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Syncrossus helodes

by Martin Thoene last modified Dec 15, 2006 08:44 PM


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Scientific name: Syncrossus helodes (Suavage, 1876)

Common name: Banded Tiger loach, Tiger Botia.

Synonyms: Botia helodes (Suavage, 1876)

Distribution: Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.

Sexual Dimorphism: Mature females probably have a rounder abdomen.

Maximum size: 12 inches.

Similar to: Syncrossus hymenophysa

Syncrossus helodes

Care: This species lives in some of the largest Indochinese rivers. Due to its large adult size, Syncrossus helodes 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. 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 and brine-shrimp 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 helodesThe largest member of the Tiger Botia group, which like it's close relatives, is aggressive and unsuitable for community aquariums. This species, like other Syncrossus, must be maintained in groups of 5 or more in order to spread any aggression and to allow the fish to form a natural hierarchy.

Tankmates must be robust 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 beauforti, Syncrossus berdmorei, Yasuhikotakia morleti etc.

Syncrossus helodesSometimes confused with S. hymenophysa. They can be easily told apart by the direction of the stripes anterior to the dorsal fin. In S. hymenophysa, the stripes are orientated so that they start at the dorsal surface with the bottom of the stripes finishing further forwards towards the front of the fish. In S. helodes, it is the other way around, with the stripes leaning backwards instead of forwards. S. helodes also has a series of mixed size, dark oval spots which are vertically orientated in the area between the pectoral fin and anus. S.helodes also lacks the dorsal spot found in S. hymenophysa.

Syncrossus helodes loses some of its young colouration as it matures.

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

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