29 Types Of Loaches (& How To Care For Them)

In the world of fish keeping, loaches add excitement and variety to aquariums. With their playful behavior, they’ve become favorites among fish lovers. In this article, we’ll learn everything about the different kinds of Loaches, and how you can give them the best care possible. 

So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Types Of Loaches

There are so many different loaches to choose from, some of which are popular, some of which are rare. With that being said, here they are!

Bengal Loach

bengal loach care sheet

The Bengal Loach, also known as the Botia Dario, is a captivating addition to any aquarium. With its striking orange and black markings, this loach stands out like a gem in the water. 

These loaches are quite lively and can add an energetic dynamic to your tank. They tend to get along well with their own kind, so it’s a good idea to keep them in small groups.

NameBengal Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan5-8 Years

Blue Botia

blue botia loach care sheet

The Blue Botia, as the name suggests, boasts a captivating blue hue that sets it apart from other loaches. These Loaches are well-known for their playful nature and can often be seen darting around the tank, exploring every area they can swim to. 

Blue Botias are social creatures and thrive in groups, so consider having a small school of them to ensure their happiness.

NameBlue Botia Loach
Tank Size55 Gallons
Lifespan5 Years

Brown Forktail Loach

The Brown Forktail Loach is a master of camouflage, with earthy tones that help it blend seamlessly into its surroundings. These loaches are quite peaceful, making them suitable tank mates for other non-aggressive fish. 

They have a fascinating habit of flicking their tails, which gives them their unique name. Providing plenty of hiding spots and soft substrates will make these loaches feel right at home.

NameBrown Forktail Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8 Years

Chinese Hillstream Loach

The Chinese Hillstream Loach might just be one of the most intriguing loaches out there. With its flattened body and sucker-like mouth, this fish is perfectly adapted for clinging to surfaces in fast-moving water.

they’re often found in streams with strong currents, which means you’ll need to replicate these conditions in your aquarium. Remember, having proper water flow and oxygen are key to keeping these loaches healthy.

NameChinese Hillstream
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan5-6 Years

Clown Loach

Clown Loach Care Sheet

Many aquarium enthusiasts love Clown Loaches because of their lively behavior and vivid colors. Recognized by their bright orange body and unique black stripes,  it’s no wonder they’re often referred to as the “clowns” of the aquarium world.

These loaches can grow quite large, so be sure to provide them with a spacious tank to accommodate their size. Also, keep them in groups to prevent them from feeling shy and stressed.

NameClown Loach
Tank Size100 Gallons
Lifespan10-20 Years

Crimson Loach

Adding the Crimson Loach to your aquarium is an excellent way to introduce some lively color. These little gems boast a deep red hue that’s captivating. One of the best things about them is their peaceful nature. 

They get along well with a wide range of tank mates, which is always a plus. And to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable, it’s important to create a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. 

NameCrimson Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

Dwarf Chain Loach

dwarf chain loach care sheet

Don’t let their size fool you – Dwarf Chain Loaches are full of personality! These small loaches are known for their playful behavior and love for exploring every corner of the tank. With their distinctive chain-like pattern, they’re small fish that are big on looks!

It’s a good idea to keep these little fish together in a group because they like to be around others. Just make sure they have plenty of places to hide because they’re curious and like to explore.

NameDwarf Chain Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8-12 Years

Emperor Loach

Emperor Loach Care Sheet

The Emperor Loach is a popular fish that loach enthusiasts love because of its beautiful dark lines and speckles. They’re usually calm, but as they grow older, they can become territorial. 

And to keep them happy, it’s best to have a tank with lots of plants, hiding places, and sandy ground. These loaches do well in groups and can help reduce their territorial tendencies.

NameEmperor Loach
Tank Size45 Gallons
Lifespan15 Years

Galaxy Loach

The Galaxy Loach is a really pretty fish that can make any aquarium look amazing. It has spots that look like stars in the sky. To keep them happy, make sure they have places to hide and places to swim around freely. 

It’s best to keep them in groups so they can show off their patterns and hang out with their fish friends.

NameGalaxy Loach
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan5-8 Years

Golden Zebra Loach

Imagine a fish that’s like a zebra painted in gold! That’s the Golden Zebra Loach. These little fish are pretty friendly and like hanging out with other fish in the tank. They enjoy exploring, so it’s great to have lots of places, such as plants and decorations for them to hide and some open spaces for them to swim around. 

NameGolden Zebra Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan6 Years

Green Tiger Loach

Meet the Green Tiger Loach, a fish with bold green and black stripes that make it stand out. These loaches are quite active and appreciate a spacious tank to roam around. And of course, they thrive in well-maintained environments with clean water and proper filtration.

