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The Best (And Worst) Clown Loach Tank Mates

The Best (And Worst) Clown Loach Tank Mates

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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 great fish that many people think are perfect for beginners. They’re pretty easy to take care of since they can survive in a wide range of different water temperatures and pH balance levels.

You might be thinking that clown loaches will make for excellent community fish tank members. The fact that they’re able to survive in a variety of different water conditions makes them perfect for your needs.

This is all true, but you can’t put clown loaches in a community tank with just any fish. There are lots of great fish that will work as tank mates for clown loaches, but you need to do your research first.

Read on to learn about some of the best clown loach tank mates. This will give you a better idea of what types of fish you’ll be able to put in your new community fish tank.

Once you’ve read everything, you’ll be able to decide which fish make the most sense for your aquarium. It’ll be easy to come up with your ideal community fish tank when you understand what options are on the table.

Clown Loaches Need a Lot of Space

The first thing to look into is how much space the clown loaches need. You see, these fish can get pretty big even in captivity.

Some fish might grow to be 12 inches or longer. At the very least, an adult clown loach is going to grow to be eight inches long, and many reach at least 10 inches in length.

Their size makes them need a lot of space in a fish tank. They’re good community tank fish, but you can’t try to cram them into small aquariums and expect them to be happy and healthy.

You also have to consider how many clown loaches you’re keeping in the same tank. These fish like to be kept in small groups, and that means that you won’t have just a pair of clown loaches in the tank.

You’ll be caring for somewhere between five and nine clown loaches if you’re doing things right. At the very least, you’ll need a 75-gallon aquarium for these fish.

If you’re planning on keeping them in a community tank, then you’ll need something even bigger. Putting more fish in the tank will make things crowded, and this means that you must provide them with ample space.

A 100-gallon fish tank is likely going to be appropriate. Some might even say that a 120-gallon fish tank would be better for a community fish tank containing clown loaches.

Ensure that you have enough space in your home to accommodate a large aquarium. If you don’t, then it might be prudent to wait to set up a community fish tank until you have more space to utilize.

Will Clown Loach Eat Assassin Snails?

Assassin Snail on Leaf

Some people like to put snails in their community fish tanks. Snails are considered to be “cleaners” in community aquariums.

However, clown loaches have a reputation for chasing and eating snails. Some people even add pond snails to the fish tank simply for the purpose of giving clown loaches a snack.

Assassin snails are a bit tougher than standard pond snails, though. Will clown loaches be able to eat them?

Yes, clown loaches will absolutely hunt down and eat assassin snails. They’ll chase them and press them against the side of the tank.

Clown loaches are adept when it comes to removing snails from their shells. The assassin snails won’t stand a chance of surviving against the clown loaches.

You won’t be able to keep assassin snails as part of your community tank. Only put snails in the fish tank if you wish to feed the clown loaches.

Can Clown Loaches Live with African Cichlids?

African Cichlid

African cichlids are popular fish that you might be interested in putting in your community fish tank. These are very neat fish that would look great in your aquarium.

However, they might not be the best tank mates for clown loaches. Cichlids are very aggressive fish that often bother other fish in the community aquarium.

Some people have found success keeping African cichlids with clown loaches. It’s said that this becomes easier if you keep young African cichlids around the clown loaches.

They’ll grow up getting used to the presence of the clown loaches, and they won’t cause problems when they reach maturity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that things will be completely safe.

Clown loaches won’t try to bother the African cichlids, but the African cichlids could be a problem. A clown loach won’t be able to defend itself very well against a highly aggressive fish, and you don’t want situations like this happening in your community tank.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Angelfish?

Close Up of Zebra Angelfish

Angelfish might be the most popular type of freshwater fish out there. People buy angelfish because they’re so pretty and easy to find.

These fish can be purchased at pretty much any pet store that sells fish. Angelfish are colorful and there are also many different types to choose from.

