Currently we have very nice zebra loaches, Botia striata, in stock. The animals have an ideal size, 3-4 cm. The maximum length the species can reach is about 6-8 cm. In many species of loach the generic name has changed in the past years. The Clown loach, formerly known as Botia macracanthus, is now Chromobotia macracanthus, the tiger loaches are now placed in the genus Syncrossus, the checkerboard loaches are now Ambastaia and most of the remaining southeast Asian species are placed in Yasuhikotakia. Only the Indian species (India in the broad sense, including Burma etc.) stayed in Botia. B. striata is one of them.
Zebra loaches are comparatively peaceful loaches. Several other species are known to be quite quarrelsome. So the zebra loach is a good inhabitant for community tanks. One should keep them always in groups (starting from 6-8 animals, more are possible), for these loaches are very social animals. Like all loaches of the former catch-all genus Botia the zebra loach is a good snail-hunter.
The zebra loach is a pretty common look for hobbyists, but one should reflect that it is classified as an endangered species (see Dahanukar, N. 2013. Botia striata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T168591A6521075. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T168591A6521075.en). The species is known only from a comapartively restricted area in the south of India. Here it inhabits exclusively hillstreams with clear water. Deforestation an recreation activities in the mountains lead to erosion and pollution of the water. Collecting the animals for the ornamental fish trade is no threat for the species. On contrary: as long as collecting zebra loaches from the wild is at least a small local buisiness there is still hope that the ongoing destruction of the natural habitat may be stopped.
For our customers: the animals have code 405502 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer