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This months profile was written by fishbro22 an active contributor to the site.



Zipper Loach
Photo courtesy of That Pet Place

Acanthocobitis botia


    Hailing from rivers in Asia, Acanthocobitis botia could be the perfect addition to your aquarium that is 20 gallons or larger. It is very similar to the Botia striata. The only difference is an eye spot that is very distinctive.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 3 to 4" (7.5 - 10cm)
    Tank: 24 inches, 20 gallon minimum.
    Strata: Bottom
    PH: 6.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 5.0 - 12.0
    Temperature: 73°F to 81°F (23-27°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Cyprinidae
    Family: Balitoridae
    Sub-Family: Nemacheilinae
    Genera: Acanthocobitis
    Species: Botia

Zebra loach habitat
Tunga River
photo from Vaishya gurumath

Common name:

    Zipper Loach , Sand Loach, Mottled Loach

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Asia: the Indus River and drainages. Thought to be widespread throughout the region.

General Body Form:

    One of the longer and thinner of the Acanthocobitis, the zipper loach has the classic loach shape. The belly area is fairly straight and the back curves in a convex shape. The mouth has four pairs of barbels. As with most of the family the spine reaches to just below the eye.

Acanthocobitis botia


    The body is brown with many vertical yellow stripes which vary in thickness. The translucent fins are marked with brown bands. The caudal fin is marked with and eye spot. The common name comes from the look of the young who have a pattern that resembles a clothing zipper.


    Zipper loaches have no special requirements on water conditions, they do however prefer a certain aquarium setup to be at their best. A tank size of 36 inches with a soft or fine textured substrate as they are continually probing the upper layers with their barbels for food. The tank should be planted, but also provide open areas for swimming as well. Good aeration and good water movement are a must. The lighting in the tank should not be overly bright. Zippers are happiest living in small groups and have been reported to be semi aggressive, sometimes nipping the fins of other species. Feeding is not difficult as they will accept all prepared foods and like all fish relish the addition of live foods especially small worms like tubifex or Blackworms. They are most active at night.


    Inhabits clear fast water of rivers and streams.


    Little (or nothing) is known of their sexing although some say females are fatter than males. Breeding in the aquarium is very rare, or accidental. Breeding is caused by slight changes in temperature and PH. Eggs are laid in hidden spots and left. Parents may eat eggs.


    None are specific to this species of loach.


    Zipper Loach (Acanthocobitis botia)
    Acanthocobitis botia - Zipper Loach
    Zipper Loach (Acanthocobitis botia)

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.








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