NameGreen Tiger Loach
Tank Size100 Gallons
Lifespan5-7 Years

Hillstream Loach

Hillstream Loach Care Sheet

The Hillstream Loach, also known as the River Loach, is uniquely adapted to fast-flowing waters. Its flattened body shape and sucker-like mouth allow it to cling to rocks and surfaces. 

To ensure that they thrive in your tank, remember that they require strong water currents and plenty of oxygen. Adding smooth rocks and hiding spots is also a great idea.

NameHillstream Loach
Tank Size50 Gallons
Lifespan8-10 Years

Horseface Loach

horse face loach care sheet

The Horseface Loach is a fascinating fish to add to your aquarium. It has a long body and a unique “horse-like” head. These loaches are known for their non-aggressive nature and ability to get along with other tank mates.

Horseface Loaches prefer sandy substrates and soft plants, similar to their natural surroundings. And to ensure their well-being, it’s recommended to have a well-decorated tank with lots of hiding spots.

NameHorseface Loach
Tank Size55 Gallons
Lifespan12 Years

Hovering Zebra Loach

Meet the Hovering Zebra Loach – a fish that likes to float in the middle of the water, just like a magic trick! Their black and white stripes make them look really amazing. These loaches are friendly, but they might surprise you with their jumping skills. So, make sure to have a lid on your tank to keep them safe.

NameHovering Zebra Loach
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan5 Years

Kansu Loach

Next up, we have the Kansu Loach, a fish with a bit of a mystery in its name! These loaches are small, but they have big personalities. Also, they love to hang out with their other Kansu Loaches, so it’s a good idea to get a few of them. Their playful interactions will make any tank more lively!

NameKansu Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loach care sheet

The Kuhli Loach is a charming fish that’s like a little snake, but way friendlier! With its playful spirals of color, it’s hard not to love them. Kuhli Loaches are shy, so they appreciate places to hide in their tank, like caves and plants. They’re mostly active at night, so try feeding them when the lights are out.

NameKuhli Loach
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan5-10 Years

Panda Loach

Panda Loach, a fish that looks like it’s dressed up in a panda suit! These cute loaches are quite peaceful and love to explore their surroundings. 

Also, they’re active swimmers, so make sure they’ve got some room to zoom around. With a mix of hiding spots and open areas, your Panda Loaches will be as happy as they can be.

NamePanda Loach
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan6-8 Years

Polka Dot/Burmese Border Loach

Polka Dot Loach Care Sheet

Polka Dot Loaches are charming fish that love a peaceful and serene tank environment. Although they’re not the most active swimmers, they like having spots to retreat to. And remember, a comfortable tank setup with smooth rocks is the perfect home for them. 

NamePolka Dot Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8-12 Years

Pond/Weather/Dojo Loach

Pond_Dojo Loach Caresheet

Pond Loach is a versatile fish that can adapt to various aquatic settings! From freshwater to brackish water, these loaches are quite accommodating. 

They’re curious loaches that love to dig around in the substrate, so providing a soft ground for them to explore is a must. Also, their adaptable nature allows them to mingle well with a variety of tank mates.

NamePond/Dojo Loach
Tank Size100 Gallons
Lifespan7-10 Years

Rosy Loach

Rosy Loaches are lovely pink fish that add charm to your tank like lovely gems. To create the best environment for them, make sure to include hiding spots and soft substrates in their tank. And remember, they love to swim with other Rosy Loach tankmates.

NameRosy Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan5-7 Years

Saddleback/Saddled Loach

Saddleback Loach Caresheet

Meet the Saddleback Loach, a fish with a distinct saddle-like marking on its back. They’re really playful and curious, always checking out their tank. They like being with other loaches too, so it’s best to keep a few of them together. 

And if you give them lots of hiding spots and room to swim, they’ll be really happy and show off their fun personalities.

NameSaddleback Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan5 Years

Skunk Loach

Skunk Loach Care Sheet

Skunk Loaches are really cute loaches with black and white stripes that look like little skunks. They like to live in tanks that have lots of hiding spots and other friendly fish. Watching them swim around is really fun!

NameSkunk Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10-12 Years

Spined Loach

Spined Loach Care Sheet

The Spined Loach might be small, but it’s quite interesting with its spiky look. These fish are very calm and like their surroundings to be peaceful too. They can be a bit shy, so it’s good to give them some places to hide and a soft surface to feel safe.

Also, they like to stay near the bottom of the tank, which makes things more exciting to watch.

