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FAQs About Clown Loach Compatibility

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Related FAQs:  Clown Loaches, Loach Compatibility, Clown Loach Identification, Clown Loach Behavior, Clown Loach Selection, Clown Loach Systems, Clown Loach Feeding, Clown Loach Disease, Clown Loach Reproduction, Loaches 1, Loaches 2, Loach Identification, Loach Behavior, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,

Clown Loach Choked To Death     10/31/19
Hi, I have a, hopefully, simple question. Unfortunately, I lost one of my 15 clown loach school this evening. This clown loach was just over a year old and apparently choked to death on one of the ghost shrimp added to the tank several hours before. I know this to be true because by penlight, magnifying glass and tweezers I pulled a deceased ghost shrimp from the deceased clown loach's mouth. I've been stocking ghost shrimp (30 to 50 at a time) into my tank for the past year or so to keep the South American Puffers happy and entertained so they don't nip the Cory's fins or attempt to pick on one of the clown loach (a dangerous undertaking because if you pick on one, you pick on them all apparently.) This has been working quite well and my tank has been completely harmonious until the poor clown died
choked to death on a shrimp. So my question is: am I ok to continue with adding ghost shrimp to the tank? Is this a freak 'just one of those things' accidents or are clown loach choking on shrimp a more common occurrence?
Thanks so much for any knowledge you can pass my way. Carolyn
<Hi Carolyn. This does sound like a freak misadventure, though I would keep an open mind about the cause of death -- fish don't really 'choke' because the place where food gets processed is in the throat (what we call the pharyngeal jaws) which lie behind the gill openings. So the gill cavity is really more of a big open space with the opercula on either side, and while food may get stuck in the pharynx for a while, it shouldn't interfere with the flow of water in through the mouth or out through the opercula. This
isn't to say something like choking is impossible, but rather that it is very rare, and requires the fish to do something very stupid, such as consume dangerous prey (a spiny fish for example) or a solid lump too big for its pharyngeal teeth to grind up. Now, there is a risk here with perhaps adding too many shrimps, or shrimps that are too large to safely process, as a way of getting your South American Puffers to behave. I'd perhaps handle this a different way. SAPs are mostly surface explorers, so floating plants are really good for this, and they appreciate ample swimming space. In a sufficiently large tank for adult Clown Loaches, by which I mean something like 100 gallons or so for a small group, and two or three times that for 15 Clowns, I'd rely on depth and benthic hiding places (such as hollow logs) to keep them safe. Clowns can easily swim fast enough to avoid trouble, and in sufficient numbers, a small group of SAPs shouldn't be persecuting any single specimen. I have kept SAPs with Cherry Fin Loaches, without major problems, but hungry or bored SAPs can be nippy, even if they lack the aggression of some pufferfish species. Floating plant roots give the SAPs something to explore where the Clowns don't go, so could help, especially alongside a floating bloodworm dispenser or similar to occupy the SAPs throughout the day. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Clown Loach Choked To Death     11/1/19

