Butterfly Hillstream Loach: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Butterfly Hillstream Loach Fact File

There are so many unique fish in the sea, but what about a fish that does not even look like one? The butterfly hillstream loach is known by several other names, such as the Chinese loach, the loach Hong Kong Pleco, and more. Shaped much like a stingray, this fish frequents the waters of China. The loach is known for its omnivorous diet because it eats algae flakes and other related plant material but will also not hesitate to eat brine shrimp and other small shrimps that come its way. The butterfly loach is, however, under threat of extinction. Habitat loss and human intervention in their lifespan have left this species struggling to survive in decreasing waters and adequate habitat. However, conservationists are hard at work trying to revive their declining population.

There are so many fun things to know about this unique fish, so do read on! In addition, there are other fun fish to read about like the loach fish and pond loach- so make sure you try to read them all and do not forget to share with your friends!

Butterfly Hillstream Loach

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Algae, brine shrimp, fish flakes, algae wafers

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

Up to 3 in (7.6 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Yellow-brown and black

Skin Type

Wet and slimy scales

What are their main threats?

Habitat loss

What is their conservation status?


Where you'll find them

Rivers and streams







Scientific Name

Beaufortia kweichowensis





Butterfly Hillstream Loach Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a butterfly hillstream loach?

The Chinese hillstream loach is a type of fish.

What class of animal does a butterfly hillstream loach belong to?

Beaufortia kweichowensis (Reticulated Hillstream Loach) belong to the class of fish.

How many butterfly hillstream loaches are there in the world?

The estimated population of these tank fish is unexplained. Likewise, the world's population of tank fish black neon tetras is unknown. Because these little fish are virtually entirely raised in aquariums, their abundance is only expected to rise.

Where does a butterfly hillstream loach live?

These hillstream loaches (scientific name: Beaufortia kweichowensis) live in the freshwater aquarium while in the wild survive in shallow streams in captivity. This species was first discovered in the upper reaches of Guizhou province and has since expanded throughout Guangxi and Guangdong provinces. The fish prefers to live in shallow waterways with swift currents and oxygen-rich upstream areas.

What is a butterfly hillstream loach's habitat?

Beaufortia kweichowensis prefers highly oxygenated fresh water in a shoal, fast-flowing highland streams and rivers. Therefore, one can find substrates consisting of smaller sand, rocks, gravel, and numerous boulders in this habitat.

Who does butterfly hillstream loach live with?

This freshwater fish, butterfly loach Hong Kong, is a highly social species.

How long does a butterfly hillstream loach live?

The Chinese hillstream loach longevity is up five to six years in the home aquarium.

How do they reproduce?

Males and females of tank fish Chinese hillstream loach (Beaufortia kweichowensis) have a minimal appearance, but the males have a lot more coloring. Although loach Hong Kong Pleco is not generally bred in captivity, they can reproduce in trenches beneath rocks within tanks that replicate riverine environments.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of freshwater fish,  Loach Hong Kong Pleco (Beaufortia kweichowensis), is Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List.

Butterfly Hillstream Loach Fun Facts

What does butterfly hillstream loach look like?

The butterfly loach Hong Kong fish has a flat stomach and a yellow-brown-colored streamlined shape with a stunning pattern of large black spots. It's worth noting that body color varies greatly, with some examples being noticeably brighter or deeper than others. They may also change their body color depending on the environment and stress (from dull beige to blackish).

These freshwater fish have coupled fins that are horizontally orientated, a flat body and head, and pelvic fins that are merged. These characteristics, in particular, combine to generate a strong suction cup, allowing the fish to adhere firmly to slick, dirty surfaces in the environment.

The butterfly loach Hong Kong species has two suction cups, as per the study. The entire body of the Chinese hillstream butterfly Pleco works as a sucker when it is immobile. You can recognize two suckers during movement. The head and pectoral fins are carried by an anterior sucker, whereas a posterior sucker carries the pelvic fins. In damp or underwater situations, a unique adhesive mechanism is so efficient that it can withstand a regular compressive force up to a thousand times the mass of the fish!

*Please note this is an image of a zebra loach. If you have an image of the Butterfly hillstream loach please let us know at

Chinese hillstream loach, Butterfly hillstream loach, Chinese sucker-fish, and Hong Kong Pleco are common names for these famous aquarium species.

How cute are they?

The hillstream loach is a beautiful freshwater fish that doesn't grab nearly as much attention as it deserves. However, they appeal to the masses thanks to their unique body shape and patterns. So, when it concerns hillstream loach care, there are no major obstacles to overcome. Maintain the proper water parameters, and they'll be ok! This is a wonderful pick if you're seeking a unique creature to add to the tank.

How do they communicate?

How these tank fish communicate are yet unknown. However, they prefer to live in small groups.

How big is a butterfly hillstream loach?

