Maximum size : 10 cm

Splendid Loach - Yasuhikotakia splendida : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Splendid Loach (Yasuhikotakia splendida) is a stunning rare jewel of the aquarium trade. Like many Botiid species, these Loaches display a relatively active and spirited nature, which may render them unsuitable for inclusion in a peaceful community aquarium, depending on the other inhabitants with which they are to be housed. As a characteristic shared among Botiid species, these loaches exhibit a requirement for conspecific companionship. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain a group of five or more individuals, as Splendid Loaches establish a natural hierarchy in which dominant individuals assume leadership roles over their subordinates. By maintaining larger groups, aggression is more evenly distributed, preventing any single individual from bearing the brunt of another's hostility.

Notably, the sound appears to play a significant role in communication for these Loaches, as they are capable of producing audible clicking sounds that intensify when the fish are excited. Although the behavioural aspects of this phenomenon remain largely unexplored, it is presumed that these sounds result from the grinding of subocular spines or pharyngeal teeth.

When considering tankmates for Splendid Loaches, suitable companions may include other lively Loach species or medium to large, fast-moving fish such as Barbs, Devarios, Rasboras, and Danios. Additionally, Garras and algae-eating species like the silver flying fox and the True flying fox can be compatible, as well as most Catfish species. However, caution should be exercised when selecting tankmates, avoiding slow-moving or long-finned species.

An ideal aquarium setup for Splendid Loaches entails a substrate composed of sand or fine gravel, accompanied by the inclusion of rocks, driftwood, or aquarium ornaments to provide ample cover. These Loaches possess a curious nature and derive pleasure from exploring their surroundings. Nevertheless, it is crucial to avoid the presence of sharp-edged decor or tiny gaps, as these Loaches possess a proclivity for squeezing themselves into confined spaces, risking injury or entrapment. Furthermore, providing extensive coverage and hiding places is essential, as these fish exhibit a somewhat shy demeanour when compared to other Botia species.

Splendid Loaches are particularly intolerant of waste accumulation and require clean water conditions to thrive. Introducing them only to biologically mature aquariums and performing regular weekly water changes to maintain optimal water quality is imperative. Lastly, the aquarium should be equipped with a securely fitting lid, as this species has a propensity for jumping.

The Splendid Loach boasts a silvery-blue body colouration complemented by a greenish-gold shimmer along its dorsal region. Notably, they exhibit distinct dark markings forming a continuous ring encircling their caudal peduncle, bordered anteriorly and posteriorly by pale rings. Their anal, dorsal, and caudal fins display a vibrant yellow hue, while their caudal fin showcases noticeable large, dark spots of round, oval, or oblong shapes. A prominent black stripe adorns the top edge of their dorsal fin. Though somewhat reminiscent of the Skunk Botia in appearance, the Splendid Loach stands apart due to its larger size, significantly enhanced colouration and visual allure.

Splendid Loach Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Splendid Loaches presents a considerable challenge. Nevertheless, sexually mature females tend to exhibit a more robust body structure compared to males and typically attain a slightly larger size.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameYasuhikotakia splendida
Year Described1995
Other NamesJaguar Loach, Yellow Tail Polka Dot Loach
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 12 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 7.0 - 7.5
GH 8 - 18
TDS 18 - 215
Ideal Temperature
79 - 84
26 - 28

Natural Habitat

The Splendid Loach comes from several localities in the Xe-Pian, a tributary system of the Xe Khong, which drains into the Mekong River's main channel in the Attapeu and Champasak provinces of Southern Laos in Southeast Asia. These fish inhabit moderately fast to swift-flowing clear waters in streams where the substrate usually comprises pebbles and rocks.


Regrettably, there exists a lack of documented instances regarding the successful breeding of the Splendid Loach within domestic aquarium settings. However, noteworthy information reveals that an aquarist named Mark Duffill, who presides over MJD Aquatics in the United Kingdom has achieved the remarkable feat of stimulating egg production in these loaches and observed the subsequent emergence of free-swimming fry.

Diet & feeding

Splendid Loaches are unfussy feeders and should be offered a varied diet comprising good quality dried products such as sinking pellets, granules or algae wafers alongside live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, Tubifex and bloodworms. It will also benefit your fish if you offer them the occasional fruit or vegetable treats such as melon, cucumber, blanched spinach, or courgette. Chopped earthworms can also provide a valuable source of protein for your fish; still, you should use them sparingly. While most botiid Loaches prey on aquatic snails, they should never be considered the solution to an infestation as they are not molluscivores. Once settled into an aquarium, Splendid Loaches are assertive feeders and will often swim into the middle of the water column at meal times.


Splendid Loach - Yasuhikotakia Splendida Rare Freshwater Botia Loach Aquarium Fish Profile Thumbnail

Other Loaches of interest