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This months profile was written by Bunny, a regular on the sites forum, check it out if you have a questions or comments.



Hovering Zebra Loach

Yunnanilus cruciatus


    The only known member of the genus Micronemacheilus, Y. cruciatus is rare among hobbyists.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum.
    Size: Adult Male: 1.34 inches (3.4 cm).
    Tank: Shoal of 8 -10: 20 gallons (75.71 liters) or larger.
    Strata: Mid-level (demersal).
    PH: 6.0-7.0
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 2 to 12.0
    Temperature: 77°F to 82°F (25-28°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Cyprinidae
    Family: Nemacheilidae
    Genera: Yunnanilus
    Species: Yunnanilus cruciatus

Hovering Zebra Loach

  Common name:

    Hovering Zebra Loach, Vietnamese Multi Banded Zebra Loach, Mottled Loach.

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    ASIA: Coastal rivers of Central Vietnam from the An Lao river (Binh Dinh province) to the Phong Nha river (Quang Binh province.)

General Body Form:

    Male: Long fusiform body with rounded belly and moderately-long, rounded fins. Eight branched dorsal ray fins. Two pair of delicate sensory papillae emerge medially from upper and lower lips. Three to four odontodes at the bottom of the interopercular margin. Female: Same, but slightly more round-bodied.


    Translucent bodies with silvery-pink to silvery-yellow iridescence. 14 18 black bars start between the eyes and the operculum and extend to the caudal peduncle. A small black ocellus divides the caudal peduncle from the origin of the caudal fin. Belly is pearlescent white. Fins are transparent.


    Minimum Tank Size and Group Requirements
    Shoal of 8 -10: 20 gallons (75.71 liters) or larger.

    Tank Set-up
    To mimic natural conditions, provide a soft sand or muddy substrate and dense vegetation, including floating plants to dapple the light. Driftwood, branches, dried leaves and stones would complete the environment. Prefers very clean, mature water that is well-oxygenated and has a gentle current.
    A very peaceful fish that benefits from company of it's own kind as well as being part of a non-aggressive, non-competitive community. Spends most of it's time mid-water, but it will venture out in the open to explore the entire tank. However, one on one, it can be shy and easily intimidated by larger, rowdier tankmates. Small, peaceful fish would make excellent tankmates and might include anabantoids, barbs, small catfish, danios, killifish, rasboras, other small loaches and tetras. A one male to one female stocking ratio is recommended.

    OMNIVORE: While likely a micropredator in nature, in aquaria, Y. cruciatus enjoys live or frozen brine shrimp nauplii, daphnia, cyclops, moina, bloodworms, microworm and tubifex as well as sinking pellets, algae tablets and flakes.

    Yunnanilus cruciatus


    Still, shallow parts of streams and rivers thick with vegetation.


    No successful breeding is reported in the aquarium.

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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