Syncrossus berdmorei

Aquarium fish: Syncrossus berdmorei (Syncrossus berdmorei)
Size: 20 – 25 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 21-26 ° C
Aquarium volume: 364 l

Syncrossus berdmorei (Syncrossus berdmorei ) – interestingly colored aquarium fish from the boci family.  The identification of the Indochina loin is not unequivocal and may leave doubts. Body color and pattern differ depending on the place of harvest, and the location of the harvest itself is often imprecise. In 2007, Grant referred to the fact that some forms may turn out to be different species and further research should be done in this regard. By contrast, the fish marketed in recent years as ‘Laos yellow tiger Botia’ in fact represents the species S. berdmorei .


Asia. In the original description, Blyth vaguely made the location “Tennassarim Province”. According to current knowledge, this species is found throughout the Irrawaddy, Sittaung and Salween river systems in Myanmar. North of this area, it is also recorded in the border state of Manipur, Northeast India, and to the south, it may be found in a small part of western Thailand because the Ataran, a tributary of the Salween, known as “Kasat” in Thai, has upper waters there. It lives in fast-flowing, clear waters, mountain streams and larger rivers, seemingly well-oxygenated, with mixed sand and rock soil, with plenty of leaf litter and submerged wood.

Characteristics and disposition

In the wild, it reaches up to 25 cm in length. Unlike other members of the “tiger” group, this species retains its beautiful red coloration on its fins and body throughout its life . The body is long, cylindrical, with a flat belly and an arched back, covered with small scales. The head is long, with the muzzle down, with thick, fleshy lips and three pairs of whiskers. Bifurcated tail strongly indented.

It may be confused with the species S. beauforti from midwestern Thailand and the Salween River basin of Myanmar. At first glance, the two species may appear identical, but there are some notable differences. The loach berdmorei has 11-14 dorsal fin rays, and B. beauforti 9-10.

In young S. beauforti , rows of small dark marks run along the sides of the body and head, while in S. bedmorei the markings are relatively greater, appearing first around the gill cover and extending along the rest of the body as they mature. In some adults of both species, the vertical stripes on the body disappear, leaving only rows of dark markings. This phenomenon is more common in S.

beauforti . Sexual dimorphism is poorly visible. Adult females should be clearly thicker and possibly larger. Other differences have yet to be noted. Under the eyes, under the skin, sharp spikes are hidden, which show them in a stressful or threatening situation.

However, they are not as strongly bent back as in other species of the Botiidae family. Therefore, special care should be taken when catching fish from the water. Syncrossus berdmorei lead a bottom night life, but in an aquarium, after acclimatization, they are also active during the day. They show aggression towards themselves and other species. In nature, they live in large groups characterized by complex hierarchies.

Therefore, it is recommended to keep min. 5 individuals, preferably 10 or more. During fights for dominance in the group, the fighting fish show an almost complete loss of colors and patterns. Sometimes fights take place within an already established hierarchy, e.g. to improve one’s position in it.

Interestingly, some observations indicate that the nature of the dominant individual appears to affect the rest of the herd. The largest of the group, usually the female, usually becomes the alpha individual. Like other loaches, they sometimes make “clicking” sounds that are likely to be used for communication, eg in case of danger, excitement or hierarchy. These characteristic sounds may increase as excitement increases and may be caused by rubbing the throat teeth or with the help of spines under the eyes. Loons often rest in bizarre positions, arrange themselves at different angles, and even on the back, and in their case it is completely natural.

Nutrition and feeding

First of all, they are carnivorous fish, but unfortunately for aquarists, they also eat plant matter and will not despise plants with soft leaves. Their staple diet includes aquatic molluscs, insects, worms, and other invertebrates. In the aquarium, they are not picky, but must receive varied meals. You can feed Syncrossus berdmorei on a daily basis with good-quality dry foods, additionally offering live and frozen, e.g. daphnia, tubifex, artemia, bloodworm, krill, lasagne, cyclops and fresh fruits and vegetables, e.g.

cucumber, melon, banana, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cabbage. , lettuce, peas, blanched spinach or zucchini. Scalded chopped earthworms can also be a valuable, high-protein meal, but should not be served too often. They eagerly eat snails, sucking their flesh out of their shells . Sometimes you can observe them swimming with the shell in their mouths or competing with each other for this delicacy.

However, they should never be purchased for the sole purpose of getting rid of the snail plague.


An adult group of Syncrossus berdmorei requires an aquarium with a length of min. 180 cm, preferably with a soft sandy ground that they eagerly comb with their delicate whiskers. For the decor, you can use larger smooth stones, small pebbles (pebbles), wood and roots. These fish prefer low lighting, in which only more durable and undemanding plant species, such as Microzoria, Anubias or mosses, will grow.

We can also place pots or PVC pipes in the tank, in which the fish will find additional shelter. In the case of this species, there should be 2-3 hiding places for each individual, which should reduce their aggression. Loons like to explore their surroundings carefully, unfortunately, due to their taste, they eagerly squeeze into any holes, crevices or other hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. The stones used for decoration should not have sharp edges. Also, do not leave too small spaces between them, where the fish could get stuck.

An aquarium requires a cover, because frightened they can jump high above the water surface. They feel good in oxygen-rich water with a fairly fast current. They are sensitive to higher concentrations of nitrates and other pollutants . Therefore, they should never be introduced into a newly established, biologically unstable aquarium. Regular weekly changes of approx.

30% -50% are recommended. They show aggression towards themselves and towards other species, they should not be kept with much smaller, slower and calm fish. They can nibble on free-swimming fish and / or fish with long fins, e.g. cichlids, fighters or guppies. Appropriate companionships will be larger carp swimming in the depths, for example of the genus Barilius ( B.

ardens ), Luciosoma ( L. trinema ), Balantiocheilos ( B. melanopterus – Barbonymus shark ), Barbonymus ( B. schwanenfeldii – Brzanka Schwanenfeld a). As for demersal species, those of the genus Cobitis ( C.

elongata – Great Goat ) should work well ,Nemacheilus , Epalzeorhynchos ( E. bicolor ) ,  Crossocheilus ( C. oblongus ) , Garra ( G. rufa ) and many catfish.


The breeding of this species has not been documented in the aquarium.

The fish sold in stores come from breeding farms in Asia and Europe, where they are reproduced using special hormones. In nature, they migrate upstream of rivers seasonally to spawn.


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