Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Schistura balteata

Sumo loach

Sumo loach, Schistura balteataSumo loach, Schistura balteata
Photos by Andy Rapson


Schistura: Greek, schizein = to divide + Greek, oura = tail; an allusion to forked caudal fins

General Notes:

Aggressive towards conspecifics and possibly other similar looking fish but otherwise peaceful. If more than one is being kept then provide them with lots of hiding places and visual barriers in order to minimise fighting.
Sumo loaches come from fast flowing, clean highly oxygenated water and this should be replicated in the aquarium to some degree, good movement (don't over do this by making rapids like conditions in the tank, good movement is all that is needed) of clean highly oxygenated water will help these fish to thrive.


Sumo loaches are relatively unfussy about their food and will accept most things offered with out any problems. A mixture of a good quality dried food such as flake, granules or suitably sized pellets supplemented with live or frozen daphnia, cyclops, mosquito larva, adult brine shrimps or blood worms will make a fine diet for these fish. 


Danios, rasboras, tetras and barbs all make good tank mates. Avoid large or more aggressive species and other loaches.


There are no reliable external differences between the sexes. 


Unknown in captivity. 

Wild status

Nothing much is known about the exact range of these fish but their preferred habitat  is potentially at risk from over collection, damming and pollution. All sumo loaches offered for sale will be wild caught because this fish isn't bred commercially yet.

Additional information

Schistura: Greek, schizein = to divide + Greek, oura = tail; an allusion to forked caudal fins

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7.5
dGH: 4 - 12
Temperature: 23 - 26°C (73 - 79°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 5.4cm (2.2in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Bottom

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Sumo loach, Schistura balteata

Origin: Asia: Myanmar.

Habitat: Fast flowing streams


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Nemacheilidae
Genus: Schistura
Species: S. balteata (Rendahl, 1948)

Other common names:

Synonyms: Nemacheilus balteatus