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Argument between clown loaches

Even among clown loaches arguments might occur. Sometimes real fights take place. The typical "knuck knuck" sounds are increasingly produced in such situations. Just listen to it after feeding!

It is interesting that arguing fish slightly change their colour. Orange blanches and black becomes grey. So far I don't know the biological reason for this yet.

You can see a pale clown loach on the picture on the right side.


Clown loaches are very sensitive animals. Every change in their environment means stress to them. Especially after moving in, it is really important to have enough hiding opportunities for clown loaches. Clown loaches won't show up that often in the beginning and will hide as soon someone comes closer to the aquarium. After a while the fish get used to their environment and common movements. Sometimes they become downright confiding and eat out of your hand.

Association and clown loaches among themselves

Clown loaches are very peaceful fish and can be associated with most of all other fish species. So far, I could not recognize any aggressive behaviour - however, this still should be possible for single cases.

A clown loach is not a real schooling fish, but should be kept in a large group - this in turn presupposes a bigger tank. Groups from five to six animals should be seen as a minimum. The larger the clown loach crowd the more fun it is too watch them! Only in groups those fish can properly develop. Hiding options are always important to offer a peaceful place in case of arguments.


A group of clown loaches forms a hierarchy which is usually lead by the largest animal. In some literature it can be read that the most senior male leads the pack. As you cannot define a clown loaches' gender for sure, (apart from dissecting the fish), it can be questioned, if it must be the male. You can get a glimpse of the hierarchy while feeding and also while fish organize their habitat. Additionally, I could observe that the smallest animal is often sent ahead to explore the environment - for example if the animals have recognized movement around their aquarium. Only later - if there is no danger - the rest of the pack appears, too.

Comments (4)

  • Matthew R
    Matthew R
    at 26.06.2019
    Can I order the wagers that stick to the glass, on line? My clown loaches would love this!!
    • Christoph
      at 26.06.2019
      Hi Matthew,
      sure! Theses are just tablets for catfish.
  • Frederique
    at 21.06.2015
    hi!!! Thank you for providing all the information about clown loaches. Now I have a question. Sometimes, my loaches get pale at feeding time when they fight for food, like one of yours on the video. But yesterday I saw a loach swimming pale through the tank at "normal" day time (not feeding time). But there was none of the others visible. Is there any other reason than stress for loaches getting pale?
    • Christoph
      at 21.06.2015
      Hello Frederique, thanks for writing. Although clown loaches are peaceful fish they sometimes have arguments - that have nothing to do with food. As a result, some hide after it and others swim alone in the tank. Probably your clown loach just wanted to be alone after such an argument. So far I haven't heard of any other reasons for the change of color. Best, Christoph

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