Dwarf Chain Loach Care Guide: Tank Setup and much more – 2021

Dwarf Chain Loach


Do you like scaleless fishes much? Well, then, loaches can be an excellent choice for your tank. Just like other fascinating loaches, dwarf chain loach is shorter in size but funnier with its attributes, which makes them great to have in your fish tank.

Dwarf chain loaches come with chained stripes on their body. These types of loaches live well in a group of 6 in a 20-gallon tank with slightly acidic and soft water. They have a calm temperament and live easily with other peaceful fishes. However, they are too rare to find.


Category Rating
Level of care A bit hard
Appearance They come with chained stripes that run laterally along the side of their nose to the tail.
Temperament Peaceful
Life expectancy 15 years
Size 2.4-inches
Diet Omnivorous
Family Cobitidae
Tank size 20-gallon
Tank environment Soft acidic water with smooth sand substrate and strong plants and rocks
Tankmates Very peaceful

About Dwarf Chain Loach


Dwarf chain loaches are quite famous for their pretty and unique look. They are among the first choices for those aquarists who like to add quirky-looking loaches to their tank. These loaches originate in the Ataran drainage, located on the border between Myanmar and Thailand and the Klong river basin of Western Thailand.

Unlike horse-faced loaches, dwarf chain loaches are quite small in size, which makes them great for a small community tank.

These loaches are pretty easy to identify with their chained stripes running laterally along the side of their nose to the tail. Their body is slightly whitish below from the middle stripe area.

On the other hand, the above stripe is golden in color and comes with blotches, which get separated by black-colored markings. Thus, their body’s striped pattern renders a chained appearance, which looks very classy and unique.


These chain markings start appearing on the fish body when they reach 1¼-inches in size. When they are juveniles, the stripes appear to be more intense. Then, as soon as these loaches grow and become adults, these stripes tend to fade.

Do you know another interesting fact about these loaches? Their intensity of mood has to do with the intensity of their body stripes. Isn’t that cute? Well, in addition to it, these fishes also have a very cute and tiny yellow tail.


Dwarf Chain Loach Temperament


Now, when it comes to temperament, dwarf chain loaches are quite suitable as community tank fish.

This fish species do not have a nipping behavior, unlike their cousins. They are relatively peaceful by nature but can get a bit aggressive towards the slow swimming fishes.

These loaches are best kept in their own group. They have a slight schooling behavior, which makes them great for keeping in a group and encourages them to grow properly.


Dwarf Chain Loach Tank Requirement


Do you know what’s more interesting about dwarf chain loaches? They are not at all bottom dwellers, unlike their cousins. These loaches love to swim in the middle area of the aquarium.

As they are small in size, you can house them in a small tank, but make sure to give them enough space to swim around.

They live happily in soft and slightly acidic water with a low to moderate level of lighting. However, make sure you are not introducing these fishes to any biologically poor tank water set-up. These fishes prefer dwelling in pristine water more.

Besides, the tank water needs to have a proper movement. Also, ensure that you are offering these fishes enough oxygen in the water. An under-gravel filter will be an appropriate choice of accessory for petting dwarf chain loaches in your tank as it produces a high level of oxygen. Also, it will help in reducing wastes, keeping the water clean and fresh.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding decorating the tank of these loaches. You can add your personal preference. However, to let the tank resemble the natural habitat of dwarf chain loaches, you can add sturdy plants and rocks to your tank.


Dwarf Chain Loach Tank Set-Up


The tank set-up for this species of loaches needs to have all the necessary assortments to keep them healthy and happy.

So, here is what you require to create a proper tank set-up for your dwarf chain loaches.

  • The minimum tank capacity for these dwarf loaches needs to be 20-gallon.
  • These fishes are suitable for nano tanks; hence you can consider a nano tank to keep only 3 of them together.
  • In the case of the substrate, you can add sand or gravel mix to the tank.
  • For the lighting requirement, you can add low to subdued light intensities in the aquarium.
  • The hardness range in the tank needs to lie between 1-15 dGH.
  • Make sure to maintain the water pH level around 6.5-6.9.
  • You can consider keeping the tank water temperature between 76-82℉.
  • A moderate level of water movement is necessary for keeping your dwarf chain loaches happy in the tank.
  • You can even consider equipping powerheads and airstones to your tank to deliver oxygen in the water adequately. The tank needs to have a turnover for at least 10-15 times in one hour.


Dwarf Chain Loach Tank Mates


Dwarf chain loaches are great community tank fishes. They are not at all aggressive. Instead, they are very peaceful. Also, these fishes are not at all prominent fin nippers like other species of loaches.

These loaches will survive well with other peaceful fishes in a tank. They are not at all venomous, hence won’t cause harm to other fishes. However, it is better not to house them with long-finned slow swimming fishes or slow bottom dwellers.

As these fishes are con-specific, they are compatible with the same species. Hence, these loaches live happily when they are kept in their own group. So, you can keep 6 specimens of their type. Also, you can add up to 8 dwarf chain loaches in one tank.

But if you are thinking of keeping them with semi-aggressive fishes, you have to monitor their behaviors continuously.

