Zebra Loach – Size | Temperature | Diet | Care | Facts | Tank


The Golden Zebra Loach is peaceful, pleasant, and intensely curious and is nicely suited to the community tank. They are a night species however will forage throughout the daytime if they’re supplied with a number of spots for them to cover in addition to a heavy cover.

Zebra loach profile

These species Have 5 full, sporadically formed bars on the body that comprise a small round spot on the lateral line and one other on the ridge of the back.

Their dorsal fins have one damaged black band with some black on the base. The ventral, pectoral, and anal fins every has two black bands with a black tip on every part. The fishes patterns can range significantly relying on the geological space that they’re collected.


Zebra loaches are peaceable fish appropriate to community aquarium tanks. However, being backside feeders, they could present some aggression in opposition to different smaller backside feeders.

Therefore, small corydoras should not appropriate tankmates. They must be saved in teams of no less than 5. Any fewer and they’ll change into pressured.

They require some caves during which to cover most of the daylight. B. striata will settle for all kinds of fish meals, together with stay meals similar to blackworms, snails, and small shrimps, and most business manufacturers of sinking fish meals.

This species is shy and can spend a lot of its time hiding. Also not often, throughout instances of stress it has been seen to assault smaller fish similar to tetras.

According to the IUCN, the zebra loach is at present endangered within the wild on account of habitat alteration mixed with a small native range. Aquarists taken with protecting zebra loach specimens are strongly suggested to analyze the source of regionally out there fishes and to solely buy these recognized to be captive-bred. Home aquarium breeding is unknown, however, the species is bred on a business basis using hormones.

Distribution and Origin

The coloration of the Zebra Loach is the basis for its scientific name, Botia striata, which is derived from the Latin phrase striatus, which means striped or striated. There have been different scientific names given to this loach, most notably Botia hymenophysa.

Although probably not indigenous, every species originates in a unique location. B hymenophysa is present in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Greater Sundra Island, whereas Botia striata hail from the Tunga River system in Karnataka, situated within the southern part of India.

Zebra loaches have additionally been present in a number of areas throughout the Krishna drainage. All the waters are clear in a few of these areas, different places this fish inhabits are muddy and oxygen-poor. It will not be uncommon to seek out zebras within the company of various Botia species.

Zebra Loach Appearance

The most size of the zebra loach is 3-Four inches, however, it’s sometimes smaller in aquariums. It has a yellowish-green body with a number of vertical stripes.

The bands are available in various shades of yellow, grey, brown, blue, and greenish. This selection offers the fish the name candy-stripe loach. The stripes additionally differ in width, they usually typically break free to resemble a maze.

The body is completely stripped, besides the stomach, which is cream-colored. The bands slant downward a bit near the top and start to angle in reverse behind the eyes.

The zebra loach has translucent fins with black stripes. The pectoral and caudal fins have thick bands whereas the dorsal fin has skinny ones. It has 4 pairs of barbels for detecting meals.

The fish has the “classic” loach look, with a head and mouth which are angled downward. Their body is thick close to the dorsal fin, and it tapers down on the end of the fin.

It is not possible to distinguish the feminine and male zebra loach until it’s breeding time when the feminine turns into a rounder. The fish can stay for 8-15 years within the aquarium.


One of the longer and thinner of the Botia, the zebra loach has the basic loach form. The stomach space is pretty straight and the back curves in a convex form. The mouth has 4 pairs of barbels. As with many of the family, the backbone reaches to simply beneath the attention

Zebra Loach Colors and Markings

One of the smaller members of the Botia family, the Zebra loach reaches a most adult size of about 4 inches, though they typically are a bit smaller.

The head of this loach is blunt with three pairs of barbells that grace the nostril, one maxillary set, and two rostral pairs. Young specimens have a red nostril that fades as they get older

Zebras are boldly marked with vertical stripes, giving them their most generally recognized frequent name.

