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

Updated: December 17, 2022

The tiger hillstream loach is a beautiful and unique freshwater fish that is perfect for the beginner aquarist. They are very easy to care for and are very peaceful, making them a great addition to any community tank.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about tiger hillstream loach care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The tiger hillstream loach (scientific name: Sewellia lineolata) is a small freshwater fish that’s native to various parts of East Asia. The primary countries where they can be found are China, Laos, and Vietnam.

These fish prefer to live in fast-moving streams with a lot of rocks and boulders. This is because they like to perch on these rocks and use them as a way to stay in place while the water flows around them.

Tiger hillstream loaches are omnivores, which means they will eat both plants and small animals. In the wild, their diet consists mostly of insects, crustaceans, and small mollusks.

These fish are becoming increasingly popular in the aquarium scene due to their unique appearance and peaceful nature.


Tiger hillstream loach

The tiger hillstream loach is a brown and orange fish with black spots all over its body. The spots are in a tiger-like pattern, which is where this fish gets its name.

The belly of the tiger hillstream loach is a white or cream color. The fins are all translucent with a brown or orange tint.

The dorsal fin is located in the middle of the back and is tall and thin. The caudal fin is forked and located at the end of the fish’s body. The pectoral fins are located on the sides of the fish, just behind the head.

The tiger hillstream loach has barbels on its face, which are used to help the fish find food. The eyes are located on the top of the head, just behind the barbels.


5 – 8 years

The tiger hillstream loach is a long-lived fish compared to other aquarium fish species. In the wild, these fish can live for up to 8 years, and in captivity they can live for even longer if they are well cared for.


The tiger hillstream loach is a small fish, only reaching a maximum length of 2.5 inches.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for tiger hillstream loaches is 30 gallons.

As with most aquarium fish, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and provide as much space as possible. If you can accommodate a larger tank, we recommend going for it. These fish are active and need room to swim.

Water Parameters

The tiger hillstream loach is a unique fish that is native to fast moving rivers and streams in Asia. In the wild, they are used to living in well-oxygenated water with a moderate flow.

This is a fish that does best in an aquarium that has been setup specifically for them. It’s important to provide a lot of hiding places and plenty of oxygenation.

The water parameters listed below are a good starting point, but you may need to adjust them slightly to fit the needs of your particular fish.

  • Water temperature: 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the inside of an aquarium for a Tiger hillstream loach, you have a few different options.

One is to create a more naturalistic environment with a substrate of small rocks and pebbles, along with some larger pieces of driftwood and live plants.

Another option is to go with a more minimalist approach with a sandy substrate and just a few pieces of driftwood or live plants.

Finally, you could go with a mixed approach and use a substrate of small rocks and pebbles with some larger pieces of driftwood and live plants, but also include some open swimming areas.

It really depends on your personal preference and what you think will look best in your aquarium.

One important thing to keep in mind is that these fish need a lot of oxygenated water, so make sure you have a good filter and plenty of aeration in their tank.

Common Diseases

The Tiger hillstream loach is a hardy fish that doesn’t get sick often. However, poor water quality and the presence of parasites can still lead to some serious health problems.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. This is a parasitic infection that will show itself as white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish.

While ich is usually not fatal, it can still be quite dangerous if it’s not treated quickly. If you notice any white spots on your fish, it’s important to act fast and begin treatment immediately.

Another disease that these fish can experience is Hole-in-the-Head disease. This is another parasitic infection, but it’s not as common as ich.

This disease gets its name from the pits/holes that it creates in the head of your fish. While it’s not usually fatal, it can still be quite dangerous if it’s not treated quickly.

If you notice any pits or holes in the head of your fish, it’s important to act fast and begin treatment immediately.

The best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain the quality of the water in your tank. A tank with clean and stable water conditions is always less likely to experience disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The tiger hillstream loach is an active swimmer that requires a lot of space to move around. In the wild, these fish live in fast-flowing streams and rivers. They’re constantly on the move, looking for food and avoiding predators.

In captivity, they need an aquarium that can provide them with similar conditions. A small tank won’t cut it. They need at least a 55-gallon aquarium to be happy and healthy.

The tiger hillstream loach is also a social creature that does best when kept in groups. A single fish will be stressed and may become aggressive. It’s best to keep at least six of them together.

When it comes to temperament, the tiger hillstream loach is relatively peaceful. They’re not known to be aggressive towards tank mates. However, they are known to nip at the fins of slow-moving fish.

Tank Mates

When it comes to tiger hillstream loach tank mates, you have a few different options.

First, you can choose to go with fish that occupy different parts of the water column. This way, the loaches will stick to the bottom while the other fish stay towards the top.

For example, you could add danios or barbs. These fish are active and like to swim in the middle and upper parts of the tank.

Another option is to choose fish that come from similar habitats. Hillstream loaches come from fast-moving waters in Asia. As a result, they do best with tank mates that can handle these conditions.

Some good options include:


The tiger hillstream loach is a difficult fish to breed in captivity. They are native to fast-moving streams in Asia and prefer very specific water conditions.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 20 gallons and have a strong filter. The water should be well-oxygenated and have a moderate flow. The temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will also need to add some live plants and rocks for the fish to hide in. Be sure to use smooth rocks or the fish may damage their fins.

Once the tank is set up, you will need to find a group of tiger hillstream loaches that includes at least one male and one female. These fish are not easy to sex, so you may need to trial and error to find a pair.

When you have your group, add them to the breeding tank. The fish will need time to acclimate to their new environment. Once they are settled in, you can begin to feed them live foods.

The key to successful breeding is to keep the fish well-fed. A healthy diet will help trigger spawning. You should also perform regular water changes to keep the water quality high.

When the fish are ready to spawn, the female will lay her eggs on the rocks or plants. The male will then fertilize them.

After the eggs have been fertilized, the parents will need to be removed from the tank. They will eat the eggs if given the chance.

The eggs will hatch in about a week. The fry will be very small and will need to be fed live foods. You can start to wean them onto flakes or pellets once they are a bit older.


The Tiger Hillstream Loach is a great fish for the beginner aquarist. They’re easy to care for and don’t require a lot of special attention.

As long as you provide them with a good aquarium setup and some basic care, they’ll be happy and thrive.

We hope this guide has been helpful and that you’ll consider adding a Tiger Hillstream Loach to your tank. They’re a great fish and we think you’ll enjoy them!