The Zodiac Loach is a fascinating, beautifully marked species that is very active and ideal for many semi-aggressive aquarium setups!
The Zodiac Loach (Mesonoemacheilus triangularis), also known as the Batik Loach, is a small loach species that is native to South India. It is known for its elongated body and squiggly striped pattern. This fascinating, active fish is an omnivore that is a unique and rewarding fish in many subtropical and tropical aquarium setups.
Very clean, clear water is required for the Zodiac Loach. This loach is native to relatively shallow, waters and it is sensitive to declines in water quality, so regular aquarium maintenance and maximum oxygen saturation are absolutely necessary, especieally at higher temperatures.
The Zodiac Loach is somewhat a biofilm and algae grazer in nature, but it primarily feeds on very small crustaceans and other invertebrates. It is known to often accept dry foods, but such foods should only be part of its diet. It typically will not bother aquarium plants. In fact, Anubias species are an excellent plant to keep with this loach because Anubias can foster significant biofilm/algae growth in an aquarium with moderate lighting.
The Zodiac Loach is a social species, but it should be kept in groups of 4 or more specimens to avoid bullying of subdominant individuals. Other durable, mobile species (such as the Red Panda Barb, which is native to the same area) can make good tankmates as well. It can possibly be kept with invertebrates too large to be considered prey, but dwarf shrimp will likely fall under the category of "potential prey items." This loach does not seem to be as much of a ravenous snail-eater as many of the botia-type loaches, but it is possible that it might harass ornamental snails. The Zodiac Loach should not be kept with other fish of similar body shape unless the aquarium is large with plenty of cover.
Little information is known about the breeding habits of the Zodiac Loach. However, it is not necessarily unlikely that it will soon be bred on a wider scale in the aquarium world, especially with the recent progress in breeding other loach species by many individuals.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Beautiful coloration
- Small, manageable size
- Interesting, active social behavior
- Long lifespan when kept in optimal conditions
- Will not bother ornamental plants
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
- Temperature: 64.4° - 78° F (18° - 25.5° C). Higher temperatures can be tolerated temporarily with extremely high oxygen content..
- pH: 6.0 – 7.5
- KH: 2 - 12 dKH
- Minimum Tank Size: 29+ gallons for a group of 4-6 specimens
Diet: Omnivorous. Typically accepts some dry foods and frozen foods, but requires frozen and live foods as well.
- Social Behavior: Peaceful to semi-aggressive. Should be kept in groups of at least 4-6 specimens.