Care Guide for Dwarf Chain Loaches – Snail-Eating Nano Fish
Loaches are known for being friendly, but noisy schooling fish. This can cause stress to their tank mates. Dwarf chain loaches are more chill and come in a nano-sized package, making them suitable for peaceful community tanks. If you have a smaller planted aquarium with a pest snail problem, you have to try out the loveable pygmy loach.
What are Dwarf Chain Loaches, and how do they work?
Ambastaia Sidthimunki are native to rivers and floodplain forests of Thailand. Because they are threatened in the wild, all fish sold in stores are commercially bred. Their narrow bodies measure in at just 2 to 3 inches (6 cm) and their noses have very few barbels. Their common name derives from their black, chain-like pattern that runs down their bodies. Although most loaches live at the bottom, these fish can swim in the middle and bottom of the tank. They flutter their fins like hummingbirds to make it seem like they are fluttering. While many loaches are night-active, dwarf chain loaches, on the other hand, are awake and active during daylight hours.
Are dwarf-chain loaches aggressive? Although they are active and move around a lot, we have never witnessed them harass other fish. They are quite curious though, so they will investigate and “sniff” new fish that are added to the aquarium.
Ambastaia sidthimunki’s high-contrast chain-like pattern at the top of its upper body is well-known.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Dwarf Chain Loaches
Ambastaia Sidthimunki can be quite small so we recommend a 20-gallon or larger tank. They are active and require a school of 7-10 dwarf chain loaches. The species can be quite expensive at $7-15 per fish. However, a large group of them will make them feel less stressed and establish a social hierarchy. They’ll also display unique behaviors such as “follow the leader” throughout the tank.
Dwarf chain loaches have adapted to living in many temperature and pH levels due to their habitat’s annual rainy season. We typically keep them between 75-82degF (24-28degC) but they can reportedly go even warmer. Provide lots of aquarium plants, little caves, and other hiding spots for them to dart into when startled. Also, they do have small spines underneath their eyes, so be careful when handling or netting them.
Do dwarf chain loaches jump? Despite being primarily bottom dwellers, they love exploring their surroundings, including outside of your aquarium, so we recommend getting a tight-fitting lid just in case.
What fish can live with dwarf chain loaches? They interact well with all sorts of similar-sized community fish. They can be kept with angelfish and corydoras catfish as well as platies, platies, tetras (rasboras), plecos, and many other fish. Dwarf chain loaches can sometimes be a little shy, so adding some dither fish will help them feel more comfortable and willing to come out into the open. They will happily eat small insects and crustaceans, so be aware that they can eat cherry shrimp babies and other tiny animals in the wild.
The pointy snout of a dwarf loach is perfect for eating small shrimp, snails, and worms.
What do Dwarf Chain Loaches eat?
Loaches like meatier foods. So, we feed them sinking foods that they can fit in their mouths and eat. We like to give them a good variety of community fish foods – such as nano pellets, Bug Bites, Repashy gel food, frozen bloodworms, and daphnia. If you have speed eaters in the aquarium, make sure the loaches are getting enough food so that they have nice, rounded bellies.
Do dwarf-chain loaches eat snails or are they just curious? Loaches with pointed faces love eating aquatic gastropods. Their snouts can be used to dig into snail shells. Dwarf-chain loaches will eat smaller snails. However, they can be annoying to larger snails.
How to Breed Dwarf Chain Loaches
There are very few accounts of home hobbyists breeding Ambastaia sidthimunki because wild chain loaches normally migrate upstream to lay eggs and fish farms must use hormone treatments to artificially induce spawning. Mark Duffill is the International Loach Association’s president. His breeding method involves feeding many types of fish food, lowering pH from 7.6-6.5 with catappa leaf, and adding rock piles for protection and shelter.
Ambastaia Nigrileata, or the black-lined loach, sometimes gets confused with Ambastaia sidthimunki.
Dwarf chain loaches are an essential addition to any freshwater enthusiast’s collection. Just remember to save up to get the biggest group possible so that you and your family can fully enjoy their adorable antics. Although we do not ship live fish, you may see our preferred online vendors list to purchase dwarf chain loaches. Also, check out this article about our top 10 favorite loaches of all time.