The Sumatran Neon Loach (Pangio bitaimac) is an uncommon relative to the common Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii/semicincta). This peaceful fish is very distinctive for its eel-like body, which is a dark purplish color with a bright blue sheen in many specimens. Native to Sumatra (and possibly other nearby areas), the Sumatran Neon Loach is a relatively new species to the aquarium trade, being discovered in 2009. The possible reason for this is that many importers of this fish have not understood or provided proper care, thus making healthy specimens scarce.
Though rare, the Sumatran Neon Loach is a relatively undemanding fish, provided that a few specific needs are met. This fish is generally native to rivers and streams of low water flow. The pH of these waterways can be excessively acidic due to a great deal of leaf litter and other decaying plant matter. While the Sumatran Neon Loach can acclimate to neutral or slightly alkaline water over time, it should at first be kept in acidic water that is less than 7.0 pH. This shy fish can be sensitive during shipping and when initially introduced to a new tank. It must be provided with a great deal of cover and refuge in order to feel secure. It also must be kept in groups of at least 6 or more, so the 3-quantity purchase option is really only to add to an existing group. As with most fish, it also requires a clean, well-maintained aquarium. While it is a completely peaceful species, it is also a micropredator. It is generally safe with adult dwarf shrimp, but may prey on small fry.
The Sumatran Neon Loach is typically an unfussy eater that will accept most sinking foods, but it should also be offered meaty live or frozen foods of appropriate size. It will maintain its best health and coloration with a varied diet of high-quality meaty foods.
- Species – Pangio sumatra
- Common Name – Neon Kuhli Loach
- Origin – South-East Asia
- Diet – Omnivore
- PH Range – 5.5 – 7
- Temperature – Tropical 23-30°c
- Maximum Size – approximately 10cm
- Sex – Un-sexed