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Pseudogastromyzon cheni

by Martin Thoene last modified Dec 15, 2006 09:07 PM


Pseudogastromyzon cheni

Scientific Name: Pseudogastromyzon cheni (Liang, 1942)

Common name: Chinese Hillstream loach, Chinesicher Flossensauger (Germany).

Synonyms: None.

Distribution: Widespread throughout China.

Sexual Dimorphism: Males have more prominent nasal tubercules, especially when sexually active.

Maximum size: 2.25 inches (6cm)

Similar to: Pseudogastromyzon myersi

Care: Inhabit fast flowing streams over boulders. Aquarium must duplicate these conditions as fish have very high oxygen requirements.

With all sucker-type Hillstream species, care is broadly the same. All need excellent water-flow and aeration, numerous rocky hiding places and smooth pebbles and boulders to graze over. Lighting should be bright to encourage algal growth in the aquarium. Plants are not necessary as the fish do not normally encounter them in the wild, but they will help with water-quality. Suitable plants for high-flow environments are Anubias and Microsoreum. These will grow on rockwork or driftwood.

Feeding: Good quality flake, sinking pellets, algae wafers, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, blanched Spinach, Kale, natural algae an advantage.

See: Hillstream Loaches - The Specialists at Life In The Fast Lane for more detailed explanation.

Water parameters: pH:7.0-8.0. Hardness: Medium. Max dh: 12

Temperature: 68ºF to 75ºF(20-23.8°C)

Breeding: Has been bred in the aquarium.


This species is fairly frequently imported and one of the easier Hillstream Loaches to care for. In a properly set up aquarium they are lively and entertaining inhabitants, almost constantly on the move.

See: Sexing and Breeding Pseudogastromyzon cheni for details.

The fish eat micro-organisms growing on the rocks and also algae. There should be bright lighting to encourage algae growth. Males will dig multiple spawning holes in substrate under edge of pebbles by using the tail to blast substrate away. The male attracts female to a chosen site by fluttering his fins in circles around the female and sometimes swimming over her body so they touch. Eventually, she will follow him to the hole he has prepared, and they take turns backing into the hole. Eggs are fertilized and then covered. Fry appear from within substrate at around 4mm length and will actively graze for micro-organisms. They grow fairly quickly to around 1cm long, then the growth slows somewhat. They are usually sexually mature at around 6 months of age.

Differentiating from P. myersi

Both P. chenii and P. myersii can vary somewhat in colour and pattern. No doubt different populations may differ from one another. Telling them apart by markings and colour alone can be very difficult and has certainly led to misidentification in aquarium literature.

One must look at anatomical differences as a clearer guide. According to the original descriptions of these two species, there are proportional differences.

Pseudogastromyzon myersi - Compare with P. cheni
To determine species measure the following distances:

A-B and B-C

(A, the red dot is the fish's anus.)

If A-B = B-C, the fish is P. myersi


If A-B =< B-C, the fish is P. cheni.


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