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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

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



Burmese Border Loach

Botia Kubotai


    These fish, when arriving, many times have the "skinny disease." Quarentine all new kubotai and if they show any signs of it, medicate with a full 10 day treatment of Maracyn I and II. These fish are beautiful, curious fish. They will easily learn to hand-feed, and are brave little buggers once they establish themselves in their new home. More reading can be done in the archives in the loach forum on Loaches online and you can see some of my keeping experiences on the moderated chat I did on these fish: badmans chat

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 4" is the assumed maximum size. The folks on Loaches OnLine have been saying 6 inches recently.
    Tank: 29 gallon although a 55 gallon is a better recommendation
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 6.8-7.3
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: to 20.0
    Temperature: 75°F to 82°F (24-28°C)


    Order: Cypriniformes
    Suborder: Cyprinidae
    Family: Cobitidae
    Genera: Botia
    Species: Kubotai

Burmese Border Loach

  Common name:

    Burmese Border Loach, Polka-Dot Loach, Marble Loach, Angelicus Loach, Botia "Angelicus"

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Ataran River Basin, Myanmar (Burma).

General Body Form:

    The Burmese Border 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 Burmese Border Loach has very unique coloration. In the young there are three black stripes and five black bars that seem to leave four pairs of yellow blotches. When the fish matures the bars and stripes widen and the yellow blotches become more slender. Rows of small yellow dots appear in the stripes and blotches of the fish


    Minimum Tank Size and Group Requirements
    Three b. kubotai in a 29 Gallon tank although a 55 gallon is a better recommendation. It would be better to get at three foot long tank and then get a larger group of botias, as these fish do better in larger groups.

    Tank Set-up
    Keep these fish in a well oxygenated, tank with high water flow. A rivertank is not required, but these fish come from faster waters than you will have if you keep the bare minimum of filtration on your tank.
    Sand is best for these fish, as they enjoy burrowing between it and driftwood or other tank decor. However, many keepers have kept them on gravel with no issue.
    They originate in a rocky area, but I've seen that they prefer driftwood when offered a choice in my tank. Try both in your tank to see which your fish prefer.
    Make sure to check over all hiding places offered and fill any holes that are small, lest your fish get himself injured or worse.
    A planted tank is better than a non-planted tank. Large stiff leaves are preferred for laying on, but all plants are good for exploration.
    Many hiding places are a requirement to seeing more of these fish. Initially, you will not see them as much, but the comfort of knowing they can disappear in a heartbeat will bring them out more and more.

    A variety of foods is desirable. Flake, Algae Wafers, Shrimp Pellets, Frozen Foods like bloodworms, brine, mysis, clams, and krill are relished. Live foods are always an excellent supplement and I have offered both blackworms and brine shrimp. A variety of vegetables are welcome, including, but not limited to peas, cucumber, zucchini, various "greens' (mine like blanched kale).

    Attitude, Aggression and Tank Mates
    Many other members of the botia family make great tank mates. Avoid any of the tiger loaches. These fish have a bit of attitude and spunk, and are compatible with most community tanks. They are excellent for snail and fry control. They will hunt down any fish that is under 3/4 of an inch long, so take care with any smaller fish you wish to keep alive. With snails, I have seen them show no interest in larger ramshorn snails, but placing them with any large snail is taking a risk.
    I have no problems with them harming my otos, khulis, pencilfish, tetras, plecos, or eel. Larger skittish fish will not enjoy these guys during dinner as they are very thorough in their hunt for food, which includes checking out the bodies of larger, slower tankmates.
    During the day, these loaches spend much time lounging around, laying on tank decor and equipment, but every now and then, they get annoyed at someone and you will see them spiraling around in a battle dance. The following are links to the battle between a striata and the kubotai.
    Many loach keepers have seen these battles (which can continue for over 15 minutes) between the kubotai. I have not seen this, and it may be linked to the number of fish I have kept, or that they do it when I'm not around. Likely the later.

    Despite the occasional tifs for dominance between members of the schoal, these fish take great comfort from having other members of their own kind around. A smaller group will take longer to acclimate, than a larger one.


    Fast moving river and streams of their native range.


    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.


From: Karen Campbell
I have one pair of these in a 50 gal tank which, were put in there to eradicate the snails. This tank is set up to breed Reticulated Millstream Loaches. Unknown to me my "pair" of Botia kubotai turned out to be male and female AND I have one minuscule fry in this tank, so obviously the Botia kubotai will breed in captivity. This fry is now about 3 weeks old. and is quite active so I presume it is food hunting, I have started adding loach discs for it to feed on as no more snails, or at least not enough for this lone survivor.
From: Dan
Kubotai loaches need a much bigger tank than 29 gallons... More like 55 gallons. Badmans noted and changed recommendations.
From: Alex Pimblett
These fish are great at getting rid of unwanted snails. We had tried to get rid of them for ages using tank additives but they always came back. When we got "Ben", we noticed that most of the snails headed straight for the waterline and tried to hide on the tank light condensation cover. It was easy every feeding time to scrape them out of the tank top, and leave Ben to help himself to the rest that weren't so clever. The snails had completely disappeared after a couple of weeks, probably as Ben had eaten all the babies that were growing on the tank bottom. Only hope he doesn't get too hungry without the snails as friends!
From: Evan S
I have two of these feisty guys in my tank here at college. They are quite fun to watch to say the least! They were very shy at first--always hiding underneath the rocks and structures in my tank, but now they just roam around freely. They also do the "battle dance" quite often and when they go at it, it tends to last 5-10 minutes. I keep them with a large Rust Cichlid, 2 clown plecos, and a kuhli loach; and I must say, they all get along great (which I find quite surprising with the big cichlid in there)! They really like mini-cichlid pellets. I have fed them flake, tubiflex, and brine shrimp too, but they really go for those pellets. I am going to start feeding them fry soon when I can. I suggest keeping them at a steady temperature: I keep my tank between 76 and 78 degrees F. Also make sure the tank have a good amount of moving water (if possible). These little guys are a really cool fish to have. They make take their time at getting used to their new place, but once they do... be ready for hours and hours of entertainment.





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