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Does Hillstream Loach Eat Shrimp? A Compatibility Test

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Some aquarists like to keep loaches in the aquarium. Among those loaches, hillstream loaches are one of the popular types. However, lots of aquarists want to know whether it is compatible with shrimp or not.

As a whole, a hillstream loach is considered omnivores. However, it prefers to eat algae and biofilm. The average size of hillstream loach and shrimps are 2.5 inches & 1.7 inches respectively. So it is quite impossible to eat shrimps for hillstream loach. It likes to eat brine shrimp & larvae.  

However, this is not the complete answer for you to know everything about hillstream loach and shrimps. You should know my personal experience to understand this topic well. So without wasting time let’s dive deep into the topic.

Is hillstream loach compatible with shrimp?  

Types  Hillstream loach Cherry shrimp Amano shrimp 
Size 2-3 inches 1-1.5 inches 1.5-2.5 inches
Water temperature 20°C to 24°C 14°C to 29°C 18°C to 29°C
pH level 7.0-8.0 6.5-8.0 6.0-7.5
Water flow/current High low-medium Medium
Preferred food Algae, Brine shrimp Algae, fresh vegetables Algae, fresh vegetables
Preferred aquarium type Planted Planted Planted
Aquatic plants Hornwort, Java moss Java moss, Anacharis Java moss, Anubias
Substrate Sand Gravel, Sand, Soil Gravel, Sand, Soil
Tank size/ species 50 gallon/3 H. loach 10 gallon/4 shrimp 10 gallon/4 shrimp
Types of species Very peaceful Very peaceful Very peaceful
Types of tank Matured tank (Minimum 6 months to 1 year) Matured tank (Minimum 2 months to 5 months) Matured tank (Minimum 2 months to 5 months)
Filter requirement Canister or HOB filter HOB or Sponge filter HOB or Sponge filter

From this chart, it is clear that to keep hillstream loach, cherry shrimp and amano shrimp together almost the same tank requirements are needed. One of the primary differences is hillstream loach needs high water current/flow and both of these shrimps require low water current/flow. However, if you have more than 50-gallon planted aquariums then you can keep all of these three species together easily. Due to having lots of hiding places in the big aquarium, water flow cannot create a bad impact on shrimps. So shrimps can thrive here.

A hillstream loach can’t eat shrimps because of its size. It is because of the sizes of the shrimp and loach. The average size of the hillstream loach is 2-3 inches and the average size of shrimps is 1.5-2.5 inches. So it is almost impossible for a hillstream loach to eat shrimps. Moreover, the mouth of the hillstream loach is very small. It can eat only larvae, frozen bloodworms and brine shrimps.

In addition, you must know the hillstream loach is a very peaceful fish. They prefer to hide instead of attacking others. So you can keep hillstream loach and shrimps together easily. However, you must remember that tank size must be not less than 50-gallon and it must be well-planted.

A brief care guide of hillstream loach, cherry shrimp & amano shrimp      

Hillstream loach care

The look of a hillstream loach is very unique and that’s why aquarists want to keep this fish species in their aquarium. Its average size is 2-3 inches. It is considered a low maintenance fish species. So you don’t need to provide any special care.

However, the origin of hillstream loach is in Southern Asia, especially China. It is found in the rivers and streams of Asia. So that it prefers a high current/flow of water.

Now if you want to keep healthy hillstream loaches then it is mandatory to have two strong powerheads. Make sure to fix those powerheads from opposite directions.

You must know hillstream loaches can’t live in bad water conditions. It means you must provide fresh and crystal clear water for hillstream loaches. The water must have enough dissolved oxygen.

The hillstream loach is a very peaceful species and it prefers to hide in the aquarium. So you have to provide lots of hiding places in the aquarium. To build hiding places, you can keep some smooth edged rocks. As substrate white sand is preferable for keeping hillstream loach healthy.

As food, the hillstream loaches will be happy if they get algae and biofilm in the aquarium. A clean and clear aquarium is not recommended to keep this fish. You require a matured fish tank (minimum 6 months to 1 year) to keep this fish. Hillstream loaches can eat larvae, brine shrimp, frozen blood worms etc.

