Horseface Loach: Care, Food, Tank Mates, Lifespan & More

Common Name(s)Horseface Loach
Scientific NameAcanthopsis choirorhynchos
OriginSoutheast Asia
Temperature77-83°F (25-28°C)
SizeUp to 12 inches (30 cm)
Minimum Tank Size55 gallons (208 L)
Food & DietOmnivorous bottom feeder
Lifespan12 years
Water pH6.0-6.5
Tank MatesBarbs, rasboras, danios, and tetras
BreedingNot captive bred
DiseaseIt may be susceptible to Ich.
Horseface Loach
Horseface Loach. Alter welt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Horseface Loach Care

Horseface Loach (Acanthopsis Choirorhynchos) is a river-dwelling loach fish that is native to Southeast Asia. A distinctive shape, the aptly-named fish is known for its elongated, horse-like snout. 

This fish is a great addition to your tank, but you’ll want to ensure you’re prepared to care for it.
We’ll tell you everything you may need to know if you consider adding this special fish to your aquarium! 

First, let’s cover the basics and answer some questions: What will you (and your tank) need to successfully house a Horseface Loach? 

Horseface Loach Temperature

As the Horseface Loach is native to a more tropical climate, they thrive in temperatures ranging from about 77-83°F (25-28°C). 

Water pH 

The water in your tank should be slightly acidic, ranging from 6.0 to 6.5.  

Horseface Loach Size

The size of your Horseface Loach can vary. They tend to grow to 20 cm in captivity, while in the wild, they can sometimes grow up to 30 cm long. 

Horseface Loach Tank Size

The minimum tank size for Horseface Loach is 55 gallons (208 L). Juvenile specimens can be kept in smaller tanks of approximately 30 gallons (114 L). However, the tank should be upgraded to a larger size of at least 55 gallons (208 L) as soon as possible. In addition, if a group of these fish is in the same tank, a 75-gallon (284 L) tank or larger tank should be considered.

Horseface Loach Food & Diet 

When it comes to food, luckily, the Horseface Loach is no picky eater. 

Out of captivity, the Horseface Loach will feed on small crustaceans or insect larvae, but in captivity, the Loach will accept most commercial foods.

However, no matter what you feed them, you must ensure the food you provide is getting to the bottom of your tank— that’s where they’ll feed. 

Sinking pellets are optimal to ensure that the food gets to the bottom and your Loach doesn’t go hungry! 

To ensure your fish are staying healthy, plan on offering a variety of foods. High-quality dried foods are great but are sure to supplement that with live and frozen invertebrates. Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are all good choices for keeping your Loach happy. But be sure to lodge any live food at the bottom of your tank. Oh, and an added perk of adding this fish to your tank? They eat any pest snails. 

Making sure this fish gets the right foods (and enough of them) can help you keep it for a long time. 

Horseface Loach Lifespan

Horseface Loaches can live up to 12 years in the wild and often surpass a decade in captivity. You’re in for a long haul with this fish!

Horseface Loach Tank Mates 

The Horseface Loach is mostly a nocturnal fish, coming out at night to explore the tank. During the day, this fish will burrow in your aquarium substrate while sneaking wary glances at the other tank inhabitants. 

The Horseface Loach is a pretty laid-back, easy-going fish, and it likes others who are the same. That being said, when they aren’t burrowed under your aquarium’s substrate, they move quite quickly, which can be off-putting to extremely passive fish. 

What fish to choose as a tank mate for Horseface Loach? 

If you want to have a multi-species tank, you’ll need to stock it with other peaceful, fast-moving species that will inhabit the middle and upper levels of your tank- such as Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, and Tetras.

You’ll want to have at least 6 to 8 Horseface Loaches for a species-specific tank. They’ll quickly develop a hierarchy and stake their claim on territory, but it should not become aggressive. 

Other Tank Mates for Horseface Loach

Steer clear of any type of crustacean. Horseface Loaches will eat shrimp and may only be deterred if the shrimp is physically too big to be eaten. 

While goldfish aren’t typically aggressive, the temperatures they thrive in and the temperatures the face Loach thrive in don’t mix. So you’ll want to avoid these too. 

Betta fish and loaches do sometimes get along. But it depends on the personality of your betta. You can try this pairing out, but don’t be surprised if you have to alter your course of action. 

As long as your tank is big enough for both of these bottom-dwellers to swim around, you can introduce Corydoras as a potential tankmate for your Horseface Loach. 

5 tips on the horse faced loach!

Tank Setup

Now that you know just about everything about caring for the Horseface Loach, let’s cover what you need to do to be ready to have one of these guys in your tank. First and foremost, never put a Horseface Loach in a newly-established tank. These guys do not respond well to a tank that has been newly set up due to the rapid chemistry changes. So you’ll want to be sure your tank has already been established. 

Next, you’ll need a powerful fish tank filter. These fish will not tolerate pollution or heavy metals in the water, and they thrive in tanks that are aerated with a lot of oxygen and have good water flow. 

These guys love playing hide and seek, so you’ll also want to give them places to hide (including some driftwood) and good substrate material to burrow into. Coarser materials will cause the Loaches stress and irritation, so steer towards fine gravel or sand.

If you’d like to include plants in your tank, you can. Beware, though, if you have any live plants make sure you pot them, as any that are not will likely be uprooted as the Loach burrows into the substrate. 


There has been no documented instance of the Horseface Loach breeding in captivity. 


Because the Horseface Loach has no scales on its head, it is more susceptible to disease. Don’t worry; these fish are tough under good conditions. You will need to watch for ammonia spikes and ensure that the water is pristine to avoid diseases! 

Stress can also lead to sickness for these fish, but if you listen to all the instructions above, you shouldn’t have any trouble with this. 

Horseface Loach Price

Horseface Loaches are usually fairly inexpensive and range from $8-$20 USD.  

If you provide the proper tank setup and regular maintenance, your Horseface Loach will thrive for many years. This fish can be an awesome fish for the right aquarium!

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