Max Size: 6cm

Chinese Hillstream Loach (Pseudogastromyzon cheni)

Chinese Hillstream Loaches make a great addition to an aquarium, but they require pristine water conditions and shouldn't be kept in an aquarium that is biologically immature. However, individuals who are healthy and happy will display pillar-box red dorsal fins that flash when they are active and energetic. The spawning behaviour of these Loaches is fascinating to observe, and they are one of the easiest to breed.

The mouths of these fish form a sucker, allowing them to grasp onto rocks in the waterways. In addition, their camouflage markings help them blend in with their natural surroundings, and their flattened heads make them more streamlined.

All sucker-type Hillstream species require similar care. To survive, they need excellent water flow, aeration, and a variety of rocky hiding places, as well as smooth pebbles and boulders to graze on. To encourage algal growth in the aquarium, the lighting should be bright.

Since fish do not normally encounter plants in the wild, they are unnecessary, but they will improve water quality. Anubias and Microsoreum are suitable plants for high-flow environments. Driftwood and rockwork are good places to grow them.


Chinese Hillstream Loach
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePseudogastromyzon cheni
Year Described1942
Other NamesHong Kong Pleco
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 15
TDS71 - 214
68 - 75℉
20 - 23.9℃


In the home aquarium, the Chinese Hillstream 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.

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be somewhat tricky to differentiate between male and female Chinese Hillstream Loaches; however, mature females will grow larger than males, have fuller body shapes, and their markings will be less distinctive. Additionally, males tend to have more prominent nasal tubercules when they are sexually active.

Other Loaches of interest

Bengal Loach(Botia dario)
Blue Botia(Yasuhikotakia modesta)
Clown Loach(Chromobotia macracanthus)
Crimson Loach(Schistura sp. Crimson)
Dwarf Chain Loach(Ambastaia Sidthimunki)
Fork Tailed Loach(Vaillantella Cinnamomea)
View all Loaches
Date Added: 03/01/2023 14:22:14 - Updated: 03/01/2023 16:35:59