Clown loaches, also known as the Tiger Loach, is popular for being one of the most aesthetically pleasing fish to put in an aquarium.
Their scheming colors and their nimble movements make them a favorite among many hobbyists and professionals alike.
They are part of the Loach genus, being recognized as the most benign out of all the Loaches!
Their most defining trait would have to be their peaceful and outgoing personalities, as they tend to fare well with almost any other species, big or small.
First discovered in Indonesia, ever since it was put on the markets it became very popular, with many being mesmerized by the Clown Fishes beauty!
Although many will claim to have their Tiger exceed the 15-inch mark, if they are bred in captivity, they will rarely go over 10 inches.
Observing them in their natural habitat is an entirely different story altogether as there have been reports that claim to have spotted Clown Fishes of up to 18 inches in size!
Although they exhibit a peaceful tendency towards any other species, oftentimes swimming along with their neighbours, they establish complex hierarchies among their own kind.
You will usually have one dominant female (yes you have read that right) that will dictate how much the others will eat and where they may swim.
It is important to remember that Clown Fish are best kept in packs of at least five.
Any less and the alpha fishes may try to completely dominate the subordinates, by starving them to death!
Important to note is that the more catered to and happy the alpha is, the better the temperament of the entire group will be.
One can observe that all group dynamics, even stress levels stem from the will and behavior of the alpha.
Don’t be mistaken, even though we have told you that they rarely exceed 10 inches in length when bred in captivity, one has to ensure that they have a lot of space to move around!
The minimal size of a tank would have to be at least 60 gallons.
Considering the way Clown Loaches grow, rapidly until they reach 5 inches and more steadily further on, one does have to adapt to that.
An ideal choice would be a 120-gallon tank, but a 90 one would also suffice!
To really talk about decorations, one has to consider that the Tiger is a decoration on its own so I wouldn’t recommend making the attire in the aquarium too messy.
If that rule is not followed, one would lose out on the natural beauty of the Clown Loach, which is one of its greatest aspects!
Because they are so big, one would have to ensure that any small properties are avoided as they will toss them around in the aquarium.
I would personally recommend bigger rocks and slates, especially the ones that shine a light on the Clown Loach itself.
Last but not least, please mind that when handling a Clown Loach, you better use protective gloves and do so with care as they have a deadly weapon under their eyes!
Although not lethal to humans, once stung, one will never forget the pain a Clown Loach can inflict so it would be better not to wish that experience upon oneself.
Besides making your aquarium wide, you should also consider buying a deeper one as Tiger Loaches love to swim near the ground.
If I would have to suggest an ideal pH range, that would have to be between 5,5 to 7, ideally in the 6,5 area.
Putting tap water inside of the tank is not recommended but if you manage to lower its pH levels for just a bit, it will be fine.
Clown Loaches enjoy it moderately hot, meaning that they like to keep it in the 26 to 30 degree Celsius range.
If you are going to be putting in other species besides them, make sure to match their temperature conditions!
The flow of water should always be moderate, Tiger Loaches enjoy movement but they also like to keep it calm at times, especially the younger ones which are more shy than the older fish, on average. Nonetheless, you should consider adding an aquarium powerhead to your tank. Not only does it add flow, it keeps the water clean by lessening dead spots for fish waste or food to build up.
When deciding on lighting conditions for almost any animal, you should always take into consideration where they are coming from.
Loaches are known to inhabit the grounds where little light is permitted.
Even though you cannot emulate such conditions to the core as your tank would have to be multiple feet deep, you can control the amount of lighting that you shine.
Always keep it dimly lit, it’s not that they hate light, they just aren’t used to it!
Clown Loach Diet
Clown Tigers are known food lovers. Being omnivores in nature, they will devour almost anything so long it is edible.
Being aware of this fact makes your duty as an owner that much bigger; you have to keep things balanced in order to keep the Loaches healthy and their colors unchanged!
Recommended foods range from shrimps to frozen food such as snails.
Be warned, although they are very vigilant with snails in the wild, they will not prove to be a solution in snail infested aquariums!
Tankmates for Your Clown Loach Friends
This is the part of the article that shines a light on why Clown Loaches are so popular in aquariums:
They LOVE to socialize and like other creatures inside of their aquarium.
They typically snoop around the entire aquarium in search for someone to play with and that is why they are so fun to observe!
The only condition which you will have to meet is buying them in batches of five.
Keep in mind that they are mostly sold in triplets, but that is not enough as there could be huge disputes in terms of dominance in the tank if there aren’t enough Loaches to establish a hierarchy.
As sad as it may seem, Clown Loaches are very hard to breed in captive conditions and little to not records have been provided to support any other claim.
Even though it is hard, one can always hard as it is not impossible, unlike in some other species.
If you really want to try, finding a pair that is sexually mature would have to be the first step.
The older and bigger the fish, the bigger the chance that something will happen between them!
If you really want to make things romantic for the pair, you should consider installing a lot of plants- That would best emulate the natural conditions where their mating rituals take place.
You should also provide extra food for the female as weight gain is one of the best signs and sure proof way of determining that it is time to mate.
After the eggs are hatched, you want to get the Loaches out of the tank as soon as possible, they have been known to eat their younglings!
Differentiating between the two can be quite tough but for the expert eye it is a breeze: Their tail fins tell their story, as males have it a bit bent while the female ones look more straightened out.
It is quite an astounding observation that most fish that are messy eaters also are the most beautiful ones!
The Clown Loach is no exception and even though it is quite popular among hobbyists, I cannot by any means recommend it to anyone starting out.
Even though they aren’t the toughest of fishes to control and monitor, they do require some sort of experience by the owner in order for things to run smoothly.
Because they can live up to 20 years of age, owners tend to get quite attached to them, treating them more like children rather than pets.
It’s a marvelous sight to behold and would have to go through it to really know what I’m talking about!