10 Best Types Of Loaches Fish For Your Aquarium

Loaches fish

Last updated on June 25th, 2022 at 07:42 am

Loaches fish are a type of freshwater fish that is characterized by its torpedo-shaped body and long, whisker-like barbels. These fish can be found in many parts of the world, and they come in a variety of different colors and patterns. Loaches make popular pets because they are hardy and easy to care for, and many owners find their gentle demeanor endearing.

They can be kept in a variety of different tank sizes, and they typically do well when housed with other fish that are of similar size. In the wild, loaches feed on small invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, but they will also accept commercially prepared foods. When choosing a loach for your aquarium, it is important to keep in mind that different species require slightly different care. While many loaches are peaceful, some can be fin-nippers if housed with fish of similar size.

Loaches fish make great pets for people who have had aquariums before and want a challenge or anyone looking for an easygoing addition to their tank.

Origin and description

Loaches fish can be found all over the world. They live in fresh, brackish, and salt waters from South Africa to Japan. In fact, there are about one hundred different species of loach fish that belong to more than twenty genera! Because they have a variety of appearances and behavior patterns depending on their habitat or region, it is easy for aquarists to become attached to these fish.

The most popular loaches fish for the aquarium are the zebra loach, clown loach, and kuhli loach. They come from different parts of the world but they all share similar features; a slender body with a small head, and a long dorsal fin that runs almost the entire length of their back. These fish have a life span that ranges from five to ten years and they can grow up to six inches long in the aquarium.

The zebra loach is black with white stripes, while clown loaches are known for their bright colors including orange, red, blue, or green. The kuhli loach has an eel-like body and is brown or black with a pale underside.

Species profile

Loaches fish are a group of fish that share similar features, like heavy-bodied cylindrical shape and lack scales. They mostly come in various colors such as black with orange or white markings on their body. Loach is also known for its round puffy eyes that allow it to see above the surface while moving between low-lying plants.

There are around 120 known species of loaches that can be found in fresh and brackish water habitats all over the world. The smallest loach is about an inch long while the largest one can grow up to 18 inches long. Loaches have a lifespan of around 20 years if they are well taken care of.

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Scientific name and classification

The scientific name for loaches fish is Cobitis. They are placed in the family Cobitidae and order Cypriniformes.

Color and appearance

The color of loaches fish can be very diverse, ranging from a light sand color to a deep black. Some species have stripes or bands while others are nearly solid in color. The body shape is also quite variable, with some species being slender and others having a more robust body.

Range and habitat

Loaches are found throughout Asia, in parts of the Middle East, and even into parts of Eastern Europe. Most species inhabit freshwater streams, ponds, or waterfalls where they feed on plants but some marine loaches can also be found in saltwater environments.

How big do loaches fish get?

The maximum size for most loaches is around 12 inches (30 cm), though a few species can reach up to 18 inches (45 cm) in length.

Tank size

Because of their somewhat large size, loaches can make a great addition to an aquarium for fish keepers with some experience. The minimum tank size should be at least 36 inches (90 cm) long and the water temperature needs to remain between 65-77 degrees Fahrenheit (18-25 Celsius).

Whilst they may not need as much space as a larger fish, it’s still important to make sure the tank has plenty of hiding places for them. Rocks and driftwood can be used as cover while plants provide an extra place for loaches to rest when they need it.

Life cycle

The life span of loaches is usually between five and ten years, though in some species it can be as long as 20-30 years.

Are loaches fish aggressive or peaceful?

Most loaches are peaceful fish and can be kept in a community aquarium with other non-aggressive species. However, there are a few exceptions and some of the larger species can be territorial towards their own kind or similar-looking fish.

Loaches fish care

In order to keep your loaches healthy and looking their best, a regular water change is essential. At least 25% of the tank water should be replaced every week with fresh clean water.

Feeding them a varied diet that includes both live and frozen foods will also help ensure they remain in good condition.

Salvini Cichlid (Cichlasoma salvini)

What they eat

Loaches are scavengers by nature and will eat just about anything that falls to the bottom of the tank. This includes both live and frozen foods, as well as flakes and pellets.

Some good food options for loaches include bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, krill, tubifex worms, and mosquito larvae. You can also give them small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables. Just be sure to remove any uneaten food after a few minutes so it doesn’t spoil and make the water cloudy.

What fish are compatible with loaches fish?

Since loaches are bottom feeders, they should be kept with other fish that stay near the bottom of the tank. This includes other types of loaches, catfish, eels, and some types of tetras.

