Bengal Loach (Botia dario)
Bengal Loaches are good looking and somewhat hardy. They are also relatively peaceful, very active, and great at taking care of pest snails, making them excellent members of a well-researched community aquarium with other temperate species. However, this Loach is not recommended for beginner aquarists because they need pristine water and do not have scales.
It would be best to keep Bengal Loaches in a group of 5 individuals, preferably more. Keeping these fish in more significant numbers will allow these fish to form a social hierarchy and act naturally within a shoal and help spread any territorial behaviour amongst the group. However, if you keep them singly, they may become withdrawn or confrontational towards similarly-shaped species. Likewise, if you only purchase a pair or a trio, the dominant individual may stress the others so much that they may stop eating.
Ideal tankmates for Bengal Loaches could include peaceful fish such as medium-sized Barbs, Larger Danios, Algae Eaters and Garras. However, you should avoid maintaining these fish with much smaller species; otherwise, they may be intimidated by this fish's size and their very active behaviour. In addition, it would be best to avoid housing these fish with slow-moving species and species with long fins like Guppies, Cichlids and ornamental Bettas, as these fish may nip at their long trailing fins.
It would be best to keep Bengal Loaches in a well established dimly-lit spacious aquarium with many hiding spots and visual barriers made up of smooth rounded rocks, pebbles and stones of differing sizes, and some driftwood. These fish will also appreciate areas of dense planting, which will give them further coverage if required and will also help to subdue the light.
You will need to make sure that the substrate is soft and smooth as these Loaches enjoy digging around the bottom of the aquarium as they search for bits of food, and it is crucial that nothing damages their delicate sensory barbels. These Loaches do not require a very fast current; however, they do better in well-oxygenated water with some flow.
Bengal Loaches cannot tolerate the build-up of organic waste and require pristine water to survive; therefore, it is recommended that you perform frequent water changes. Lastly, it would help if you had a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium as these fish are accomplished jumpers and can escape through the smallest of gaps.
The Bengal Loach has a stunning goldish-olive body colouration with 8 to 10 vertical thick dark bands that start just behind their eyes and extend down toward their caudal fin. These bands can sometimes be connected horizontally. However, once these fish reach maturity, their stripes widen, the number of stripes increases and the overall colouration becomes duller.
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 10|
|TDS||18 - 179|
|75 - 82℉|
23.9 - 27.8℃
In the home aquarium, the Bengal Loach will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.
Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.
It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.
This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.
3 interesting tank mate ideas for the Bengal Loach could include:
It is very challenging to differentiate between male and female Bengal Loaches as they are practically identical; however, supposedly, the females are fuller-bodied than males.