The planted tank is the most preferable to keep hillstream loaches. Hornwort and java moss is such an aquatic plant that is the most compatible with this fish.

Read more:- Assassin Snail vs Nerite Snail: Everything About Compatibility 

Cherry shrimp care

Cherry shrimp is one of the top peaceful invertebrates of fishkeeping hobby. Everyone likes this hardy, cheap and most colourful shrimp. Its average size is 1-1.5 inches. It is also called dwarf shrimp. This is actually known as an algae eater.

To keep cherry shrimp you require having a planted aquarium to provide extra security. These plants will act as hiding places in the aquarium. As aquatic plants, you can use java moss and anacharis in the aquarium.

To keep cherry shrimps you must require a well-established tank that must have enough algae. However, cherry shrimp do not like the high current/flow of water. To keep only shrimps in a tank you may not require filters because shrimps do not create a huge waste. However, if you want to keep other species with it then filters are recommended to fix it.

A problem may arise when you have a powerful filter. Cherry shrimps are often sucked by the strong filters. So you must fix a small powerhead if the tank size is less than 10 gallon. However, shrimps do not bother about water flow much if they get enough hiding places in the aquarium.

Cherry shrimps like gravel as the substrate. However, sandy substrate is also suitable for cherry shrimps. As shrimps are hardy enough so they do not bother about substrates. Some low graded cherry shrimp can tolerate bad water conditions. But generally, you must provide ammonia and nitrite free crystal clear water.

Make sure not to keep any kind of aggressive or big sized fish with it. Those species may consider this as their prey. So you must keep some peaceful fish species with it. The size of those tank mates should be the same as cherry shrimp or a little bit more than the cherry shrimp.

Read more:- Are Snails Compatible With Cichlids? Comparison With Each Cichlid

Amano shrimp care 

Amano shrimp is approximately similar to cherry shrimp. If you know how to care for cherry shrimp then automatically you can care for Amano shrimp well. However, you should know a few factors before keeping amano shrimp in your aquarium.

Amano shrimps are slightly bigger than cherry shrimp and their body colour is yellowish-white. Sometimes it looks transparent too. The body colour of cherry shrimp is red. These two are the main differences between amano shrimp and cherry shrimp.

Amano shrimp also thrive in brackish water. So if you want to make only amano shrimp tank then the fish tank should be filled with brackish water. However, it can thrive in freshwater too.

The planted and well-established fish tank is a must for amano shrimp. As a substrate, you can use soil or sand or gravel. Amano shrimp do not bother about it much. However, you can’t build a bare bottom fish tank.

You should not keep any kind of aggressive fish species with it. Otherwise, amano shrimp can be considered prey for them. Peaceful community fish are the best for amano shrimp. Cherry shrimp can co-exist with amano shrimp also.

Read more:- Snails Appeared in Aquariums? 7 Effective Ways to Get Rid of It

Does hillstream loach eat algae?

Hillstream loaches are considered famous algae eaters. They eat algae and biofilm in an aquarium. However, it doesn’t mean that a hillstream loach can survive in a detritus tank. It requires a well-established fish tank with high current and high oxygen. Like pleco, it doesn’t eat decaying plant matter. 

Is hillstream loach compatible with goldfish?

Theoretically, Hillstream loach is not compatible with goldfish because of the fundamental requirements of keeping these species. Hillstream loach needs a high water current where goldfish prefer the opposite (mild). However, a good filtration system may keep them both but it is not recommended at all. 

Read more:- Is goldfish compatible with cichlids?

Is hillstream loach compatible with a betta?

The origin of betta is slow-moving streams, shallow ponds and hillstream loaches come from the high current streams. So the fundamental requirements to keep both of these species are completely opposite. Betta will definitely not survive in a high current of an aquarium. Their feeding habits are different too.   

Is hillstream loach compatible with pleco fish?

Both hillstream loaches and plecos love the high current/flow and cold water in an aquarium. Its feeding habits are mostly the same. Both of these species prefer algae and biofilm to eat. However, hillstream loaches need extra food sources to thrive. A minimum 75-gallon is required to keep both of them healthy.    

So best of luck & happy fishkeeping 🐟

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