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Clown Loach Care Guide for Beginners

Clown Loach Care Guide for Beginners

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Clown loaches are very common sights in many freshwater aquariums. They’ve become so common because of how easy they are to take care of as well as the fact that they’re pretty fish.

Any beginners who want to own aesthetically pleasing fish will gravitate toward clown loaches. You should have a pretty simple time getting used to meeting their needs even if you’re a true novice.

Of course, it’ll always be best to learn as much as you can about taking care of any fish that you want to purchase. If you’re able to care for clown loaches optimally, then they’re going to be able to thrive in your fish tank.

Below, you’re going to get a guide on clown loach care that tells you everything you need to know. You’ll feel much more capable of taking care of these fish once you’ve read through all of the information.

Whether you already own clown loaches or if you’re looking into getting some soon, this will be beneficial to you. Feeling confident that you’re ready to do things right will feel good.

Clown Loach Characteristics

Before going further, it’ll be good to learn a bit about clown loach characteristics. Clown loaches can be found in the waters of Indonesia.

These are tropical freshwater fish that are well-loved for their bright colors. You can distinguish clown loaches from other types of loaches by looking at their orange and black striped bodies.

Clown loaches also have red fins. They truly do stand out in a community fish tank setting.

Certain clown loaches might have more vibrant colors than others. Some will appear to be very orange while others will have a pale yellow appearance.

These fish are a part of the cobitidae family of fish. Some clown loaches might grow to be a bit bigger than others, but all of the information that you’ll get below will apply to whatever clown loaches you buy.

Unlike some other fish, there aren’t other types of clown loaches out there to consider. There are other loaches, but clown loaches are already a specific type of loach fish.

Clown Loach Temperature

One of the most important things to try to get right when caring for any fish involves monitoring the water temperature. Clown loaches are going to have a temperature range that they find acceptable.

Since clown loaches are considered to be fairly hardy fish, they’re able to survive quite a range of different water temperature settings. You should keep the temperature of the water between 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is a wider temperature range than many other types of fish will find to be okay. The actual ideal temperature range for clown loaches is between 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since these fish are so commonly kept in community fish tanks, it’s good that they can tolerate other water temperatures well. You should have an easy time finding great tank mates for these fish.

Clown Loach pH Level

It’s also important to monitor the pH balance of the water. All fish are going to want the pH balance to stay within a specific range that will be fine for them.

Clown loaches are able to tolerate a wide range of different pH balance conditions. They’ll do okay in your fish tank so long as the pH balance stays between 6.0 and 7.5.

This is a much wider range than many other types of fish. As with the water temperature tolerance of the fish, this makes it easier to put clown loaches in community fish tanks.

You’ll be able to match clown loaches up with many different types of fish instead of having to find tank mates that fit into a small range of water parameters that line up.

That being said, it’s still important to monitor the pH balance regularly. Allowing the pH balance to get too high or go too low will have consequences.

Also, the tank mate fish likely won’t have such a wide tolerance as the clown loaches. You should be using pH balance testing kits regularly to ensure that things are staying in the right range.

It’s also worth noting that clown loaches can tolerate different hardness levels. You can keep clown loaches in water with a hardness level between 8 and 12 KH.

This is great news because it means that the clown loaches will do fine in a variety of different water settings. Do remember to keep an eye on things since you want the fish to stay healthy.

Does a Clown Loach Need a Heater, Filter, and Pump?

Yes, you’re going to need to buy a heater, filter, and pump for your fish tank when caring for clown loaches. All of these pieces of equipment are important for different reasons.

The heater is imperative because it’s the only way that you’re going to be able to control the temperature of the water in the fish tank. It’s true that clown loaches can tolerate different temperatures pretty well, but extreme fluctuations can be stressful for fish.

You want to try to maintain a consistent water temperature. It’s also dangerous for things to get hotter or cooler than the fish can tolerate.

Filters are necessary because they help you to keep the water very clean. It’s not easy to keep the pH balance in check when you have organic debris in the tank due to not having a good filter.

A good filter combined with regular water changes and good cleaning habits will protect your fish. Never set up a fish tank without a filter.

This doesn’t mean that you need to buy the most expensive and powerful filter on the market for the tank, though. A good standard filter will do the job well enough that the clown loaches will be able to thrive.

Pumps help the fish by ensuring that the fish tank is properly aerated. It’s crucial for many types of fish, and you’re also going to want to have a pump for a clown loach tank.

Normal Clown Loach Behavior

Many people like owning clown loaches because they have interesting personalities. They’re funny types of fish that have different behaviors that you’ll find interesting.

These fish really like to hide among plants or in little caves that you put in the tank for decorative purposes. Sometimes all of the clown loaches will try to hide in one small hiding spot, and they’ll try to position themselves in funny ways.

