Liniparhomaloptera disparis disparis

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Matt Clarke looks at an attractive hillstream loach which has recently been imported into the UK.

Common name: Hillstream loach

Scientific name: Probably Liniparhomaloptera (Homaloptera) disparis disparis or a close relative.

Origin: Most specimens have been caught in China. The type specimens were collected from White Cloud Mountain, Guangzhou. Others have been collected from Luofu Shan, Boluo Xian Guangdong, T'ing Wu in China, and the Pok Fulam Reserve in Hong Kong. It's also said to live in Vietnam.

Size: Up to about 8cm/3".

Diet: These somewhat sedentary fish feed on algae and aufwuchs, such as cyanobacteria.

Habitat: Fast-flowing freshwater rivers and streams, often in quite mountainous regions.Said to enter brackish water in some places.

Aquarium: These fish come from fast-flowing water, so a river-style tank with rounded rocks and a vigorous flow will suit them.

Breeding: This species has spawned in captivity. Like many balitorines, it breeds in a depression in the gravel, usually at the side of a boulder, to protect the offspring from the rapid water flow.

Availability: This balitorine hillstream loach is rarely imported on its own, but often comes in as a by-catch, usually mixed up in imports of other balitorines from China and occasionally Hong Kong. These fish were on sale at The Aquarium, Bardney, Lincoln.

Notes: The name has been mis-spelled Linipaxhomaloptera in some books, but you may also see it referred to as Parhomaloptera or Homaloptera disparis. Another book also misidentified it as Homaloptera zollingeri, just to make life confusing...

Price: From as little as 2 if the fish was by-catch with a more common species of balitorine.

This article was first published in the February 2004 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine.