Some botias, among them B. kubotai, are available only seasonal and for a quite short time per year. The very beautiful species B. kubotai originates from the Salween-tributary Ataran in the border region between Burma and Thailand. It becomes around 8-10 cm long, maximum length reported so far is 13 cm. This species is one of the most social species in the genus and should be kept under all circumstances in groups.
For our customers: the animals have code 401304 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
One of the most beautiful and largest botias besides the well known and popular Chromobotia macracanthus is the Redtail botia Yasuhikotakia (formerly: Botia) modesta from Southeast Asia. These are gorgeous fish, usually with a very unusual dove blue base coloration that contrasts very nicely with the red fins. But there are also green, yellow-finned variants or lead-gray ones with transparent fins. A very nice mackerel variant we present here: https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/yasuhikotakia-modesta-2/
The species is distributed in the drainages of the big rivers Mekong, Chao Phraya and Mae Klong, the distribution area includes the countries Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
With a record size of 25 cm, Y. modesta is not a small fish, but sexual maturity occurs much earlier, at 8-10 cm in length. These are also the usual maximum sizes of the animals in nature. However, these loaches can become quite old in the aquarium, much older than in the wild and certainly older than 10 years and then really large animals are possible in large aquariums.
You should always keep all botias in social groups of as many specimens as possible, otherwise it can happen that they let out their social vein on other tank inhabitants and get on their nerves. They will eat any common ornamental fish food and have no special demands on the water chemistry. The water temperature can be between 22 and 28°C, but during the acclimation it is better to choose the upper temperature range, because all botias are somewhat sensitive to the spot disease (Ichthyophtirius), but tolerate medication against it only poorly. Ichthyophtirius does not like high water temperatures.
For our customers: the animals have code 404004 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
Now is the season for the very beautiful and relatively small remaining loach Botia dario from India. Usually the species grows to a length of 6-8 cm, as record size 15 cm are given in literature, but it is not clear if this is not a case of confusion.
In India and adjacent countries the species is common in the system of the upper Brahmaputra, i.e. at the foot of the Himalayas. There it can occasionally get quite cool; Botia dario is therefore an energy-saving fish, which, if the aquarium is located in a living space, does not require additional aquarium heating. Water temperatures between 16 and 28°C represent the comfort zone of the lively schooling fish, which is by the way an eager snail exterminator. However, it is important that the water temperatures rise or fall slowly – over a period of days. Botia dario does not tolerate rapid temperature changes any more than any other fish.
For our customers: the animals have code 399005 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
The systematics of the Indian deep bodied loaches – they represent the remaining species in the formerly much broader genus Botia – is confused. Botia lohachata was described from Bihar in India as early as 1912. Their coloration is very specific: three Y-shaped bands – the first in front, the second below and the third behind the dorsal fin – and between each band in the middle of the flank a circular dot – YoYo loaches!
The body marking is on the one hand the only characteristic to distinguish closely related Botia species from each other, but on the other hand it is also highly variable. With Botia lohachata things are like this: since this species is very popular in aquaristics – it is pretty, relatively peaceful (at least if kept in sufficiently large groups from 10 specimens upwards), remains with usually 8-10 cm length (the maximum length given in the literature is 15 cm) handily small and eat quite reliably all small water snails in the aquarium – and wild catches are available only seasonally, it is bred commercially in Southeast Asia already since the 1970s. For unknown reasons, these captive-bred specimens are marketed as “Botia pakistani”. There is no “Botia pakistani”, this name is pure fantasy and the offspring correspond perfectly to Botia lohachata regarding the pattern of markings.
How variable Botia lohachata can be, however, can be seen when wild caught specimens are available, like right now (the season runs from about July until October). And in the age the pattern changes strongly to a net pattern. This raises doubts whether B. lohachata is really a good species, because at least B. almorhae, B. birdi and B. histrionica are extremely similar and have been described much earlier; a good overview of the many similar looking Indian loaches is given by Grant (2007) in the electronic publication Ichthyofile Number2.
For our customers: the animals have code 403001 (3-4 cm), 403003 (5-6 cm) and 404802 (“pakistani”) on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.
This beautiful and interesting loach, which can attain a maximum length of about 12 cm, originates from Thailand. This type of loach is said to be sometimes very aggressive. Y. eos is considered as one of the most aggressive species of all. However, in most cases this is a mistake of the keeper. Y. eos is an extremely social animal. As soon as a group has been put in a new tank they animals fight out a hierarchy. These fights are performed by strong pushes with the body and by producing loud clicking sounds. The dominant alpha animal can be recognized by the bright red fins. Inside the social group of these loaches hardly ever serious injuries appear; only the finneage becomes a bit tattered, but this recovers fast.
