Tiger Hillstream Loach Sewellia Lineolata

The Tiger Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata) is a curious tropical fish of extraordinary beauty. The unique physical features of the Tiger Hillstream Loach reflect life adapted to fast-flowing streams. The flattened body is a special adaptation that gives the Tiger Hillstream Loach an extremely hydrodynamic shape. This streamlined body shape helps the Tiger Hillstream Loach navigate (or stay put) in very strong currents with minimal effort.

Scientific Name: Sewellia lineolata

Common name: Gold Ring Butterfly Sucker, Reticulated Hillstream Loach, Tiger Hillstream Loach

Synonyms: Balitora lineolata, Sewellia lineolata

Distribution: Vietnam.

Sexual Dimorphism: Females plumper than males. Males have raised areas like small "fences" on first few rays of pectoral fins, and when viewed from above are noticeably "squarer" in the area of the front leading edge of the pectoral fins

Maximum size: 2.5 inches

Similar to: Sewellia pterolineata

Tiger Hillstream Loach Care : Inhabit fast flowing streams over boulders. Aquarium must duplicate these conditions as fish have very high oxygen requirements. All need excellent water-flow and aeration, numerous rocky hiding places and smooth pebbles and boulders to graze over. Lighting should be bright to encourage algae growth in the aquarium. Plants are not necessary as the fish do not normally encounter them in the wild, but they will help with water-quality. Suitable plants for high-flow environments are Anubias and Microsoreum. These will grow on rock-work or driftwood.

Feeding : Note these algae eaters fish have smaller mouths than Gastromyzon species which should be a consideration with foodstuffs. Good quality flake, sinking pellets, algae wafers, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, blanched Spinach, Kale, natural algae an advantage.

Water parameters: pH:6.5 - 7.5. Hardness: Medium

Temperature: 68ºF to 75ºF (20-23.8°C)

Breeding: In 2006 these fish were bred in aquaria for the first time although the full details of their courtship and breeding methods have yet to be witnessed.

It is critical to maintain high water quality and aeration plus strong water movement to ensure the health of the Tiger Hillstream Loach. The Tiger Hillstream Loach should not be housed in a tropical aquarium setup with water temperatures consistently above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A recommended minimum tank of 30 gallons should be provided to house the Tiger Hillstream Loach.

Supplement the diet of the Tiger Hillstream Loach with foods that sink to the bottom of the aquarium such as a high-quality flake food, sinking carnivore pellets, sinking algae wafers, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

Justifiably regarded by most Tiger Hillstream Loach enthusiasts as the most beautiful of all algae eaters species, Sewellia lineolata remains an ambition for many.

This species does not travel well and often shipments may perish in transit. The species very high oxygen requirements means that shippers are learning to pack less fish per bag. This raises the overall freight costs per fish and hence increases the price at the retail level.

If the hobbyist can afford to purchase these fish, they must protect their investment by providing the best quality environment possible. Given these conditions, fish that have survived import will usually settle down and acclimatize well to aquarium life. Also, unlike many other Sucker-bodied Tiger Hillstream Loaches, they seem far more at ease when searching for food on the loose surface of sand or fine gravel, and will flutter their fins, disturbing the surface grains.