Aggressive, large semi-aggressive, or predatory fishes can be a real threat to your cute little dwarf chain loaches.Hence, it is better to keep them away from such tankmates. Also, do not keep these tiny loaches with snails or shrimps, as this species can easily eat them.

Here are a few suitable tank mates that you can add to your tank, along with your dwarf loaches.

  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • Cory Catfish
  • Zebra Danio
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Otocinclus


What Does Dwarf Chain Loach Eat?


So, have you decided to keep dwarf chain loaches in your home aquarium? Well, then you must be thinking, what do loaches eat?

It is almost effortless to feed these tiny loaches, as they are not at all a picky eater. This species of loaches is popularly known to be omnivores.

In the wild, they are usually fed on foods like aquatic invertebrates. However, in the aquarium, you can offer them any live or frozen food.

Besides, if you are thinking of what do loaches eat for a variety in their diet? Then you can simply offer them pelleted or tablet foods. Also, they will readily eat flakes or algae.

These dwarf loaches like to have a good balance in their food. Hence, while giving them high-quality flake or tablet food daily, you also need to offer them some meaty treats.

Dwarf chain loaches will easily accept mosquito larvae, brine shrimps, daphnia, tubifex, etc., in their diet. Also, occasionally you can offer them veggies like algae wafers.


Care for Dwarf Chain Loach


For facilitating better growth and a healthy lifestyle for your dwarf chain loaches, they need to be cared for regularly.

The most crucial part about caring for these loaches is that they constantly prefer clean and well-oxygenated water. Hence, frequent changing of 30% tank water per week is necessary for them.

While doing the weekly water change for your tiny loaches, make sure you are vacuuming the gravel substrate to remove any leftover food or waste. But ensure that you are not eliminating the biofilms present on the rocks.

You can also opt for a magnet algae cleaner, which will do a great job in keeping the viewing pane of the aquarium properly clear.

Like their cousins, dwarf chain loaches are also quite susceptible to diseases. As they come with very minimal body scales and no scales on the head, you need to take proper measures while caring for these loaches in your tank.

They are even much more sensitive to different types of medications. Hence, it is better to opt for a separate hospital tank to treat them properly.

Besides, frequent changing of tank parameters and cold water can cause stress to these fishes, making them have more diseases.

These dwarf loaches usually get affected with ICH. Also, they are much prone to skin disease. In case your loaches consume a lot of nitrous and eat healthily but still lose weight, then there are chances that they have some skin disease. You need to treat them carefully with proper medication.


Dwarf Chain Loach Breeding Guidelines


Now, if you are thinking of breeding dwarf chain loaches in your tank, then let us tell you that accomplishing this task is not at all easy. Most of these fishes that you get in the market are produced using hormone injection spawning in Thailand.

Since these fishes are too rare to discover, the breeder specimens used in the first attempts were sold from the private collections.


Interesting Facts About Dwarf Chain Loach


Just like the interesting look of dwarf chain loaches, there are some fascinating facts about them that you should know if you are thinking of petting them at home.

So, here are a few fun facts about these tiny chain loaches.

  • The sexually mature female dwarf chain loaches usually come with a fuller body. On the contrary, the male counterparts are skinnier.
  • The adult females grow larger than the males.
  • Adult males usually develop slightly elongated snouts with noticeably fleshy and thicker lips.
  • Unlike their other cousins, dwarf chain loaches mostly prefer to swim in the tank’s middle area. However, these loaches love to explore much. Hence, they swim all over the tank.
  • The fishes are good jumpers. Hence, it is recommended to keep the tank tightly covered.


Where to Buy Dwarf Chain Loach?


Dwarf chain loaches are much popular in the hobbyist market and had been available in large numbers earlier. But in recent years, they are quite rare to find. But why is it so?

Well, it is due to the rapid construction of hydroelectric dams, as their habitat is getting covered by more reservoirs. However, some of the wild populations are still easy to find to make them undergo captive breeding. Still then, you may not easily find them at any random aquarist shop.

So, you can consider collecting them from any online shop at a better price.


How Big Do Dwarf Chain Loach Get?


As evident from the name, dwarf chain loaches are very small in size. They usually reach up to a length of 2.4-inches or 5.99 cm.


How Long Does Dwarf Chain Loach Live?


Unlike their small structure, dwarf chain loaches are not at all short-lived.

Many aquarists prefer buying these fishes as they live for many years in the tank with proper care and diet.

These loaches live for about 8-12 years. But if they receive adequate care and food, they may even live up to 15 long years. Hence, buying them can be a very cost-effective purchase for you.


Is Dwarf Chain Loach Suitable for Aquariums?


Dwarf chain loaches are undoubtedly very suitable for your home fish tank. They are not very aggressive or demanding; instead, they will live for long, happy years in your aquarium.

These loaches are quite hardy under proper conditions. However, if you are a beginner, then it is better not to buy them.

These fishes require pristine water as they have minimal scales on their body. Also, they are much prone to diseases and very sensitive to the usages of medicines. Thus, if you do not have adequate experience in petting scaleless fishes in your tank, it is better not to opt for one.