It makes sense that you’d want to keep some of them in your community tank. Angelfish are technically cichlids, though, and you might worry that this will disqualify them from being tank mates for clown loaches.

Angelfish should be fine with the clown loaches. The clown loaches will be far too big to be threatened by the angelfish.

You’ll find that angelfish will try to eat smaller fish such as neon tetras. Clown loaches won’t have problems, and they occupy different areas of the tank.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Bettas?

Blue Betta Fish

It’s generally not going to be a good idea to put a betta fish in a community tank with clown loaches. Clown loaches are just too big and might try to eat the bettas.

There are some people who have said that female bettas will have an easier time surviving if kept in a large enough tank with clown loaches. However, this is likely not going to be worth trying.

Bettas are not considered to be compatible tank mates for clown loaches. It would be too dangerous to try to put them together.

If you care about the safety of all of the fish that you purchase, then don’t buy bettas for a community tank that has clown loaches. Stick to fish that are known to be compatible tank mates.

Bettas are very pretty and it’s fine to want to own some. You’ll just need to keep them in a separate tank for safety purposes.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Goldfish?


Goldifsh are appealing because they’re easy to take care of. These are very common fish, and you might think that having them in a community tank with the clown loaches will make sense.

Sadly, it’s not going to work out for a number of different reasons. Firstly, these fish have different water parameter requirements than clown loaches do.

Goldfish are meant to be kept in water temperatures between 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Clown loaches can tolerate temperatures of 74 degrees Fahrenheit, but this is on the low end of what will be acceptable.

It’d be hard to keep both fish healthy in the same fish tank. The ideal water temperature for clown loaches is said to be between 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, clown loaches are highly active fish. They move much faster than goldfish, and it’d be likely that the goldfish would get stressed by being in the same tank as the loaches.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Guppies?

Vibrant Male Guppy Swimming Toward Top of Tank

There are some people who say that guppies can live with clown loaches under the right conditions. However, it’s almost surely not going to be a good idea to keep this fish in the same tank.

Guppies are small fish that grow to be around two and a half inches long. Clown loaches might be 12 inches long at maturity.

Since the clown loaches are so much larger, they could easily eat any guppies that you put in the tank. This has been known to happen.

Those who have found success have done so by keeping the guppies and clown loaches in very large fish tanks. They try to keep the fish separate and they give the guppies many hiding spots to utilize.

Even doing this is not likely going to be perfect. There’s too much of a chance that things will go wrong.

Guppies are simply not compatible tank mates for clown loaches. You’ll need to choose fish that can survive alongside the clown loaches such as angelfish instead.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Mollies?

Black Molly Fish

It should be fine to keep mollies in a community fish tank with clown loaches. These fish are both quite peaceful, and you should find that the clown loaches will leave the mollies alone.

Clown loaches won’t eat mollies, and this might have been the only thing you were worried about. So long as you’re giving the fish enough space, there is no reason why mollies would come into conflict with clown loaches.

There have been situations where clown loaches have started chasing mollies, though. Generally, this only occurs when you’re keeping clown loaches by themselves.

Clown loaches are meant to be kept in groups. These fish don’t like being kept alone since it makes them anxious.

An anxious clown loach might start chasing other fish in the tank. If you’re keeping the clown loaches in a group as recommended, then you should not have these issues.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Neon Tetras?

Neon Tetras Near Substrate

Generally, clown loaches are going to do fantastic when kept with tetras. There are many different types of tetras that will make good community tank mates for clown loaches.

Specifically, black skirt tetras and congo tetras will be very good tank mates for clown loaches. This doesn’t mean that all tetras will make good tank mates for these fish, though.

Neon tetras are too small to be good tank mates for clown loaches. As you’ve learned, clown loaches get pretty big once they reach maturity.

Neon tetras are some of the smaller tetras that you can buy. Clown loaches can and will eat tiny fish such as neon tetras.

