Zebra Loach (Botia striata)
Scientific name: Botia striata (Gunther, 1868)
Common name: Zebra loach, Candystripe loach
Synonyms: Botia striatus, Botia striata kolhapurensis
Distribution: The clear mountain streams of Maharashtra and Western Ghats, India.
Sexual Dimorphism: Mature females will have a rounder abdomen.
Maximum size: 4 inches (10cm)
Similar to: Botia rostrata
Care: A peaceful, active, shoaling species that should be maintained in groups of 5 or more in the community aquarium. Keep on a fine sandy substrate in order to protect the delicate sensory barbel area, and ensure that there are plenty of hiding places in the aquarium amongst bogwood, caves, and plants. Clean, well-aerated water is a must.
Feeding: Will accept most brands of dry sinking catfish pellets, but should be offered a variety of frozen foods to supplement the diet - mosquito larvae, brineshrimp, and daphnia are usually taken with much enthusiasm. Vegetable matter such as slices of cucumber will also be appreciated. This species, as with other Botiine loaches, will eat small aquatic snails
Water parameters: Soft and slightly acidic is best. pH: 7.0 or below, dH: <12 degrees
Temperature: 73ºF to 81ºF (23-27°C)
Breeding: There have been several accounts of females becoming gravid in home aquaria but no proven accounts of spawning have been documented.
It is a great shame that many stores do not stock Botia striata as a 'standard' species, instead of its much larger cousin the clown loach. Its relatively small size and peaceful nature make it an excellent choice for most community settings.
Botia striata with unusual markings
Occasionally, as with other Botiine species, we find Botia striata with beautiful variations on the 'standard' markings for the species:
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