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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the



Zebra loach

Botia striata


    Best kept in groups the zebra loach is one of the most stunning fish in the family.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 4" (10cm)
    Tank: 36 inches
    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: Cobitidae
    Genera: Botia
    Species: Striata

Zebra loach habitat

Common name:

    Zebra loach

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Southern India, Tunga river system

General Body Form:

    One of the longer and thinner of the Botia, the zebra 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


    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 a series of brown dots.


    Zebra 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. The lighting in the tank should not be overly bright. Zebras 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 well known to eat snails and can be a welcome addition to any planted tank


    Inhabits muddy, still and slow moving waters in southern India


    Little (or nothing) is known of their sexing and breeding habits

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: Francis
Very pretty and active fish. Much more active than my clown loaches. One thing is though that they aren't as good at eating snails as clown or yoyo loaches (sometimes get snails on my plants I hate them they ruin plants). They are though probably one of the easiest loaches to keep and they don't get very big compared to clown loaches. Also they are also fairly hardy as well. Awesome fish to have make sure you keep at least 5 of them together, I have observed they put a lot more work into their pecking order than clown or yoyo loaches. So I've notice sometimes when stressed they are more prone to be aggressive, that's why having at least 5 of them will help solve that problem.
From: Charles
Beautiful fish but not what you need for snail control as they usually only eat the food you feed your other fishes. Also they cannot eat Mylasian trumpet snails making them useless against them. I always reference people with snail problems to get assassin snails (Clea helena) they eat any type of snail they don't over breed and they don't fin nip ha. but the zebra loach is a great addition to any tank as long as you want them to look at not to work.
From: Nathan
Like many other people, I originally purchased 2 zebra loaches to take care of my snail problem. To my disappointment I rarely saw them, but I did see a dramatic reduction in the amount of snails in my tank. A couple months later I bought 2 more loaches because I had read they enjoy having friends. After purchasing the additional 2 loaches I now see all 4 swimming about my tank on a regular basis. My theory is that the shyness that is often spoken of is just a matter of smaller numbers.
From: Luke
These are great little bottom feeding fish. I have had one (should have bought a group... I know) since middle school... at least 15 years ago! He does seem to enjoy co-mingling with my 7 clown loaches. It's pretty fun to lift up their cave and see 7 large (4-8") clown loaches, a bumble-bee cat, some type of spotted synodontis, and this little zebra loach come flying out... they pack in there like sardines!
From: Michelle Dawson
I've got 2 Zebra loach and to be honest I'm disappointed with them as they are so shy. One comes out at feed time if you sit very, very quietly in front of the tank. The other one I see once in a blue moon, usually in the middle of the night, usually dashing back to his hiding place because someone is watching him! I have had this excessive shyness with Clown loaches too. The current Clowns are very confident and always on view. So excessive shyness may be an individual trait in Loaches. When you get the chance to see these fish they are very pretty but most of the time they are hiding.
From: Mr. Morningstar
Quite easily my favorite loach. I currently have six in a well planted 120 gallon tank. They are living with 11 rainbows, 3 Bolivian rams, 2 opaline gouramis, 2 golden CAEs, 1 queen arabesque pleco, and 1 6" spotted Raphael. The Zebras play all day long under the plants and up the sides of the driftwood. Each one has it's own distinct personality and preference of playmates in the tank. One swims up and plays with the school of Boesamani, 2 follow one of the rams most of the day, two play hide and seek tag in a large sword, and another lounges (on his side) with the Raphael until feeding time. Each of them treats the Raphael like an elderly grandparent, checking up on him regularly and using his driftwood cave as a meeting place. One thing I recommend is looking for pattern variations when buying Zebras. It'll let you get to know each fish individually and adds to the fun of keeping these playful fish. WARNING. Some zebras may pester one individual fish relentlessly causing him to get stressed and eventually sick.
From: Rachel Haych
I bought two zebra loaches two days ago to get rid of a ridiculous snail problem (over 100). There are only 10 snails left!! They've eaten all the eggs too! They are very pretty and get on with all my corys, even my rainbow shark.
From: Cathy Dee
I love these little guys, they are a lot of fun with their love of play. Often found doing gymnastics in the bubbles, they really are a constant source of amusement. I have 3 of them in an 80x40cm fully planted tank. They get on fine with the other fish but beware because they DO EAT EGGS! They have cleaned the snail problem I originally bought them for too.
From: Krista
I have two botia's and I have noticed they love to hide in this coral we have and only come out during feeding time. But they are very peaceful fish and hold their own against our other fishes.
From: Sai
I recently purchased 3 zebra loaches, in order to reduce my snails outbreak. Initially I had purchased 2 clown loaches but 1 died due to ICK! Apparently zebra loaches will not catch ick as easily as clown loaches. All 3 of my zebra loach are ick free and are doing very well. But the snails are still out of hand... I think the loaches prefer sinking tablets instead and will only eat snails if nothing else is offered. I have to feed my fishes since my cory cats has to eat too ....!






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