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Maximum size : 10 cm

Schistura Spilota - Schistura spilota : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Schistura Spilotas (Schistura spilota) are truly captivating Loaches that command attention with their mesmerizing appearance. However, it is crucial to understand their unique temperament and specific tank requirements before inviting them into the aquarium.

These Loaches possess a certain level of aggression, making them unsuitable for a general community aquarium. In environments with minimal decor, their territorial instincts can escalate into unacceptable levels of aggression. Therefore, it is vital to carefully select tankmates that align with their natural biotope and swimming preferences. Consider companions such as Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Devario, and other Loach species from the same genera and Garras. However, it is advisable to avoid slow-moving or long-finned species that may struggle with the required level of water movement or become targets for these Loaches.

Creating a well-designed aquarium that mimics their natural habitat is essential to their well-being and behaviour. Emulate the flowing rivers and streams with a fine gravel or sand substrate adorned with various rocks and smooth boulders of different sizes. Introduce driftwood branches strategically, forming cavities, crevices, and shaded areas that offer broken lines of sight. While most aquatic plants may not thrive in this setup, hardy species like Anubias, Bolbitis, and Microsorum can successfully grow when attached to decor.

As these Loaches acclimate to their environment, they will establish a preferred cave or sheltered space, fiercely defending it against other fish, including similar-looking species. Therefore, providing a well-structured environment is crucial to their sense of security and overall well-being.

To ensure optimal water conditions, maintain a high proportion of dissolved oxygen and incorporate gentle water movement using air stones, filters, or additional powerheads. Regular water changes of approximately 30 to 50 per cent each week will help maintain pristine water quality, which is vital for the thriving of these loaches.

The stunning Schistura Spilotas boast an exquisite colour pattern characterized by dark round blotches along their lateral line. With twelve soft dorsal rays, eight soft anal rays, and eight branched dorsal rays, their unique features make them a visual delight. Their greyish-silver body is complemented by orangy-yellow hues adorning their fins.

By understanding the nature and requirements of Schistura Spilotas, aquarists can create a beautiful and professionally designed aquarium that showcases the beauty and uniqueness of these remarkable loaches.

Schistura Spilota Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexing young Schistura Spilotas can be a challenging endeavour, as the visual cues for differentiation may not be fully developed. However, upon reaching maturity, distinguishing between males and females becomes more discernible. For example, adult males typically exhibit prominent cheek enlargements, which become more evident when observing them from a frontal or overhead perspective. On the other hand, females tend to have a slightly thicker body shape, particularly when carrying eggs (gravid). By carefully observing these physical characteristics, aquarists can ascertain the sex of their Schistura Spilotas with greater accuracy.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameSchistura spilota
Year Described1934
Other NamesNone
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 5+
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 12
TDS36 - 215
68 - 79
20 - 26

Natural Habitat

Schistura Spilotas, a captivating species, has been exclusively documented in the tributaries of the upper Mae Nam Ping River Basin. Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of northern Thailand, these Loaches grace the medium-flowing stretches of clear, well-oxygenated streams. Yet, it is within the pristine headwaters and watersheds they find solace and thrive.

Immersed in a world of natural wonder, these remarkable fish embrace their habitat, which boasts a harmonious blend of elements. The serene streams, shaded by the lush canopy of the surrounding forest, provide a tranquil sanctuary for the Schistura Spilotas. The substrates they traverse are composed of sand, gravel, stones, and rocks, creating a dynamic environment bursting with diverse textures. Remarkably, these captivating habitats exhibit limited aquatic vegetation, allowing the loaches to revel in their unique surroundings.

Enthusiasts captivated by the allure of Schistura Spilotas can immerse themselves in the enchanting tale of their origin, tracing their origins to the upper reaches of the Mae Nam Ping River Basin. As these loaches navigate the medium-flowing streams, their vibrant presence adds a touch of natural splendour to the awe-inspiring landscapes of northern Thailand.


Regrettably, comprehensive information regarding the breeding of Schistura Spilotas is currently unavailable. Consequently, the specific details and techniques pertaining to their successful reproduction remain undocumented, leaving a void in our understanding of their breeding behaviours and requirements. As a result, we are unable to provide specific guidance on the breeding process for this particular species at this time.

Diet & feeding

Schistura Spilota exhibits omnivorous feeding behaviour. In their natural habitat, these fish predominantly consume crustaceans, insects, worms, and other zooplankton, occasionally grazing on organic detritus and plant matter. While they readily accept appropriately sized dried food, offering a varied diet is crucial for optimal nutrition.

To ensure the vibrant colouration and overall well-being of these Loaches, it is recommended to provide them with daily meals consisting of live, frozen, or freeze-dried food options. Offerings such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia align with their dietary preferences and contribute to their health and vitality. By incorporating such nutritious and diverse food sources, aquarists can enhance the natural vibrancy of these fascinating fish while promoting their overall physiological balance.

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