Green Tiger Loach (Syncrossus hymenophysa): The Ultimate Guide

Common nameGreen Tiger Loach, Tiger Loach
Scientific nameSyncrossus hymenophysa
OriginThe islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia
Water temperature23°C to 28°C
Minimum tank sizeOver 115 gallons as they are best kept as part of a group
Food + dietOmnivore – frozen food, live food and vegetables
LifespanUp to 10 years
Water pH6.0 to 7.0
Tank matesSimilar fish of the same size
BreedingHave not previously been bred in captivity
Common diseasesCommon diseases such as Ich, can be susceptible to chronic wasting
Tiger Loach
Tiger Loach

Green Tiger Loach Facts

A Tiger Loach, Syncrossus hymenophysa, is sometimes referred to as Tiger Botia, Berdmores Loach and Blyth’s Loach. They have elongated bodies and have darker, horizontal lines running along their bodies. They have bright orange or red fins while the rest of their body is a dull gray or green color.

Tiger Loaches are extremely aggressive fish, unlike other loaches and should be paired carefully with tank mates and they will eat smaller fish.

Green Tiger Loach Care

Tiger Loaches are quite hard to care for and their conditions must be met for them to be healthy, calm and thrive and are therefore not suitable for beginners. They require an excellent standard of water of the correct temperature, size and pH and the tank set up including mates must be monitored closely and perfected. However, if this is done well, they are a very interesting species to keep.


The water temperature should be kept between 23℃ and 28℃. It is best to keep a fairly consistent temperature within the tank as a sudden drop or raise can cause their immune system to weaken. Water temperatures can be controlled with a chiller or submersible electric water heater depending on the aim. This is an important factor to control as water conditions are vital to their health.

Water pH

The water pH in the tank should be between 6 and 7, which should be slightly acidic. The pH must be controlled in the fish tank if it is too acidic or too alkaline, it can affect their ability to swim, eat and reproduce, and it may cause illness or disease, especially if the pH causes a change in the chemicals in the water. Water pH should be tested regularly, such as every week, and should be adjusted, if necessary, they are easy to test and both digital and manual options for testers are there. It is important that the decorations within the tank should have an eye kept on them as they can raise and decrease chemicals such as nitrates in the water so if the required pH isn’t being met or has changed with a new addition, this should be checked.

Tiger Loach Size

Tiger Loaches can grow up to around 25cm, which is around 10 inches, they are a large fish which may contribute danger to their aggressive nature. Their size can depend on how healthy they are as some factors can stunt their growth such as pollution of the water or a lack of appropriate care. Mature females may appear to be slightly larger as they tend to have fuller bodies.

Food & Diet

The diet of Tiger Loaches should be varied; they are best fed a mix of live, frozen and vegetable foods such as bloodworms, white mosquito larvae and brine shrimp. They will also come to accept pellet or flaked foods; however, this may take time if they have not previously been in captivity and are therefore not used to this.


Tiger Loaches can live up to around 10 years depending on their environment, health and level of care. Water conditions are a very significant contributor to their health and if this need is met then they will live out their long-life easily.

Tank Size and Setup

Tiger Loaches thrive in conditions similar to the ones they would experience in the wild and these should be replicated to the best of your ability. Features such as a high-water current, lots of hardscape features and soft substate should be included. A wavemaker may be considered to make this high current. These fish are prone to digging around for food and around the tank so you should ensure that any rocks or driftwood have no hard or sharp edges they could be hurt on. Strong filtration is also required for their health. Tiger Loaches thrive in numbers with the optimum number being around 8 similar sized fish in the tank. Their size means that a tank of upwards of 115 gallons though more is appreciated by them. The lid should always be kept tightly on as they are a jumping species, and an accident may occur if it is not on properly.


Tiger Loaches have never been bred in captivity as they have only been caught from the wild. It is not impossible; however, it would be very difficult to recreate the perfect conditions with no information.


Tiger Loaches suffer from general diseases that most other fish do such as Ich, a parasitic disease which cause white spots to appear on the skin, scraping themselves across objects, increased hiding behaviour and a loss of appetite. Without treatment, this disease can be fatal but luckily it can be easily spotted and due to how common it is, can be treated fairly easily.

Another disease that Tiger Loaches may suffer from is chronic wasting, also called the ‘skinny disease’, it can be caused by a few causes such as tapeworms or parasites which feed off the food the fish ingests, blocking their organs so they can’t digest the food. It is mainly found in fish who have recently moved environments. It can be hard to identify the cause of chronic wasting though can be treated in most cases if the cause is found. It is likely to try medications and see if they work or examine a faeces sample under a microscope to find the cause. This disease can be passed on, especially in egg laying females so any infected fish should be separated.

Tiger Loaches are quite sturdy fish and if their environment is healthy and well-kept, they should rarely suffer from diseases.

Tank mates

Tiger Loaches are an extremely aggressive species and will eat or attack any smaller fish in the tank. They are best kept with similar sized fish to reduce their aggressive behaviour, and in groups of more than 6 so they do not target other fish in the tank. It is also recommended to avoid placing them with slower fish or ones with long fins as they make for an easier target. Tank space is also an important factor as without enough space, the strongest or most dominant fish will kill the rest. Within the tank they create highly complex societal hierarchy systems and therefore it is important to allow them to do this while limiting aggressive behaviour.

Where to find Tiger Loaches for sale

Tiger Loaches are a fairly rare species of fish and finding one in a physical pet store may prove difficult so online shops would be the best bet for purchase. They range in prices but are on average £15 per fish, though there also may be a delivery cost involved.

Redfin Tiger Loach vs Green Tiger Loach

The Redfin Tiger Loach, or Syncrossus hymenophysa, is found in the rivers of Myanmar and lives in a very similar tank set up to a Tiger Loach, with soft substrate, subdued lighting and high filtration. However, they thrive in slightly lower temperatures, between 21°C to 26°C and do not require the same high currents as a Tiger Loach would.  They feature similar aggressive behaviour and neither species should be kept with smaller or slower fish. They would make good tank mates considering they both grow to around the same size as long as the specific fish you pick for the tank are the same size.

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