Maximum size : 18 cm

Blue Botia - Yasuhikotakia modesta : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Blue Botia (Yasuhikotakia modesta) is a captivating and active schooling fish, with young specimens being particularly striking and impressive. As they age, these fish tend to become more reclusive, spending increasing amounts of time hiding under rocks or in caves. Despite their shyer tendencies, Blue Botias are nocturnal creatures that come alive at night, digging through substrate and gravel in search of food. They are mildly aggressive and tend to enjoy the company of their own species, often schooling with other similarly sized, mildly aggressive species in the wild.

When kept in an aquarium environment, Blue Botias thrive in groups of six or more. If housed alone in a community aquarium, they can become aggressive towards other similarly shaped fish. Similarly, if kept in pairs or small groups of three or four, the dominant fish can bully their companions to the point of refusing to eat.

Given their potential size, Blue Botias require a large tank with excellent filtration and regular water changes to maintain pristine conditions. These captivating creatures are intolerant of organic waste accumulation and require spotlessly clean water to thrive, making them a more challenging species for beginner aquarists.

With their elongated, heavily built compact body and arched back, Blue Botias are striking in appearance, with bluish-silver or grey bodies that may show a green sheen under certain lighting conditions. Their fins can vary in colour from bright red to orange and, on rare occasions, yellow. As juveniles, Blue Botias have vertical bars running along their flanks, which disappear as they mature. Like all loaches, these fish have four pairs of barbels that protrude from their mouth, and while they are often considered scaleless, they do possess small scales on their body.

Blue Botia Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Blue Botias can be a challenging task. The only noticeable difference between the genders is that sexually mature females tend to grow larger than males and have fuller bodies, particularly when carrying eggs. While gender identification may prove difficult, it is crucial to ensure a suitable environment for both males and females to thrive.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameYasuhikotakia modesta
Year Described1864
Other NamesRedtail Botia Loach, Red-finned Loach, Red-tailed Blue Loach
OriginsLaos , Vietnam , Cambodia , Thailand
Max Size18 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 7.5
GH 8 - 12
Ideal Temperature
72 - 86
22 - 30

Natural Habitat

The Blue Botia is a captivating species of catfish native to the lower Mekong River basin, stretching across Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. In addition to this range, they can also be found in the Chao Phraya and Mae Klong drainages in central and western Thailand in Southeast Asia. These fascinating creatures inhabit moderately flowing tributaries and rivers with sandy or muddy substrates, foraging amongst submerged rocks, leaf litter, tree roots, and driftwood branches in search of food and soft-leaved plants.

Despite their scavenger status, Blue Botias are active foragers, venturing out of their hiding spots amongst the submerged roots and rocky caves in the evening to scour their environment for sustenance. As part of their reproductive life cycle, Blue Botias migrate seasonally, moving between smaller tributary drainages and main river channels depending on the time of year.

During the rainy season, these captivating creatures can be found in flooded forest zones, where it is believed they spawn. Overall, Blue Botias are a fascinating species of catfish, with a unique range and intriguing behaviours that make them a captivating topic of discussion for anyone interested in aquatic life.


Regrettably, Blue Botias are seasonal migratory spawners and have not been successfully bred in an aquarium environment to date. Despite this challenge, the aquarium trade continues to supply these captivating creatures through commercial hormone production methods. While breeding Blue Botias in captivity remains a significant challenge, the use of hormones in commercial production has proven to be a viable solution for making these fascinating creatures available to aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. However, it is important to note that such practices require specialized knowledge and expertise to ensure the health and well-being of the fish.

Diet & feeding

For optimal health and vitality, Blue Botias require a varied diet comprising of live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and chopped earthworms, in addition to high-quality sinking pellets and wafers. To ensure proper nutrition, it is essential to feed these captivating creatures several small feedings daily, providing them with the necessary energy to sustain their active lifestyles. By providing a diverse range of foods, aquarium enthusiasts can ensure the long-term health and well-being of their Blue Botias, ultimately enabling them to thrive and flourish in captivity.

Other Loaches of interest