This weeks Fish of the Week is for those of you who prefer your aquariums a little on the cooler side. The hillstream loach, aka Hong Kong pleco (Beaufortia kweichowensis), makes a great addition to a sub-tropical freshwater aquarium alongside White Cloud Mountain Minnows and members of the Danio family as all these prefer a slightly lower temperature, between 20 and 24 °C. These fascinating little fish are perfectly adapted to the shallow, fast flowing rivers and streams of south-east Asia where they are found. They have a light brown to golden background colour that is patterned all over with darker spots, perfect camouflage for the sand or fine gravel that these guys prefer to live on. They also have a very flat body and a powerful sucker mouth – ideal for clinging to the smooth rocks you would find in the fast-flowing waters that they call home. The hillstream loach will reach around 8 cm (3.15 inches) when mature. They are omnivores meaning they will feed on a wide variety of foods, including live and frozen foods, as well as sinking pellets and tablets but also green algae and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a fish that helps to keep the green algae under control?! Remember, these fish are native to shallow, fast flowing rivers and streams meaning they require a lot of oxygen in their water. Good water movement is essential if you want to add some of these guys to your set-up. They also prefer to be kept in groups of at least 3, but preferably 5-7.
So, if you have a sub-tropical set-up with good filtration and water movement why not consider a group of these guys? Not only are they fascinating to watch as they dart from pebble to pebble, they also earn their keep by grazing on the green algae that grows earning them Fish of the Week this week!
Image credit: Martin Thoene and Aquatic Mag.
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