The stripes on the top slant backward, whereas the stripes within the mid-portion slant ahead, and people close to the tail are virtually vertical.

These stripes range in width, from slender to thick, typically breaking apart in such a method as to provide the looks of a maze.

Zebras are striped over your complete body, together with the top and fins, with the one exception being the stomach, which is cream-colored and freed from any stripes or patterns.

The shade of the stripes varies, from pale yellow to deep brown to grey, and will even tackle a blue or greenish hue. This number of colors in every particular person offers rise to a different frequent name, the sweet stripe loach.

Zebra Loach Diet and Feeding

The advisable zebra loach diet consists of quite a lot of meals. The fish is omnivorous and never a fussy eater.

You can present high-quality sinking catfish pellets and fish flakes. They will settle for stay and frozen meals like bloodworms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and tubifex. Zebra loaches additionally eat snails, they usually can control a snail infestation in an aquarium.

Drop-in veggies sometimes and a few great choices embody cucumber, lettuce, spinach, and zucchini. The fish will snack on biofilm, algae, and any plant matter in your tank. The meals ought to sink as a result of the loach is a bottom-dweller.

It is greatest to maintain 5 zebra loaches in a single tank. When saved in a smaller group, one will change into dominant and harass the remainder, particularly throughout feeding instances.

The fish will shoal collectively throughout the night, though they’ll nonetheless be seen throughout the day. They will even school with different Botia species just like the clown loach and tinfoil barb.

You can hold zebra loaches in a community tank with different peaceable species. They are energetic explorers, and they’re at all times on the transfer in search of algae and meals. These loaches additionally like to cover in crevices.

Some ultimate tankmates embody the yoyo loach, cherry barb, neon tetras, glowing gourami, celestial pearl danio, ember tetra, cory catfish, and Odessa barb.

Do not hold zebra loaches with long-finned species like bettas and angelfish since they are often fin-nippers. The loaches can even attempt to feed on smaller snails.

Zebra Loach Habitat and Care

Although more energetic throughout the daytime than different loaches, lighting must be considerably subdued. The zebra loach nonetheless requires habitat with loads of hiding locations to assist them really feel absolutely safe.

Driftwood, piles of {smooth} rocks, flower pots with openings, or just giant tubes will all suffice as shelters. Plenty of vegetation, both actual or artificial, will round out the habitat.

Take care to make sure that all decor is freed from sharp edges, and ensure all openings are giant sufficient to make sure that loaches won’t change into trapped.

Zebras like to rummage for meal morsels and even burrow into the substrate. Their barbells are fairly delicate and are subject to irritation if the substrate is simply too tough.

Therefore, the substrate must be gentle; both smooth-edged positive gravel or sand. The tank ought to have a well-fitting cover, as this fish will escape if it finds a big sufficient opening.

Filtration must be enough to take care of high water high quality, and weekly water adjustments are essential.

Zebras can’t tolerate elevated organics or water chemistry fluctuations. They shouldn’t be launched to a newly arrange aquarium or a mature aquarium that has an extreme build-up of natural waste. Water temperatures must be 73 to 79 F with gentle and barely acidic pH (6.zero to six.5).

It has been reported that when pressured, they’re more vulnerable to Ich an infection. Observe them carefully for indicators of Ich each time shifting them or making different doubtlessly hectic adjustments to the habitat.

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Zebra Loach Tank Requirements

The zebra loach is native to India’s Tunga River system in Karnataka. It is customized to slow-moving waters with a sandy or fine-gravel backside suffering from leaves.

Zebra loaches don’t have any particular necessities on water circumstances, they do nevertheless favor a sure aquarium set up to be at their greatest.

A tank size of 36 inches with a gentle or positive textured substrate as they’re frequently probing the higher layers with their barbels for meals.

The tank must be planted, but additionally, present open areas for swimming as nicely. The lighting within the tank shouldn’t be overly brilliant.

