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Hillstream Loach

Hillstream Loach

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Gastromyzon spp./Pseudogastromyzon spp.

Note: Due
to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image




South East Asia.

Sexual Dimorphism

Mature females fuller bodied. Mature males often
display noticeable tubercles on the head area.

Maximum Size

Approx 6cm (2.36?), dependent on individual

Water Parameters

pH: 6.0-7.5, dH: up to 12 degrees. CLEAN,


Subtropical: 20-24 deg C (68-75 deg F).


Specialist community

Special Requirements

Subtropical, fast-flowing, highly oxygenated
water essential!





Hillstream Loaches from the Gastromyzon and
Pseudogastromyzon genera are often given erroneous names in the trade, such as
?Butterfly Plec/Loach?, ?Hong Kong Plec/Loach?, ?Coldwater Algae Eaters? etc.
Sadly, they are also all too often mis-sold for unsuitable general
coldwater/goldfish aquaria without their specialist care requirements having
been explained. Hillstream Loaches have evolved to live in extremely
fast-flowing waters, where they use their pectoral and pelvic fins to form a
?suction cup? in order to hang on to smooth rocks amongst rapids. This
high-velocity habitat must be replicated in the home aquarium by use of extra
powerheads (in addition to the return flow from filters) to create a river type
effect. The surface of the water should be visibly moving to ensure that there
is a high amount of oxygenation within the water at all times. An additional
air-pump is also a handy back-up. Without such a high level of oxygenation and
water movement, Hillstream Loaches will not fare well at all, and for these
reasons, these fish are totally unsuitable for keeping alongside goldfish,
which will not appreciate the same conditions. Hillstream Loaches should only
be added to aquariums that are biologically mature. Such tanks will have a good
established growth of algae for the fish to graze upon in order to consume the
micro-organisms within, and will provide a source of nourishment whilst the
fish may be adapting to the taking of prepared foods. The front glass can be
wiped free of algae, but it is recommended that you allow algae to freely
colonise the sides and back glass, and over the d?cor. Lighting should be
bright in order to encourage a decent amount of algal growth. Ideally, the
aquarium will be at least 36? long, and contain a multitude of hiding spots
amongst rocks, cobbles and bogwood. Flat smooth rocks should be placed in the
path of the flow, where these fish will often congregate. Plants can be
incorporated into the Hillstream Loach aquarium, but not all species will fare
well under the extreme flow conditions. Having said this, many aquarists have
had a good deal of success with Anubias species, Java moss (Taxiphyllum
barbieri), Java fern (Microsorum sp.) and some species of Cryptocoryne. Plants
are not found in the natural habitat of Hillstream Loaches, so are not
considered essential, but they will help with water quality and will make the
aquarium look more aesthetically pleasing. Hillstream Loaches deserve a specialist
aquarium to meet their needs. Their quirky behaviour is something totally out
of the ordinary and is a joy to observe. They can be kept alongside other
sub-tropical current-loving species such as White Cloud Mountain Minnows and
many species from the Danio family.



Although these fish will graze upon the natural algae
within the aquarium for the small micro-organisms it may contain, the diet must
be supplemented with small frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, daphnia,
brineshrimp etc. Many specimens will also adapt to taking dried foods such as
sinking catfish pellets and algae wafers, although frozen foods tend to be
preferred. Will also enjoy cucumber, blanched spinach and kale etc.



Most species have not
yet been bred in the home aquarium; however, a few hillstream loach enthusiasts
have had success in breeding one species in particular: Pseudogastromyzon
cheni. There is often an elaborate courtship display where the male will be
seen ?dancing? around his chosen female, until she ?accepts? him and starts to
follow him about. The male positions himself on top of a flat rock or cobble
and slides backwards off of it, at the same time swishing his tail, in order to
dig a small pit within the substrate. The female then follows in a similar manner
and deposits her eggs into the pit, which the male fertilises. He then covers
up the eggs with some of the substrate. Youngsters can be expected to rise out
of the substrate in approximately 2 weeks and will start to graze on the
surfaces in the aquarium for micro-organisms. The adult Hillstream Loaches will
not harm the tiny fry, although other fish species within the aquarium may show
an interest