Chromobotia (Botia) macracantha

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 18″ (50cm)
Tank: 48 inches
Strata: Bottom, middle
PH: 5.0 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 5.0 – 15.0
Temperature: 75°F to 86°F (24-30°C)



Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Cyprinoidei
Family: Cobitidae
Genera: Chromobotia


Common name

Clown loach

    , Tiger Botia


    Borneo, Sumatra, Found in standing and running waters.

General Body Form

    This fish is somewhat long and compressed laterally. The underside is nearly straight and the back is convex. It has a large head and the mouth is facing downward with four pairs of barbels and thick fleshy lips. The barbels on the lower jaw are small and hard to see. The Caudal Peduncle is short and deep. The Clown Loach can reach a length of 12 inches ( 30 cm ), but is usually smaller in the home aquarium.


    The fins are bright Red and three black vertical bands from from the back to the belly over Orange-Red sides. The first band runs from the top of the head and through the eye, the second from the front of the Dorsal fin to the belly and the third covers the start of the Caudal peduncle and spreads on to the Anal fin. In healthy and happy specimens the colors can easily equal that of the marine reef fish.


    Clown loaches have no special requirements on water conditions, they do however prefer a certain aquarium setup to be at their best. A tank size of 48 inches (120 cm ) with the length being more important than the depth. It is very important to have a soft or fine textured substrate as they are continually probing the upper layers with their barbels for food. The tank does not need to be heavily planted, but the fish are shy and must have a place to hide – driftwood – caves – or even a clay flowerpot. The lighting in the tank should not be overly bright. Clown loaches are happiest living in small groups and will live peacefully with all other fish. Sometimes they will form small troops with members of the Corydoras family. Feeding is not difficult as they will accept all prepared foods and like all fish relish the addition of live foods especially small worms. The addition of a plant supplement is also beneficial. Clown loaches once established can live a very long time.


    1. Rivers and lakes in Sumatra and Borneo, especially the flood-plains in the hill country. Please see the

Asian Black-water biotope 

    to get an idea how to set up a home for these great fish.


    Unknown. Have read some reports of sporadic breeding in the home aquarium but have seen no details on it. In the wild this fish probably migrates up river to special breeding grounds.



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