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Syncrossus berdmorei

by Martin Thoene last modified Mar 31, 2007 12:14 PM


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Scientific name: Syncrossus berdmorei (Blyth, 1860)
Common name: Burmese Peppered Firetail Botia, Blyth's Loach, Tiger Botia, Berdmore's Loach
Synonyms: Botia berdmorei

Distribution: India, Thailand, Myanmar.

Sexual Dimorphism: Mature females probably have a rounder abdomen.

Maximum size: 10 inches.

Similar to: Syncrossus beauforti.

Syncrossus berdmorei

Care: This species lives in fast mountain streams and large rivers, over soft substrates and often near submerged boulders and fallen trees. Due to its large adult size, Syncrossus berdmorei requires a large aquarium. This should be no less than 4ft long to begin with, and larger quarters will be required as they grow. The substrate must ideally be fine sand to allow digging without damage to the barbels. Provide plenty of hiding places in the aquarium amongst bogwood, caves, and sturdy plants. Subdued lighting is required.

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 and brineshrimp are usually taken with much enthusiasm. Larger specimens will take mysis shrimp, krill and chopped prawns.

Water parameters: pH: 7.0 or below. Hardness: Soft and slightly acidic is best. dH: <12 degrees.

Temperature: 77ºF to 86ºF (25-30°C)

Breeding: Not known to have been bred in aquaria.


Syncrossus berdmoreiThe most striking and spectacular member of the Tiger "Botia" group, S. berdmorei maintains its colouration into adulthood unlike some other members of the group. Like it's close relatives, it is aggressive and unsuitable for community aquariums. Must be maintained in groups of 5 or more in order to spread aggression around and to allow the fish to form a natural hierarchy. Tank-mates must be robust, large and fast-swimming, for example, some of the more gregarious medium-large sized members of the barb or Danio families. Can be kept with other aggressive loach species such as Syncrossus helodes, Syncrossus beauforti, Yasuhikotakia morleti etc. Clean, well-aerated water is a must.

Syncrossus berdmorei, head closeupSometimes confused with S. beauforti when young. They can be easily told apart in adult due to the disparate size, and S. beauforti becomes a rather plain fish. S. beauforti only reaches around 4 inches. A good indicator in juveniles is the direction of the stripes anterior to the dorsal fin. In S. beauforti, the stripes are orientated so that they start at the dorsal surface with the bottom of the stripes finishing further towards the rear of the fish. Posterior to the dorsal, the stripes are only slightly more vertical. In S. berdmorei, the stripes posterior of the dorsal are vertical. S. berdmorei has a series of mixed size, dark oval spots and dashes, aligned horizontally in rows along the dorsal half of the body, and two prominent black stripes that run from the nose and over above the eyes, breaking up into two rows of dashes as they go towards the dorsal origin. Two finer black lines connect the dark rostral barbels and the eyes. S. beauforti shares a similar pattern, but the markings are much smaller, and this species lacks the prominent black stripes above the eyes.

S. berdmorei has a fairly slender caudal peduncle area. In S. beauforti, the area is only slightly less deep than the body.

For more information see: Telling Tigers Apart - The Syncrossus Group of Loaches

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