NameSpined Loach
Tank Size25 Gallons
Lifespan3-5 Years

Splendid Loach

Splendid Loach is a fish that lives up to its name with its striking colors and intricate patterns. hey like hanging out with other loaches, so it’s best to keep them in a group.

If you give them a good home with spots to hide and swim around, they’ll be really happy. And watching them swim and play together is so fun and lively!

NameSplendid Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan12 Years

Sucking Loach

Sucking Loach Care Sheet

The Sucking Loach may have an unusual name, but it’s quite fascinating. These loaches have a unique mouth adapted for clinging to surfaces, making them excellent algae eaters. 

Adding some smooth rocks and plants to their home not only looks good, but it also gives them something to play with. It’s fun to watch them swim around and search for food.

NameSucking Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan12 Years

Sumo Loach

The Sumo Loach is a friendly fish that looks a bit like a sumo wrestler. They like to swim around and check out their surroundings, so it’s important to give them some places to hide and some open areas to play in. Just make sure to keep their tank clean and you’ll be good to go!

NameSumo Loach
Tank Size20 Gallons
Lifespan3-5 Years

Yoyo Loach

Yoyo Loach Care Sheet

The Yoyo Loach is a fish that’s as playful as its name suggests. With its unique patterns, it’s a delight to watch. Yoyo Loaches like to be around other fish and they do a good job of eating algae to keep your tank clean.

NameYoyo Loach
Tank Size40 Gallons
Lifespan5-8 Years

Zebra Loach

Zebra Loach Care Sheet

The Zebra Loach is a true classic, known for its black and white stripes that look just like a zebra’s pattern. These loaches are nice and friendly, and they enjoy being part of a community. 

They prefer a well-decorated tank with hiding spots, and they’re always swimming around and playing with their fish friends, making your tank super fun to watch!

NameZebra Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan8-15 Years

Zodiac Loach

Introducing the Zodiac Loach, a fish with a name as intriguing as its appearance. These loaches are known for their captivating colors and patterns, and they thrive in a well-maintained tank with a variety of hiding spots and open areas. 

Zodiac Loaches are really active and pretty, so they’ll definitely add some fun and beauty to your aquarium.

NameZodiac Loach
Tank Size30 Gallons
Lifespan10 Years

How To Setup A Tank For Loaches

Whether you have Clown Loaches or Kuhli Loaches, giving them a nice comfortable place to live is super important. Let’s break it down step by step:

1. Tank Selection

Choose a spacious tank with a larger footprint, as many loach species are active swimmers. A tank size of 20 gallons or more is recommended, depending on the number of loaches you plan to keep.

2. Substrate and Decor

Choose fine-grained substrates like sand or smooth gravel. Loaches often sift through the substrate, and sharp edges can harm their sensitive barbels. Add hiding spots like caves, PVC pipes, and driftwood to create safe retreats for your loaches.

3. Filtration and Water Quality

Install a reliable filter to maintain clean water and proper circulation. Loaches are sensitive to poor water quality, so regular water changes and consistent water parameters are crucial.

Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel Power Filter 150 GPH, Multi-Stage Aquarium Filtration,black
  • WITH ROTATING BIO-WHEEL: Patented Bio-Wheel technology provides excellent wet/dry biological filtration.

4. Temperature and Lighting

Set the temperature according to your loach species’ requirements. Many loaches prefer slightly warmer water, usually in the range of 75-82°F. Use subdued lighting to mimic their natural habitats.

Marineland Precision Heater for Saltwater or Freshwater Aquariums
  • This 75 watt heater is for aquariums up to 20 gallons. Adjustable temperature dial allows you to set the temperature 1 degree with every click.

5. Aquascape

Create a lush aquascape with live plants like Anubias, Java Fern, and Cryptocoryne. These plants not only provide shelter but also enhance the tank’s aesthetic while providing natural foraging opportunities.

6. Introducing Loaches

Introduce a small group of loaches to the tank. Acclimate them slowly by floating the bag in the tank for about 15-20 minutes to let the water temperature equalize. Gently release them into the tank afterward.

7. Diet and Feeding

Provide a balanced diet that includes sinking pellets, frozen foods, and live or freeze-dried treats. Loaches are scavengers and enjoy hunting for food, so offering a variety of options keeps them active and engaged.

Aqueon Bottom Feeder Tablets 3 Ounces
  • Ideal for bottom dwelling fish

8. Water Parameters

Regularly monitor and maintain water parameters such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and hardness. Stable water conditions are essential for the health of your loaches.

