Blue botia care guide

Blue botia (Yasuhikotakia modesta) is a small-sized freshwater tropical fish of the Botiidae family. Not very often, but it can be encountered in fish fanciers tanks. The fish requires the same tank conditions as other botia species.

Habitat in the wild

Blue botia range spreads to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia. Species are rather spread in the Southeast Asian Peninsula, especially in the Mekong River basin, as well as in The Chao Phraya River, The Bang Pakong River, The Mae Klong River. It is known that there are several populations of botia, which can mix during the spawning period, especially in the upper river area.

In the fish habitats, the substrate is soft and muddy; water parameters are the following – pH is about 7.0, temperature varies from 26 to 30 °C. This fish is quite spread in its natural habitat. Fish prefers lotic waters, where during the day, the fish finds shelter in rocks, tree roots located under water. The fish feeds at night.

These fish species prefer seasonal migrations during their life cycle; therefore, the fish can be found in various places depending on the season. So, habitat may vary from main river channels to small tributaries or temporarily flooded areas.

Scientific NameYasuhikotakia modesta
Common NamesBlue botia; red tail botia; blue loach; blue botia loach
Ease of keepingMedium
Lifespanup to 5 years
Tank size80 gallons and more
Tank typeCommunity of fishes
Temperature26 to 30 °C (79 to 86 °F)
Water hardness9–20 dGH
SizeUp to 25 cm (10 in), usual 17 cm (6.69 inch)


Red tail botia has a long, compact body with an arched back. The fish profile resembles the ones of other species, including a clown loach. In the wild, the fish can grow to be up to 25 cm long, but in tanks, it is seldom longer than 17 cm. The lifespan is 5 years and more.

Body color is bluish-grey. The fins are red, orange, or yellow (which is quite seldom the case). The fish species that are not reproductive yet, sometimes have greenish body tint. As a rule, the brighter is the fish colored, the healthier it and the more favorable tank conditions it has.

Difficulties in keeping

Blue botia is easy to keep at the condition that you have a quite spacious tank. You should keep in mind that the fish can grow up to 25 cm long. Besides, like most of the botia species, botia is a schooling fish and a very active one.

Keeping in the tank

Blue botia species can produce some clicking sounds, which shouldn’t scare you. They make these sounds when they are excited. For example, when the fish is fighting for the territory or during the feeding process.

There is nothing dangerous in these sounds, and this is just how the fish communicate with each other.

Fish is active, especially the juveniles. As the fish grows, it becomes less active, and it spends most of the time in shelters. Like most of the botias, blue botia is a nocturnal fish. During the day, it prefers staying in shelters and goes to search for food at night.

Since the blue botia likes digging the tank bottom, the substrate should be soft. It can include a base layer from sand or small-sized gravel with a large number of smooth stones and pebbles. As for the tank decorations and shelters, various snags will be the best idea.

Stones, flowerpots, and other tank decorations can be used at any combination to get the tank you want.

The tank light should be relatively dim. Tank plants that can survive such conditions are Javafarn (Microsorum pteropus), Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri), or Anubias spp.

Tank mates

It is a schooling fish, and it should be kept alone in a tank. The minimal recommended number of fish in the school is about 5-6 species. The optimal number is 10 and more fish.

When keeping a couple of fish or just one blue botia, it becomes aggressive towards the ones of its kind or fish that has a similar appearance.

Botia like a clown loach has an alpha male in the school, who is a leader and controls the rest. Besides, the fish has a strong territory dependence, which causes fights for the territory. Due to this, there should be enough shelters in the tank, as well as it should be spacious.

Because of the fish size and temper, fish should be kept with other large, active fish species. For example, these can be various barbels (tiger barb, tinfoil barb) or danio species (zebrafish (Danio rerio) or GloFish).

We strongly recommend not to take slow and long-finned fish species as tank mates. For example, these are all goldfish species (the telescope eye, the veiltail).


The blue botia is omnivorous, but it prefers live food. Fish can be fed with live, frozen, and artificial fish food. In general, there are no troubles in this respect.

Gender differences: male vs female

A reproductive female is a bit larger than the male fish, and it has a more rounded abdomen.


Species you see on sale, were either caught in the wild or obtained using some hormonal stimulation. For most of the aquarists, breeding process is extremely complicated, and it is also rather poorly described in available references.