Syncrossus helodes

Aquarium fish: Syncrossus helodes (Syncrossus helodes)
Size: 25 – 30 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 24-30 ° C
Aquarium volume: 500 l

Syncrossus helodes (Syncrossus helodes ) – a large, interestingly colored and quite aggressive aquarium fish from the Bocjowatych family.

Occurrence

Asia. The species occurs in the Mekong River in Laos, Cambodia, southern Vietnam and Thailand, and in the Chao Phraya and Maeklong rivers in central and western Thailand. It inhabits flowing waters of various sizes, from small streams to main river channels, and during the rainy season it migrates to floodplains to reproduce. Consequently, it is found in a wide variety of aquatic environments.

Characteristics and disposition

Reaches up to 30 cm in length. The body is typical of loaches, long, cylindrical, with a flat belly and an arched back, covered with small scales. The head is long, with the mouth in the down position, with thick, fleshy lips and three pairs of whiskers. Tail bifurcated and strongly indented. The back and sides are greenish-brown with 10-12 vertical yellow stripes that often extend to the lateral line, and have a series of dark oval blotches mixed underneath.

The ventral surface is light, usually white. Unfortunately, their beautiful, intense coloration becomes less and less visible with age. The species is sometimes confused with another similar S. hymenophysa. However, fish can be easily distinguished by the direction of the stripes on the body, in S.

hymenophysa there are 12-14 stripes that are fringed in blue and tilted to the right. S. helodes has 10-12 tilted to the left, without a blue border, and no dark spot on the dorsal fin. Under the eyes, under the skin, there are hidden sharp spikes that show in an emergency or under stress. In the case of Syncrossus , however, they are not as strongly backward curved as in related species of the  Botiidae family .

Be especially careful when catching fish from the water, it is best to use a net with large meshes for this purpose. Gender difficult to distinguish. Adult females are likely to have a more rounded abdomen and grow larger. They lead a bottom, night life, they start their activity in the evening, but after acclimatization they are also active during the day. They are considered to be the most aggressive of the genus Syncrossus , both towards members of their species and others.

In natural habitats, they live in large groups, in which there are complex hierarchies, therefore it is recommended to keep mines in the aquarium. 5 individuals, preferably 10 or more. During fights for dominance, which often take place, for example, after expanding the group or changing the environment, the fighting fish show an almost complete loss of colors and patterns. Sometimes fights appear within a predetermined group, e.g. to improve your status there.

Interestingly, some observations suggest that the nature of the dominant individual seems to have an impact on the rest of the herd, but it should be noted that research on loaf behavior is practically non-existent. Certainly, however, these fish show a certain personality, some specimens are characterized by, for example, greater aggression or courage than others. Usually the largest of the group, often the female, becomes the alpha individual. Storks sometimes make clicking sounds , which is probably some kind of communication, e.g. in case of excitement, danger or hierarchy.

Sounds can increase as emotions increase. It is possible that they are formed by rubbing the throat teeth or with the help of spines under the eyes. They also often rest in strange positions , positioning themselves at different angles, and even on their backs, which is perfectly normal for them.

Nutrition and feeding

Primarily carnivorous, but they also eat plant foods, unfortunately for aquarists, they 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. Every day, you can give them good-quality dry food, additionally offering live and frozen, e.g. daphnia, tubifex, artemia, bloodworm, krill, woodland, cyclops and fresh fruit 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 are also happy to eat snails, sucking their flesh out of their shells- sometimes they can be seen floating with the shell in their mouth. They will even compete with each other for this delicacy, but should never be bought as a method of fighting them.

Aquarium

For a group of adult tiger loaches, an aquarium min. 180 cm, with a soft, sandy base, fine gradation, which they eagerly comb with their delicate whiskers. For decoration, you can use larger smooth stones, small pebbles (pebbles), wood and roots.

Loaches prefer poorly lit aquariums, where more durable and less demanding plants such as Microzoria, Anubias and mosses can be placed. If we do not care about the natural character of the aquarium, we can also put PVC pots or pipes in which the fish will be happy to hide. In the case of this species, it is recommended that there are 2-3 hiding places for each individual, which should limit their aggression and fighting for the territory. Loons like to carefully examine their surroundings, unfortunately, this is why they eagerly squeeze into any gaps, holes and other hard-to-reach places. Decorative structures should not have sharp edges and avoid leaving too small spaces between them for fish to get stuck or trapped.

The aquarium should be covered, because frightened they can jump above the water surface. They like well-oxygenated water, with a fairly strong flow. They require care for water quality, are sensitive to higher concentrations of nitrates and other pollutants . They should never be introduced into a newly established, unstabilized aquarium. Regular weekly water changes of approx.

30% -50% are recommended. They show aggression towards themselves and other species, and should not be kept with much smaller, peaceful fish. They can nibble on free-swimming fish and / or fish with long fins, e.g. cichlids, fighters or guppies. More suitable companionships seem to be the larger carp swimming in the depths, e.g.

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.

Breeding

This species has not been reproduced in the aquarium. The fish sold in stores come from breeding farms in Asia and Europe, where they are reproduced using special hormones. In the wild, they migrate upstream of rivers seasonally to spawn.

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