The name for this hillstream loach may be new to you, but you know the animal. In fact, Beaufortia kweichowensis is or was the most common hillstream loach in the trade and was traded as “China Pleco”, “Chinese Butterfly Sucker” or “Butterfly loach”, with the scientific name usually being Beaufortia leveretti. Beaufortia leveretti really does exist, the species is found on Hainan Island. In contrast to B. kweichowensis, it has no spots on its body (only a somewhat blurred pattern). But because Beaufortia species are very similar in many physical characteristics, the ichthyologist Fang described his new discovery kweichowensis in 1930 only as a subspecies of B. leveretti, which had been described three years earlier by his colleagues Nichols & Pope. And because this resulted in a very long name (Beaufortia leveretti kweichowensis), the subspecies designation kweichowensis was often omitted from dealers’ stock lists; what remained was B. leveretti.
Today, these two Beaufortia are regarded as different species. B. leveretti is practically not found in the trade, the animals offered under this name are always B. kweichowensis. This species originates from the West River, the main tributary of the Pearl River in southern China. Most of the animals in the trade come from Guangdong Province, which is a main trading center for live animals of all kinds. In addition to B. kweichowensis and other hillstream loaches, most gobies belonging to the species Rhinogobius duospilus, formerly known as R. wui, also come from there, for example.
The most important characteristic of B. kweichowensis is certainly – from a general aquaristic point of view – that it is a temperate animal and not a tropical inhabitant. The species should therefore not be kept permanently at temperatures above 24°C, as this would mean its death in the long term! Ideal temperatures are between 12°C in winter and 21°C in summer, whereby extreme temperature changes up and down should always be avoided. The fish are inhabitants of strongly flowing waters and need clean, oxygen-rich water. In the wild, B. kweichowensis feeds on aufwuchs, i.e. the rich micro-life that forms on the top of stones etc.. Therefore, feed a varied diet of good flake food (plant components are important), frozen food and fine live food.
Beaufortia kweichowensis is ideal for unheated aquaria and therefore fits in perfectly with modern energy-saving concepts. They are largely peaceful with each other and with other fish, although the males (they are slimmer in build) chase off conspecifics from their immediate vicinity without causing damage.
For our customers: the animals have code 373193 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer