Fish and a variety of other sea animals have the capability of surviving many environmental conditions so long as these are habitable. An aquarist with a desire to keep the hillstream loach fish should not have doubts about keeping this fish in a home tank. After reading the hillstream loach care guide, those dilemmas at the back of the mind ought to be relieved.
A native of fast moving rivers and streams of Asia, this fish with a streamlined body is able to withstand strong currents. The aquarist can replicate these conditions by installing power heads.
The hillstream loach fishes are referred to as Cypriniformes and Cobitoidea, with the super family further split into eight sub groups.
At first glance, one might confuse the loach with the cat fish. However, they are totally different even though they share a few similarities. Some features of the hillstream loach fish are:
- Presence of barbels around the mouth, 3-6 pairs
- Having very few to no scales. Most of them have smooth bodies
- They are torpedo-shaped
- On the lower edges of their fins are minute spines that aid them with resisting the drag of fast flowing water
- Flattened undersides that almost make them resemble snakes. Those with highly flattened undersides are believed to have previously inhabited streams with faster running water as opposed to those with less flattened undersides
- Have slightly large fins used to wing themselves into rock crevices
- Have sucker type kind of mouth
- The length is about 2 to 3 inches
- Have low affinity haemoglobin
- Have got modified pelvic and pectoral fins leading to a powerful suction-like cup which allows them to cling onto rocks, crawl and even eat on surfaces that are prone to high speed waters
Remember the hillstream loach fish was specifically used to very fast moving water and the body is adjusted to it. Tank conditions should at least meet certain percentage of its original home to make its life comfortable, or at least bearable.
It should not be lost on an aquarist that the hillstream loach fish cannot survive in an ordinary standard tank. Sharing its home with other fishes which need relatively calm tank conditions may not therefore work. Some of the adjustments for their tank should include:
- External canisters to provide powerful filtration
- Additional power-heads for adequate flow of water. This also ensures there is high supply of oxygen to help the fish thrive
- Power filters are another necessity as they impart the needed tumbling action that acts like fast speed water
- A river-tank manifold can be adopted for an effective water flow. The tubes should be non-perforated
- The tank has to be high and long. As a matter of fact, fast flowing water will easily push the fish at high speeds and a small tank will inconvenience its movement. The tank should not be smaller than 3 feet
- pH level range is supposed to be 6.5-7.5
- The best temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit
- The best water type is kH 10-15
- Sand and fine gravel are the best options as the smooth body can be harmed by rough sand. Do not forget that they often swim at the bottom of the tank. Since they use high speed waters, rough sand may be abrasive to them
- Some smooth rocks can be added too
- Bright light is necessary to offer the best environment for the growth of algae. The 40 watt tubes are a good option. If they are at least 4, the better
- Hillstream loaches are best in school of three or four. Placing them in the tank singly may not auger well with them as they are a territorial lot
- Provide them with sturdy plants and driftwood to give them sufficient hiding places
- Changing water weekly is ideal as they love swimming in clean water
Like most fish, the hilstream loaches are omnivorous, meaning they eat plants and flesh. Their favorites are algae that grow on the rock. Reading more on their diet from the hillstream loach care guide should be a plus. Here are some tips when feeding your hilstream loaches:
- Create a condition in the tank that will allow for massive algae growth
- The loach fish is known to scavenge for smaller animals hiding under rocks and the water foliage. Their favorite is aufwuch
- Pellet food, shrimp pellets, algae wafers, flake, frozen food including brine shrimp and bloodworms are favorites too
- Vegetables like kales leaves, cucumber, blanched spinach and courgette are another specialty that have been tried and were successful
- To be extremely successful with feeding the loaches, having two or more tanks could be a good idea. Set one tank with conditions necessary for algae growth. As soon as it is ready, transfer the fish to this while preparing the other the same way
Breeding Hillstream Loach
Hillstream loaches can be bred under tank conditions. Of course it takes plenty of patience to do this. For proper breeding, the tank should be a loach-only aquarium. This way, chances of predators finding a delicacy on the eggs or fry of this fish are limited. Among the loach species, the easiest to breed is Pseudogastromyzon Cheni. With small broods of fry, as soon as they begin to breed, they spawn after every few weeks.
The male begins the process of digging a spawning pit by rapidly flicking its tail. The female comes to lay eggs in this pit. After around two weeks, the eggs hatch.
As opposed to other types of fish, the loaches are not known to harm their fry. It is therefore safe to leave them in the same aquarium with the adults.
Hosting other fish
The hillstream loch fish has no problem being in the same aquarium with other fish species. They only get particularly aggressive during feeding.
Signs of trouble
- Patchiness in their color is a sign that they are unhealthy and need swift attention
- When they refuse to feed, this too could be a sign of brewing trouble
- When they become limp, check on the oxygen in the tank. If it goes seriously down the fish may die
These kinds of fish are a delight in the home tank. After carefully acquainting ones’ self with the hillstream loach care guide, taking care of this fish in the home tank will not present a challenge.