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Horseface Loach (Acantopsis choirorhynchus)

Horseface Loach (Acantopsis choirorhynchus) a.k.a. Longnose Loach

Pair of horse-faced-loaches

Pair of Horse Face Loaches

The Horseface Loach (Acantopsis choirorhynchus) of Southeast Asia is found in the rivers, streams and backwaters of Singapore Malaysia, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), Java, Sumatra, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The head and nose of the Horseface Loach is elongated and “horse like” in appearance and like many other loaches, it has a thin, elongated body that is well suited for burrowing into sandy substrates.

Coloration of these fish varies from gold, tan to silver with many irregular black markings over their bodies. They are peaceful scavengers and well suited for medium to large sized community aquariums.

The Horseface Loach from Malaysia is similar to the Longnose Loach (Acantopsis octoactinotos), from which it can be distinguished by it’s down turned (horse like) nose.  The Horseface Loach buries itself in the bottom substrate; the Longnose Loach does not.  The Horseface Loach is fast moving and much less aggressive than the Longnose Loach which regularly feeds on juvenile fish.

The Horseface Loach is a shy, peaceful, primarily nocturnal fish that likes to hide in plant roots, driftwood, rocks and caves during the day.  They like to bury themselves when threatened and MUST be provided with a deep base of sand or fine gravel substrate in the aquarium.

Water worn rocks, driftwood branches and tree roots should be arranged to form plenty of hiding places and shaded areas for these fish.  Because of their burrowing activities, the driftwood in the tank should be planted with Java Fern and Java Moss to provide them shade.

Horseface Loaches need a high proportion of dissolved oxygen and moderate moderate water movement.  This means the implementation of a good power filter, at least one additional power head and an airstone or two.

Like most other loaches that inhabit running streams, the Horseface Loach is intolerant to buildups of organic pollution and needs clean water to thrive.  This means regular weekly 30-50% water changes.

The Horseface Loach has not yet been bred in an aquarium environment.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts will find that feeding the Horseface Loach is easy.   They are largely carnivorous and prefer freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex,  frozen and live foods of all types. They can also be conditioned to accept high quality carnivore flake foods and shrimp pellets.

Horseface Loaches are usually 2″ to 3″ long when available for purchase.

Horseface Loach (Acantopsis choirorhynchus)

Horseface Loach (Acantopsis choirorhynchus)







Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 79.0 to 84.0°F, 1 – 10dGH, pH 6.0-8.0
Maximum Size: 8″
Color Form: Black, Tan, White
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Active top and mid water fish
Origin: Southeast Asia
Family: Cobitidae
Lifespan:10 – 12 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Loaches, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario)

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario) a.k.a. Bengal Loach, Queen Loach

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario)

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario)

The Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario) is found throughout much of the middle to lower Ganges and Brahmaputra river drainages in northern India, Bangladesh and Bhutan.  Botia dario are collected wild from the rolling mountain streams of Bangladesh, situated just south of the Himalayas.  The area is criss-crossed with clear mountain streams that feed three main rivers.  The Dario Botia Loach also goes by the names Bengal Loach, Queen Loach, Scarf Botia, Geto Loach, and Indian Loach.

The body of the Dario Botia Loach is tan and black in color, and like other Botia loaches can be identified by their four pairs of barbels protruding from the mouth area. The entire body and fins of this Loach is barred with alternating stripes of both tan and black, which gives the fish its unique look.

The Dario Botia Loach is an active, semi-aggressive, social, bottom dwelling scavenger that enjoys the company of its own species and other semi-aggressive fish. Like some other Loaches, they frequently school with others of their own species, size, and age and in the aquarium should be kept in groups of 4 to 8 fish.

Dario Botia Loaches are inquisitive and seem to enjoy exploring their surroundings.  They are shy of bright light, prefer low light conditions and love to hide in caves, holes in banks, plants,, nooks, and tight crannies, especially when they sleep.  They are reclusive during the day and become most active towards dusk.

In the aquarium, be sure to provide Dario Botias with plenty of cover in the form of rocks, wood, flower pots and aquarium ornaments.  Natural style arrangements should include a substrate of sand or fine gravel, plenty of smooth water worn rocks, smooth pebbles, and roots or branches.

Dario Botia Loaches will squeeze themselves into any tiny gaps or crevices they can find, so items with sharp edges should not be placed in the tank. Any gaps or holes that are small enough for the fish to become trapped in should be filled in with aquarium silicone sealant. Because they are jumpers, a tight fitting cover is a must for these loaches.

Dario Botia Loaches come from streams and require currents in the aquarium.  They are intolerant to accumulations of organic wastes and need spotlessly clean water to thrive.  A good filtering system and a small power head will achieve the desired well oxygenated water and moderate current conditions they require.

Since Dario Botias are subject to low light conditions in their native habitat, lighting in the aquarium should be relatively subdued.  Plants like Microsorum pteropus (Java fern), Taxiphyllum barbieri (‘Java’ moss) or Anubias spp. that grow well in low light conditions, will benefit the fish, and when attached to driftwood or other tank furniture will provide additional shade for the fish.
Dario Botia Loaches will easily adapt to and should only be introduced to stable, biologically mature aquariums.  Weekly water changes of 30-50% tank volume should be considered routine maintenance.

The breeding habits of this species is not known and no successful captive breeding has yet been recorded by any tropical fish keeping enthusiast.

The Dario Botia Loach is a grazer and requires small amounts of food several times a day. Young Dario Botia Loaches will eat most high quality commercially prepared foods but older fish may be more finicky.   Feed them a varied diet of freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp and a quality flake or pellet food.  They relish snails and will feast on them with gusto.

When available for purchase, they are usually 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″ in size.

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario)

Dario Botia Loach (Botia dario)








Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-86° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.5
Max Size: 6″
Color Form: Black, Tan
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Social with peaceful, open water dwelling cyprinids
Origin: India, Bangladesh
Family: Cobitidae
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Loaches, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

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