180 litre tank and they do very well! People who say they are nippy are not keeping them in big enough groups; this nippy behaviour usually stems from the stress of being alone. Overall a fantastic community species!

Contributed by Rowan

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