Max Size: 3.5cm

Hovering Zebra Loach (Yunnanilus cruciatus, Micronemacheilus cruciatus, Nemacheilus cruciatus)

The Hovering Zebra Loach is a lively, peaceful fish relatively rare in the aquarium hobby; due to its small size and peaceful non-destructive nature, this fish is the perfect choice when searching for a species of Loach suitable for a nano aquarium. These fish are highly active in the aquarium while in a juvenile state; however, they will become more retiring and discreet as they mature, and you will notice them hiding more often.

These fish are highly sociable and should be kept in large groups of at least eight individuals.

Ideal tank mates for the Hovering Zebra Loach include other small peaceful species such as MicroRasboras, smaller Danios, peaceful Catfish such as Corydoras and other dwarf loaches of similar size and temperament, such as the Rosy Loach.

It is recommended that you do not house these fish with larger or more boisterous species as they will be intimidated or outcompeted for food.

The presence of other similarly-sized schooling fish seems to help reduce their shyness.

The Hovering Zebra Loach should ideally be housed in a planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spaces for them to feel most comfortable. Some driftwood and leaf litter also seem to be welcomed and add a more natural feel.

The water in the aquarium should be well-oxygenated, and a steady current is ideal. You should not add these fish to a biologically immature aquarium as they can be susceptible to fluctuations in water chemistry.

You should also make sure you perform regular partial water changes to maintain quality.

This species occasionally hovers in midwater, but, more often than not, you will see them swimming head down at a 45-degree angle whilst searching the substrate for food.

The body of the Hovering Zebra Loach is translucent with silvery pink to yellow iridescence. They possess 14 to 18 black bars that begin between the eyes and travel through to the caudal peduncle. Their bellies are pearlescent white, and their fins are transparent.

Hovering Zebra Loach (Yunnanilus cruciatus, Micronemacheilus cruciatus, Nemacheilus cruciatus) Video

Hovering Zebra Loach (Yunnanilus cruciatus) Aquarium Fish Species Profile & Care Guide


Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Hovering Zebra Loach
Quick Facts
Scientific NameYunnanilus cruciatus, Micronemacheilus cruciatus, Nemacheilus cruciatus
Other NamesVietnamese multi-banded zebra loach, Laos pygmy multi-stripe loach, banded dwarf loach
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan2 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 12
TDS36 - 215
77 - 82℉
25 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Hovering Zebra 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.

Tank Mates

2 interesting tank mate ideas for the Hovering Zebra Loach could include:

Cardinal Tetra(Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Staeck Endler(Poecilia wingei)

Sexual Dimorphism

It is rather challenging to differentiate between a male and female Hovering Zebra Loach. However, females are more than likely rounder bellied than males, especially when they are full of eggs and slightly larger.

Other Loaches of interest

Bengal Loach(Botia dario)
Blue Botia(Yasuhikotakia modesta)
Chinese Hillstream Loach(Pseudogastromyzon cheni)
Clown Loach(Chromobotia macracanthus)
Dwarf Chain Loach(Ambastaia Sidthimunki)
Fork Tailed Loach(Vaillantella Cinnamomea)
View all Loaches
Date Added: 16/07/2021 13:08:04 - Updated: 19/01/2022 16:29:00