Clown loach

(Chromobotia macracanthus)




Facts about this animal

The clown loach is an elongated and laterally compressed fish, which may reach a length of more than 30 cm in the wild, but hardly ever gets longer than 16 cm in aquariums, The underside is nearly straight and the back is convex. It has a large head and the mouth is facing downward with four pairs of barbels and thick fleshy lips. The barbels on the lower jaw are small and hard to see. The Caudal Peduncle is short and deep. The female is somewhat more slender than the male.

The colour is bright with three black vertical bands from from the back to the belly over orange-red sides. The first band runs from the top of the head and through the eye, the second from the front of the dorsal fin to the belly and the third covers the start of the caudal peduncle and spreads on to the anal fin.

Unlike many loaches who are only active at night, the clown loach is very active during the daytime hours. Peaceful with its own and other species, it prefers to have companions with which it will form a school.

The clown loach lays its eggs at the beginning of the rainy season in the fast-flowing upper reaches of rivers. The juveniles grow in the slower-flowing lower reaches of the rivers.

Did you know?
that clown loaches exhibit a wide range of behaviours, many of which aren't often seen in other fish? Lying on their side on the bottom of the tank is common, and frightens new owners into thinking they are sick or dying. They may also be lounging about every which way in a giant pile, or try to squeeze into impossibly small spaces.


Name (Scientific) Chromobotia macracanthus
Name (English) Clown loach
Name (French) Loche-clown
Name (German) Prachtschmerle
Name (Spanish) Locha payaso
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vlad Butsky



Range Indonesia: Borneo, Sumatra,
Habitat Standing and running waters.
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population Considering that most publci aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Clown loach


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The clown loach is an attactive and peaceful species which can be kept to gether with gouramis and barbels to give an impression of South-East Asian freshwater habitats.