So it’d be better for you to pick different tetras. As neat as neon tetras are, they’re not going to be appropriate to keep with clown loaches.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Oscars?

Oscar Fish

Oscars have a reputation for being large fish that might not get along with others, but they’re actually somewhat peaceful in the right circumstances.

Whether they will get along with clown loaches will depend on a few factors. If there is enough room in the tank, then things are more likely to work out.

Also, people say that these two fish can get along properly when they’re raised together. So if you have young clown loaches and oscars in the same tank, then they should be able to get used to each other.

There are mixed messages about how well this situation will work out. Most say that it isn’t recommended to keep oscars in community tanks with clown loaches.

To keep things safe, it’d be better not to choose oscars for the community tank. There are plenty of other options to consider.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Shrimp?

Shrimp in Fish Tank

Trying to keep shrimp in the community fish tank with clown loaches would be a terrible idea. Only put shrimp in the tank if your goal is to feed the clown loaches.

Much like with the snails mentioned earlier, clown loaches are going to like snacking on shrimp. In fact, it’s common for people to feed clown loaches freeze-dried brine shrimp.

There aren’t any shrimp that you could put into the tank that would be safe with clown loaches. This just won’t be a good idea.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Plecos?

Pleco in Substrate

Plecos will be amazing tank mates for clown loaches. This is mostly because plecos and clown loaches will leave each other alone in the fish tank.

Many plecos that you’ll find in pet stores can grow to be very large. They’ll still work out fine as tank mates.

If you’re looking for specific plecos to buy, then bristlenose plecos are known to be excellent. They wind up growing to be seven inches long and should look great in your aquarium.

Gold nugget plecos will be another popular option. They’re bigger fish since they can grow to be 10 inches long, but they still just ignore clown loaches in a community tank setting.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Gouramis?

Dwarf Gourami

Gouramis are another common and well-loved fish. There are quite a few gouramis that should do well with clown loaches in a community aquarium.

Pearl gouramis grow to be about four inches long. They’re big enough that clown loaches won’t try to eat them, and they should be left alone.

The same can be said for blue gouramis. These are very pretty fish that will also grow to be four inches long.

Moonlight gouramis are very impressive fish that are a bit larger at six inches long. You’ll love how these fish look in your tank if you choose to buy some.

Many other types of gouramis will be too small or too large to be kept in the tank with your clown loaches. You just have to do your research before putting gouramis in the community tank.

Can Clown Loaches Live with Barbs?

Tiger Barb Close Up

Barbs can indeed live with clown loaches in a community aquarium. Barbs are fast swimmers that should look really nice in your tank, but some are better tank mates for clown loaches than others.

Tiger barbs grow to be four inches long and they look really amazing. They have sunset orange bodies with brown tiger stripes.

Rosy barbs grow to be six inches long and also look very nice. Males of this species will be bright pink whereas females have a pale rose coloration.

Note that rosy barbs need to be kept in small groups just like clown loaches. That means that you’ll need to keep five of them in the tank if you want to go with them.

Clown Loach Predators

Red Arowana Fish

You really don’t have to worry about putting predators in the tank with clown loaches. Just try not to put larger fish in the tank that are very aggressive.

Any fish that is larger than the clown loach and has an aggressive temperament might be a problem for clown loaches. One exception is the arowana fish.

Arowana fish are known to get along okay with clown loaches in a community fish tank setting. The clown loaches stay at the bottom of the tank while arowanas stay near the top.

Since clown loaches are so peaceful, they are susceptible to large and aggressive fish. Some large fish could wind up bullying them if you aren’t careful.

Always stick to putting recommended tank mates in the tank with your clown loaches. You don’t want to potentially put your fish in danger.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned about many common tank mates for clown loaches. Also, you’ve learned about some fish that can’t be kept with clown loaches.

Utilize the information above to make good decisions for your community aquarium. It’ll ensure that you have a good experience and that your clown loaches will stay safe in the aquarium.

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