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Tiger Hillstream Loach

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The Tiger Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata) is a very interesting freshwater loach that is native to the.  It is known for its tan and black-spotted coloration, its peaceful yet outgoing demeanor, and its fascinating social behaviour with members of its own species.  This fascinating, peaceful fish is an algae and biofilm grazer that is an excellent candidate for the mature subtropical aquarium.


An aquarium with heavy water flow (10-15x turnover per hour) and very clean, clear water is required for the Tiger Hillstream Loach Like other hillstream loaches, this loach is native to shallow, clear, fast-flowing waters and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance and maximum oxygen saturation are absolutely necessary.


The Tiger Hillstream Loach is a biofilm and algae grazer in nature.  It is known to usually accept frozen meaty foods, but such foods should only be fed occasionally since excess protein can be deadly to most biofilm grazers.  This fish will also often accept high-quality dry foods that are rich in plant matter, but it is absolutely essential that biofilm and algae are naturally available in the aquarium to ensure its long-term health or else it may slowly starve.  As long as it is kept in a well-maintained, mature aquarium with good biofilm and algae growth as well as high water flow, the Tiger Hillstream Loach is a hardy and entertaining fish.  It will not bother aquarium plants.   algae growth in an aquarium with moderate to high lighting.

The Tiger Hillstream Loach is a very social species, especially as an adult, so it should be kept in groups.  Most small rasboras, tetras, hillstream loaches, and other small, peaceful fish are good tank mates for this species.  Since they inhabit similar waterways, many smaller freshwater goby species are ideal tank mates as well.  Due to its small size and diet, the Tiger Hillstream Loach can also be kept with dwarf shrimp, although it might eat a few of their fry.  Dwarf shrimp are particularly good tank mates in larger aquariums where they can find areas of lower water flow.  Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish are also a possibility, but care must be taken to make sure that the Tiger Hillstream Loach not outcompeted for food.


The Tiger Hillstream Loach has not been bred on a commercial scale, but it has been bred by many private aquarists.


What We Like About This Fish:

  • Extraordinary-looking with its highly unique, hydrodynamic shape and beautiful pattern
  • Peaceful disposition with fish and peaceful invertebrates
  • Interesting, active social behavior when kept in colonies
  • Long lifespan when kept in optimal conditions
  • Safe with dwarf shrimp



  • Temperature: 60° - 75° F (16° - 24° C). Higher temperatures can be tolerated temporarily with extremely high oxygen content..
  • pH: 6.5 – 8.0
  • KH: 2 - 15 dKH
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20+ gallons for a small group.


  • Diet: Omnivorous.  Typically accepts some dry foods and frozen foods, but requires ample algae and biofilm for longevity.  A diet too high in protein can cause serious health problems or even death in this species.
  • Social Behaviour: Peaceful.  Juveniles appear solitary, but adults exhibit schooling behaviour


Tiger Hillstream Loach



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