What Size Tank Do I Need for Hillstream Loach?

Hillstream loach is one of the coolest-looking algae eaters for you if you are an aquarist for some time. They are not very big in size – approximately 2 or 3 inches. For this comparatively small fish, what size tank do you need?

Well, you are going to need one between 20 to 50 gallons. Because the tank size for a hillstream loach depends on many factors.

What Size Tank Do I Need for Hillstream Loach
Hillstream Loach

What is the Ideal Size Tank for Hillstream Loach?

The ideal size thank for a hillstream loach is 50 gallons.

However, you need to bear in mind that, they thrive the most when they are in a group of 3 or 4 other hillstream loaches.

Another important thing is making sure of their ideal water flow and oxygen supply. Which is not possible to provide in a small tank.

So, if you are thinking to buy yourself a group of these fish, do not go for a tank below 50 gallons.

Minimum Tank Size for Hillstream Loach

The minimum tank size for a hillstream loach is 20 gallons.

You must be thinking how can I jump from 50 to 20 gallons? Well, I recommend keeping hillstream loach either in a group of 3-4 or alone. If you have decided to go for a single one, then 20 gallons is enough.

Another recommendation is, do not to keep them in a pair. The chances are high that, the stronger one will dominate the weaker one; which will not be a happy experience for them.

How to Set Up a Tank for Hillstream Loach?

After you have decided on the tank size you want to go for, now it’s time for setting it up. Water flow is one of the most important things you should cover in the tank setup.

Water Flow

Hillstream loaches cannot thrive without high water flow. You must need to do everything to create water flow in the tank.

The best thing you can use is powerhead. It will create a consistent and non-destructive water flow in the tank. External canisters and power filters are also needed to maintain the water quality.

Another thing you need to make sure to create this flow is the tank needs to be high and long. It will also help to create more oxygen in the water. Hillstream loaches need more oxygen-filled water than average.

Tank Décor

These fish have very smooth bodies and like to roam around near the surface most of the time.

So, you need to put a soft and sandy thing to protect their body. Some smooth rocks are also a great option for them. Because they love to rest on those rocks.

Another common addition to a tank can be plants. Almost all fish love plants as it provides them with good hiding spots as well as privacy. You can also add driftwood and other decorative objects.

How Many of Hillstream Loach Can I Keep Together?

3 to 4 hillstream loaches are good for one tank.

This is the number in which they do best. More or less, this can create various issues. Though these fishes are not aggressive.

Even they are quite peaceful in nature. Yet, more than 4 hillstream in one tank can create territorial issues. It can make them stressed or in the worst case, injured.

Best tank mates for Hillstream Loach

The water condition for hillstream loaches is very specific. If you want to keep other species than those loaches in one tank, you have to make sure they are also compatible with that water condition as well. Otherwise, the other species will not survive long.

Middle and top-dwellers are a good choice for their tank mate. As they will not invade the territory of the loaches. Yet, make sure you do not add too many fish species in one tank. no matter how specious the tank is. It will make all of them stressed.

Some of the best choices for hillstream loach tank mates:

  1. Danio
  2. Neon tetra
  3. Harlequin rasbora
  4. Dwarf shrimp
  5. Rhinogobjus

Tank Mates, You Should Avoid

If you choose any aggressive and big fish which is territorial can be a bad choice as their tank mates.

Hillstream loaches are peaceful fish. Aggressive and territorial fish do not get along with them. on the other hand, as they are small fish, big fish can eat them without any notice.

Some of the fish you must avoid as hillstream loach tank mate:

  1. African cichlids
  2. Oscars
  3. barbs

Ideal Size of a Breeding Tank for Hillstream Loach

The ideal condition of the breeding tank should be as same as the normal one I have mentioned above.

There will be no difference in the water parameter and the water flow of the tank. you can choose a smaller tank such as 10 gallons as a breeding tank.

The second step is to regularly maintain a sponge on the intake of the filter. otherwise, the fry will be sucked in. Be careful, if you do not maintain it regularly, the water flow may decrease.

The temperature should be between 25-to-26-degree C. The substrate should be river gravel which is already matured. So that the fry will be able to navigate through it as well as be protected.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Have Just One Hillstream Loach?

Yes, you can. Many people prefer it for the high price range. But keeping them in a group is preferable.

Are hillstream loaches easy to keep?

Yes, if the water condition is stable.

Can 2 hillstream loaches live together?

Yes, but do not recommend it. Because they can get into fights if one is stronger than the other.

Do hillstream loach jump out of the tank?

Yes, they are tank jumpers. A tank lid is preferable.


Hillstream loach is a small but gorgeous fish to keep in your aquarium. They are calm in nature and fun to watch at the same time. If the water condition and flow are good, the maintenance of this fish is stress-free.

But my suggestion is, if you are a beginner, it might not be the best fish for you. Even if you can reach the tank size correctly, providing a certain water condition can be difficult for you.

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Arif H Fahim

Welcome to PetFishTank! My name is Arif. I make an effort to publish educational articles using my many years of expertise as a fish owner.

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