Matt Clarke looks at an apparently undescribed Schistura on sale as the Crimson loach.
Common name: Crimson loach.
Scientific name: Schistura sp. Crimson.
Origin: Kerala, southern India.
Size: Those on sale are around 5 cm/2 long, but it s believed to reach a size of up to 10 cm/4, like similar Schistura species.
Diet: No precise data available, but like most Schistura, it accepts most foods including sinking pellets, flakes, bloodworms and frozen brineshrimp.
Water: No precise data, but relatively soft and acidic water would probably be best. Go for around pH 6.5-7.5, with a temperature of 22-26C/71.5-79F.
Aquarium: Schistura tend to be a little quarrelsome and territorial, so if you wish to keep more than one, or house the species with other Schistura, you ll need to provide lots of hiding places. Males (which are often brighter in colour than females) are the most territorial. A 90 cm/36-plus aquarium, furnished with lots of cobbles and water-worn boulders, would be good. This should be well-filtered and have a very high flow rate to recreate the turbulent and highly-oxygenated water conditions in which these fish live.
Danio, Devario and Barilius make good tankmates for the upper water levels.
Availability: A number of dealers imported this species from India earlier this year under the name of Crimson loach, however, it (or a species very similar to it) may have been available in the trade before. Wholesalers in Europe also have the fish on their lists. These ones were spotted on sale at Dartford Aquatics in Kent.
Price: On sale for 9.95 each.
This article was first published in the August 2007 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. Picture by Neil Hepworth.