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The Likeable Botia Loaches

Learn about loaches in general, as well as nine popular species to look for in your local fish store.

By Joshua Wiegert |

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Aquarium Fish International

The botia loaches are some of the most popular aquarium fishes — and for well-deserved reasons. Ranging in size from the tiny to the very large, there are members suitable for any size of aquarium. They are all interestingly patterned and often brightly colored, and they live at the bottom of the aquarium. Many are well-mannered in the community aquarium, while others are able to hold their own in tanks with more aggressive tankmates. Many species display odd and unusual — humorous even — behaviors. And best of all, they eat snails.

The botia loaches are active bottom-dwelling fishes found in Asia, where some of the larger species are used as food fish. They fill the same niche as our North American suckers do, rooting about in plants and along the bottoms of bodies of water for insect larvae and similar food items. Loaches bear a striking but superficial resemblance to catfish, but in fact they have more in common with zebra danios, which belong to the same order as the loaches. They are also closely related to the so-called freshwater sharks (e.g., Labeo spp.).

Want to read the full story? Pick up the February 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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