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Clown Loach
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracantha)
Additional locales and sizes may be available!

Quick Stats

Care Level Moderate
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Color Form Black, Orange, Red, Tan
Diet Omnivore
Water Conditions 72-86° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.5
Max. Size 1'
Origin Indonesia
Family Cobitidae
Minimum Tank Size 100 gallons
Compatibility View Chart
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The Clown Loach is a must-have fish for many freshwater enthusiasts. It is peaceful and gets along well with almost any tankmate. The Clown Loach is also entertaining to watch and feed. Unlike true nocturnal loaches, the Clown Loach is active during the day but will shy from bright light and hide amongst plant stocks or in rockwork. Best of all, however, Chromobotia macracantha is a voracious eater of nuisance snails that sneak into your aquarium on live plants.

Native to the waters of Indonesia, this member of the Cobitidae family appreciates caves, holes, and other hiding places amongst heavy aquarium plantings, especially when it sleeps. Because the Clown Loach is native to fast moving streams, it prefers good water movement and currents in the aquarium. Since the Clown Loach can grow to an impressive size of nearly 1 foot in length, it should be housed in larger freshwater systems.

Interestingly, the Clown Loach is sometimes referred to as a scaleless fish. But it does, in fact, have small scales embedded in its skin. For best care, feed the Clown Loach small meals several times throughout the day. Younger Clown Loaches will eat most prepared foods while older ones may be more finicky. Prepared foods such as vegetable flakes or tablets along with meaty supplements such as live, frozen, or freeze-dried worms will provide this species with the proper nutrition.

Approximate Purchase Size: Tiny: 1/2" to 1-1/2"; Small: 1-1/2" to 2"; Medium: 2" to 2-1/2"

Customer Testimonials

Dave H N. Syracuse , NY
I have a 90-gallon community tank that's heavily planted, thus came the snails. I had never seen so many snails; they were reproducing in masses. After several attempts to rid these critters, I was told to get a couple of Clown Loaches. I figured there were enough snails to keep them busy for at least several weeks. After one day, they started to dwindle and after three days they were GONE. They now eat flake food as well as bloodworms and frozen shrimp. Mealtime is very entertaining watching the Loaches do their dancing for food.
Dianne L Grass Valley , CA
Clown Loaches are among our favorite fish. They are extremely well behaved community members and eat snails that manage to come in on live plants. Every heavily planted aquarium should have at least three Clown Loaches.
Jeff P Perry , OH
I have had these fish for years. I have them in all of my tanks. They get along with almost any other fish.
Greg D Escondido , CA
We have three large Clown Loaches that we originally purchased about 16 months ago at 1-1/2 to 2 inches. Our fish are a nice orange-yellow with black stripes and have blood-red fins. My daughters hand-feed them - they are that tame. Clown Loaches like clean water, so keep your tank clean. They also need plants, rocks, or a cave to get out of the direct light, which they don't like much. These fish get big, so plan for space. Have fun, I have had freshwater tanks for years, and the Clown Loaches are my all-time favorite fish.
Kipp S Kennewick , WA
I have four Clown Loach, three Zebra Loach, and a Horsehead/Horse Face Loach in a Community Tank along with an Angel, a Pleco, a Picto (catfish), two Mollies, a Betta, two Rosy Barbs, and a couple of Tetras. They not only get along well with all of the above, they are amusing to watch, and, unlike some types of loaches, are neither timid nor nocturnal. They do need clean, moving water and frequent feeding (not a lot, just frequent), to continue to "dance" delightfully and brighten your aquarium.
Lou H L , CO
I've had Clown Loaches for years. They're beautiful and fun to watch. When really active, they do somersaults and they will come to the glass and get up close and personal. They maneuver their lower fins to "walk" across the gravel. They are sensitive to water variations and demand a clean tank so keep the filters clean.
Bradley K C , NC
My wife and I have 7 clown loaches, from one inch, to about 5 inches in size. They absolutely love other fish. They swim all over our big Tinfoil Barbs and Red Belly Pacus - kind of like fish do to sharks in the ocean. They also follow the big loach around like it's a father or mother figure. Very cool!
Dave Norwich , CT
In the past 9 years I have owned many fish. The Clown Loach is the most entertaining fish I have seen. Currently, I have two which are about 3" long. The two of them group together and are friendly with all my other fish. They are very entertaining during feeding time, as they swim sideways and slide over the top of the food to obtain it. A must for all community tanks, especially if you have children who will enjoy the way the Loaches swim around and "dance" during feeding time!
Mike R. Kalamazoo , MI
We have a 90 gallon Angel tank that became just INFESTED with small pond-like snails. My wife counted over 70 one day. I might like snails, but this was an invasion. They were EVERYWHERE! I bought 3 BABY clown loaches - at first, they were very intimidated by the MUCH bigger and much older angels. On the 8th day, those Loaches had a feast! No more snails! I am simply amazed. This was only a couple of weeks ago, so I don't know much about them yet. They seem very lazy and they rest at weird angles (they often appear dead!). Obviously, they do a great job on those snails though! I am very happy with them.
Eric S Kaukauna , WI
This is a great fish for beginners as well as advanced aquarium owners. I just got this kind of fish. This fish adds a lot of color to the bottom of your tank.
Bill P Madison , OH
I have a 125 gallon tank. I am not sure how many clowns I have. I bought 3 or 4 at a time 3 different times. There is a large log in my tank with lots of room inside it to hide. I thought that all my clowns were dead. It turns out they were hiding. What a hoot. I am tempted to cut the log in half. Our favorite fish too!
Connie D Parkersburg , WV
These fish are absolutely entertaining!! I have two in a 75 gallon tank, the largest about 3.5 inches. They have such quirky personalities, I love them. They do often appear to be "dead" on the bottom of the tank, only to scurry off when you approach. The largest one even lays on his/her back!!! I thought "oh no!",only for him to swim off and play!! I love these fish!!
Roger F Seymour , IN
I have several tanks. I keep the Clown Loach in the 55 gallon freshwater community oddball tank. He is among the most unique in the tank. He actually lays on his side like he is dead. At feeding time, he turns upside down and takes flakes off the surface of the water. I highly recommend this fish to anyone who appreciates unique fish, like me.
Luna Mora Carmel , NY
A five gold star LiveAquaria item and thank you !
Valerie DePonto Carmel , NY
A five gold star adorable item and thank you !
Valerie D. Carmel , NY
A five gold star LiveAquaria item and thank you !
Fox B Chatsworth , CA
This is a great fish! He has made friends with my guppy pair and lives in my ornament castle with them. They are very friendly, but require hiding places. I recommend this fish to all aquarium owners
David S Norwich , CT
I own three 2-1/2" Clown Loaches and they are the most amusing fish in my tank. They are very easy to care for and provide my family with hours of entertainment. They seem to glide across my 55-gallon tank and surf for food. When the rest of my fish are quiet, the Clown Loaches nudge them to make them move. I strongly recommend the Clown Loach to all who enjoy watching fish. Get three of them to balance out your tank!
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