Sucking Loach (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri) Fish Species Profile

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The sucking loach is robust, hardy and can adapt to a wide range of water varieties so this will make an excellent addition to the aquarium, but only if it is kept with the correct tank mates. Their tank mates should be fast swimming, strong and vigorous.

Sucking loaches although peaceful when small, become very boisterous and increasingly aggressive towards each other and other fish when housed together with similar-looking fish, so it is advisable to supply plenty of space and hiding places.

On some occasions, if underfed, they have been known to be territorial and to attack other fish and rip off their scales, causing them to have infections.

Due to the large size they get, you will need quite a big aquarium.

This species will most certainly damage delicate plants, but the more stringent and more reliable plants will be fine.

The sucking loach is supposedly an excellent algae eater, but this is not the case. As young, you will see them grazing on algae on the glass of the aquarium, but they do not consume a considerable amount but as they get older and grow that will become less and less.

The sucking loach comes in three different colours. Their natural tones are shades of brown with an irregular horizontal stripe along the side which stops at the tail (sometimes can be broken up sufficiently that end up looking like spots). You also have the albino which is golden orange with red-eyes, and then the part albino variation that is golden brown.

Scientific NameGyrinocheilus aymonieri
Other NamesGolden sucking loach, Chinese algae eater, Sucker loach
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept asLoners
Lifespanup to 15 yea
Maximum Sizeup to 28 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature77 - 82 ℉ (25 - 27.8 ℃)
PH6.0 - 8.5
GH4 - 25
KHup to
TDS36 - 357

Origins of the Sucking Loach

Sucking loaches come from the fast-flowing shallow freshwater of mountain streams, and medium to large rivers in Southeast Asia. You will find them in water with substrates of pebbles, boulders, sand and gravel and often in areas with submerged tree roots or driftwood.

The shallow clear water allows sunlight to pierce the surface, which will then develop a rich biofilm covering upon which the fish graze.

The sucker loach undergoes seasonal migrations during which it can be found in deeper waters.


Although the sucking loach is known as a vegetarian, they will happily take and eat meaty foods over vegetable ones and become almost carnivorous as they mature.

This species will voraciously eat Algae wafers, flakes, sinking catfish pellets, as well as frozen and live foods such as mosquito larvae, brine shrimp and daphnia.

Sexing the Sucking Loach

It is impossible to sex the sucking loach accurately, and the only real distinction is the females are thicker bodied than the males and in spawning the males will develop noticeable tubercules on the nose.

Breeding the Sucking Loach

Unfortunately, there is not much information on the reproduction of the sucking loach. It has been said that the adult fish often develop tubercles on their nose; this is usually an indication that they are ready to spawn. Only recently have a small handful of people claimed to have been successful, but this isn't necessarily the case, and these have been on farms using hormone treatment, not in the Aquarium hobby.

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Date Added: 7/8/2020 - Updated: 7/8/2020 2:51:29 PM