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Reticulated Hillstream Loach

(Sewellia lineolata)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 64-76° F, KH 8-15, pH 6.5-7.5
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Southeast Asia, China, India   • Family: Balitoridae
• Species: Loaches   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Reticulated Hillstream Loach native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Reticulated Hillstream Loach is an example of where a natural adaptation for their native habitat has inadvertently produced a gem for the aquarium hobby, with a species that has a unique almost Stingray like appearance and an active, inquisitive swim style. While many algae eaters and plecos have developed adaptations that allow them to cling to rocks and wood in their native stream habitats, the Reticulated Hillstream Loach has a highly modified flattened body that has a Stingray like appearance, which has allowed them to succeed in fast-flowing mountain streams, rivers, and rapids.

This flattened body shape helps the Reticulated Hillstream Loach both navigate and cling to rocks and wood in very strong currents with minimal effort. In addition, this very practical and specialized body shape helps accentuate the gorgeous wing-like finnage of the Hillstream Loach. This combined with a graphic mottled pattern adds further visual interest which sets this species of algae eater apart from the typical algae eater found witin the hobby.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Reticulated Hillstream Loach in the home aquarium.

Despite the adaptations for fast flowing waters, the Reticulated Hillstream Loach can thrive in the aquarium environment provided that they are provided additional water flow, highly oxyginated water and a substrate free of built up organic matter. Additional water flow in the form of a powerhead or a canister filter that is over-sized for the aquarium and utilizes a spray bar return, are essential aspects of a proper aquarium housing Reticulated Hillstream Loaches.

The additional water flow will not only increase disolved oxygen and provide water current, but will also keep detritus and dissolving organics from building up on the aquarium substrate and in crevices created by rocks and driftwood. These slight enhancements to the typical tropical community aquarium setup will help make the tank suitable for housing fish like the Reticulated Hillstream Loach, who are adapted for streams and fast flowing rivers. In general the hobbyist will want to stay away from keeping this species in the typical blackwater Amazon habitat with calm waters and substrate obscurred by leaf litter, and instead keep them in a tank designed to emulate a stream or river habitat.

While Reticulated Hillstream Loach can tolerate colder water temperatures down into the low 60°s F, they can do well in aquariums with water temperatures all they way up to the mid 70°s F. The warmer the aquarium water the more important that the hobbyist maintain high levels of dissolved oxygen and significant water flow.

Suitable tank mates consist of pretty much any community fish species and any Cichlid species that won't see the Reticulated Hillstream Loach as a potential meal. Additionally, tank mates should share the Reticulated Hillstream Loach love of flowing waters and require higher water temperatures in the upper 70°s F to mid 80°s F like Discus.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Reticulated Hillstream Loach and provide a healthy diet.

In healthy well established aquariums the Reticulated Hillstream Loach will feed primarily on algae, detritus and leftover food items that make it in between rocks or on to the aquarium substrate. They are prolific algae eaters who will readily clear rocks, plant leaves and aquarium glass of algae and any small bits of detritus or micro-crustaceans living in the algae.

If kept in an aquarium where there is not sufficient algae growth or ample feeding opportunities on leftover foods reaching the substrate, the Reticulated Hillstream Loach can be fed sinking algae wafers, carnivore pellets, flake foods or freeze-dried foods designed for freshwater fish.

In situations where direct feeding is required in order to make sure that the Reticulated Hillstream Loach is properly fed, hobbyists can feed them vegetables like cucumber or blanched spinach or meaty food items ranging from brine shrimp to commercial flake or pellet foods as long as the foods sink to the bottom of the aquarium.

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