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Maximum size : 15 cm

Bengal Loach - Botia dario : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents

Introduction

The Bengal Loach (Botia dario) possesses attractive features and displays a commendable level of resilience. Moreover, it exhibits relatively peaceful behaviour and high activity levels and proficiently manages the population of pest snails, rendering it an exceptional addition to a meticulously researched community aquarium housing other compatible temperate species. However, novice aquarists are advised against acquiring this species due to its stringent water quality requirements and lack of scales. Ideally, Bengal Loaches should be kept in groups of no less than five individuals, preferably more, as this enables the establishment of a social hierarchy and encourages natural shoaling behaviour while also dispersing any territorial tendencies within the group. Conversely, solitary individuals may become reclusive or exhibit confrontational behaviour towards species sharing similar physical attributes. Likewise, if only a pair or trio is obtained, the dominant individual may exert excessive stress on the others, potentially leading to diminished appetite.

Suitable tankmates for Bengal Loaches include peaceable species such as medium-sized Barbs, larger Danios, Algae Eaters, and Garras. However, it is important to avoid housing significantly smaller species with these loaches, as the disparity in size and their highly dynamic behaviour may cause intimidation. Furthermore, it is advisable to refrain from cohabitating them with slow-moving species or those possessing long fins, such as Guppies, Cichlids, and ornamental Bettas, as there is a risk of fin-nipping.

Creating an optimal environment for Bengal Loaches entails maintaining a well-established, dimly-lit, and spacious aquarium with ample hiding places and visual barriers composed of smooth, rounded rocks, pebbles, and stones of varying sizes, along with some driftwood. Dense vegetation within the tank will also be appreciated by the fish, offering additional cover as needed and reducing the intensity of lighting. The substrate should be soft and smooth, as these loaches engage in bottom-dwelling activities, foraging for food, and it is crucial to prevent any damage to their delicate sensory barbels. While Bengal Loaches do not require a strong water current, they thrive in well-oxygenated water with moderate flow.

Maintaining pristine water quality for Bengal Loaches is essential, as they are intolerant of organic waste accumulation. Regular and frequent water changes are strongly recommended. Lastly, a secure and tightly-fitted lid should be in place for the aquarium, as these fish possess remarkable jumping abilities and can exploit even the smallest gaps to escape.

The Bengal Loach exhibits a striking goldish-olive body colouration adorned with 8 to 10 vertically thick dark bands that originate just behind the eyes and extend towards the caudal fin. In some instances, these bands may connect horizontally. However, as the fish mature, the stripes widen, their quantity increases, and the overall colouration becomes more subdued.

Bengal Loach Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Bengal Loaches poses a considerable challenge due to their virtually indistinguishable physical characteristics. Nonetheless, it is speculated that females may exhibit a fuller body compared to their male counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBotia dario
Other NamesQueen Loach, Geto Loach
ClassificationActinopterygii
FamilyBotiidae
GenusBotia
OriginsIndia Bangladesh Bhutan
Max Size15 cm
TemperamentPeaceful
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate
ShoalingNo
Best kept asGroups 5+
DietOmnivore
ReproductionEgg-Layer
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 10
TDS18 - 179
Temperature
75 - 82
23 - 27

Natural Habitat

The enchanting Bengal Loach thrives in the captivating realms of the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins of Bangladesh, along with the picturesque Gaylegphug River Basin in Bhutan, nestled within the vibrant landscapes of South Asia. North India also hosts this stunning species, showcasing its remarkable adaptability across diverse habitats. As residents of moderately flowing streams and rivers, these loaches share a fascinating relationship with the ever-changing waters of their native regions.

During the monsoon season, nature's grandeur unfolds as up to 4.5 meters of rainfall cascade upon the land, transforming the terrain into shallow lakes. It is during this magical period that the Bengal Loach embarks on a migration, venturing towards these shimmering lakes in search of abundant nourishment. But as the monsoon gradually fades, the majestic Himalayan glaciers melt, feeding the rejuvenated streams and rivers. And so, with anticipation, the Loaches return to their cherished habitats.

Underneath the water's surface, a delicate tapestry of sand and silt unveils itself, providing a serene canvas for their aquatic existence. However, amidst the allure of their natural abode, the Bengal Loach faces challenges. The cultivation of rice, intertwined with the use of pesticides, casts a shadow upon their pristine habitat. Furthermore, the lure of their captivating presence has led to intensive harvesting for the ornamental trade. Despite these concerns, these Loaches display an enduring spirit, earning them a classification of least concern for now.

Breeding

Presently, comprehensive documentation regarding the breeding behaviours of the Bengal Loach is lacking, and regrettably, successful domestic breeding of this species has not yet been achieved. Nevertheless, commercial production of these Loaches is facilitated through the application of hormone-induced techniques.

Diet & feeding

Bengal Loaches demonstrate a versatile feeding behaviour, yet it is imperative to offer them a diverse and nutritious diet that encompasses high-quality dried products such as sinking pellets and algae wafers, in addition to incorporating live or frozen foods such as Tubifex, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Furthermore, the inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables like melon, blanched spinach, and courgette is readily embraced. While finely chopped earthworms can serve as a valuable protein source, it is advisable to exercise moderation when providing this particular food item. It is crucial to note that, despite their inclination towards freshwater snails, Bengal Loaches should not be solely relied upon as a means to combat snail infestations, as they are not molluscivores.

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