Scientific name: Yunnanilus cruciatus (Rendahl, 1944)
Common name: Vietnamese Multi Banded Zebra Loach, Hovering Zebra Loach.
Synonyms: Micronemacheilus cruciatus, Nemacheilus cruciatus.
Distribution: Known only from the coastal rivers of Central Vietnam from An Lao river (Binh Dinh province) to Phong Nha river (Quang Binh province).
Sexual Dimorphism: Unknown
Maximum size: 3.5cm (1.4").
Similar to: Juvenile striped Schistura/Nemacheilus species.
Care: In the wild, Yunnanilus cruciatus are found in the shallow, relatively still parts of rivers packed with dense aquatic vegetation. The river bed is muddy and sandy in these areas. Often there is floating plant cover, which diffuses the light. The aquarium should mimic the natural conditions as close as possible, with gentle water movement and dense planting. These loaches are sensitive when first imported, so ensure that the tank is mature. Tankmates should be small and peaceful. Y. cruciatus sometimes hover in midwater but more often than not, will be seen swimming head down at a 45 degree angle whilst scouring the substrate for food. Ideally the substrate will be soft sand to protect the delicate sensory barbels. Despite the latin name (cruciatus, meaning torment/torture), these loaches do not appear particularly antagonostic and can be kept in large groups.
Feeding: These diminutive loaches require a variety of small foodstuffs. Frozen baby brineshrimp, daphnia, and cyclops are all taken eagerly. Will also feed on small sinking pellets/granules, and crushed flake/powdered fry foods.
Water parameters: pH: 6.0-7.0, Hardness: Soft. Max dh: 12.
Temperature: 77-82ºF (25-28°C)
Notes: Distinguished from other species of the family by rounded belly, 14-18 distinct black vertical bars on the body, incomplete lateral line with 3-10 pored scales, large papillae on the median part of both lips and 3-4 prominent denticles on the lower posterior margin of opercle. Has 8 branched dorsal fin rays.