Clown loaches are a peaceful species and they will remain peaceful as long as the conditions of the aquarium suit their needs. Smaller fish are not bothered by clowns and other species are able to breed and the fry can develop and grow without fear of the clowns.
Clown fishes thrive when they are kept in groups. Clown fishes have complex social structures (which may be why their common name is "clown"). Clown loaches must be together with at least 4 of their kind otherwise their growth will be stunted, they will become sick often and probably die young.
When they are that large they are big and bulky and at that point it may be time to start thinking about a larger tank. That being said, aquarists, with small to medium (122cm or 48in) aquariums, who are thinking about buying Clown loaches should consider it a long-term commitment. The aquarium will have to be upgraded with the increasing size of the clown loaches and they can live over a decade if cared for properly.
When they are young, clowns have vivid orange colour with 3 black stripes (this is generally true, but the stripe patterns can vary significantly) which fade as they grow. On the bright side however, they don’t outgrow their energy and personality. Proper feeding is essential for the fish to remain vibrant and healthy.
Clown loach fish have a bifurcated Suboccular spine below their eyes that they raise when they are stressed or to defend themselves. Note: This is an important consideration when transporting clowns, since being removed from the aquarium will stress them and they can puncture plastic bags with the raise spine. So it is a good idea to use a solid container to be absolutely safe, or at least double or triple bag if bags are all you have.
Clown loaches are widely available in aquarium shops, but they are a poor choice for beginner aquarists. The reason being, the aquatic environment must be very precise for the clown loach to thrive and remain healthy. They are very sensitive to pollutants and nitrates. If due care is not given to optimizing the clowns environment they are very susceptible to Ichthyophthirius (or Ich for short). Clown loaches are so sensitive to their environment it is recommended that the aquarium conditions be optimized for them specifically, even if other fish will be part of the community.
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