fish difficult level

Ambastaia sidthimunki (Klausewitz 1959)

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Dwarf chain loach, Dwarf loach, Dwarf botia, Chipmunk botia, Sid.

Ambastaia sidthimunki, the smallest member of the Botiine loach group, often shows an unusual behaviour for loaches – that of shoaling during daylight hours above the bottom of the aquarium or in mid-water, which involves an entire group swimming in a constant, restless fashion around the sides of the aquarium, usually utilising the full length and height.

Distribution: Upper Chao Phraya basin, Thailand, Cambodia and ? Laos.

Submitted by
Natasha Khardina
Geographical region
Southeastern Asia
Drainage Basin
Chao Phraya
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
Water body course
Upper course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Chao Phraya
Type locality
Loom District, "Yom" River, northern Thailand [or ? Phetchaburi Province, western central Thailand].
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Endangered (EN)


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
24.0-28.0 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

12 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
6 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
200 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

Ambastaia sidthimunki, is unsuitable for smaller aquaria and should be maintained in larger groups, preferably 10 or more. This is a social fish that recognises a social ranking.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Mature females likely to have a rounder abdominal area and grow a little larger than males.

Nutrition in Nature

Ambastaia sidthimunki is an omnivorous species feeding on micro-food  and vegetative matter if available, often including soft-leaved aquatic plants.


Breeding tank set-up

This species is spawned on a large scale via hormone treatment. Such a hormone breeding, although treated as a trade secret, helps to reduce the wild collecting and decline in wild stocks.


Nutrition parents

In the aquarium this botiid is easy to feed with all kinds of small foods: sinking catfish pellets, micropellets, flake, algae wafers, and small-sized frozen foods such as Daphnia, cyclops, baby brineshrimp and mosquito larvae.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

This fishes are seasonal, migratory spawners and in Nature they are more likely to spawn in large shoals.

Breeding habits
Free spawning
Hatching period
Number of eggs in average
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry
Notes on reproduction

To stimulate the spawning in the captivity one can try to add a few shredded dried Indian almond leaves (Terminalia catappa) and also carry out cooler water changes.