If this type of loach is kept in only small groups or as individual animals they try to get the social contact from other tankmates. All these loaches (genera Botia, Chromobotia, Sinibotia, Yasuhikotakia) have a razor-sharp, erectible, sickle-shaped thorn under the eye. If that thorn is used against other fish it can produce very serious injuries. So one should keep this type of loach always in larger groups of 8-12 individuals.
For our customers: Y. eos has code 400512 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Lexicon: Yasuhikotakia: Dedication name for the Japanese scientist Yasuhiko Taki. eos: after the Godess of dawn, due to the bright coloration of body and fins.
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.
The tiger loaches (Syncrossus) are a genus of comparatively large (about 15 cm), beautiful loaches. Formerly they have been added to the genus Botia. Currently five species are distinguished, among them Syncrossus berdmorei. Sadly this species is offered only occasionally, because it belongs to the most colorful species of the genus. The natural distribution of S. berdmorei is in Burma, Tenasserim province; there are also reports that the fish has been found in Thailand.
Tiger loaches are – generally speaking – a bit quarrelsome. So it is best to keep them in larger groups. One can compare the aquarium biology of these loaches best with cichlids from Lake Malawi. In these cichlids it is also recommended to keep them in groups, for otherwise aggressive behaviour can become a problem. In respect of water conditions and feeding, all Syncrossus species are undemanding. They are perfect snail-eaters!
For our customers: the fish have code 398004 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
These dwarfish relatives of the clown loach have done a kind of odyssey in respect of the generic name in the past. Both were originally described in the genus Botia. Later they were placed in Yasuhikotakia. Only in 2012 they changed to the genus Ambastaia, which has been generated especially for them. This genus contains only two species, namely Ambastaia nigrolineata and A. sidthimunki. The genus is defined by the unique coloration of these species.
Ambastaia nigrolineata occurs in Laos, Thailand, and China. A. nigrolineata stays almost as small as A. sidthimunki and becomes around 7-8 cm long (including tail fin).
Juveniles have only two black stripes on an ebony white body, later the males develope a pattern that is quite similar to that of A. sidthimunki.
For our customers: the fish have code 404702 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
The genus Yasuhikotakia was separated from the genus Botia by Teodor Nalbant in 2002 and currently comprises 10 species. Some of them are important aquarium fish like Y. morleti (older synonym: Botia horae) and Y. modesta.
The newest species on the ornamental fish market is Y. splendida, which was described as Botia splendida in 1995. It differs from the very closely related, aquaristically well known species Y. morleti only by its colouration. However, this is very striking, beautiful and makes the species unmistakable.
So far the species is only known from Laos (Xe Pian), but this does not mean that it does not occur in other places. Together with it Y. modesta and Ambastaia sidthimunki were found, the latter a species described from Northern Thaialnd and in the meantime even considered extinct. In nature these loaches inhabit clear running waters with stony bottom.
Not much is known about the behaviour of Y. splendida. However, it is not to be assumed that it deviates substantially from that of the skunk loach; Y. splendida also becomes similarly large with about 10 cm. At present our specimens are 6-8 cm long. Since the fishing areas are far away from the normal routes, there are only a few specimens on the world market and these are very expensive.
For our customers: the animals have code 405203 on our stocklist. We have very few specimens in stock. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
From northern Thailand originates the dwarfish Checkerboard Loach formerly known as Botia sidthimunki, then as Yasuhikotakia s. As it is a rather small (6 cm) and very peaceful species, it represents an ideal member for an asiatic community tank. There it can be kept together e.g. with small representatives of the genera Danio, Rasbora and Microrasbora. One should always maintain them in small groups of at least 5 animals, since they estimate the contact to conspecifics. In the group is always movement and such an aquarium never gets boring.
The water should not be too hard, and in the aquarium should be some retreat areas (bogwood, coconut bowls, bamboo canes etc.) available. For proper style tanks plants like Cryptocoryns, Javafern and other asiatic plants can be used. However, that can be done also with Echinodorus species and Neon Tetras, the Checkerboard Loaches won´t mind at all. In respect of feeding they are unproblematic; breeding in aquaria did probably not succeed so far. Since they belong in their homeland to the protected species, nowadays all traded A. sidthimunki are pond bred and originate from Thailand or Malaysia.
For our customers: the fish have code 405112 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Photo F. Schäfer, Text K. Diehl