Leptobotia tchangi

2. January 2024

The loaches of the genus Leptobotia differ from all other botiide loaches in that the razor-sharp, sickle-shaped spine under the eye, which all botiide loaches can erect and lock in the event of a perceived or real threat, is only single-pointed. In Botia & Co. it is usually two-pointed. At present, around 20 species are differentiated in Leptobotia, but it is not possible to be more precise, as research is currently being carried out on the genus and new species are constantly being discovered and old, previously synonymized species rehabilitated.

Many Leptobotia species remain small, under 10 cm in length, but the genus type, L. elongata, with a maximum length of over 50 cm, is the largest botiide loach species of all (see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/07-carp-like-fishes-1-loaches/large_emperor_loaches_arrived__en/).

We have now been able to import a few specimens of Leptobotia tchangi for the first time. These beautiful loaches belong to the medium-sized Leptobotia species. A standard length of 12 cm (i.e. excluding the caudal fin) is given, which corresponds to a total length of around 15 cm. With a total length of 10-12 cm, our animals are therefore almost fully grown, and in any case they are sexually mature. 

L. tchangi is variable in color, but large, brightly bordered spots are visible on the back of all animals. For the variability see a movie we made about the fish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BypCVa5nCPM

Among our animals, some are recognizable as sexually active males, as they have comparatively larger pectoral fins. So far, L. tchangi has proved to be a peaceful, somewhat skittish animal that even leaves much smaller fish (in our case white clouds, Tanichthys micagemmae) completely unnoticed. L. tchangi originates from southern China and therefore requires a temperature range between 16 and 26°C (the range is probably even wider, but given the rarity of the fish, you shouldn’t take any risks for the time being). They appear to be insensitive to water composition (hardness, pH value), at least nothing specific can be said in this respect based on our observations. Any common ornamental fish food is readily accepted.

All in all, Leptobotia tchangi is a nice enrichment for friends of cool aquariums. According to the exporter, however, it is only very rarely available.

For our customers: the animals have code 424653 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer