Max Size: 13.5cm

Spined Loach (Cobitis taenia)

The Spined Loach is a peaceful, mostly solitary and nocturnal species. Throughout the day, they like to bury themselves in the substrate with just the head and tail visible. At night the fish will sift through the substrate using their mouth and gills foraging for food.

These Loaches are not recommended for beginner aquarists as their temperature requirements are probably the most significant barrier to successfully keeping the species in home aquaria. The reason for this is because their range includes countries that experience extremely cold winters so the water will need to be far colder than can generally be provided in a current central-heated domestic home situation.

The spined loach has an elongated and thin flat-sided body, which is brownish-grey to yellow with attractive dark brown patches to the flanks which form a broken band down the upper and lower sides. The stomach of these fish is a whiteish-yellow colouration. There are six barbels around the mouth which are often challenging to see, and they sport erectile spines below the eyes which give these species their common name.


Spined loach
Spined loach
Spined loach
Spined loach
Spined loach
Quick Facts
Scientific NameCobitis taenia
Other NamesSpotted Weather Loach, Spiny Loach
OriginsUnited Kingdom
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asTrios
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH10 - 15
57 - 64℉
13.9 - 17.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Spined 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.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is somewhat challenging to differentiate male and female Spined Loaches. Males typically have a longer and thicker second ray on their pectoral fins, and an enlarged scale at its base and the females are usually much larger than the 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: 14/12/2020 - Updated: 10/08/2022 10:24:59