The Chinese Butterfly Loach, Hong-kong Pleco, Butterfly Hillstream Loach

rare asian freshwater fish

The Chinese Butterfly Loach, also referred to as the Hong-kong Pleco or Butterfly Hillstream Loach, has captivated the attention of fish enthusiasts with its unique appearance and peaceful nature. This hardy fish, native to the Xi Jiang River basin in China, boasts a striking light brown to golden background adorned with an intricate pattern of dark spots.

As we delve into the discussion, we will explore its natural habitat, ideal tank conditions, and feeding requirements, uncovering the secrets behind its popularity.

Moreover, we will touch upon the elusive topic of breeding, as well as common diseases and health concerns associated with this captivating species.

So, join us as we unravel the mysteries surrounding the Chinese Butterfly Loach and discover why it has become a sought-after addition to many community aquariums.

Key Takeaways

  • Beaufortia kweichowensis is a hardy and peaceful fish suitable for community tanks.
  • It has a light brown to golden background color with a random pattern of dark spots.
  • This fish is small in size and has a unique appearance, which has increased its popularity among fish keepers.
  • It is native to the Xi Jiang River basin in China and is now widespread throughout Chinese rivers and streams.

Appearance and Unique Features

detailed description of appearance

The Chinese Butterfly Loach, also known as the Hong-kong Pleco or Butterfly Hillstream Loach, is a small and visually distinctive fish native to the Xi Jiang River basin in China. It has gained popularity among fish enthusiasts due to its unique appearance and behavior.

The Butterfly Loach has a light brown to golden background color with a random pattern of dark spots, giving it a striking and eye-catching appearance. It also has a dark spotted line on its fins, further adding to its visual appeal.

In terms of behavior and temperament, the Butterfly Loach is a peaceful fish that is suitable for community tanks. It tends to be active and enjoys creeping along glass and up decorations.

Its small size and distinctive features make it an interesting addition to any aquarium.

Natural Habitat and Distribution

Beaufortia kweichowensis, commonly known as the Chinese Butterfly Loach, is a freshwater fish species that is native to the fast-moving rivers and streams of the Xi Jiang River basin in China. This species has a unique appearance and is highly sought after by fish keepers. However, the Chinese Butterfly Loach's natural habitat and distribution have been impacted by various factors.

Conservation efforts:

Due to habitat destruction and water pollution, the Chinese Butterfly Loach population is declining. Efforts are being made to protect its natural habitat and promote sustainable fishing practices.

Impact on local ecosystems:

The Chinese Butterfly Loach plays a crucial role in its native ecosystems by consuming algae and detritus. Its decline can disrupt the balance of these ecosystems and affect other species that depend on it for food and habitat.

Conservation efforts and understanding the impact of the Chinese Butterfly Loach on local ecosystems are essential for its long-term survival and the health of the rivers and streams it inhabits.

Tank Size and Compatibility

choosing the right tank

To ensure the optimal conditions for the Chinese Butterfly Loach, it is important to consider the appropriate tank size and compatible tank mates.

The Chinese Butterfly Loach is a small fish, reaching a size of 5-8cm (2.3-3.25 inches). Therefore, a minimum tank size of 20+ gallons is recommended to provide enough space for them to swim and thrive.

It is also essential to maintain excellent water flow and aeration in the tank, as the Chinese Butterfly Loach is native to fast-moving rivers and streams with highly oxygenated water.

When it comes to tank mates, it is best to choose non-aggressive species that can peacefully coexist with the Chinese Butterfly Loach. Keeping them in groups of 3 or more is also advisable, as they are social fish.

Water Parameters and Maintenance

Maintaining proper water parameters and implementing regular maintenance practices are crucial for the well-being and longevity of the Chinese Butterfly Loach. This unique species requires specific water conditions to thrive.

Here are some important considerations for water parameters and maintenance:

  • Water testing: Regularly test the water parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within the acceptable range for the Chinese Butterfly Loach. This will help prevent any potential health issues.
  • Filtration systems: Invest in a high-quality filtration system that provides efficient mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. A strong water flow is important for this species as they naturally inhabit fast-moving rivers and streams.
  • Regular water changes: Perform regular water changes to maintain water quality and remove any accumulated toxins or waste. Aim for a partial water change of 20-30% every 1-2 weeks.

Feeding Requirements and Diet

nutritional needs and food

After considering the water parameters and maintenance needs of the Chinese Butterfly Loach, it is important to now focus on its feeding requirements and diet. This species has specific dietary preferences that should be taken into account for its optimal health and well-being. The Chinese Butterfly Loach is primarily herbivorous and feeds on algae and other plant matter found in its natural habitat. In captivity, it can be fed a variety of foods including good quality flake, sinking pellets, and algae wafers. Additionally, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, and blanched Spinach or Kale can be included in its diet. Natural algae is also beneficial for this species. Reports suggest that any quality sinking food is adequate for their nutrition. To summarize the feeding requirements and dietary preferences of the Chinese Butterfly Loach, refer to the table below:

Feeding Requirements Dietary Preferences
Herbivorous Algae and plant matter
Food Options Good quality flake, sinking pellets, algae wafers, thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, blanched Spinach or Kale
Supplementary Food Natural algae

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding and reproduction of Beaufortia kweichowensis has limited information available in home aquariums, but it is known that males are slightly larger with stronger coloration. Despite the lack of detailed information, there are some insights into the breeding challenges and reproductive behavior of these fish:

  • Spawning behavior: Beaufortia kweichowensis is an egg-laying species that exhibits external fertilization. During courtship, males may engage in territorial displays and chase females.
  • Breeding challenges: One of the main challenges in breeding Butterfly Loaches is replicating their natural habitat conditions in the aquarium. This includes recreating the fast-flowing, highly oxygenated water that they prefer.
  • Egg care: After spawning, the eggs are typically scattered and left unattended. It is essential to provide suitable substrate or rocky surfaces for the female to attach her eggs to.

