Scientific name: Ambastaia sidthimunki (Kottelat, 2012)
Common name: Dwarf Chain Loach, Dwarf Loach, Dwarf Botia, Chipmunk Botia, “Sid”.
Synonyms: Botia sidthimunki (Klausewitz, 1959),Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki (Kottelat, 2004)
Distribution: Chao Phraya and Mekong basins – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand.
Sexual Dimorphism: Mature females likely to have a rounder abdominal area.
Maximum size: 6cm (2.5 inches)
Similar to: Juveniles of Ambastaia nigrolineata.
Care: The Dwarf Chain Loach is an excellent peaceful choice for the mature community aquarium. These fish thrive in large shoals, and 5 really is considered the absolute minumum number to keep together.
The aquarium should have a fine soft sandy substrate in order to protect the fish’s delicate sensory barbel area, and should be furnished with bogwood, rocky caves and aquatic plants. Excellent water quality with a moderate amount of flow should be provided. In nature A. sidthimunki is found in a variety of habitats, some of which are flowing waters, others standing areas of water in flooded regions.
Feeding: Easy to feed – will accept most small foods offered. Sinking catfish pellets, micropellets, flake, algae wafers, and small-sized frozen foods such as Daphnia, cyclops, baby brineshrimp and mosquito larvae are taken with much enthusiasm.
Water parameters: pH: 6.0 -7.5. Hardness: Soft and slightly acidic is best. Max dh: 12.
Temperature: 75ºF to 82ºF (24-28°C)
Breeding: This species is spawned on a large scale via hormone treatment, details of which appear to be a highly guarded trade secret. This is to help take pressure off of the already steep decline in wild stocks.
A number of aquarists have reported signs of probable pre-spawning behaviour in their established large shoals. During the Winter of 2007, Mark Duffill discovered that his A. sidthimunki group had bred and a number of young had survived the attentions of the adult fish. For further details on this fantastic achievement, please click here.
Picture from Instagram by @billcamp11