The Tiger Botia Loach, Syncrossus hymenophysa - ex - Botia hymenophysa, is also commonly called the Green Tiger Loach, Banded Loach, Green Tiger Botia, Tiger Botia or Zebra Loachand is highly prized by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts for their beauty, rarity, and scavenging ability.
The Tiger Botia Loach is found in the Musi River basin, South Sumatra province, Sumatra, Indonesia, the Malaysian state of Sarawak, and the Indonesian province West Kalimantan, on Borneo. It has also been reported in the Pahang and Perak river system in Malaysia and in Java.
The Tiger Botia Loach grows quite large (10″ in length), is semi aggressive, but enjoys the company of others of its own size, age, and species. It is a shoaling fish that should be kept in groups of 5 or more.
It has an elongated body with a conical pointed head. Its mouth faces downward and like other Botias has three pairs of barbels protruding from its mouth area. It has a forked erectile spine below its eye that is about as long as the diameter of the eye. The upper part of its body is brownish or yellowish brown, and the underparts are pale yellow. Its grayish yellow or gray-green flank is marked with 11 or more dark brown to black transverse bars (stripes), which are positioned slightly obliquely and give the fish its “Tiger” appearance. The bars are separated by narrow pale areas that do not reach the belly. Its fins are yellowish or greenish, and there are thin dark bands on its dorsal and caudal fins.
Tiger Botia Loaches are shy and need caves, holes, bogwood roots and other places to hide, especially when sleeping. They are active burrowers and need a sand or very fine gravel substrate in their aquarium which should be densely planted (with potted plants) and heavily aquascaped with smooth river rock and driftwood.