Hillstream Loach Full Care Information For Learners


I believe hillstream loaches are an excellent cool species, and fascinating oddball that’s actually enjoyable to look at.

Merely to look after, this information will stroll you thru every part you’ll want to find out about getting an aquarium setting proper for hillstream loaches.

Fast Stats

  • Care Degree: medium
  • Min. Tank Dimension: 40 gallons (151 liters)
  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • Temperature: 65°-80°F (18°-27°C)
  • Eating regimen: omnivore
  • Temperament: peaceable education fish
  • Lifespan
  • Dimension: 2.5 inches (6 centimeters)
  • Household: Balitoridae
  • What number of will be saved collectively: will be saved as a single or as a gaggle of 4 or extra
  • Scientific Title: Sewellia lineolata
  • Frequent Title: reticulated hillstream loach

Hillstream Loach Species Profile

Hillstream loaches (Sewellia lineolata) are native to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

They are often present in fast-moving, clear mountain streams in that area. 

The present is commonly very, very sturdy in these waterways. The hillstream loach’s distinctive physique form lets it cling to rocks and driftwood to allow them to discover meals with out being washed away by the present


Hillstream loach on bottom of fish tank

Hillstream loaches are one of many coolest trying fish within the passion. I really like them.

At first look, they seem like a teeny, tiny stingray. Their our bodies are dorsoventrally compressed, which means they’re flattened from prime to backside, like stingrays and skates. They’ve massive, rounded pectoral fins and smaller rounded anal fins that fan out from their our bodies and hug the substrate. 

Considered from above, they’re vaguely formed like butterflies with a slender trailing tail.

These fish have the smartest sample of spots, speckles and stripes. The spots are a good looking amber gold on a darkish brown background, completely gorgeous.

Beneath their our bodies, you’ll discover their gill slits and their small scraping suckermouth that they use to eat algae, small crustaceans and biofilm. 

Within the Aquarium

Hillstream loaches are a fantastic addition to a tank’s cleanup crew. They’ll scoot across the tank consuming algae, biofilm and typically uneaten meals that’s gotten previous your top-dwelling fish.

They’ll even transfer throughout the glass to munch on algae there. 

On the glass you may see their peculiar motion very well. They shuffle alongside in a back-and-forth movement that appears nearly as in the event that they’re strolling on their fins. It’s actually neat.

Hillstream loaches are very peaceable fish. They may get into little squabbles amongst themselves, however they don’t damage one another.

This species will be saved as both a single fish or as a gaggle of 4 or extra. Don’t get only a pair as one fish will simply consistently dominate the opposite.

They a lot choose to be saved in a gaggle, the extra, the merrier.

The best way to Set Up a Hillstream Loach Tank

Tank Dimension

Though these are small fish, I like to recommend that you just hold them in at the least a 40 gallon (151 liter) tank. It will make sure that they’ve sufficient floor space to feed on.

If you wish to hold a breeding colony, I’d advocate a 55 gallon (208 liter) to provide everybody plenty of room.


This species will be very delicate to poor water high quality, so correct filtration is an absolute should.

Filters don’t simply pump water across the aquarium, though that is essential, filters really do a lot, far more.

Inside filters, there’s particular media (referred to as biomedia) that homes useful micro organism that assist break down fish waste.

Fish consistently poop and pee into the water round them, gross, however true. 

As that excrement breaks down, it places off extremely poisonous ammonia. All it takes is 1 drop of ammonia in 13 gallons (50 liters) of water to begin to stress and even kill fish. Only one drop in 13 gallons!

That is the place filters are available. The ​​useful micro organism within the filter media eat ammonia and rework it, first into nitrite (additionally extremely poisonous) after which into nitrate, which might safely be allowed to construct up in between water modifications. 

This is called the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

With no filter, ammonia will simply construct and construct in a tank till the water is totally poisonous.

And I’d advise so as to add on further filtration for those who plan on holding hillstream loaches. 

These little guys are very delicate to water high quality. Including on further filtration, like placing in an additional sponge filter, will ensure that there’s loads of useful micro organism to course of fish waste. 

In addition they want loads of water stream. The hillstreams that these fish are named for, by their very nature, are fast-paced waterways. 

It’s finest to imitate this as a lot as doable within the aquarium. 

Hillstream loaches typically congregate within the space of the tank that has the best water stream.

I extremely advocate placing in at the least one powerhead to be able to transfer extra water across the tank. 

For extra details about powerheads, please see our comparability article.

Water Parameters

  • Temperature: 65°-80°F (18°-27°C)
  • Ammonia/Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: <30 ppm
  • pH: 7.0-8.0
  • GH: 3-15 dGh
  • KH:  3-70 dKH


Hillstream loaches can tolerate all kinds of temperatures: 65°-80°F (18°-27°C). 

