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Maximum size : 10 cm

Zebra Loach - Botia striata : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Zebra Loach (Botia striata) 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. Maintaining groups of 5 or more Zebra Loaches in the community aquarium is recommended, as these fish are social creatures that thrive in the presence of others of their own kind. For their wellbeing, it is best to keep them on a fine sandy substrate that protects the delicate sensory barbel area of this bottom-dwelling species. Hiding places, such as bogwood, caves, and plants, should be provided to help them feel secure in their environment. Additionally, clean, well-aerated water is a must to support the health and vitality of these striking fish. 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.

Zebra Loach Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

External sexual dimorphism is not apparent in the Zebra Loach. However, discerning aquarists may notice that mature females have a slightly more rounded abdominal region compared to males.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBotia striata
Year Described1920
Other NamesCandy Stripe Loach, Crossbanded Loach, Lined Loach, Striped Loach, Tiger Loach, Zebra Botia
OriginsIndia Bangladesh
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan8 - 12 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 12
70 - 79
21.1 - 26.1

Natural Habitat

The Zebra Loach is endemic to the Mysore region, which meanders through the majestic Western Ghats mountain range in Southern India. This captivating fish can also be found in the lush waters of Bangladesh and Northern India. The Zebra Loach prefers to inhabit slow to moderate-flowing waters in rivers and streams, with its natural habitat characterized by a stunning substrate of bedrock, boulders, gravel, sand, and leaf litter. The lush forest canopy that adorns the habitat provides shade, creating a serene and picturesque environment for this remarkable species to thrive. Join us on a journey to explore the secrets of the Zebra Loach's enchanting natural habitat and discover the unique traits that make it a treasure of the aquatic world.


Based on current knowledge and experience, successful breeding of the Zebra Loach in home aquariums has not been reported. While commercial breeding of this species is feasible with the use of specialized equipment and hormones, it is not recommended for the average aquarist to attempt breeding these fish without such resources. Therefore, it is advised not to attempt breeding this species in a home aquarium setting as it may cause unnecessary stress to the fish and result in failure.

Diet & feeding

The Zebra Loach is an omnivorous species that is not particularly selective when it comes to feeding. These loaches will generally consume a wide variety of live foods such as tubifex, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and brine shrimp, as well as commercially available tablet foods, sinking pellets, flakes, and algae. Frozen foods are also a favourite of the Zebra Loach, as they provide a good source of nutrition and variety in their diet. To maintain a well-balanced diet for these fish, a high-quality tablet or flake food should be provided on a daily basis. Furthermore, the Zebra Loach is known for its ability to control snail populations in the aquarium, making them an excellent addition for those struggling with snail infestations.

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