Zebras are happiest residing in small teams and have been reported to be semi-aggressive, typically nipping the fins of different species.

Feeding will not be tough as they are going to settle for all-ready meals and like all fish relish the addition of stay meals particularly small worms like tubifex or Blackworms.

They are well-known to eat snails and generally is a welcome addition to any planted tank

The fish likes shaded areas beneath the cover, and populations have been recorded in clear and muddy water. You can replicate this habitat in your aquarium by way of:

Tank Size

The ultimate aquarium size for zebra loaches is 30 gallons. While this may increasingly appear to be a big arrangement for such a small fish, understand that it’s a schooling fish that’s blissful in teams of no less than 5.

A big habitat can even provide help to keep stable parameters. Cover the aquarium tightly because the loach is an enthusiastic jumper.

Lighting and Filtration

In the wild, zebra loaches flock to shaded areas, they usually like considerably subdued lighting. Your tank must be geared up with a sturdy filtration system to take care of pristine circumstances.


Zebras are energetic burrowers, they usually forage across the substrate for meals. If you may have a tough backside, the fish might end up in accidents. Use sand or fine-gravel or some other smooth-edged substrate.

Plants and Decoration

Zebra loaches will thrive in a planted aquarium since they feed on fallen natural matter. The fish are a bit timid, they usually admire hiding areas within the type of caves, driftwood, rocks, and decorations. Leave loads of open areas for them to swim.


Zebra loaches are peaceable and like to stay in small shoals that sometimes cruise the tank collectively.

They are more energetic at night than throughout the day however are nonetheless more energetic throughout the day than most members of the loach family.

Generally talking, they aren’t aggressive and maybe saved with many different species. However, their boisterous nature can stress fish who are timid or shy.

Zebras are a superb alternative for the community tank, however, they have to be saved in teams of no less than 5 or more of their very own form.

They will tolerate different Botia species fairly nicely, and can even school with them. Other potential tankmates might embody tinfoil barbs, they usually additionally benefit from the company of the popular clown loach.

Avoid protecting them with different small bottom-dwelling fish, similar to members of the cory family, as they compete for the house and might exhibit aggression in these conditions.

Also to be averted are fish with long fins, similar to angelfish and bettas. Even long-finned guppies or small tetras could also be picked on by the zebra loaches.

Zebra Loach Water Conditions

Zebra loaches shouldn’t be launched to a newly arrange tank or a setup with an excessive amount of natural waste. The ultimate aquarium must be mature and well-established, with stable water parameters.

The tank must be fitted with an efficient filter. The ultimate model for a zebra loach aquarium is a canister filter because it boosts oxygenation. The fish thrive in well-aerated waters, with a flip-over of 10-15 instances an hour. You can add a powerhead filter, however, watch out to not introduce an excessive amount of present.

Complement the filtration system with weekly 30% water adjustments. Vacuum the substrate with each water change, however, depart any biofilm within the tank for the fish to graze on. You can carry out weekly assessments as nicely to make sure the water high quality.

Zebra loaches thrive in gentle and barely acidic freshwater. The ultimate PH is 6.5-7.5, with a hardness between 5 to 12 dGH. Keep the temperature within the range of 73-79 °F.

Zebra loaches saved in lower than ultimate circumstances are susceptible to itch infections. You can detect this illness if there are tiny dots on the fish’s tail, gills, and fins. These loaches don’t deal with fluctuations in water chemistry or elevated natural waste nicely.

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Gender Differences

There aren’t any apparent exterior variations that may be seen between the sexes, though mature females could also be a bit more rounded within the stomach than males.

Breeding the Zebra Loach

Zebra loaches have been first launched to the aquarium commerce in 1952, and have continued to stay popular amongst aquarium hobbyists; specimens bought within the commerce are both wild-caught or captive-bred.

While breeding this species in captivity has been unsuccessful for the house hobbyist, business breeding has been profitable by way of using hormones. Learn more about sunfish-size.

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