Understanding Clown Loach Behaviour: Reasons for Resting on Their Sides

Clown Loaches often sleep on their sides as a natural behavior. It helps them relax, feel secure, and conserve energy. If they exhibit other signs of distress or illness, it's important to investigate further. Discover more about this unique sleeping habit in the full article below.

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Why do Clown Loaches sleep on their sides?

Clown loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus) have always been charming and unusual additions to home aquariums due to their playful behavior and vibrant colors. One quirk they display is their habit of sleeping on their sides, which can leave some hobbyists perplexed and even concerned.

A Quirky Behavior Explained

If you've just glanced at your aquarium and found your clown loach lying motionless on its side, don't panic. Unlike most fish species, clown loaches have the peculiar habit of taking their rest this way. This behavior is normal and is not indicative of any health issue. As a matter of fact, they are the sleeping beauties of the aquatic world!

Why they do this isn't entirely clear, but one common theory suggests that it may provide them with a sense of security by blending in with fallen leaves or detritus on the aquarium floor. It's a good reminder of how diverse and unique aquatic creatures can be in their behaviors.

Impact of Tank Environment

Though sleeping on their sides is normal for clown loaches, there are still a few factors related to the aquarium environment that could influence this behavior. Let's look at some considerations:

Aquarium Size and Setup

Clown loaches are active swimmers and require spacious living conditions. A small or crowded aquarium can lead to stress and abnormal behavior in these fish. It's always a good idea to check if your tank size is appropriate for the number and size of your fish (here).

Water Quality and Tank Maintenance

Keeping the water quality optimal is crucial for the overall health of your fish, not just clown loaches. Regular water changes, cleaning of the tank, and checking for optimal pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are fundamental. You can learn more about maintaining water quality here and tank cleaning practices here.

Hideouts and Landscape

Clown loaches are shy and require hiding places to feel safe. They also enjoy exploring nooks and crannies in your tank. If you don't have any, it might be time to consider adding some (while ensuring it's safe).

The Importance of Observing Other Behaviors

Even though clown loaches sleeping on their sides is normal, it's crucial to monitor other behaviors to ensure your fish are healthy. Look out for signs of stress or illness such as lack of appetite, erratic swimming, or physical abnormalities like white spots or damaged fins. More about these topics can be found here and here.


Clown loaches are indeed the sleeping beauties of home aquariums with their peculiar behavior of resting on their sides. While this is a quirky characteristic of this species, it's still essential to ensure their tank environment is well maintained and they show no signs of stress or ill-health. By observing and understanding these behaviors, you can provide your aquatic pets with a habitat that not only supports their health but also their natural instincts.