Botia identification help

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Botia identification help

Postby gedwin » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:12 pm

I have 4 botia loaches all purchased from the same store. The first 3 were Jan/Feb '14, and then the 4th added May 2015. I have posted photos of each as juveniles (i.e., when purchased) and current, so about 3.5 years between photos for the first three and closer to 2 years between photos for the final one.

I believe the middle two (numbered 26 and 36) seem typical Botia kubotai in their markings. These have grown only to about 2 inches. The first one in the photo (#25) has grown to about 3 inches, and seems to have kubotai character but I wonder if it is a hybrid. The last one (#40) is now more like 4 inches, and clearly seems not to be kubotai, which is somewhat disappointing since I was trying to build a shoal. It is this fourth one that I would most greatly appreciate help from the experts here in identifying. I give also a recent stand-alone photos of this one. Based on my review of the identification information on this site, I am thinking Botia histrionica, or the Botia sp. aff rostrata??

Thanks for any help!

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Re: Botia identification help

Postby Aelfrostt » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:10 pm

Hi
I'm thinking your bottom one is Botia almorhae.
also known as Yoyo Loach, Almorha Loach, Pakistani Loach, Reticulated loach.
I had several of these for many years in one of my tanks.
6 botia kubotai
6 yoyo's
10 barbs
90 gallon
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Re: Botia identification help

Postby gedwin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:51 am

Aelfrostt wrote:Hi
I'm thinking your bottom one is Botia almorhae.
also known as Yoyo Loach, Almorha Loach, Pakistani Loach, Reticulated loach.
I had several of these for many years in one of my tanks.


Thanks for your reply.

I revisited the Botia almorhae page here, and I could believe you are right. My reasons for excluding that possibility in my own search before posting was that my individual-in-question never had anything like the "yoyo" patterning when young (i.e., y-like shapes with dots in between). Also, the Botia almorhae pages states:

"Body markings can be very variable in this species, and there is a marked difference between juveniles and adults. Adults develop more "in-fill" of the juvenile markings to a point where the whole fish may be reticulated, hence one of its common names."

I suppose the "marking can be very variable" is perhaps the key phrase, but I had also noted that my specimen has done exactly the opposite of the "in-fill", and in fact markings have become more sparse and fainter as he has grown older. I don't know how hard-and-fast these "rules" are, but in any event, these were the reasons I had initially excluded Botia almorhae.

But I have zero experience in all this, other than keeping these 4 individuals for the past ~3 years.

A new question is, if we agree this 4th loach is a different species than the other 3, am I OK with respect to the idea that these animals prefer to be kept among their own species. Is this singular (putative) Botia almorhae going to be happy enough living alongside the Botia kubotai? As far as I can see, they all seem to be healthy and happy, but again, I am not expert with respect to the subtleties of their expected behaviors. All 4 tend to hang out together, no one chases anyone else with any long-lasting intensity, and they do tend to intermix in pairing up as they swim around, flash each other, etc.

Thanks again for the help.
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Re: Botia identification help

Postby Diana » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:35 pm

I think the last fish of the 4 is a different species. I am not sure if the first 3 are all the same species.

The markings on many Loaches are variable, so the typical YOYO markings might not really spell out the word 'yoyo', but can be more disconnected as shown by your fish. I am not saying yours is definitely a Yoyo Loach, just that it is possible. How the markings change over time is also variable. The pictures of some species here at Loaches can be really interesting, showing some extremes of pattern changes.

As for whether they need to be with their own species:
Almost all Loaches are social.
Most social fish prefer being with their own species. The best example of this are the species that school, or even birds that flock and mammals that live in herds.
Some species that want to be social with their own kind can appear to be happy socializing with similar species. This works best if the 2 species have similar behavior such as nocturnal/diurnal, eating habits, and similar social signals including how much personal space they need, and what behaviors they do to communicate with their buddies. A species that uses their fins to show such signals is not going to understand head bobbing, for example.

About the only way you can figure out if this is working among the fish you have is to watch them, especially comparing the actions of the 'odd fish' with the rest of the group.
When you watch fish look at how they behave under the same conditions. There will be a range of responses to a certain event. If most of the fish usually respond with a narrow range of actions, but the 'odd fish' almost always responds in a way that is significantly different then maybe the social signals are different.
A few examples:
Turn off the lights in the tank, leaving just enough room light so you can watch the fish.
If all the same fish go to their cave and pile on top of each other, but the 'odd fish' starts searching the tank for food, then you have a really different type of fish: Diurnal (active during the day) and Nocturnal (active at night). These 2 species are probably not similar enough to supply the social needs of the 'odd fish'.

Feed the fish. If they all crowd together, grabbing at the food, and maybe one fish snags something and swims away with it, this is normal for most fish. However, if the one that swims away is always the 'odd fish' then maybe there is a bit of difference here. This might not actually be a problem. As long as all the fish are eating well, growing, healthy, then they have worked out how to eat without problems. Since fish only eat this way for a few minutes out of the 24 hours, it is probably just fine if they behave just a bit differently this way.
If, on the other hand, the 'odd fish' starts attacking the others at meal time, then this is not acceptable. These fish are not compatible.

Some of this might be an individual personality difference. If the 'odd fish' tends to be a more peaceful personality than average for its species, then it might get along with an overall peaceful species pretty well. On the other hand, if the 'odd fish' is a more aggressive example of its species, then it probably won't get along with a generally peaceful species.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Botia identification help

Postby NancyD » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:31 pm

The last fish looks like a histrionica to me too. The top fish could be a kubotai, their markings change & since it's larger it may be just different. Lots of variation is possible. It's surprising to me they haven't grown more in 3 years.

The last couple years I've noticed more mixed lots of loaches at lfs. Often labelled kubotai or yoyo with at least 3 & maybe 4 species. I had never seen any that looked like maybe rostrata until these last few years & some that look like your top fish. It's funny, if called kubotai they're 2 or 3+ times the price than if called yoyo.
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Re: Botia identification help

Postby gedwin » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:52 pm

Yes, these were all called kubotai and were about $13 each. Especially being a novice myself, the juveniles looked similar enough that I had no idea.
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