Do Clown Loaches Eat Plants? [Owner Advice Given]

Yes, Clown Loaches are known to eat different types of plants. While they primarily consume small crustaceans, insects, and worms in their natural habitat, they have also been observed nibbling on aquarium plants. 

Understanding their plant-eating tendencies and providing appropriate alternatives can help strike a balance between a thriving aquarium ecosystem and the joy of keeping Clown Loaches. 

Let’s delve deeper into their plant-eating habits and explore the types of plants clown loaches can eat in your aquarium.

do clown loaches eat plants

Do Clown Loaches Eat Live Plants

Yes, Clown Loaches are known to eat live plants, and this behavior is not uncommon among these curious and playful fish. 

When kept in an aquarium, they may develop a taste for soft and tender aquatic vegetation. This plant-eating behavior is more prevalent in younger Clown Loaches as they explore their environment and establish their preferences.

Their behavior can be managed with appropriate plant selection and a balanced diet. Observing these delightful fish interact with their environment, including live plants, can be a rewarding experience for any aquarium enthusiast.

Do Clown Loaches Eat Aquarium Plants

Yes, Clown Loaches have a tendency to eat aquarium plants, and this behavior is relatively common among these inquisitive and lively fish.

The extent to which Clown Loaches eat aquarium plants can vary from one individual to another. Younger Clown Loaches, especially those acclimating to a new tank, may exhibit more plant-eating behavior as they explore their surroundings and try different foods. Older Clown Loaches might show less interest in plants, focusing more on their preferred diet of meaty and protein-rich foods.

If you’re keen on maintaining a well-planted aquarium with Clown Loaches, it’s essential to choose plant species that are less palatable to the fish. Hardy and robust plants like Java Fern, Anubias, or Amazon Sword can be excellent choices as they have tougher leaves that are less likely to be devoured.

Plants That Clown Loaches Can Eat

Clown Loaches are known to have a penchant for eating certain aquarium plants. While these plant eating tendency is not normally seen in clown loaches.

Here are some plants that Clown Loaches may find interesting as food:

  1. Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana): This feathery and delicate plant is a favorite among Clown Loaches due to its soft texture and vibrant green color. Unfortunately, their fondness for Cabomba often leads to frequent nibbling, which can cause the plant to deteriorate over time.
  2. Hygrophila (Hygrophila spp.): The luscious leaves of Hygrophila provide a tempting treat for Clown Loaches. Their hearty appetite for this plant can result in significant leaf damage and hinder its growth and overall appearance.
  3. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum): Clown Loaches may indulge in nibbling on the fine, needle-like leaves of Hornwort. Although this plant can tolerate some grazing, excessive feeding by the fish can weaken its foliage.
  4. Duckweed (Lemna minor): The tiny floating leaves of Duckweed can attract the attention of Clown Loaches. They may occasionally snack on these floating plants, but fortunately, Duckweed tends to grow rapidly and can recover from the nibbling.
  5. Anacharis (Elodea canadensis): This popular aquarium plant is another victim of Clown Loaches’ appetites. Their constant grazing on Anacharis can lead to stunted growth and even uprooting of the plant.
  6. Java Moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri): While Java Moss is not their first choice, Clown Loaches have been known to nibble on its fine, dense foliage. Regular trimming and maintaining healthy growth can help the plant withstand its occasional snacking.

It’s essential to observe your Clown Loaches’ behavior towards the plants in the aquarium and provide alternative sources of food and stimulation to minimize their plant-eating tendencies.

Choosing hardier plant species and providing a balanced diet can create a harmonious environment where both the fish and the vegetation can thrive together. 

Plants Clown Loaches Won’t Eat

While Clown Loaches may exhibit a penchant for nibbling on certain aquarium plants, there are several plant species that they typically avoid. These plants can be a great choice for aquarists who want to maintain a well-planted tank without worrying about their Clown Loaches turning them into a snack.

