Rosy Loach (Tuberoschistura arakanensis): Ultimate Care Guide

Rosy Loach is a type of loach that is active, colorful, and small. While they aren’t the most common type of loach, they can be a great choice especially for smaller aquariums. Originating in Myanmar and Thailand, Rosy Loaches are somewhat rare in the aquarium hobby and can be difficult to find. This species has lots of personality and displays high levels of activity. While Rosy Loach are mainly nocturnal, they are often active in daytime and provide a great splash of activity and color.

Rosy Loaches like shade and hiding spaces and do best in heavily planted tanks. This is also a very social species and prefers to live in larger groups of 6 to 10 individuals. While this fish is small, the need for larger groups means they can’t be kept in micro aquariums of 10 gallons or less. If you are thinking about adding this fish to your tank there are some special care requirements you’ll need to be aware of first. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to know when taking care of this colorful and active dwarf loach!

Rosy Loach Care

Rosy Loach are a hardy and active fish that needs some preparation to care for properly. They need meaty, high-protein food and do best in heavily planted tanks which provide cover, shade, and hiding places. It is important to maintain a group of 6 to 10 or more. This is a very sociable species and can become stressed when they don’t have enough company.

Are Rosy Loach easy to care for?

Rosy Loachs can be somewhat difficult to care for due to their need for high-protein foods. When uneaten, these foods can rot and spoil tank water. Excellent filtration and frequent water changes are important to ensure this fish’s long-term health. The good news is that when the basics are taken care of this species is mostly trouble free.

Rosy Loach | An Awesome Fish for Nano Tanks


Rosy Loachs prefer temperatures between 74° – 82° F.

Water pH

Rosy Loachs accept a wide range of water alkalinity between 6.5 and 8 pH. This fish does best in heavily planted tanks and this will tend to lower pH levels. If your tank includes lots of live plants keep an eye on pH levels to ensure they don’t drop too low.

Rosy Loach Size

Rosy Loachs are very small, only reaching 1 – 1 ¼ inches long when mature.

Food & Diet

The Rosy Loach is predatory and should be fed a wide range of meaty live and frozen foods. For best health you’ll want to ensure you’re giving them live foods such as microworms, Daphnia and brine shrimp. This species also needs some plant material and algae in its diet. In a mature planted tank they can easily get this part of their nutrition from the environment. Depending on your setup it may be necessary to supply foods which contain algae but it’s important for Rosy Loaches to mainly eat meaty foods for best health. They can also be fed crushed or small dried food but this isn’t a substitute for live foods. Like many loaches, the Rosy Loach can and will eat snails. Due to its small size, it won’t be able to eat larger snails. This isn’t a good species of Loach if you are looking to control snails in your aquarium. This species is mostly nocturnal so add food before turning out lights at night. Food provided in daytime is more likely to be uneaten and can spoil tank water.

Rosy Loach Lifespan

Rosy Loachs can live 5 to 7 years with excellent care. For the longest lifespan make sure to feed a varied diet of live and meaty foods along with a small amount of algae or plant matter.

Rosy Loach Tank Size

While Rosy Loaches are small in size they do best in groups of 8 to 10 members. This means you’ll need a minimum tank size of 20 gallons. While you can reduce the group size and use a 10 gallon aquarium this can result in stress and aggression in sociable Rosy Loaches. When deciding what tank size to use, plan for how many plants you expect to include. Rosy Loaches like thickly planted environments and a heavily planted aquarium will need to be larger to accommodate a large group of this species.

Rosy Loach (Tuberoschistura arakanensis)
Rosy Loach (Tuberoschistura arakanensis). HC Aqua. Creative Commons 3.0.

Tank Setup

Rosy Loachs love thickly planted environments so aquascaping your tank will be an important part of keeping this fish happy and healthy. Substrate choices should support plant growth. ADA Aqua Soil is a good choice and is commonly used for planted aquariums. Hardscape features should be placed on the bottom of the tank before adding substrate. Rosy Loaches will dig around in substrate and care should be taken to make sure that hardscape can’t be dislodged, harming your fish. This species likes dimmer light so avoid plants that need bright light to grow. Java Moss, Java Ferns, Amazon Sword, Water Wisteria and Hornwort are all good choices for your Rosy Loach tank.

When preparing a heavily planted tank for Rosy Loaches consider if you’ll want to include CO2 injection. Dense plantings can quickly exhaust dissolved CO2 in aquarium water. This can lead to slower and less robust plant growth. Adding CO2 can give heavily planted tanks a growth boost and can also reduce tank algae. If you decide to include CO2 injection you’ll need to monitor levels carefully to ensure you aren’t adding too much as this can harm your fish.

Proper filtration is an important environmental element when keeping Rosy Loaches. This species likes live and meaty foods, which can quickly reduce water quality when uneaten. You’ll want a filter which can turn over at least 6 times the volume of tank water in an hour. For instance, a 20 gallon tank will need a filter which runs at 120 GPH (gallons per hour). Check your water quality frequently and adjust filtration amount as needed.

Rosy Loach Breeding

Rosy Loach breeding is easy if you have females. Female Rosy Loaches aren’t as popular because they are completely gray and speckled. The more colorful males are more readily available. This is an egg-scattering species and parents don’t care for eggs or fry. In fact, adult Rosy Loaches will eat their own eggs, or eggs from other Rosy Loach breeding pairs if given the chance. The breeding aquarium will need a thick carpet of Java Moss or other dense cover to give the freshly laid eggs some protection. Water temperature should be raised to the upper range, around 81° F.

When spawning, the male will chase the female around the tank producing small batches of 1 to 3 eggs. Once you see eggs it is best to remove all adult fish to prevent them from eating the eggs before hatching. Rosy Loach eggs hatch in about 24 hours and the fry fully consume their yolk sacks within 24 to 36 hours. After this time, feed fry with infusoria and small dry fry food until they grow large enough to eat larger live food such as microworms or brine shrimp.

Rosy Loach Disease

Signs of disease in Rosy Loachs can be hard to spot because of their small size. While this species isn’t particularly susceptible to disease, be on the lookout for Ich and signs of wasting “skinny disease.” A key to keeping Rosy Loaches healthy is making sure their water is well filtered and as pure as possible. Water changes of 30% or more should be performed weekly.

Rosy Loach Tank Mates

Rosy Loachs are best kept in groups of 8 to 10 or more. This is a peaceful and sociable fish but can become stressed in smaller groups. When choosing tank mates know that they will eat any organism small enough to fit in their mouth, this includes baby shrimp and small snails. They are not known to harass larger or similar-sized tank mates and can be safely paired with Tetras, Rasboras, Danios, Guppys, larger shrimp and other schooling fish which occupy upper and middle tank regions. Bettas can be good tank mates as they stay in upper tank regions. Use caution as the harmless but energetic Rosy Loaches might be attacked by the Betta.

A well planted tank can help keep inter-species violence under control. In general, Rosy Loaches are peaceful fish which won’t harm tank mates, but care should be taken to ensure they aren’t under threat from larger predatory species.

Where can I find Rosy Loach for sale?

Rosy Loachs are somewhat rare in the aquarium hobby and can be difficult to find. Sometimes they may be in stock in a local fish store but often on-line sources are best. Expect to pay $6 to $10 USD per fish. There will often be discounts when buying multiple fish and it is important to obtain a group of 6 to 10 so they will have enough company to be happy and stress-free. Note that some imported Rosy Loaches haven’t eaten well and may have a thin wasted appearance. Once these fish are situated in your tank, make sure and feed extra to allow them to put on more weight. Once they gain back enough weight you can decrease feeding to a normal amount.