It’s normal to see these fish swim in circles around the sides of the tank. Interestingly, the fish maintain the same order while swimming, meaning that the fish at the front of the line won’t change positions and neither will the next fish in line.

Sometimes you might see the fish looking like it’s dead. Don’t worry, the clown loach is fine and it’s actually just resting.

These fish will rest on their sides and will remain motionless while doing so. Those who are new to caring for these fish will sometimes get very worried that the fish have died.

Looking carefully at the fish should allow you to see that its gills are moving. That’s how you know that the fish isn’t actually dead.

If you keep snails in your aquarium, then you should know that clown loaches are known to chase them around. Clown loaches like to eat snails, and they’re very adept at getting snails out of their shells.

Overall, you’re going to have a lot of fun observing these fish. They’re among the liveliest loaches that you’ll find, and they’ll make a fine addition to your freshwater tank.

Clown Loaches Like to Be in Groups

It isn’t going to be okay to just buy one clown loach for your fish tank. Truthfully, it isn’t even a good idea to buy a pair of clown loaches for the aquarium.

These fish like to live in small groups of their own kind. Ideally, you should buy five to nine clown loaches for your aquarium.

Five clown loaches will be the minimum number of fish that you want to purchase. Most enthusiasts say that things work out better when you keep eight or nine clown loaches in the same tank.

They like to play and interact with each other. It’s charming to have so many clown loaches in your tank, but buying so many of these fish might not be practical for everyone.

This is partially because you’ll need a big fish tank to accommodate them. If you’re working with limited space, then you might wish to care for other fish.

It can be very satisfying to have a small group of clown loaches in your aquarium. You’ll enjoy observing them and keeping them healthy.

Are Clown Loaches Nocturnal?

If you know a little bit about loaches, then you might assume that clown loaches are nocturnal. Since most loaches are nocturnal, this would be a reasonable assumption to make.

However, clown loaches are actually diurnal fish. They rest during the night and are active during the day.

This is yet another reason why the fish have become so popular. They’re lively fish that are easy to enjoy since they’re active during the hours when you’re likely to be awake.

Other loaches that you might consider buying for a freshwater fish tank are more likely to be nocturnal fish. If you’re looking for fish that are lively during the daytime, then clown loaches will fit the bill.

Clown Loach Habitat

Clown loaches can be found in the waters of Indonesia. You’ll find these fish in rivers, but they go to flooded areas of the rainforest during spawning season.

Clown Loach Tank Setup

Setting up the fish tank for clown loaches won’t be overly difficult. You already know that you’re going to need a heater, filter, and pump for things to go well.

The most important thing to focus on will be the size of the aquarium. Earlier, you learned that clown loaches need to be kept in groups of five to nine.

It was also mentioned that these fish need fairly large fish tanks. If you don’t have much room in your home for big fish tanks, then clown loaches probably won’t be a practical choice in your situation.

At a minimum, you’re going to need a 75-gallon fish tank. Many experts recommend keeping clown loaches in a 100-gallon fish tank, though.

You see, these fish can actually grow to be quite big at maturity. A mature clown loach has the potential to be as long as 12 inches.

It isn’t common for clown loaches to grow this long in captivity, but you should expect the fish to grow to be at least 10 inches long. Some fish might wind up being bigger than others, but they’re bigger than many people realize.

Most people purchase clown loaches when they’re juveniles. They might not look too big during this stage of life, but they can grow at a good pace.

Clown loaches won’t do well at all if you attempt to cram them into small aquariums. You need to give them ample space to thrive.

Take the time to determine how much space you have in your home. Once you’re sure that you can accommodate a large enough fish tank for the clown loaches, you’ll be able to move forward.

You should also be sure that you put hiding spots in the tank for these fish. Clown loaches love to be able to hide among rocks, aquatic plants, and little caves.

It’ll feel much more natural for the fish if you have many different plants in the tank. They’ll appreciate having the plants to utilize.

Also, you should ensure that you have some type of sandy substrate at the bottom of the tank. You can add gravel or various rocks to the substrate to make things look more aesthetically pleasing if you want to.

Feeding Clown Loaches

Feeding clown loaches will be another important part of keeping them healthy. These fish are omnivores, and they aren’t going to be too picky about what they eat.

Loaches tend to hang out at the bottom of the fish tank. Clown loaches are no exceptions, and this means that you’ll want to feed them sinking fish pellets as a staple of their diet.

Algae wafers are commonly given to clown loaches as well. The fish should eat these wafers happily if you choose to use them as part of their diet.

It’s also going to be fine to feed them frozen foods that will sink to the bottom of the tank. Clown loaches will enjoy freeze-dried brine shrimp and other such foods.

