Hot Water Fish

Botia Clown

  • Scientific name: Chromobotia macracanthus
  • Common name: Botia Payaso, Locha Payaso, Botia Macracanthus, Botia Tigre
  • Aquarium size: 200 liters
  • Temperament: Calm and gregarious
  • Temperature: 24ºC to 30ºC
  • pH: 5.0 to 8.0
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Length: 15 centimeters


The Botia clown, also known as Botia macracanthus, since previously this was its scientific name, is a fish of the genus of Cobítidos or loaches.
It is one of the best known aquarium fish of its kind, perhaps due to its bright and attractive colors, although it is not the only interesting peculiarity of this fish:

  • It has nocturnal habits, it is quite bothered by light, although less than other loaches.
  • It can make clicking sounds, audible even outside the aquarium.

It is a calm and sociable fish that can live peacefully sharing space with other species, it likes the lower part of the aquarium. If this is the fish you are looking for, we are going to see its main characteristics, lifestyle habits, what the Botia Payaso eats, in short, if you can incorporate it into your aquarium:


In the wild, these fish can measure up to 40 centimeters, but in the aquarium it is quite rare for them to reach that size, being usual that when they reach 15 to 20 centimeters their growth slows or stops.
Some publications admit that sexual dimorphism is not known in captivity, it must be taken into account that these fish do not reach their “real” adult size in the aquarium.
However, others suggest that females are somewhat thicker than males, and that males have a deeper bifurcation in their tail fin. This last point is more a theory than a proven fact.
Its body is elongated and laterally compressed, topped with a very thick and strong tail fin.
The mouth, which opens downward, has four pairs of barbels. Another very interesting morphological detail is the presence of an erectile spine under the eyes, which serves as a weapon against predators, and which can hurt us when manipulating it in the aquarium.
They have a bright yellow-orange color, furrowed by three very well defined black bands , the first of which (oblique and less marked) crosses the eye, the central band is almost vertical, while the third band (also oblique) it is oriented in the opposite direction to the first and covers the dorsal fin and goes down to the abdomen.

Distribution and habitat

The Botia Payaso is native to the large islands of the Sunda of Borneo and Sumatra. It is known that there are genetic differences, depending on the island from which they come, and some scholars have suggested that a detailed study be carried out, to determine if they are different species.
Their natural habitat changes depending on the time of year and also depending on their age.
They usually live in the main channels of rivers, but they climb the smaller channels to spawn, during the wet season of the year, when some areas are flooded.
Young specimens usually stay for several months, in areas where Botia Clownfish reproduce, while adults return to main rivers after spawning.
The places that it usually inhabits as adults are rivers of soft water, with areas of swampy forest, with a large amount of vegetation that causes thick shade.
The bottom contains substrate with large amounts of decomposing vegetation, tree roots, trunks … these currents are usually very slow.

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Aquarium conditions

Due to their growth and that they prefer to be in small groups, the recommended aquarium size is 200 liters.
The recommended temperature can range between 24ºC and 30ºC, with a pH between 5.0 and 8.0, and a water hardness between 50 and 120 mg / L.
The aquarium should have a bottom of sand or fine gravel , with roots and stones that can serve as shelter. They are very curious and like to inspect any hole or crevice, so care must be taken with shelters, which are not too small and do not have sharp edges.
As for plants, they like well-planted aquariums, where they can easily find shelters.
Because moderate lighting is recommended, the best plants to introduce areJava Fern, Java Moss or Anubias.
They require aquariums with little water movement, very well oxygenated and that do not accumulate organic waste.

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In many places it is said that the Botia Payaso is omnivorous and will indeed eat almost everything, but they are mainly carnivorous fish.
For proper development, growth and to avoid any type of disease, it is advisable to follow a varied diet, which can include quality dry products, live or frozen worms, Tubifex, Artemia, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some aquarists create their own homemade foods, mixing pieces of cucumber, melon, spinach, zucchini, etc., joined with gelatin. They seem to be a highly recommended dietary supplement.

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Behavior and compatibility

Although it is not a particularly aggressive fish (rather calm), it must always be borne in mind that the Botia Payaso is a fish that acquires a good size and that usually has a very active behavior and less shy than other Cobitids.
For example, ornamental fish usually have tails, as the guppies , the Betta or some cichlid , may be bitten in the fins.
In general, it is recommended to include with peaceful cyprinids , you can also share space with many catfish .
Its behavior is gregarious, so it is recommended to maintain groups of no less than 5 or 6 specimens, in which quite complex social hierarchies are formed.

Botia Payso Compatible Fish

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Silver dollar
  • Climb
  • Ax fish
  • Tiger Barbel
  • Ramirezi
  • Monjita Fish
  • Goldfish
  • Discus fish
  • Snail Apple
  • Molly

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Rainbow
  • Telescope Fish
  • Guppy
  • Gourami Pearl
  • Harlequin fish
  • Zebra fish
  • Neon Tetra Fish
  • Female Betta
  • Corydoras
  • Ancistrus

Restricted Compatible Fish

  • Koi carp
  • Otocinclus
  • Drunk Fish
  • Killi fish
  • Platy

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