These are bottom-living fish in the main, although the “sharks” may be more gregarious, often favouring a particular leaf, stone, or other selected resting place. Called “sharks” because their profile shape and angular dorsal fin is strongly reminiscent of the marine sharks, some specimens might also earn this title because of their aggressive nature! Usually it is necessary to keep only one of a species of Labeo in the aquarium as two will often fight to the detriment of both. Some individuals will pick on other fish for usually no apparent reason. The Botias are generally more placid and tolerant of other aquarium inhabitants, and may hide away for some of the time. Loaches are very variable, ranging from the ever-peaceful Coolie Loach to the more ebullient Weather Loach, which reacts to changes in barometric pressure with erratic behaviour.
The Red-Tailed Black Shark (epalzeorhynchos bicolor) is a truly spectacular fish as an adult, when the black body assumes a velvety green sheen in certain lighting condition, and the scarlet colour of the caudal fin takes on a mature richness. It is unlikely that more than the one individual fish will live satisfactorily in the aquarium because of the scrappy nature they display towards one another. This species is best considered for an aquarium of the more rugged community, where it is more certain of settling in.
Clown Loaches (tiger botia) are one of the most colourful fish, and certainly the most decorative loach, available to the tropical fishkeeper, and they are thankfully very peaceful fish, as they are long-lived and have the ability to grow quite large in the aquarium – but to a lesser extent than their natural full potential as wild fish. They enjoy a reputation of controlling snail populations, and are sometimes bought specially for that purpose.