Please visit our Sponsors
Related FAQs: Hillstream Fishes, Cypriniiform/Minnow Fishes, White Clouds, Shiners & Rosies, Siamese Algae Eaters, Flying Foxes,

Related Articles:  Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Minnow "Sharks", Bala or Tri-Colored Sharks, Siamese Algae Eaters, Loaches, Goldfish, Koi/NishikigoiGlofish, A Bad Omen for the Future of the Hobby? by Spencer Glass

Featured Freshwater Critter:

Chinese Hillstream Loach  


By Adam Jackson


Common Names:

Butterfly Loach, Chinese Sucker Loach, Butterfly Loach, Hillstream Loach, UFO Plecostomus, Chinese Loach, Hong-Kong Plecosotomus 

Latin/Scientific Names/Species:

Beaufortia Kweichowensis(Fang, 1931)



Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinoptrygii

Order: Cypriniformes

Family: Balitoridae

Genus: Beaufortia (Hora, 1932) 



In my days as a junior aquarist (and I do mean junior 6 years old in this case) I was given the opportunity to set up my own slice of freshwater aquaria.  Sure my dads 80-gallon hexagon was nice, and I got to help, but it was never really mine.  I started with a 20-gallon aquarium, the inflexible tall variety unfortunately.  I wanted a sucker fish, something that would hang around the bottom and on the glass, however even at this tender age something in my gut told me it was wrong to keep a H. Punctatus (common plecostomus) to be in this set up. So pops and me set out on the search for something else, and when I was about to take home a Chinese Algae Eater (which would have been a huge mistake), I saw a small round fish labeled UFO plecostomus.  It had the relative appearance of a plecostomus and the sucking behavior certainly seemed to match to match that of one.  Little did I know I was taking home a relatively unknown and underutilized loach, however I can say that I would be far from disappointed.


Locales and Habitat and Appearance:

Beaufortia Kweichowensis is many of the highland and inland streams of China, especially those that have fast moving currents.  B. Kweichowensis can usually be found attached to rocks and pebbles that make up the substrate or bank of whichever stream or river they happen to be in.  Appearance, body shape wise, many compare this loach to a flounder.  The organs are centralized in the middle body portion of the animal, while two pairs of ray fins along with the tail and dorsal fins provide propulsion.  Unlike the plecostomus they are often compared to these loaches often use their ray fins to glide around the mid portion of the tank, but only for a short period of time.  Color wise they typically adapt and camouflage with their current surroundings.  Having such a wide distribution these loaches inhabit multiple niches, which include highly variable temperatures (Well talk more about this in the section below.)


Set Up (Care and Diet) Tank mates: 

Being that these animals have such a large distribution, existing in mountain streams as well as sea level streams, they are relatively hardy and can manage a wide array of temperature conditions and water types. These animals can adapt from a temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees (Due to the oxygen saturation they require, I suggest not going above the mid seventies) and a pH range of 6.5-8.0.  These animals do however require higher oxygen saturation than most commonly kept fish. Keep in mind that they often come from shallow, temperate fast moving waters, hence the high oxygen.  This aspect of their care is not a negotiable as some of their other needs and they will quickly perish in a stagnant tank.   The average power filter for a twenty gallon aquarium processes about 100 gallons per hour, this means the tanks water volume is turned over only 5 times per hour.  I would suggest using a power filter or adding power-heads that process at least 10 times of the tanks volume per hour. The hillstream loach will ignore most fish, invertebrate and plant life, though may show aggression to their own kind.  These fish can become prey if put in with predators keep in mind they do not have the armor to protect them like the catfish that we compare them to. 

                     As far as stocking density, I would recommend at least a fifteen-gallon tank and if you plan to keep more than one allow at least 10-15 gallons per animal to discourage turf wars.  These animals are omnivorous though in my experience their preference tends to lean toward vegetable matter and algae.  Most aquarium foods will be sufficient, the only concern here is the size of the loaches mouth, they are quite smaller than average so make sure food offerings take this into consideration.  These fish are not currently reared in captivity and likely wont be due to their large and wide distribution.


The Point:

If you are willing to search these animals out and meet their minimal needs they can be a neat addition to the appropriate aquarium.  Just remember they arent plecos! 









Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: