Siamese loach

The Thai loach is a freshwater fish native to Thailand. For this reason it is found in rivers and other flowing waters. Due to its high salt content, the sea is not part of the loach habitat.

What are the characteristics of the Siamese loach?

Compared to other fish breeds, the Siamese loach is also hostile to its conspecifics. They are mainly found on the bottom and only swim to the water surface in exceptional cases. With its mouth the suction loach cleans the glass walls in the aquarium from algae by sucking on them.

The appearance of Siamese sucking loach

Siamesische Saugschmerle
© Lena Balk

With a length of up to 29 cm, sucking loaches can become relatively large. However, they often do not reach this size when fully grown. A characteristic feature is their mouth, with which they suck on the pebble bottom or glass of the aquarium. In addition, loaches have scales with golden to white shades. Two-coloured fish are also not uncommon.

Young suction loaches usually have a brownish colour that turns into spots. Barbels, on the other hand, are not present in suction loach.

Keeping conditions

In the aquarium, suction loaches require clean water, which is enriched with a high proportion of oxygen. In addition, there must be sufficient space to swim around, the aquarium should have an appropriate capacity. Since loaches are used to strong currents due to their habitat in rivers, an external filter on the aquarium is advisable. Inverted flower pots or the artificial creation of niches serve as possibilities for playing and hiding. This also prevents aggression in the shoal, the fish can hide from other fish of the same species.

  • Clean water with high oxygen content
  • Enough space for swimming
  • To imitate flowing water: external filter on the aquarium
  • Caves and niches as play opportunities and protection against aggressive behaviour

Gender differences

The differences between male and female sucking loaches are primarily visible in the abdomen. Female fish appear thicker, usually becoming larger than male loaches. After sexual maturity, eggs develop in their pronounced abdomen, from which young fish are born. Male loaches are conspicuous by their elongated mouth, which is reminiscent of barbels.

Water values for Siamese sucking loach

In the aquarium the average water temperature should be 22 to 28 degrees. The optimal pH-value is acidic to neutral 6-8 pH at a water hardness of 30 dGH.

Food and nutrition for Siamese sucking loaches

The breed is considered omnivorous in adulthood, young fish still prefer to eat algae plants.

The ideal aquarium for Siamese sucking loaches

Sucking loaches need space. An aquarium should therefore be at least 1.5 m long. The fish can rest on fine sandy soil, stones or roots, and aquatic plants offer them additional opportunities to feed. The aquarium should leave enough space for swimming despite dense planting.

In artificially created caves the fish can hide and protect themselves from aggressive behaviour by their fellow fish. As a species-appropriate food, cooked vegetables mixed with algae and vegetable fish food are suitable.

  • Aquarium with a length of at least 1.5 m
  • Sufficient space for unhindered swimming
  • Sandy soil, roots and stones as places to stay
  • Caves as hiding places and possibilities for refuge
  • Feed made from plant ingredients such as vegetables and algae

Characteristics of Siamese sucking loaches

In their native Thailand, loaches are a popular regional delicacy. In this country, on the other hand, they are used as aquarium fish, especially white loach, which is known among experts as lemon loach. Another special feature is their maximum age: in the ideal case, the suction loach can live up to twenty years, which is very long-lasting for fish.

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