Zebra Loach (Botia striata) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Zebra Loach is an excellent freshwater fish that is only really suitable for aquarists with experience as they have no scales and require pristine water conditions. However, they are stunning, peaceful, active, and non-aggressive. These loaches will help maintain your tank by eating algae and organic matter that accumulates over time and they will also eat snails, making them ideal for snail control.
One of the smaller species of the Botia family, The head of this Loach is round with three pairs of barbells that grace the snout, one maxillary set, and two rostral pairs. Young individuals have a red nose that fades as they mature.
Zebra Loaches are prominently marked with vertical stripes, giving them their common name. The lines on their head slant backwards, while the bars in the mid-portion slant forward and those near the tail are almost vertical. These stripes vary in width, from narrow to thick, sometimes dividing up in such a way as to give the appearance of a maze.
This Loach is striped over the whole body; this includes the head and fins, but not the abdomen, which is cream-coloured and free of any patterns or stripes. The colour of the lines alters, from pale yellow to deep brown to grey, and may even take on a blue or greenish tone.
Their fins have some stripes on them as well, but these are different than that of the body. Their fins are semi-translucent, so the lines you see are black. They tend to be thicker on the pectoral and caudal fins, and thinner on the dorsal fin. They sport a forked caudal fin, and a half-fan dorsal fin and the ventral and pectoral fins are relatively wide with a decent surface area.
|Scientific Name||Botia striata|
|Other Names||Candy Stripe Loach, Crossbanded Loach, Lined Loach, Striped Loach, Tiger Loach, Zebra Botia|
|Best kept as||Groups 5+|
|Lifespan||8 - 12 years|
|Temperature||70 - 79 ℉ (21.1 - 26.1 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 12|
Natural Habitat of the Zebra Loach
The Zebra Loach is endemic to Mysore which runs through the Western Ghats mountain range in Southern India. You can also find these fish in Bangladesh in Northern India.
This Loach inhabits slow to moderate flowing waters in rivers and streams depending on the season. The substrate is usually bedrock, boulders, gravel, sand and leaf litter and the forests canopy usually shades the habitat.
Other Loaches of interest
The Zebra Loach is not a fussy eater and will generally consume all kinds of live foods such as tubifex, mosquito larvae, daphnia and brine shrimp as well as tablet foods, sinking pellets, flakes, and algae.
They enjoy frozen foods, as well. To keep the right balance, give them a high-quality tablet or flake food every day. They will also eat snails.
Sexing the Zebra Loach
There are no noticeable external differences between males and females that can be seen; however, mature females are slightly more rounded in the abdomen than males.
Breeding the Zebra Loach
Breeding Zebra Loaches in captivity in home aquariums is not something anyone has had success with yet. These fish are bred regularly in commercial environments, but they have access to equipment and hormones needed that the average aquarist does not.
Since that's the case, we don't recommend trying to breed this species. You'll almost certainly fail and will likely increase the stress levels of your fish for no good reason.