The average size of hillstream loaches fish is about 3 in (7.6 cm). The size of small tank fish golden tetra (tank mate) is up to 1.6 in (4 cm). The loaches are bigger than tetras in size.

How fast can a butterfly hillstream loach swim?

Because the Chinese hillstream loaches fish can't swim very far in open water, sucker-fish that feed on Mysis shrimp and algae wafers spends most of their time crawling along its substrate and climbing on rocks in the aquarium.

How much does a butterfly hillstream loach weigh?

The weight of these tank fish is unexplored.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female Beaufortia leveret kweichowensis fish don't have any particular title.

What would you call a baby butterfly hillstream loach?

There is not any special name for a baby of Beaufortia leverreti kweichowensis fish.

What do they eat?

The diet type of this sucker fish species is an omnivore. Because Chinese hillstream loaches (Beaufortia kweichowensis) have tiny mouths, you must provide high-quality fish food like sinking pellets, flakes, thawed frozen bloodworms, algal wafers, blanched spinach, Mysis shrimp, and natural algae.

Tank-mates of loach fish, black phantom tetra, have consumed a wide range of foods. They are reported to devour mosquito larvae as well as other living foods in addition to lobsters, brine shrimp, blood worms, and prawns. Therefore, another thing keeper must include in the meals is high-quality granule food.

Are they dangerous?

These freshwater aquarium fish Chinese loach is not a dangerous species.

Would they make a good pet?

This intriguing, tranquil loaches fish is a wonderful contender for the older subtropical aquarium as both a biofilm and algae grazer. The species require an aquarium with a high water flow and spotless, transparent water with high oxygen levels. In-tank water should be filled that come from water changes. Because this loach is indigenous to shallow, clean, fast-flowing waterways and is sensitive to water quality reductions, regular aquarium maintenance, and optimum oxygen saturation are essential. As long as the water parameters are steady, hillstream loach care is relatively simple.

In nature, hillstream loaches graze on food like biofilms, Mysis shrimp, and algae. Although it is known to consume cold meaty foods, you should only offer such things on rare occasions because too much protein foods can be fatal, like most biofilm foragers. This fish may often consume high-quality dry foods high in plants, but algae and biofilm must be naturally present in the aquarium for its long-term survival. Otherwise, it will starve.

The hillstream loach is a resilient and amusing fish as long as it remains in a well-maintained, established aquarium setup with excellent algae and biofilm growth and strong water flow essential oxygen level and plants. It will not affect aquarium plants.  The presence of buried leaf litter is characteristic of the loaches' natural environment, mimicking an aquarium. It would be best if you cultivated java fern,  Bucephalandra,  and other hardy plants. Anubias species (semi-aquatic and aquatic plants), in particular, are ideal plants to maintain with this loach since they can promote large biofilm/algae development in a tank with moderately high light levels.

Despite their tiny size, one loach requires a minimum tank size of 10 gal (45.4 l). The suggested water temperatures in the tank are between 65-75 F (18.3-23.8 C). With sufficient dissolved oxygen in the tanks' water, they can sustain warmer temperatures for a short time. You must keep the pH level of tank water between 6.5-8 for optimal water quality. You can also use driftwood with strong plants to create resting and hiding places for these fish. Chinese hillstream loaches prefer exceptionally pure water, with weekly water changes of approximately 30% recommended.

Because this loach fish, particularly when mature, is a very gregarious species, it should be housed in groups in the tank. Hillstream loach tank mates should be calm species like little tetras (like Congo tetra), rasboras, and other calm fish. Several little freshwater goby species make excellent tankmates because they share comparable currents. Dwarf shrimp make a great tank mate for larger tanks since they can find locations with lesser water flow. Tranquil bottom-dwelling species are another option, but the loaches must be protected from being outcompeted for nutrition. For the healthy growth of this tank, fish owners should take care of all water parameters like temperature, ph level, oxygen level, hardness, and many more.

Did you know...

The Chinese hillstream loach is a peaceful aquarium fish, although it is territorial and may participate in conflicts or topping. One fish attempted to hide another. However, when one fish finally stop topping, these conflicts rarely suffer damage.

If you're in China, India, or Southeast Asia and come across some fast-moving water, there's a considerable possibility you'll come across a hillside loach fish.

Are butterfly loaches good algae eaters?

The Chinese hillstream loach is a fascinating little fish that thrives on minute larvae and crustaceans found in algae. Unfortunately, this loach is timid and won't show up in your home aquarium quite often.

Do butterfly loaches hide?

Chinese hillstream loaches (Beaufortia kweichowensis), like several other loaches, prefer to hide, particularly from humans, and we make sure they have enough places to do so. These spend most of their time hiding behind rocks and organic waste. In-home aquarium, these tank fish need hiding places for relaxation also. These fish are inquisitive and gregarious, and though they may conceal when we first walk into the room, they quickly reappear after a few moments.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these blue jellyfish facts and immortal jellyfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fried egg jellyfish coloring pages.



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