Once per week, you could give the clown loaches live food as a special treat. It’s common for people to feed clown loaches earthworms or bloodworms.

You learned earlier that these fish like to chase snails as well. Putting a few pond snails in the aquarium for the clown loaches to hunt will be a real treat for them.

As usual, it’s not good to overfeed the fish. So you want to give them only as much food as they truly need.

When feeding the clown loaches standard food, you’re supposed to give them only as much as they can eat in two minutes. You should be feeding the clown loaches once or twice per day.

Are Clown Loaches Scaleless?

Often, people refer to clown loaches as “scaleless fish.” They appear to lack scales, but they actually have very tiny scales embedded in their skin.

Regardless, the fact that they don’t have normal scales will make them more susceptible to certain issues. Most notably, clown loaches are susceptible to ich.

Ich is a disease where fish will develop white spots all over their body. It’s a type of infection that impacts all sorts of fish, but clown loaches are more likely to have issues with ich than many other fish.

It’s a treatable condition, but you still don’t want this to happen to your fish. Taking care of the water parameters and keeping your fish tank clean should help to limit the chances that your clown loaches will get ich.

How Long Should You Expect Clown Loaches to Live?

Clown loaches actually have a reputation for living for a long time. These fish have been known to live for as long as 25 years in the wild.

Of course, things are going to be a lot different when these fish are in captivity. It isn’t common for clown loaches to live 25 years in captivity, but they will still likely live for a long time.

On average, you can expect a clown loach fish to live for 10 years. Some fish might live a bit longer than this while others might not quite make it to 10 years.

How long the fish will live will depend on many factors. The quality of the care that you provide will play a direct role in the life expectancy of the fish.

Feeding the fish a healthy diet and ensuring that it is kept in a healthy environment will make a difference. Ideal water conditions and regular care should help the fish to survive in your tank for quite some time.

Are Clown Loaches Good Community Tank Fish?

Yes, clown loaches are generally considered to be very good community tank fish. This is partially because they have very peaceful temperaments.

Clown loaches hang out at the bottom of the tank and they pretty much leave other fish alone. You’ll be able to put them in community tanks with many other types of fish.

It’s also great that clown loaches can tolerate a range of different water temperatures and pH balance levels. This makes it easier to use them as tank mates for specific fish.

Of course, clown loaches won’t be compatible tank mates with every type of fish that you can think of. You will need to do your research before putting different types of fish in an aquarium together.

Ensure that the fish that you want to put in the community tank with clown loaches will get along with them. Once you’ve confirmed that the fish are compatible tank mates, you’ll be able to move forward.

Final Thoughts

Clown loaches are definitely good fish to purchase for a freshwater aquarium. They’re pretty easy to take care of overall since they’re hardy fish.

You can make some mistakes when caring for clown loaches and they won’t immediately die. That being said, it’s going to be best to treat your fish right by meeting the necessary care requirements.

Keeping an eye on the water parameters will help to ensure that the clown loaches stay healthy. You need the water temperatures to remain steady and you want to keep the pH balance in an acceptable range.

Cleaning the fish tank and doing regular water changes will help to keep the fish healthy. You want to try to keep the fish tank clean to ensure that the fish won’t encounter issues with ich or other diseases.

These fish can get pretty large at maturity, and this means that you’ll need a big fish tank. You’re also supposed to keep clown loaches in groups of five to nine fish.

At a minimum, you’re going to need to purchase a 75-gallon tank. Many people say that purchasing a 100-gallon tank is a better move overall.

Having to dedicate so much space to a large fish tank might not be appropriate for your situation. However, if you have the room, it’s going to allow you to enjoy fantastic fish.

Clown loaches are very colorful and they’re also quite lively. If you feed them well, then they’re going to bring a lot of joy to your life.

Since these fish can live for 10 years or longer, it should be possible to enjoy them for a long time. Make your decision about whether clown loaches are right for you and let your friends know what you learned today as well.

You might be able to help someone you know decide whether clown loaches will be right for them. It’s important to think things through before making decisions like this because you want to be able to care for the fish optimally.

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Amisty Sadler

Sunday 11th of September 2022

I have 7 small clown coaches in my 210 gallon tank. But, I'm only seeing 2 or 3 at a time. They have lots of plants and hidey holes. I have one that I see all the time. I've never noticed my other ones do this before. This is my first really big tank. Will I see more of them as they get bigger? On the up side, I haven't seen any dead ones, so I do believe that they are all still there.


Monday 12th of September 2022

It's pretty common for them to hide. It can potentially be a sign of an issue, but it's not unusual at all by any means.

Your tank is plenty big for them, so that shouldn't be an issue. It's possible they're hiding from an aggressive tank mate.

Here's an article that goes into more detail about this, so it might be worth a read: