Clown loach Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

Clown loaches are a freshwater fish that are popular in the aquarium trade. They’re native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Clown loaches are a peaceful fish that do well in community tanks. They’re also relatively easy to care for, which makes them a good choice for beginner fishkeepers.

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about clown loach care. You’ll learn about their diet, tank mates, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

Clown loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus) are a type of freshwater fish that’s native to Indonesia.

They’re most commonly found in the Malili Lakes system, which is located in Sulawesi.

Clown loaches are a popular choice for many aquarium enthusiasts because of their unique appearance and fun personality.

They’re also a relatively easy fish to care for, which is something that’s always a plus.

One of the most notable things about clown loaches is that they’re a schooling fish. This means that they do best when they’re kept in groups of at least 3-5 fish.

They’re also a relatively large fish, so you’ll need to make sure you have a tank that’s big enough to accommodate them.


Clown loach

The clown loach is a freshwater fish that’s easily recognizable thanks to their unique coloration and pattern. These fish have a light brown or beige body that’s covered in black spots.

The spots on their body are fairly large and round. They’re most prominent on the sides of the fish, but you’ll also find them on the dorsal and caudal fins.

The fins on a clown loach are all rather standard. They have a dorsal fin that’s located about two-thirds of the way back on their body. This fin is tall and thin, and it has a black spot near the base.

The anal fin is located just behind the dorsal fin and it’s a bit shorter. The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical. All of the fins have a light orange or beige hue to them.

Clown loaches have a rather long and thin body. They have a protruding mouth that’s located at the front of their face. They have small eyes that are located just above their mouth.


Clown loaches are a long-lived fish, with a lifespan of 10 to 20 years not being unusual in captivity.

However, their lifespan is greatly reduced if they are not kept in good conditions. Poor water quality, for example, can shorten their lifespan by several years.

As with any other pet, the better you take care of your clown loach, the longer it will live.


Clown loaches are a relatively large aquarium fish, and they can grow to be up to 12 inches in length. However, most clown loaches available for purchase are only about 4 to 6 inches long. These fish are slow growers, so it will take several years for them to reach their full size.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for clown loaches is 30 gallons. Clown loaches are a schooling fish so you’ll need to have at least 3-5 fish to make them feel comfortable. That said, the more the merrier when it comes to clown loaches so a larger tank is always better.

Clown loaches also grow to be quite large so you need to make sure you have a tank that can accommodate their full size. They can grow up to 12 inches in length so a 30 gallon tank is really the bare minimum. If you have the space, a 50-60 gallon tank would be much better.

Water Parameters

The clown loach is a freshwater fish that is native to Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Cobitidae family, which contains over 200 different species of loaches.

The clown loach is a peaceful fish that does well in a community tank. It is an active swimmer and does best in a tank with plenty of hiding places.

Clown loaches prefer slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. The water temperature should be between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up an aquarium for Clown Loaches there are a few key things you need to take into consideration.

First and foremost, these fish need a lot of space to swim. They’re not the type of fish that hang out at the bottom of the tank or in hiding spots. They want an open area where they can move around freely.

This means you need to have a tank that’s at least 50 gallons. If you’re keeping more than one Clown Loach then you need to increase the size of the tank accordingly (by 10 gallons for each additional fish).

In terms of substrate, these fish don’t really have any preferences. Gravel, sand, or even just a bare bottom tank will work just fine.

When it comes to plants, it’s a little more hit and miss. Clown Loaches have been known to nibble on plants from time to time. If you want to include plants in their habitat then we recommend something that can handle a little abuse (like Java Fern or Hornwort).

As for decorations, these fish love to hide. Driftwood, caves, and rocks all make great additions to their tank. Just make sure there are plenty of hiding spots for each fish.

Common Diseases

Clown loaches are a hardy fish, but they are still susceptible to disease like any other freshwater fish.

The most common illness that these fish experience is ich. This is a parasite that will attach itself to your fish and cause them to develop white spots on their body.

If left untreated, ich can be deadly. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to treat if you catch it early.

Other potential diseases include infections, parasites, and various fungal infections. As with ich, the sooner you catch these illnesses the better.

The best way to prevent your clown loach from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable tank. This will create an environment that is less conducive to disease and will help your fish stay healthy.

Behavior & Temperament

Clown loaches are a schooling fish, which means they do best when they’re around others of their own kind. In the wild, these fish live in groups of 20 or more. So, if you’re keeping them in captivity, you should try to mimic that environment as closely as possible.

Clown loaches are a peaceful fish, but they can be a bit nippy. They’re known to nibble on the fins of their tank mates. This behavior is usually harmless and nothing to worry about. But, if you’re keeping them with fish that have long fins, it’s something to keep an eye on.

These fish are also known to be a bit of a escape artist. They’re good jumpers, so you’ll need to make sure your aquarium is covered.

When it comes to temperament, clown loaches are relatively peaceful. They’ll stick to their own business and won’t bother other tank mates. The only time you might see them being a bit aggressive is when they’re fighting for food.

Tank Mates

Clown loaches are another species that can get along with a wide range of tank mates. They’re not too large and are relatively peaceful.

The only problem you might have is finding fish that can keep up with their playfulness. Clown loaches are active swimmers and need tank mates that can do the same.

That’s not to say that you can’t keep them with sedentary fish. It’s just that they might not get the exercise that they need to stay healthy.

Here are some clown loach tank mates to consider:


Clown loaches are one of the more difficult species to breed in captivity. They’re very picky when it comes to their spawning environment. If everything isn’t just right, they simply won’t spawn.

The first thing you need to do is set up a separate breeding tank. It should hold at least 50 gallons of water. Then, you need to add some live plants. Clown loaches like to lay their eggs on the undersides of the leaves.

You also need to create a lot of hiding places. Clown loaches are shy fish. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t spawn. Add caves, driftwood, and anything else you can think of.

Then, you need to adjust the water quality. The pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. The water hardness should be on the softer side. Finally, the temperature should be between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

When everything is in place, you can add your clown loaches. Start with two males for every female. The males need to be larger than the females. They also need to be at least a year old.

As the fish acclimate to their new environment, feed them plenty of live food. Then, wait for the spawning to begin.

Clown loaches usually lay their eggs at night. You’ll know it’s happening when you see the female lay a string of eggs on the underside of a plant leaf. The male will then fertilize them.

After that, it’s just a waiting game. The eggs will hatch in about a week. When they do, you can remove the adults and start feeding the fry baby brine shrimp.


Clown loaches are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They’re relatively easy to care for, have a fun and playful personality, and are very active fish.

They’re also a very hardy fish, which is always a plus.

The only downside to these fish is that they do get quite large, so you’ll need to make sure you have a tank that can accommodate them.

Other than that, we think they’re a great option for any fish keeper, and we’re sure you will too!