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3 Great Tank Mates for Hillstream Loach: Compatibility Guide 2024

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By Lindsey Stanton

hillstream loach fish

The Hillstream Loach is a freshwater fish that is quite easy to keep, but it does prefer cooler tank conditions. It is a generally placid fish that won’t bother other species, but the cold water eliminates a lot of fish from sharing a tank with the loach, and you need to ensure that its tank mates don’t attack it. Read on for details of three fish species that can live with the underrated Hillstream Loach.

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The 3 Ideal Tank Mates for Hillstream Loach

1. Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)

Image Credit: Joan Carles Juarez, Shutterstock
Size: 1 – 2 inches (1 – 2.5 cm)
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful

The Harlequin Rasbora lives in the streams and rivers of Malaysia and surrounding countries. The Harlequin is the most popular of dozens of rasboras thanks to its copper-colored body and black wedge design. The rasbora needs company and is best in a school of 10, although larger groups make for an even prettier display. They can live with tetras and danios, both of which make up the rest of our list of compatible fish. They prefer the colder water favored by the Hillstream Loach and are peaceful little fish that will not bother loaches at all.

2. Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)

Image Credit: Joan Carles Juarez, Shutterstock
Size: 1 – 2 inches (1 – 2.5 cm)
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Peaceful

The Neon Tetra is one of the dozens of species of tetra but is considered suitable for living with the Hillstream Roach because of its peaceful nature and its ability to thrive in colder conditions. This little fish lives in rivers in Brazil, Columbia, and Peru. The streamlined shape of the body and the neon blue coloring is quite distinctive, and despite only being of such a small size, the neon will stand out. It will happily live on a shoal of tetra and will share the tank with the loach and the other members of this list.

3. Danio (Danio)

Two Celestial pearl danio
Image Credit: Bos11, Shutterstock
Size: 1 – 2.5 inches (1 – 3 cm)
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallon
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful

The Danio is the final species on our list and another that appreciates lower temperatures and a peaceful environment. Like the other fish, it lives in rivers in the wild. Markings and colors vary according to the exact species, but most have silvery shimmer and are quite short, although they will grow larger than the Doria and the Neon Tetra. The Danio is not just shy but quite timid, so it can be bullied by other fish. Bear this in mind when looking for other additions to your tank.

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What Makes a Good Tank Mate for a Hillstream Loach?

The Hillstream Loach is a peaceful fish, which means that it will not attack or bully other fish. If there are any fights, it is unlikely that the loach caused them. As such, tank mates do need to be equally peaceful. They should also appreciate the slightly colder temperature of the water that a Hillstream Loach demands. They prefer the water to be between 20°C and 26°C with a neutral pH. They require a minimum of 5 gallons (15 liters) of water per fish. Check the preferences of any other fish that you consider adding to the tank to ensure compatibility.

Where Do Hillstream Loaches Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?

This species is a type of loach and, as such, it spends most of its time in the wild at the bottom of rivers or on the surface of rocks looking for food. They adopt a similar living position in the aquarium, and you will most often find them hanging out at the bottom of the tank with the substrate.

hillstream loach in water plant
Image Credit: Tangent1231, Shutterstock

Water Parameters

Hillstream Loaches are considered easy to care for as long as you can maintain their water parameters. This is also one area where you have to pay special attention when choosing tank mates. The Hillstream Loach prefers a temperature between 20°C and 26°C and a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. They also like a strong current in the water.


The Hillstream Loach is a unique-looking fish that is often mistaken for a catfish or some kind of stingray. They measure between 2 and 3 inches, which would make them the largest species in the tank above. However, it is small enough that it allows them to get into crevices and hollows where food might be lurking. They may be small but their feeding habits mean that they will be seen on the side of the tank, hanging out on top of a rock, or at the bottom of the tank near the substrate, so they should be easily visible at most hours of the day.

Aggressive Behaviors

As a peaceful fish, the Hillstream Loach does not display any aggressive tendencies or behavior. It will happily live with other fish, as long as they are not aggressive, and you can keep multiple Hillstream Loaches together in one setup. Because of how peaceful they are, Hillstream Loaches can benefit from being given a hide or somewhere to go and get away from the rest of the tank. While this species does not display aggressive tendencies, other more aggressive fish may be aggressive towards it, so you should look for signs of this or choose other peaceful species.

The 2 Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Hillstream Loaches in Your Aquarium

1. Greater Variety

The biggest benefit of giving the Hillstream Loach some tank mates is that it provides greater variety in your tank. The Hillstream is a stunning-looking fish, but combine it with some neon tetras and you will have a bright, colorful, and fun tank environment to watch.

2. They Stick to The Bottom

The loach will live at the bottom of the tank, hoovering up any food that comes its way. This leaves a lot of tank with open water. Not only does this mean that your tank will look empty, but it can cause problems with water levels, while having fish at the top and some at the bottom of the tank means that you can provide different foods – some that float and some that sink – without causing any problems.

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Final Thoughts

The Hillstream Loach is a freshwater fish that enjoys a strong current and cold water. This already excludes some of the fun and interesting aquarium dwellers, but that doesn’t mean that your Loach has to do without tank diversity. While the options might be somewhat limited, there is still a great range of beautiful fish that you can incorporate into your tank.

The Harlequin Rasbora, Neon Tetra, and Danio, are some of the species that will mix well and complement the loach. They are all friendly species that will not fight or show aggression, enjoy the cold water, and can put up with a bit of moving water.

Featured Image Credit: NicoleHorizon, Shutterstock

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