Avoid keeping them with fish that like to swim in the middle or top of the tank, as they will become prey to these fish. This includes many types of barbs, goldfish, and rasboras.

Water conditions

Loaches prefer cool water with a pH of around neutral. The temperature should be kept between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are tolerant of a wide range of water conditions but will do best in soft slightly acidic water. If your tap water is hard or alkaline, you can use a water conditioner to soften it and make it more suitable for loaches fish.

In order to keep your loaches fish healthy and looking their best, a regular water change is essential. At least 25% of the tank water should be replaced every week with fresh clean water.


It is possible to breed loaches fish in a home aquarium, but it is not an easy process. The water conditions need to be just right and the fish must be well-fed and healthy.

Some people have had success breeding them by using a large tank with plenty of plants and hiding places. The parents will lay their eggs among the plants but must be separated quickly after they spawn. The plants are then moved to a separate tank, where the eggs will hatch in about four days.

The babies can be fed small pieces of shrimp and powdered flake food until they are large enough to eat adult foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp.

If you have your heart set on breeding loaches, it is best to start with a few young fish and wait for them to grow before attempting to breed them. This will give you the best chance of success.


The average lifespan of a loaches fish is around five years, but they can live for up to ten years or more if cared for properly.

Lamprologus callipterus

Parasites and diseases

The most common parasites and diseases that affect loaches fish are ich, flukes, and anchor worms.

If you notice any of these parasites or diseases in your tank, it is important to take action quickly. Treatment options vary depending on the parasite or disease involved but typically include using a medication or salt bath.


The main predators of loaches fish are other fish in the tank. This includes both larger fish and smaller fish that may be able to fit into the nooks and crannies on the bottom of the tank.

To help protect your loaches, it is important to have a well-rounded community of fish that includes both large and small species. Keeping them with other bottom-dwelling fish will also help to keep them safe from predators.

Do they make good pets?

Loaches are a very interesting fish that have become popular in the tropical freshwater community. Their unique shape and ability to breathe air for short periods of time make them an interesting addition to any tank.

However, they can be difficult to care for because they require specific living conditions including soft acidic water with lots of hiding places.

Top 10 loaches fish for freshwater tanks

There are many different types of loaches fish, but only a few make good freshwater tank mates. Here are the top ten loaches fish for freshwater tanks:

The Bitterling


This is a small and peaceful loach that makes a great addition to any community tank. This little guy can reach up to two inches in length and sports a silver and black color pattern.

The Dojo Loach

Dojo Loach

This is another small loach that grows to only about four inches in length. This active little fish is great for keeping the bottom of your tank clean and is also known for its playful personality.

The Clown Loach

Clown Loach

This is one of the most popular types of loaches fish because of its long flowing fins and bright color pattern. This loach can reach up to twelve inches in length but is normally kept at around six inches for the best results.

The Zebra Loach

Zebra Loach

This type of loach grows to only about five inches in length making it ideal for any small tank. These fish are brightly colored with alternating black and white stripes that run the length of their bodies.

The Kuhli Loach

kuhli loach

This is a long and slender loach that can grow up to six inches in length. This fish has a unique appearance due to its brown and black color pattern and eel-like body shape.

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The Flying Fox Loach

Flying Fox Loach

This is a large and aggressive loach that can reach up to ten inches in length. This fish is best suited for tanks with larger fish or those that are well established.

The Weather Loach

Weather Loach

This is one of the most unique-looking loaches due to its ability to change color depending on its mood. This loach can reach up to ten inches in length and should be kept with larger fish or in a tank that is well established.

The Stone Loach

Stone Loach

This has an armored body that helps protect it from the sharp rocks of its natural environment. This loach can grow to about six inches long but normally stays smaller for the best results in your freshwater tank.

The Golden Loach

Golden Loach

Golden loach is a beautiful fish that has a metallic golden sheen to its scales. This loach can reach up to six inches in length and does well when kept with other small fish.

The Tiger Loach

Tiger Loach

An aggressive and active loach that can reach up to eight inches in length. This fish does well when kept with other large fish and is sure to add excitement to your tank.


Loaches fish are unique fish that can make an interesting addition to your tank. They require specific living conditions and should only be kept by experienced fish keepers or people who have done a lot of research into their care.

They are bottom feeders so you should avoid keeping them with other fish that like the middle or top of the tank, as they will become prey to these fishes.

So, which loaches fish are right for you? Be sure to do your research before adding any of these fascinating creatures to your freshwater tank. With so many different types of loaches available, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your needs.