They’re really extra inclined to an infection at increased temps, so holding them in an unheated tank can typically be useful.

Colder water is extra oxygen wealthy, making respiration simpler for fish, and serving to to spice up their immune system. 

This species can nonetheless thrive in tropical temperatures, however I’d advocate holding the tank at as low a temperature as you may. And ensure so as to add on plenty of oxygenation and water stream to assist assist their respiration. 


This species does scoot throughout the substrate fairly a bit and their pores and skin and fins are considerably  delicate. 

Sand can be my first selection for substrate on this case. Clean, rounded gravel might additionally work nicely.

I’d advocate avoiding sharp or tough substrates, like Seachem Flourite. All these jagged edges and sharp factors might doubtlessly scrape the loaches’ pores and skin, making them extra susceptible to an infection.

In the event you plan on breeding hillstream loaches, they are going to do finest on a sand substrate. The male loach will dig a small pit within the substrate for the feminine to put her eggs in. That is extra simply down on with a sand substrate.


This species doesn’t actually have any particular wants on the subject of lighting. You may simply use no matter works finest to your crops and/or viewing pleasure.

Vegetation and Decor

Hillstream loaches are grazers that scoot round all day, munching algae alongside the surfaces or rocks, plant leaves and sunken logs.

It’s finest to attempt to recreate a river-like setting with all kinds of hardcore parts that they will graze on. These fish will respect plenty of clean stones. 

They may typically have little mock territorial battles over rocks. So, ensuring there are many choices within the tank will ensure that every fish has a spot to hang around.

Driftwood items add to the pure look of the tank and supply a fantastic substrate for biofilm to develop on.

These fish will do some grazing alongside broad plant leaves, however they gained’t destroy the crops in any respect. 

They’ll additionally disguise in bushy, dense crops, like Java moss, in the event that they really feel threatened. 

This species isn’t the very best at holding algae off crops (that may be otocinclus catfish) however they are going to assist hold it at bay.

General, simply be sure that these guys have plenty of floor space to graze on and quite a lot of hiding spots and they are going to be very completely happy. 

Hillstream Loach Eating regimen

These little fish eat largely algae, however they’re omnivores that may even eat some meaty meals.

As a result of this species depends a lot on consuming algae, I’d advocate that you just solely add them to a longtime setup that already has little bit of algae progress.

These fish might starve in the event that they’re positioned in a model new setup that doesn’t have a lot algae or biofilm rising in it.

To complement the algae they eat, you may supply them some blanched veggies, like spinach, romaine or zucchini. As soon as the veggies get good and tender, the loaches will fortunately devour them.

You may attempt to supply them some commercially made meals, however it might have combined outcomes.

I’ve seen some that may fortunately eat sinking wafers, and others who couldn’t care much less. 

Hillstream Loach Breeding

These fish will readily breed in an aquarium, so long as they’re completely happy and wholesome.

Your finest guess is to get a gaggle of six or extra to make sure that you get at the least one female and male pair.

Content material hillstream loaches will spawn each few weeks.

Maintaining with water modifications and ensuring that the water parameters keep on par is important.

In the event you plan to breed hillstream loaches, I’d advocate holding them on a sand substrate. When the female and male fish pair up, the male will dig a small pit within the sand the place the feminine will lay her eggs. 

There is no such thing as a two separate the fry from the adults. These fish won’t eat their very own infants.

Hillstream Loach Tank Mates

Hillstream loaches are very peaceable little fish. They may tussle with one another slightly bit, however they don’t really hurt one another in any respect.

They’re finest paired with different peaceful community fish.

If you wish to hold them in an unheated aquarium, I’d advocate pairing them with fish like zebra loaches and white cloud mountain minnows that may additionally thrive at decrease temperatures.

Positively, don’t put them in a tank with any aggressive or semi-aggressive fish, like most cichlids.

Additionally, even when they’re peaceable group fish, don’t combine these fish with different backside feeders since this may enhance competitors for meals and territory.

Is a Hillstream Loach Proper for You?

I believe hillstream loaches are an excellent cool little species, an lovable and fascinating oddball that’s actually enjoyable to look at.

They’re not exhausting to maintain up with so long as you might be maintaining along with your aquarium upkeep so your water is wholesome.

This species breeds readily, so it’s possible you’ll want to seek out an outlet for fry.

You probably have massive and/or aggressive fish, this isn’t the proper species. However, they’ll just do positive with different peaceable, small fish.

Simply bear in mind they do want loads of water stream, so take into consideration including on an additional powerhead to maintain the water transferring.

I hope you discover this text useful.

I want you and your fish the perfect!

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