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Loaches / Botiinae / Skunk Loach

Skunk Loach, Hora's Loach
Botia morleti

Synonyms: Botia horae
Physical description: An elongated fish with lateral compression and a flat belly profile. The back is arched and the caudal fin is forked. The head is pointed and three pairs of barbels are present around the mouth which faces downward. The body is pale yellow-white, and sometimes a greenish sheen is present. The belly is lighter. A black stripe begins at the tip of the snout and runs along the ridge of the back to the caudal fin. The flanks are marked with four bars, although these are usually indistinct. The caudal penuncle is marked with an obvious black band. The base of the caudal fin has black markings, while the remaining part is yellowish. The other fins lack color.
Size/Length: To 4" (10 cm)
Similar species:
Habitat: Southeast Asia; Thailand
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 24" (61 cm) with a capacity from 10-20 gallons (38-76 L) is sufficient. Provide a fine gravel substrate and use wood, rocks, an over-turned flower pot, or roots to serve as hiding places. Use sturdy plants as this species is a burrower. A cover of floating plants is recommended to diffuse the lighting and make the fish feel more comfortable. Provide a flat stone for the fish to rest, and use a filter that creates a moderately strong current.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7 (6.6), 1-6 dH (5), 79-86°F (26-30°C)
Social behavior: A crepuscular species which often remains hidden during the day. A fine community scavenger that is most active in groups of five or more. Provide at least one retreat for each fish. Will gently defend its hiding place from other fish.
Suggested companions: Gouramis, barbs, tetras, peaceful cichlids from South America
FOOD: Live; worms, insect larvae, crustaceans; tablets. A bottom feeder.
SEX: Unknown
Breeding techniques: Unknown
Breeding potential: 10. No reports of spawning in captivity are available.
Remarks: This species requires frequent partial water changes to prosper. This Botia is less territorial than others of its genus.
Difficulty of care: 4. A fish fit for a well-maintained community tank. Its diet should include live foods.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com