Saddleback Loach (Homaloptera Orthogoniata) Fish Species Profile

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The Saddleback Hillstream Loach is a scarce and beautiful species. This charming, peaceful fish grazes on biofilm and algae making it an excellent member of a community tank.

These loaches are best kept in groups of their kind, but will also mix well with other types of loaches. Their only dilemma is the crazy frenzy they will go into when their amazingly acute sense of smell recognises food in the tank.

Because of this, they will rush around the aquarium, accidentally knocking smaller fish aside.

Saddleback Loaches display a light brown body with three distinct dark brown stripes across their backs, a dark band runs from the mouth, through the eye towards the end of the fish, and another dark bar runs from the eye to the lower gill plate.

The surface of the body has three large, saddle-shaped markings, the first posterior to the head, the second covering the base of the dorsal fin, and third between the dorsal-fin and caudal-fin which usually continues to the anal-fin. The bottom of the caudal-fin is dark brown.

Scientific NameHomaloptera Orthogoniata
Other NamesOrchid Loach, Gecko Loach, Lizard Loach, Red Gecko Loach, Saddleback Hillstream Loach
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asTrios
Lifespanup to 5 year
Maximum Sizeup to 12.5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature68 - 78 ℉ (20 - 25.6 ℃)
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH3 - 12
KH1 - 10
TDS18 - 179

Origins of the Saddleback Loach

Saddleback loaches are found in fast-flowing forest streams and tributaries containing clear, oxygen saturated water In Borneo, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand in Southeast Asia.

It inhabits runs and prefers shallower areas. Their substrate usually involves rocks, boulders, gravel and bedrock, covered in rich biofilm formed by microorganisms and algae.

Small patches of aquatic plants are sometimes present, but situated vegetation usually is well developed.


The primary source of Saddleback loaches diet is biofilm and algae, although they will readily accept some small dry foods like flakes, algae wafers, and sinking pellets. Still, they prefer regular live or thawed frozen foods like Artemia, Mysis shrimp, Daphnia and bloodworm, which are essential for the maintenance of excellent health.

Sexing the Saddleback Loach

It is quite challenging to differentiate males from females. Sexually mature females are usually a little plumper and slightly larger than the males.

Breeding the Saddleback Loach

Unfortunately, because this fish is so rare, nothing has been recorded in the home aquarium. They are, however, likely to be a seasonal spawner in nature, but there is no proof of this.

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Date Added: 8/27/2020 - Updated: 8/27/2020 5:53:19 PM