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Sabanejewia balcanica

by Emma Turner last modified Nov 27, 2008 10:23 PM




Scientific name: Sabanejewia balcanica (Karaman, 1922)

Common name: Golden Spined Loach

Synonyms: Cobitis bosniaca, C. radnensis, C. aurat vallachica

 Sabanejewia balcanica
Distribution: Europe, Romania (Hot Springs “Petzea”)

Sexual Dimorphism: Males with typical thickened belly and larger pectoral fins (see photograph below).

Sabanejewia balcanica - female & male

Maximum size: 6cm (2.4"), reaches sexual maturity with 4-5cm (1.6-2.0").

Similar to: other Sabanejewia and some former Cobitis species

Care: These loaches like to burrow, so a soft sand substrate is required.

Feeding: Good quality sinking pellets/granules, thawed frozen mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, daphnia, tubifex (from a clean known source) etc.

Water parameters: pH: 7.0-7.7, Hardness: medium. Max dh: 15

Temperature: up to 77ºF (25°C)

Breeding: This species has breed breed in aquaria by Dr. Joerg Bohlen from the Czech Republic, up to the F2-generation.



Sabanejewia balcanica is a somewhat of a special case amongst Eurasian loach species. Normally the Cobitis-like species require temperatures lower than 64°F (18°C), and cooler in winter. A population of S. balcanica in Romania, however, is known to live in a “hot” spring, where the temperature never drops below 68°F (20°C). This would make it an ideal aquarium inhabitant were it not for the fact that it is fairly sparsely distributed. For example, in the Romanian 'hot' springs, the habitat covers only one hectare (100m x 100m), which puts it at risk from over collection for the aquarium trade. Its inclusion here is out of interest. Gerhard Ott of Flensburg, Germany is attempting to breed from Dr. Joerg Bohlen's F2s.


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