Species group: Loaches
Other common names: Hora's Loach; Botia Horae; Skunk Botia; Mouse Loach; Cream Loach
Scientific name: Yasuhikotakia morleti
The Skunk Loach is native to the Mekong River in Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. It is a nocturnal feeder, and needs a substrate of fine sand and plenty of rock and driftwood to hide in. The Skunk Loaches are a crepuscular species meaning they are more active at dawn and twilight. They remain hidden during the day. They tend to defend their hiding places from other fish and are considered scavengers.
The Skunk Loach is elongated with a lateral compression, an arched back, forked caudal fin, and a flat belly profile. Its head is pointed and its mouth, which faces downwards, has three pairs of barbels. It is pale yellow-white that occasionally has a greenish sheen to it. Its belly is lighter in color than the rest of the body. It has a black stripe and a black bar on its body. The black stripe begins at the tip of the nose and runs along the rim of the back to the caudal fin. The black band is present on the caudal penuncle. There are four indistinct bars on the flanks. All fins except the caudal fin lack color. The caudal fin is yellowish with black markings on the base.
The Skunk Loach is a fairly popular aquarium fish, though it is considered to be aggressive and not a suitable member for a community tank.The Skunk Loach is a very feisty Loach specie. They ideally must be kept in groups of five or more so that their aggressiveness is directed to their own species and allow them to form a natural hierarchy. Their tank-mates must be robust and fast-swimming; smaller fish and non-aggressive bottom feeders in the tank may be attacked or killed. They tend to nip at long-finned slow-moving fish. Despite their relatively diminutive size, suitable tank mates for the Skunk Loaches include larger Cichlid species.
The Skunk Loach requires a 24-29-inch tank with a capacity of 20-30 gallons. Hiding places must be provided for these fish in the form of wood, rocks, plants, caves, or roots. These fish create burrows among rocks and other tight crevices, therefore, structures provided must be stable. Plants must also be sturdy because of the tendency of this fish to burrow. A fine gravel substrate and a filter that creates a moderately strong current is recommended. The substrate needs to be fine and sandy in order to protect the delicate sensory barbel area of the Loach. Use of diffused lighting makes the Loach feel more comfortable. It is very essential to provide clean, well-aerated water.
docile bottom feeders, hardy fish species, midsize loach, average adult length
slow swimmers, oxygen poor water