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This profile was written by Debbs an active contributor to the site.



horsefaced loach

Acanthopsis choirorhynchus ; A. biaculeata, A. choerorhynchus, A. dialuzona, A. dialyzona, A. diazona


    A. Choirorhynchus aka Horsefaced loaches are a peaceful, nocturnal species that can be kept in a community tank with small to large fish with same temperament. It is very common to catch this fish peeking out of the sand, with only the snout and eyes exposed, observing its environment. They are often skittish of fast movements and will dive into the sand for cover. This fish is easy to keep and a pleasure to watch.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Average adult size: 8 inches
    Tank: Min. Tank requirements: 24" inches in length
    Strata: Bottom
    PH: PH recommendation 6.5-7.0
    Hardness: Hardness: 1-12 dGH
    Temperature: 74°F to 82°F (24°-28° C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Family: Cobitidae
    Genera: Acantopsis
    Species: choirorhynchus et al


Common name:

    Horsefaced loach , Long-nosed Loach, Horsehead Loach

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Southeast Asia: Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, Thailand, Vietnam

General Body Form:

    The body of the Horsefaced loach is long and flattened with a snout that is characteristically long, sloping downwards, resembling a Horses' head. Females generally are longer then the male and have a larger abdominal area. Gravid females are noticeably plumper and longer then the males.

    horsefaced loach

    Many color and pattern variations are known due to it's wide geographic distribution. The most commonly sold in the US are silver/grey bodies with black stripes along it's back and flanks. .

    This species is an active burrower, so it is highly recommended that the aquarium substrate be fine-grained sand with a minimum depth of 3". Another reason for fine-grained sand is that these loaches often filter their food through their gills. Most foods are accepted, such as sinking wafers and flake food. Frozen or live bloodworms, insect larvae, brine shrimp are a welcomed treat. This species will not compete for their food, so it is advisable to add extra for the bottom-dwellers. Plants can be uprooted as a result of the loaches' burrowing, so anchoring or deep rooting them is also advisable. Rocks, caves , plants , and wood can be used as cover. This species of loaches are a schooling fish and are best kept in a group of 3 or more.

    The Region in which the Horsefaced loach inhabits is in rapid and slow moving rivers with sandy and rocky bottoms.


    Breeding in the Aquarium is not known.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Kimi
My lucky find came just recently when I went to one of my favorite 'exotic fish' shops- I found 4 of these guys (babies, half inch to an inch) there for $1.89 USD a each!!! I had been searching for them forever!!! I am absolutely in love with these guys. I have them in a southeast Asian biotope tank with barbs, danios, gourami and temporarily a pair of Bolivian rams and a trio of xray tetra (my fluval spec died on me and am waiting for my 10g back up to cycle). Mine are not shy at all (maybe because I have a school or because I have them with peaceful dither fish, I don't know). They love to hang out on my substrate and filter through silt often perching on flat stones looking like blennies and gobies 'walking' on their front fins.... Mine were pale and spotted when I got them, once they acclimated to my tank they turned a gorgeous pink pearl color with spots across the sides and stripes across the back and they are translucent so it's fun to watch them sift through sand and prune my plants for me. They are wonderful clean up crew members. Priceless fish and absolutely perfect for any se Asian tank from blackwater to medium flow tributary.... I am switching from yoyo and clown to horseheads, much more versatile in habitat and water parameter changes, as long as your substrate is fine and mature they will just shovel down and relax until things are back to normal.... If you can find them locally and can take a look at them (prone to bacterial infection if not handled properly), they will not disappoint!!!
From: Romeo Rice
I own a horseface loach right now and could not be happier with him. He spends most of his time hanging out in plain site with my other five dojo loaches in the bottom of my tank. Unlike all the other information I have read my horseface rarely ever hides, only when I change the water out does he burrow under gravel. My overall impression is that a horseface loach is an excellent community fish for a tank.
From: Roy
A great loach that will come out eventually. My brother had purchased a few quite a long time ago and I remember them living over 10 years. By that time they had achieved nearly an adult size and were quite impressive indeed. Not a very 'showy' or 'colorful' species, but very noticeable and memorable if you are wanting something a bit odd in your tank.
From: KLo
I used to work at a pet shop and when they closed down I took home one of the display tanks. I left the substrate and about 3 inches of water as I was only going to fill it back up again. When I got it home and started setting it up, out of the gravel popped a Horsefaced Loach!! I loved the little guy (or girl). He was very shy and would dive into the gravel whenever there was movement in the morning near the tank. But, if I was stealthy before turning on the light I got to see him swim around and eat. He could stay under the rocks for long periods of time. I was very sad when he died after a year. They are definitely unique looking and acting. I can't wait to get some more. Thanks to your site I now know they like to be in groups.





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