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Horseface loach - Acantopsis choirorhynchos

Horseface loach - Acantopsis choirorhynchos

Scientific name: Acantopsis choirorhynchos

Common name: Horseface loach

Family: Cobitidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 20 - 30 cm (7.87 - 11.81 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 6.5 - 7.8

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 6 - 12°N (107.14 - 214.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 18 - 27 °C (64.4 - 80.6°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: East Asia

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


The Horseface loach originates from East Asia where they can be found in the waterways of Sumatra, Borneo and Thailand. They prefer waterways with a current as they require oxygenated water.

Short description

The Horseface loach is often described as the long nosed loach for obvious reasons as it develops an elongated body and also an elongated head shape. They are not easy to keep and not recommended for beginners as they can be very fussy about the aquarium conditions, specimens sold in the aquatic trade are mostly juveniles and getting them to reach adulthood is often only achieved by experienced keepers. In the wild they inhabit rivers with fairly strong current so oxygenated is a must to keep them happy. Adult specimens can reach a length of up to 8 inches so this must be taken into account with the size of the aquarium used to house these fish. They are not scaleless but they do have very small scales so medicating these fish can be difficult.


If cared for correctly the average lifespan for the Horseface loach is between 10 - 12 years.

General care

Due to the adult size of the Horseface loach, the minimum length of the aquarium should be at least 4 feet (120cm), the width should be at least 18 inches (45 cm), this will allow for plenty of swimming space. Sand should be used for the substrate as the Horseface loach does like to bury itself and it will also spend a lot of time sifting the sand searching for food. Cooler water temperatures are required and if your room temperature falls within the range then a heater will not be required in the aquarium. The recommended range is between 18 - 27°C (64 - 80°F) and provide water flow with careful positioning of the outlet nozzle from the filter, aiming this at the water surface will also increase gaseous exchange keeping the oxygen levels high. Rocks or wood should be added to provide hiding places and keep the lighting dimmed. If you wish to add live aquatic plants then make sure that they can also cope with the lower lighting levels, if not artificial plants will make a good option.

The Horseface loach is classed as a peaceful species so should not be housed with aggressive tank mates, this applies especially to the lower levels as these fish are classed as bottom dwellers.

Make sure that the aquarium is fully cycled before adding these fish even though they are classed as semi-hardy and perform regular water changes of at least 10% weekly.


Feeding the Horseface loach is not difficult as they will accept most foods offered. As the feed from the bottom of the aquarium it is best to offer them small sinking pellets but this should be varied with treats of live or frozen foods. Tankmates that occupy the higher levels of the aquarium may get the larger share of the feeds so make sure that you Loach get their share as well.


Unusually mature females tend to grow larger than the males however the males will develop extended rays on their pectoral fins.


As of yet there are no recorded cases of the Horseface loach breeding in the aquarium and as such most juveniles available for sale are wild caught specimens.

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