Yasuhikotakia splendida


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Emma Turner looks at the newly imported Yellow-tail polka dot loach, Yasuhikotakia splendida, a species that will currently set you back about £65 each!

Common name:

Yellow tail polka dot loach.

Scientific name:

Yasuhikotakia splendida (Roberts, 1995).


From the Se Kong watershed of the Mekong basin in Laos.




Sinking pellets, granules or wafers, meaty frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, Mysis shrimp and chopped prawns, among others.


Little is known about exact parameters, so stable neutral conditions are recommended. pH: 6.8-7.2, general hardness 8-18 GH. Temperature: 26-29°C/79-84°F. 


As with most other members of the Yasuhikotakia genus, these are feisty and definitely not suitable for the peaceful community aquarium. As with all botiid loach species, these require company of their own kind. Three specimens should be considered the absolute minimum, and more than five is better. 

The loaches will form a natural hierarchy with the dominant alpha in charge of her/his subordinates. A good-sized group is not only more natural, but will help spread the aggression so that no individual takes the continual brunt of another’s belligerence. Keeping this type of loach as single specimens will suppress their natural behaviour. If peaceful loaches are what you desire, opt for another species!

Suitable tank mates could consist of groups of other boisterous loach species, such as Yasuhikotakia morleti, Y. eos, Y. lecontei, and any of the pointy-headed Syncrossus ‘Tiger loach’ species, or shoals of fast moving midwater fish such as some of the medium-sized barbs.


Ideally, the tank will be at least 120cm/47” long with excellent filtration, fast water movement and a high level of oxygenation. 

The substrate should be soft sand or very fine rounded gravel to protect delicate sensory barbells, as these fish are superb diggers. The placement of pieces of bogwood, rocks/cobbles and robust plants within must be carefully considered. The aim is to create a huge network of hidey-holes and crevices, with a large open swimming space along the front of the tank. 

When creating these refuges, the line of sight to the other shelters should be interrupted with a barrier — another piece of décor — which prevents the aggressor from immediately being able to see the loach she/he had just taken issue with, and which had swum away. Having at least two or three shelters per fish also helps. Dim lighting is preferable and a well-covered tank is a must.


Unknown, although mature females are likely to be fuller bodied. 


This differs from all other Yasuhikotakia species in having a large dark mark on the caudal peduncle that forms a complete ring around it and which is outlined anteriorly as well as posteriorly by complete pale rings. It differs from all species (except Y. morleti) in having dorsal, anal, and caudal fins pale or bright yellow. 

In addition, Y. splendida has very distinctive round, oval, or oblong dark spots on the caudal fin. These are fewer and larger than those seen on Y. caudipunctata, and Y. splendida does not possess the spotting on the dorsal fin as seen on Y. caudipunctata. When settled, 14-19 narrow irregular bars show on its sides.


These fish were spotted at Maidenhead Aquatics @ Crowland.


Expect to pay upwards of £65 per loach as this is a species that really must be kept together in good-sized groups.