Max Size: 12.5cm

Saddleback Loach (Homaloptera Orthogoniata)

The Saddleback Loach is a scarce and beautiful species. This charming, peaceful fish grazes on biofilm and algae, making it an excellent member of a well-researched community aquarium. These loaches are best kept in a species-only aquarium but will also mix well with other types of Loaches. Other tankmates could include peaceful Barbs, Gobies, Devarios, Rasboras and smaller Catfish.

Saddleback Loaches live in organized groups in the wild, so it would be best if you kept these fish in groups of 6 or more. Keeping these fish in a larger group will make for a fantastic display, and you will witness more natural behaviours from your fish. However, if you keep these fish alone or in small groups, they will become withdrawn. In addition, the interaction between individuals is also fascinating to watch. These Loaches will typically arrange themselves close to one another, facing the water flow at specific times of the day.

The Saddleback Loach will thrive in an aquarium with a good amount of water flow and aeration, considerable amounts of hiding places formed by rocks or driftwood and smooth pebbles and stones to graze on. The Lighting in the aquarium will need to be quite bright as this will encourage algae growth on decor. Plants are unnecessary as these Loaches don't tend to encounter them in the wild; however, they will help with the water quality. Suitable plants for high-flow environments are Microsoreum and Anubias; these will grow on the rocks and driftwood.

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

Saddleback Loach (Homaloptera Orthogoniata) Video

Saddleback Loach - Homaloptera Orthogoniata - Rare Freshwater Loach Aquarium Fish Profile


Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Saddleback Loach
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHomaloptera Orthogoniata
Year Described1902
Other NamesOrchid Loach, Gecko Loach, Lizard Loach, Red Gecko Loach, Saddleback Hillstream Loach
OriginsIndonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept as6+
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH3 - 12
KH1 - 10
TDS18 - 179
68 - 78℉
20 - 25.6℃

Natural Habitat

Baram River


In the home aquarium, the Saddleback 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

10 interesting tank mate ideas for the Saddleback Loach could include:

Barred Danio(Devario pathirana)
Blue Spotted Hill Trout(Barilius bakeri)
False Armatus Corydoras(Corydoras sp)
Fire Green Tetra(Aphyocharax rathbuni)
Fireline Danio(Devario sondhii)
Hillstream Loach(Beaufortia kweichowensis)
Paradise Fish(Macropodus Opercularis)
Silver Flying Fox(Crossocheilus reticulatus)
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow(Tanichthys micagemmae)
White Cloud Mountain Minnow(Tanichthys Albonubes)

Sexual Dimorphism

It is pretty challenging to differentiate between the male and female Saddleback Loach. However, sexually mature females are usually a little plumper and slightly larger than males.

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: 27/08/2020 - Updated: 10/08/2022 10:23:07