In the Netherlands, the spined loach is found most often in ditches and streams that have thick muddy layers. It is grayish brown to yellowish in color with exceptionally attractive dark brown spotted markings. The males are sexually mature at 2 years of age and grow to a maximum length of 8 centimeters. Females are sexually mature at 3 years of age and are longer, up to 14 centimeters. Spined loach breathe through their intestines just like the mud loach. They use their barbels to search for food on the bottom. Spined loach eat worms (tubifex) and larvae from mosquitoes and other small insects, as well as microscopic algae and detritus.