If you are an experienced aquarist, chances are you have already heard about loaches before. Known for their friendliness and unique appearances, loaches can be a great addition to your community tanks.

However, not everyone is well versed in how to take care of them properly. Do loaches eat shrimp? Which water parameters are suitable for these fish? And what should you bear in mind when rearing loaches? The answers lie in the article below!

Do Loaches Eat Shrimp?

Yes. Loaches prey on lots of smaller animals inside a community tank, including shrimp. If you drop shrimp inside your aquarium, rest assured that loaches will go for them almost immediately.

That being said, there are still some shrimp-safe loaches available for a home tank. Instead of feeding on shrimp, these animals prefer plant matter such as algae.

However, compared to shrimp-eating loaches, so-called vegan loaches are few and far between.

Best Loach Species For Your Home Tank

As loaches are peaceful and easy to take care of, it should be no surprise why these freshwater species are highly favored. Below are some of the best loaches to try out if you want to add a few of them to your aquarium.

Kuhli loach

Kuhli Loach

With a lifespan of roughly 10 years and an average length of no more than 4 inches, kuhli loaches are a beginner-friendly option. Not only are they easy-going, but they are also hardy and adaptable.

You will not have to worry much about these fish once they are introduced to the water.

The only thing to be mindful of when having kuhli loaches is that they are nocturnal. During the day, they tend to stay away from the crowd and seek comfort somewhere dark and protective.

Therefore, make sure your tank has several hiding spots for kuhli loaches.

Yoyo loach

yoyo loach

As the name already indicates, yoyo loaches are highly active. They swim around enthusiastically and can show certain welcoming signs if approached by the owner.

At first, yoyo loaches can be slightly reserved. But give them a bit of time to adjust and you surely will be surprised at how fun they can be!

Clown loach

Clown loach

Clown loaches are arguably the most colorful loaches you can find. With orange, yellow, and black stripes running across their bodies, clown loaches are a sight to behold. While they are fun and easy to keep around, you should notice how large they can be.

As an adult clown loach reaches up to 12 inches, you should invest in a 55-gallon tank. Anything smaller can easily stress out your fish.

Horsehead loach

Horsehead loach

With their heads shaped like horse head, horsehead loaches are no stranger to experienced aquarists. Their unique appearance makes them an ideal addition to your tank, though some can be put off by their lack of activity.

Horsehead loaches are not particularly active, since they spend most of the time at the tank’s bottom. If you want to see how these animals move around, just entice them with food and see how it goes from there.

Zebra loach

Zebra loach

Zebra loaches are easy to recognize with their vibrant stripes and blue fins. Given their length of no more than 4 inches, a school of 4 – 5 zebra loaches makes for a great scene inside your tank. Moreover, they are quiet and peaceful, which means they can live with almost any other animals.

Weather loach

Weather loach

If you cannot afford to have more than two loaches, nurturing a weather loach will be your best course of action. The most unusual thing about weather loaches is that they get overly excited once a change in weather conditions is near.

As far as the living conditions are concerned, weather loaches can tolerate a temperature range below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dwarf chain loach

Dwarf chain loach

Who says that all species of loaches are large and take up too much space? If you only want a small loach for your tank, having several dwarf chain loaches will not let you down.

With an average length of approximately 2 to 2.5 inches, dwarf chain loaches are playful and fun to keep around.

The disadvantage of these animals is that they are rather expensive. Purchasing a school of at least 4 to 6 individuals can cost quite a lot for an amateur aquarist.


1. Will loaches eat snails?

Yes. Some specific types of loaches take a liking to sucking snails out of their shells. For example, a yoyo loach will have no problem consuming a snail if they come across one. The same thing goes for kuhli loaches.

Therefore, keeping snails in the same tank as your loaches is not recommended. As these two species vary significantly in their sizes, the chances of snails being eaten by larger animals are high.

2. Are loaches good tank cleaners?

Yes. Loaches are considered scavengers, which means they will spend lots of time wandering around. Not only do they dig and sift the substrate, but they will also sneak in tiny crevices and lurk around little decor.

If given enough time, loaches will clean up your entire tank of yours during their food search.

Hence, some people utilize loaches as tank cleaners. Rest assured that they will take care of every mess created inside your tank, from food waste to algae buildup.

3. Do loaches eat fish poop?

No. Fish do not eat fish poop, despite how voracious they might appear to be. If you ever see a fish chewing on poop, they are likely to mistake it for food only.


Do loaches eat shrimp? Yes, they do! Most loaches will happily chew on shrimp the second they have the opportunity. Therefore, make sure not to mix these two species if you want both of them to be alive!

Alex is a pet freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. He attended Colorado State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, which was where he first got some experience in animal nutrition. After graduating from University, Alex began sharing his knowledge as a freelance writer specializing in pets.

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