API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, White, Single, Multi-colored
  • Contains one (1) API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, including 7 bottles of testing solutions, 1 color card and 4 tubes with cap

9. Tank Mates

Select tankmates that share similar water requirements and temperament. Peaceful fish like Tetras, Rasboras, and Corydoras can make good companions for loaches.

10. Enrichment and Interaction

Provide mental stimulation for your loaches by adding PVC pipes, tunnels, and obstacles. These fish enjoy exploring their environment and interacting with their surroundings.

What Can Live With Loaches?

Now, let’s explore some of the best tankmates for your loaches that will make your tank a harmonious and enjoyable aquatic community.

1. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras Catfish are known for their playful nature and preference for living on the bottom of the tank. They’re compatible with loaches and both enjoy soft substrates and hiding spots. These friendly catfish can add a lively dynamic to your tank while complementing the loaches’ social interactions.

2. Tetras

Tetras are a great choice for tankmates, especially in community setups. Their schooling behavior and peaceful nature make them compatible with most loach types. Also, tetras add color and movement to the tank, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

3. Gouramis

Gouramis are colorful and patterned fish that can live harmoniously with loaches. They stay in different parts of the tank and are not territorial, so they’re unlikely to fight. Gouramis also prefer the same water conditions as loaches, which makes them a good choice to keep together.

4. Rasboras

Lambchop/Esme's Rasbora

Rasboras are small, peaceful fish that like to swim in schools. They’re a great addition to any aquarium because they’re easy to care for and get along well with other fish. Rasboras are also very colorful, which adds visual interest to your tank.

5. Swordtails

swordtail fish

Swordtails are easy to spot with their long, flowing tails. They’re peaceful fish that get along well with other fish, like loaches. Since they’re a bit larger than other fish, you’ll need a bigger tank to keep them happy.

6. Bristlenose Plecos

bristlenose pleco

Bristlenose Plecos are both algae eaters and interesting tank mates. Their specialized cleaning behavior helps keep the aquarium clean, and their unique appearance adds variety to the tank.

7. Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barbs are lively fish that swim in schools. They add movement and color to your tank. Also, they can live in different water conditions and are peaceful, so they’re good tank mates for loaches.

8. Otocinclus Catfish


Otocinclus Catfish are small, bottom-dwelling fish that are perfect for aquariums. They’re known for their algae-eating abilities, which help to keep the tank clean. They’re also peaceful fish that do not compete with other fish for territory.

9. Danios

celestial pearl danio

Danios are awesome fish to have in your tank! They’re always swimming around and playing, and they get along great with other fish. They also like to swim together in a school, which makes your tank look really lively.


What Is The Friendliest Loach?

If we’re talking about loaches that are super friendly and get along well with others, the Clown Loach takes the spotlight. They’re playful, active, and like to hang out with other fish.

What Is The Best Loach For A Fish Tank?

The best loach for your tank depends on what you’re looking for and what’s going on in your aquarium. If you want a loach that’s with other peaceful fish, the Kuhli Loach is a good pick. They’re not big troublemakers, they’re kind of small, and they have a neat look.

Are Loaches Easy To Keep?

Loaches vary in their care requirements, but many species are relatively easy to keep as long as their specific needs are met. Some loaches, like the Kuhli Loach, are known for their adaptability and ability to thrive in a well-maintained aquarium.

How Many Loaches Should Be Kept Together?

Ideally, Loaches should be kept together in groups of 6 or more fish. And because, there are different kinds of loaches, it’s best to research the required number to ensure their happiness.

Do Loaches Produce A Lot Of Waste?

Loaches, like all fish, produce waste as part of their natural process. However, they’re not known to be excessive waste producers. Regular tank maintenance, such as water changes, helps keep their environment clean.

Will Loaches Clean Algae?

Many loaches are good at eating algae that can grow in the tank. They can be helpful in managing algae growth and keeping your tank looking clean.

Do Loaches Eat Snails?

Some loaches enjoy eating snails. Certain species, like Clown Loaches and Yoyo Loaches, have a taste for snails and can help control their population in the tank. 

Do Loaches Eat Other Fish?

Generally, most loach species are not known to be aggressive predators of other fish. However, there have been observations of certain loaches, such as clown loaches, occasionally eating smaller fish if the opportunity arises.


We learned about different types of loaches, each with its own qualities. From Clown Loaches to Kuhli Loaches, they all bring joy to fish tanks. By applying everything that we’ve learned about them, and understanding their needs and traits, we’ll have fish tanks full of happy Loaches! 

Tropical Fish A-Z

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