Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Difficult
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 77-83° F, 5-25H, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size: 14″
Color Form: Whitish-Yellow in color, with red eyes
Compatibility: Keep with others of same size
Origin: West Africa
Lifespan: 10 Years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
The Clown Loach (Botia macracantha) is a peaceful schooling fish native to the inland waters in Indonesia on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
In their native habitat, the Clown Loach is found in fast moving streams with water temperature ranges between 77 and 86 °F, a pH between 5.0 and 8.0, and water hardness between 5 and 12 dH. For a good portion of the year, monsoons force the Clown Loach into blackwater river areas and murky water conditions encountered when the plains become flooded.
Clown Loaches get their name from their bright colors. The main body is light to bright orange with three wide black, triangular, vertical bands that gives it it’s unmistakeable appearance. The front band runs from the top of the head through the eye, the middle band runs between the head and the dorsal fin and wraps around the body, and the rear band wraps around the caudal and anal fins around the body. Clown Loaches are wide bodied fish that have a large moveable spine set in a groove below each of the fish’s eyes that is used for defense and holding onto rocks in swift currents.
Clown Loaches are shy fish and benefit from having live plants and river rocks in the aquarium to hide amongst. They appreciate having caves, holes, driftwood and other hiding places strategically positioned around heavy aquarium plantings.
The Clown Loach is one of the “must have” fish for tropical fish keeping enthusiasts. They get along well with most other members of a community tank and have some interesting habits like swimming upside down or on their sides, and laying on their sides and “playhing dead” on the botttom of the tank. This is normal behavior for these fish.
Unlike most nocturnal loaches, Clown Loaches are active during the day but need cover, and shy away from bright light. Because they are schooling fish, they do best in groups of 6 or more individuals and need a large tank with good water movement. When kept in groups smaller than five, they will spend a lot of time hiding. Since they grow up to a foot long in their natural environment, a 100 gallon tank or larger is not inappropriate to keep these fish happy. Clown Loaches are susceptible to Ichthyophthirius (ich) or white spot disease when stressed or subjeted to rapid water temperature changes.
Clown Loaches should be fed several small meals throughout the day instead of only once a day. They are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods like vegetable flakes, “Pleco tablets”, live, frozen, or freeze-dried worms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and banana or other plant matter. Botia macracantha are voracious eaters of those nuisance snails that sometimes sneak into your aquarium on live plants.
Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-86° F, KH 8-12, pH 6.0-7.5
Max. Size: 1′
Color Form: Black, Orange, Red, Tan
Compatibility: Good community tank fish
Lifespan: 15 years +
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
The Spotted Scat has a compressed, squarish body with a steeply slanted head profile. The body is colored a shiny silver with a light greenish cast and is covered with black spots all across the body extending onto the fins.
Juveniles are more rounded in shape and become more square as they mature. Juvenile Green Scats are brown or green with black leopard like spots over the body and some stripes on the head. As the juveniles mature, they lose their stripes and their body color becomes silvery or bronze.
In mature adults, the spots are often faded and visible only on the back and upper parts of the fish.
In the wild, the Spotted Scat can reach a length of 15″ but in an aquarium environment, they usually grow to 6 or 8 inches in length, depending on the size of the tank.
Spotted Scats are a peaceful species that do best in groups of at least four or five. They are lively, curious, outgoing and will quickly become tame and accustomed to the company of their keepers.
Many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts keep them in mixed schools with Monos, and except for some aggressive species, Spotted Scats will get along well with most other types of larger fish.
They will usually not bother other fish unless they are small enough to be considered on their menu.
To begin with, juvenile Spotted Scats need a tank of at least 60 gallons when they can be kept in freshwater, however, as they grow, they should be gradually transitioned to brackish and eventually salt water to keep them in top condition. They need a fine gravel or sand substrate with driftwood branches or roots for them to hide among. Plants can be added to their tank but will be eaten as the fish grow.
The addition of 2 to 3 teaspoons of marine salt per gallon of tank water will initially keep Spotted Scats healthy and bring out their colors. As they mature, they require additional salt added to their water until a marine salinity is achieved.
Because Spotted Scats are sloppy eaters and extremely sensitive to nitrites, they need a good biological filtration system with plenty of water movement and swimming space to thrive. Weekly tank maintenance with 20 to 30% water changes are also required.
In the wild, Spotted Scats feed on worms, insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. In an aquarium environment they will eat almost anything put into their tank. They are more herbivorous than many other brackish water species and need a good amount of vegetable matter such as algae, dried or fresh seaweed, blanched spinach or lettuce, zucchini or cucumber slices, and frozen peas. Occasional feedings of shrimp, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, or bloodworms will keep their diet balanced.
Minimum Tank Size: 60 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Hardy
Water Conditions: 68-82° F, 12 – 18 dGH, pH 7.5-8.5
Max. Size: 15″
Color Form: Silver, Green, Black
Compatibility: Multiple species brackish water tank
Lifespan: 20 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced
Approx. 1.5″ – 2″
The Rummynose, also known as “firehead tetras“, are found in the upper and lower Amazon River basins, the Rio Negro and Rio Meta basins, and the Orinoco River.
Rummynose Tetras live in the quiet, tannin stained, slow moving creeks and “blackwater” river areas of Brazil and Columbia. They prefer the soft, acidic water that is the result of decayed vegetation and leaf litter, and frequent areas with an abundance of aquatic plant life and hiding places.
When housed in a heavily planted aquarium environment, Rummynose Tetras are benefited by placing a piece of water logged driftwood into their tanks. When kept in a suitable environment, the ruby red head that is the namesake for these fish becomes more vivid and pronounced.
Rummynose Tetras are a silvery, torpedo shaped fish with two black and white stripes on each caudal fin and horizontal black and white stripes on the tail fin. Its head is a deep iridescent red that continues from the iris of the eye, past the gill plate to mid body. Its name is derived from the word “rummy“, which was the name given to rum addicted alcoholics who often had red (rummy) noses.
Rummynose Tetras are shoaling fish that seldom exceed 2” in length. They are sensitive to water hardness, pH, and water temperature fluctuations and are best kept in schools of 6 or more fish.
Rummynose Tetras are a hardy fish that require only minimal care when housed in a densely planted 20 gallon tank with plenty of gentle water filtration.
Keeping the water warm (between 73 to 80 degrees), the pH between 6.0 to 7.0 and providing weekly 25% water changes will keep your Rummynose Tetras healthy.
When Rummynose Tetras are stressed, the vivid red on their noses will become drab and eventually disappear. This can occur when the fish are first introduced into your aquarium, but after a couple of weeks they will regain their beautiful ruby red “nose” if water conditions are optimal.
Rummynose Tetras will eagerly accept commercial flake foods, live brine shrimp, tubifex worms, mosquito larvae and a variety of freeze dried and frozen foods.
Minimum Tank Size: 15 – 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, KH 2-6, pH 5.5-7.0
Max. Size: 2″
Color Form: Red, White
Compatibility: Ok with large non agressive fish
Origin: South America, Bred in Europe and Southeast Asia
Lifespan: 5 to 6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Experienced