Splendid Loach (Yasuhikotakia splendida)
The Splendid Loach is a stunning rare jewel of the aquarium trade. These fish are relatively active and feisty, which may make them unsuitable for a peaceful community aquarium depending on the other inhabitants they are to be housed with. As with many Botiid species, these loaches require the company of their own kind.
It would be best if you kept these fish in a group of five or more individuals as Splendid Loaches will form a natural hierarchy with the dominant individuals taking charge of their subordinates. Keeping them in much larger groups will help spread the aggression so that no single individual will suffer the brunt of another's hostility.
Sound appears to be an essential factor in communication because these Loaches can produce somewhat loud clicking sounds, increasing in volume when the fish are excited. The behavioural elements of this spectacle remain vastly unstudied; however, the sounds are assumed to be produced by grinding the subocular spines or pharyngeal teeth.
Ideal tankmates for Splendid Loaches could include other rowdy Loach species or medium to large, fast-moving fish like Barbs, Devarios, Rasboras, and Danios. You can also keep these fish with Garras, algae eaters such as the silver flying fox and the True flying fox, and you can also keep them with most Catfish. However, you should avoid housing these Loaches with slow-moving or long-finned species.
The ideal aquarium setup for Splendid Loaches could include a sandy or fine gravelled substrate with rocks, driftwood or aquarium ornaments to provide plenty of cover for your Loaches as these fish are inquisitive and take pleasure in exploring their surroundings. However, it would be best to avoid decor with sharp edges or tiny holes as these Loaches love to squeeze themselves into small gaps, and you don't want them getting hurt or stuck. Additionally, they will need to be provided with plenty of coverage and hiding places as these fish are somewhat shy compared to other botia species.
Splendid Loaches are intolerant to the build-up of waste and require clean water to thrive; therefore, you should never introduce them to a biologically immature aquarium, and you should perform weekly water changes. Lastly, the aquarium will need a tight-fitting lid as this species is an excellent jumper.
The Splendid Loach has a silvery-blue body colour with a greenish-gold sheen along its back. These Loaches have dark markings that form an unbroken ring around their caudal peduncle which is bordered posteriorly and anteriorly by intact pale rings. In addition, these fish have yellow anal, dorsal and caudal fins and somewhat large, dark, round, oval or oblong-shaped spots on their caudal fin. Their dorsal fin possesses a prominent black stripe on the top edge. These fish are somewhat similar in appearance to the Skunk botia but are larger, far more colourful and visually attractive.
|Scientific Name||Yasuhikotakia splendida|
|Other Names||Jaguar Loach, Yellow Tail Polka Dot Loach.|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 5+|
|Lifespan||8 - 12 years|
|PH||7.0 - 7.5|
|GH||8 - 18|
|TDS||18 - 215|
|79 - 84℉|
26.1 - 28.9℃
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.
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.
Unfortunately, there are no reports of the successful breeding of the Splendid Loach in the home aquarium. However, we do know that a UK aquarist called Mark Duffill, who owns MJD Aquatics, has managed to get his to produce eggs and observed free-swimming fry.