Further research is needed to fully understand the breeding and reproductive behavior of Beaufortia kweichowensis in the home aquarium setting.

Common Diseases and Health Concerns

understanding common health issues

Common Diseases and Health Concerns in Beaufortia kweichowensis can impact the overall well-being and vitality of these fish in the home aquarium environment. It is important for fish keepers to be aware of common health issues and implement disease prevention strategies to ensure the health maintenance of their Chinese Butterfly Loach. Here is a table outlining some of the common health issues, prevention and treatment methods for Beaufortia kweichowensis:

Common Health Issues Prevention and Treatment
Ichthyophthirius (Ich) Maintain proper water parameters, quarantine new fish, use medication
Fin Rot Ensure good water quality, remove any injured or sick fish, treat with antibiotics
Fungal Infections Maintain clean aquarium, treat with antifungal medication
Parasitic Worms Quarantine new fish, use appropriate deworming medication
Bacterial Infections Maintain good water quality, treat with antibiotics

Additional Resources and References

For further information and in-depth resources about Beaufortia kweichowensis, the Chinese Butterfly Loach, interested fish keepers can consult reputable online sources, such as,,, and These sources provide valuable information on the care, behavior, and habitat requirements of the Chinese Butterfly Loach. Additionally, they offer insights into the importance of conservation efforts for this species and compare it with other loach species.

  1. This comprehensive database provides detailed information on the taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and conservation status of Beaufortia kweichowensis. It also includes photographs and references to scientific literature.
  2. This website offers a wealth of information on various loach species, including the Chinese Butterfly Loach. It provides care tips, species profiles, and a forum for enthusiasts to share their experiences.
  3. and These websites provide practical advice on setting up and maintaining aquariums for the Chinese Butterfly Loach. They offer insights into tank size, water parameters, and suitable tank mates.

These resources are essential for fish keepers looking to learn more about the Chinese Butterfly Loach and contribute to its conservation.


the cats were playing

Based on the comprehensive information and resources available on Beaufortia kweichowensis, the Chinese Butterfly Loach, it is evident that this unique and captivating fish species is a fascinating addition to any community tank. With its small size, distinct appearance, and peaceful nature, it is highly sought after by fish keepers.

However, breeding challenges have limited our understanding of this species' reproductive behavior in home aquariums. More research is needed to uncover the secrets of successful breeding and improve the sustainability of captive populations.

Additionally, conservation efforts should be put in place to protect the natural habitats of Beaufortia kweichowensis. By preserving the fast-moving rivers and streams with soft, slightly acidic, and highly oxygenated water that this species calls home, we can ensure its survival for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Average Lifespan of Beaufortia Kweichowensis?

The average lifespan of Beaufortia kweichowensis is not well-documented, but it is estimated to be around 3-5 years in captivity. Proper water parameters, including soft and slightly acidic water with high oxygen levels, can help promote their longevity.

Are There Any Specific Water Parameters That Should Be Monitored for This Species?

Water parameters play a crucial role in the successful maintenance of Beaufortia kweichowensis. It thrives in soft and slightly acidic water with a pH range of 7.0-8.0. Additionally, a well-oxygenated tank setup with excellent water flow is recommended.

Can Beaufortia Kweichowensis Be Kept With Other Types of Loaches?

When considering the compatibility of Beaufortia kweichowensis with other loach species, it is important to consider their individual temperament, size, and habitat preferences. Proper tank setup requirements should be met to ensure a harmonious coexistence.

Are There Any Specific Tank Requirements for Breeding Beaufortia Kweichowensis?

Breeding techniques for Beaufortia kweichowensis involve providing a suitable tank setup with excellent water flow, aeration, and soft, slightly acidic water. It is important to maintain a peaceful and stress-free environment for successful breeding.

How Often Should Beaufortia Kweichowensis Be Fed?

Beaufortia kweichowensis should be fed small, quality flakes, sinking pellets, and algae wafers suitable for its small mouth. Thawed frozen Bloodworm, Mysis Shrimp, and blanched Spinach or Kale can also be given. Natural algae is beneficial. Feeding schedule should be regular and appropriate for the fish's size and dietary needs.


In conclusion, the Chinese Butterfly Loach is a visually stunning and adaptable fish that thrives in community tanks. With its unique pattern of dark spots on a light brown to golden background, it adds a touch of beauty to any aquarium.

Its benthic nature and preference for fast-moving, oxygenated water make it important to provide suitable hiding places and substrate. By maintaining proper water parameters and offering a varied diet, this fish can thrive in captivity.