Fish - Panda loach
Juvenile specimens were first exported in 2011 and have since been available infrequently in the stores with prices generally reflecting its rarity. Young fishes have creamy-white body with a black blotch at the tip of the snout and three broad black bars circling the body. The striking black-and-white-striped juvenile color pattern inspired their common name. Their coloration changing as they mature and the black bars become paler and breaking up to a variable network of stripes and blotches more-or-less arranged in three lateral rows: one running along the dorsal surface, one along the lateral line, and another under the lateral line. This is why usually only juveniles tend to be traded, as they have more interesting pattern. Its body morphology specialised to life in fast-flowing water, the paired fins are orientated horizontally, body and head flattened which allows the fish to cling tightly to solid surfaces. In the nature Yaoshania pachychilus live in mountain streams over 500 meters above sea level, in crystal clear, well-oxygenated waters with a depth of typically 50 cm that become only deeper during the periods of high rainfall. Because their overall population is small and have a limited habitat, additionally these habitats under threat of degradation they have listed as vulnerable on the China species red list.
Sexual differences are not known, but probably the larger, heavier-bodied individuals are females. They have not been bred in aquarium, and there are no reports about their natural breeding habits either, thus Panda loaches that appear in the aquarium trade are undoubtedly wild-caught specimens.
Scientific name: Yaoshania pachychilus (Chen; 1980)
Synonyms: Protomyzon pachychilus (Chen, 1980)
Common name: Panda Loach
Habitat: Asia; South China, Found only in a few streams draining the Dayaoshan mountain.
Size: 5-6 cm
Biotope: Inhabits the fast mountain streams. the riffles, cascades and also the shallow pools, where the substarte is a mixture of sand and small gravel with lagrer rocks and boluders, and often some leaf litter.
Social behavior: Not aggressive, active loach, but its special requirements limit the selection of suitable tankmates. Keep them in a small group of at least 4-5 species.
Diet: Omnivorous; in nature it mainly eats algae and micro-organisms. In the aquarium it can be fed with small live and frozen foods, and quality dried foods, but it is important that their diet must contain a high proportion of vegetable matter, such as spirulina algae or cucumber.
Breeding: It has not been bred in aquarium.
Tank: Minimum 55 litres
Population: 4-5 fish for 75 litres
Decoration: Use sand or small gravel as substrate with lots of smooth, water-worn rocks and boulders. The lighting can be bright to help algae growth. They need fast-flowing and well-oxygenated, clean water so the filter turnover should be 15-20 times per hour of the tank water volume.
Temperature: 16-24 °C
Hardness: 2-15 NK°
Lifespan: 6-8 years
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