Skunk Loach (Yasuhikotakia morleti) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Skunk Loach is considered one of the smaller of the Botias. It is considered pretty and easily distinguished from all others. This fish is very long-lived, hardy and an undemanding little fish.
The Skunk Loach spends most of the day hiding but will become more active at dusk. It is a spirited fish, and though generally peaceful it can become aggressive towards its own species, especially if there are not sufficient hiding places.
They can be kept with other tank mates, but it is most beneficial to have just one of this species, especially in a smaller aquarium. In a tank with lots of space and decoration that offers each fish its own place to retreat, you can put them in large groups. But there will need to be at least six to spread out aggression throughout the tank.
This Skunk Loach is an evenly creamy-tan to light brown colour. Its distinguishing feature has to be the dark stripe moving across its back from the tip of its nose to its caudal fin. There is also a broad dark band surrounding the base of the tail. The caudal fin is forked and yellowish and may have some pretty rows of brown dots. Juveniles usually have dark vertical striping on the sides, but this disappears as they mature.
|Scientific Name||Yasuhikotakia morleti|
|Other Names||Skunk Botia, Hora's Loach, Cream Loach|
|Best kept as||Loners|
|Lifespan||5 - 8 years|
|Temperature||79 - 86 ℉ (26.1 - 30 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 8.0|
|GH||5 - 12|
|TDS||36 - 215|
Natural Habitat of the Skunk Loach
You will find The Skunk Loach in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand in northern India. They inhabit both still and fast-moving waters of medium to large rivers where they will spend most of its time in cracks or holes under submerged objects or rock.
These fish migrate into flooded plains during the monsoon season where they breed and the fry stay for the beginning of their life, later migrating back to the rivers when the tributaries recede.
Other Loaches of interest
The Skunk Loach is an unfussy feeder. However, they must be offered a varied diet containing high quality dried products like flakes and granules as well as live or frozen fare such as bloodworm, tubifex and artemia plus fresh vegetables and fruit such as cucumber, courgette, blanched spinach and melon.
Finely chopped earthworm can also provide a useful source of protein but should be given sparingly. While most Loaches prey on aquatic snails, you should never consider these the answer to an infestation since they are not molluscivores.
Sexing the Skunk Loach
It is relatively difficult to differentiate males from females; however, sexually mature females usually grow a little larger than males and typically are fuller-bodied.
Breeding the Skunk Loach
Unfortunately, not enough is known about the breeding habits of the Skunk Loach as they are not yet bred commercially mainly because they are seasonal, migratory spawners in the wild. However, they are farmed commercially for the hobby via the use of hormones.