Tag Archive | "Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)"

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

The Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta) a.k.a. Yasuhikotakia modesta, is also known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Blue Botia,  is collected throughout the lower Mekong River basin in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam and the Chao Phray and Mae Klong drainages in central and western Thailand.

Redtail Botia Loaches are common throughout their range, and most of the specimens that are found in the aquarium trade originate from the Songkhram River in northeastern Thailand, a tributary of the Mekong River.

The Redtail Botia Loach is a carnivorous nocturnal species that prefers moderately flowing rivers and tributaries where it forages among the submerged rocks, tree roots, bottom litter, driftwood branches, etc. for small snails, invertebrates, insects, worms, crustaceans, and soft leaved plants. They are active scavengers that during daylight hours hide among the submerged roots, rocky caves, etc. and venture out in the evening to forage.

Redtail Botia Loaches migrate seasonally as part of their reproductive life cycle and depending on the time of year can be found in main river channels, smaller tributary drainages, and during the rainy season, flooded forest zones where are believed to spawn.

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

The Redtail Botia Loach has a bluish/silver (almost gray) body color and bright red to orange colored fins. Like all loaches, they posses four pairs of barbels that protrude from the mouth.

Although they are often referred to as being scaleless, they do have very small scales on their body. Sexually mature females grow a bit larger than males and are fuller bodied, especially when gravid.

Redtail Botia Loaches are mildly aggressive but enjoy the company of their own species.   In their natural habitat they frequently school up with other mildly aggressive species of the same size such as Yasuhikotakia lecontei, Y. morleti, and Syncrossus helodes which occurs across much of its range.

In an aquarium environment, they do best in groups of at least 6 to 8 or more specimens.   When housed alone in a community aquarium, they tend to become aggressive towards similarly bodied fish. In pairs or small groups of 3 or 4, the dominant fish will usually stress the other fish to the point that they stop eating.

The Redtail Botia Loach does best in a mature aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate, plenty of smooth, worn, river rocks and pebbles, a few pieces of driftwood or driftwood
roots, and some Java Fern, Anubias spp., or Java Moss to provide shade.   They like to hide among the rocks so a flower pot or caves made with the river rock would be appreciated.   Although they do not require heavy water movement, they do require well oxygenated water with some degree of flow.

Redtail Botia Loaches are intolerant of organic waste accumulation and because they need spotlessly clean water to thrive, weekly 30 to 50% water changes should be considered mandatory.

Because Redtail Botia Loaches are seasonal migratory spawners, there have been no reported cases of them being bred in an aquarium environment.   They are commercially bred using hormones for the aquarium trade.

In the wild, Redtail Botia Loaches migrate upstream with the onset of receding water levels. This usually occurs between November and March. When the water levels begin to rise again from May to July, they loaches migrate back in the opposite direction.

When the rainy season begins and the forests areas flood, the loaches begin their spawn and deposit their eggs in the flooded plains of the Mekong delta and southern Cambodia.    The fry are swept into the flooded areas by the torrential rains where they start developing into adults.   Juvenile Redtail Botia Loaches have vertical bars along their flanks that gradually dissipate as they reach adulthood.

Redtail Botia Loaches do best on a varied diet of live, frozen, or freeze dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, chopped earthworms, and a quality sinking pellet food like shrimp pellets.   They require several small feedings daily.

The Redtail Botia Loach is regularly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from most fish shops as the red finned form.   There is a much less common yellow finned form with a blue dorsal fin (which may be a different species) that is occasionally available at much higher prices.

Botia modesta can usually be purchased from aquarium shops and online when they reach 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″ in length.

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)

Redtail Botia Loach (Botia modesta)







Minimum Tank Size: 55 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: 4″
Color Form: Blue, Red, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not suitable for peaceful community tanks
Origin: Asia
Family: Botiidae
Life Span: 5-7 Years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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

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