  1. Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus): With its sturdy and leathery leaves, Java Fern is a top contender for a plant that Clown Loaches won’t eat. Its tough texture makes it less appealing to the fish, allowing it to thrive undisturbed in the aquarium.
  2. Anubias (Anubias spp.): Anubias is another excellent choice for a Clown Loach tank. Its thick and broad leaves are not favored by the fish, making it a durable and attractive addition to the aquarium.
  3. Amazon Sword (Echinodorus spp.): Known for its large, sword-shaped leaves, the Amazon Sword is generally safe from Clown Loach grazing. Its robust nature and size deter the fish from attempting to eat it.
  4. Cryptocoryne (Cryptocoryne spp.): Cryptocoryne plants are well-suited for Clown Loach tanks. Their sturdy and waxy leaves make them less enticing to the fish, ensuring they remain undisturbed.
  5. Moss Balls (Marimo moss balls): These fascinating green spheres are not only attractive but also safe from Clown Loach nibbling. The fish usually leave them alone, allowing them to add a unique touch to the aquarium.
  6. Vallisneria (Vallisneria spp.): The long, ribbon-like leaves of Vallisneria are not a preferred snack for Clown Loaches. This hardy plant can grow tall and add a graceful element to the tank without being devoured.

By incorporating these plant species into your Clown Loach tank, you can create a lush and beautiful underwater environment without worrying about constant plant damage.

Do Clown Loaches Destroy Plants?

Yes, Clown Loaches have a reputation for occasionally nibbling on aquarium plants, which may lead some to wonder if they can cause significant damage to the vegetation in the tank. 

While they are not notorious plant destroyers like certain other fish species, their plant-eating behavior can still pose challenges for plant enthusiasts. Younger Clown Loaches, especially when introduced to a new tank, may be more prone to exploring and sampling different foods, including soft and tender aquatic plants. This can result in some leaf damage and occasional uprooting of the plants.

However, it’s essential to note that not all Clown Loaches will exhibit this behavior, and older individuals (wheather it’s male or female) might be less interested in plants as they focus more on their preferred diet of meaty foods.

Regularly monitoring the health of the plants and taking appropriate actions will help create a harmonious environment where both the fish and the vegetation can thrive together.

How To Stop Clown Loaches Eating Plants

To prevent Clown Loaches from eating aquarium plants and minimize potential damage, there are several strategies that aquarists can implement. 

Firstly, opt for plant species that are less appealing to the clown fish. Choose robust and sturdy plants with tougher leaves, such as Java Fern, Anubias, Amazon Sword, and Cryptocoryne. These plants are less likely to be nibbled on by the Clown Loaches.

Secondly, provide a well-balanced diet for the fish. Offer high-quality sinking pellets, flakes, or specially formulated loach food that meets their nutritional needs. A satisfied and well-fed Clown Loach will be less inclined to seek out alternative food sources like aquarium plants.

Thirdly, Creating designated feeding areas in the tank can also help redirect their foraging behavior away from the live plants. This can be achieved by placing food in specific spots or using feeding dishes to concentrate their feeding activities. 

Fourthly, enrich the aquarium environment with hiding spots, driftwood, and other decorations. Keeping the Clown Loaches engaged and entertained will reduce their interest in the plants as a potential food source.

Finally, observe the behavior of the Clown Loaches closely. If you notice any specific individuals consistently targeting the plants, consider rearranging the tank or providing additional food sources for them to satisfy their foraging instincts.

By employing these strategies, you can create a harmonious aquarium environment where both your Clown Loaches and the live plants can thrive together. This will ensure plants not to becoming a primary food source for the fish.


The question “Do Clown Loaches eat plants?” has been thoroughly explored, shedding light on the feeding habits and behavior of these lively aquarium fish.

It is evident that Clown Loaches do have a tendency to nibble on certain aquarium plants, especially when they are young and still exploring their environment.

So keep the guideline in your mind while you are choosing plants for Clown Loaches. Hopefully, this will help you keeping clown loaches and their aquarium plants properly maintained.

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