Hi, again and thanks, Neale, for the quick response.
I had wondered about the fish's gill/throat/respiration anatomy and the ability to literally choke to death. I did notice one of the deceased clown's eye looked odd in death but didn't place any real importance on it.
It is possible that it may have taken a spine to the eye if the group was scrumming for that particular shrimp. I would assume an accidental spine to the eye would usually result in rapid death?
<I would imagine so!>
The clowns and the SAP's are all young, just over a year old or so and purchased at barely an inch. I ended up with so many clowns because they were all together at the LFS and the way they shoaled was just amazing. I had never seen shoaling clown loach before the way LFSs stock small numbers of them. I figured I would have to deal with white spot (which, luckily, I did not) and have some natural attrition (which I also did not.) I'm quite fond of my clown school and a bit proud of the fact I've had no fish loss
so the clown's death is distressing me. (Full disclosure, I lost one of the SAP trio from banging into the tank lid chasing a Cory cat to the surface.
That SAP was so mean and so predatory that I and the tank felt relieved at the mishap and don't really count him in the numbers.)
<SAPs will nip at Corydoras, though genuinely aggressive SAPs are rare.
Will direct you to some reading, here:
Arguably, the species is best kept in groups but away from other species. I kept mine with Carinotetraodon irrubesco, a similar-sized pufferfish that stays close to the substrate. But the general advice, and certainly the safest, is keep a group on their own.>
They are currently in a 55 gallon tank while I've been saving and planning for a custom 150 gallon corner tank (due to room space limitations) which I should have the beginning of the new year. Assuming successful fish keeping over the next 10 years, I know I will need to double that tank size.
The tank is set up with plenty of driftwood, hollows, and hides, as well as, live plants on the sand bottom and a large artificial floating plant at the surface where the majority of the shrimp like to stay. Twice weekly water changes keeps the nitrates in check for my currently overstocked tank with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and I test at least twice weekly. I will be relieved to move everyone into a larger, more appropriate tank size.
<As will they!>
Anyway, the puffers definitely prefer to search for the shrimp at the surface as you described.
<Yep. This can be useful for feeding them, e.g., with prawn or white fish fillet smeared into pumice stones. The stones may even help to wear their teeth down a bit.>
The puffers are certainly not predatory to the clowns or Cory cats in the tank but will certainly attempt to fin nip any unsuspecting tank mate when bored or move obsessively along the glass of the tank. I've found that adding in only 10 shrimp creates a shrimp 'massacre.' I've noticed that the large quantity of shrimp seems a little overwhelming and distracting for the puffers (they scare me when they glut on so many shrimp they are bloated and can only move listlessly along the bottom.) The shrimp seem to
be helping to keep their teeth down as well as I've yet to do dentistry and they're over a year old. I'm wondering why would adding too many shrimp at one time not be ok? Is it a bio load issue?
<Yes; and in any case, shrimp (and mussels) should collectively make up no more than one-third their diet. Shrimp, mussels, and a few other commonly used foods contain a chemical called thiaminase that breaks down vitamin B1. Over recent years, aquarists and reptile keepers have become aware that
many mysterious failures with carnivorous fish and reptiles may be due to thiaminase deficiency. So thiaminase-free foods should make up the majority of the diet to avoid this; such foods as cockles, earthworms, and most types of white fish fillet including Pollack and tilapia. Squid may or may not be good depending on the species.
So while frozen shrimp are popular, they should be used sparingly. Live shrimp are 'safe' if gut-loaded beforehand, but should otherwise be treated like frozen shrimp and used as treats rather than staples.>
Thanks again, Neale! And sorry for the book! Carolyn
<Not a problem. Cheers, Neale.>

Clown Loach.... incompatibility amongst themselves at times      8/27/14
I have a 150 Gallon freshwater community tank with 6 Clown Loaches as part of the community. I have had 4 of them over 6 years and added two more about a year ago. The tank is very healthy and no other fish are sick or have died. It seems the smallest Clown Loach was attacked and his tail was bitten off.
<Does happen unfortunately>
The fish is struggling and looks likes its suffering. If I isolate the Clown Loach will the tail grow back
<IF the tail is not bitten back, missing too much... like to the hypural bones; can/will grow back given propitious circumstances>
or is it best to put him out of his misery. Please answer quickly, I love my tank and although I know these things happens sometimes it sickens me.
<Don't give up hope. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clown Loach      8/27/14

Thanks Bob, should I put in my net so he isn't attacked further or just let
him alone in the tank? Really appreciate your help.
<Best moved to another established system of size, heated up a bit.... Have you read on WWM re this species?
Re: Clown Loach      8/27/14

No but I will thought I was a pretty informed after doing this since I was a kid I am now 57! Don't have a quarantine or secondary tank.
<Heeeee! Am five years older; in the trade for most of these... and still barely know. Do you have a barrier... to isolate several gallons.... to keep the one/small loach apart from the others? When, where in doubt; read.
Re: Clown Loach      8/27/14

Dang I got him out of the net and he swam right to bottom and hid he may have been pulling my chain! Thanks again for all your help.

Bristlenose getting bossy, comp. w/ Clown Loaches      4/30/12
Hi Guys, me again.  Our Bristlenose has grown rather quickly in the last 4 months from about 1 inch to 3.5 and he is starting to get a bit bossy with some of his other tank mates, in particular the two larger clown loaches which are also around 3 inches. He chases them around the tank at feeding time though there is plenty for everyone, never tries to actually catch them veers off at the last moment .  We feed him a varied diet as with them all so I'm not sure what his issue is. Now I've read that some can suck the slime coat of full bodied fish, should I be worried I thought they were supposed to be peaceful and only aggressive with their own?
<If the Ancistrus is actually "riding" the Loaches, yes>

 Which is why we only have one.  It's a 400 litre tank, there are two large pieces of bog wood, one each end of the tank plenty of room, hiding places and lots of real plants.  Should we move him to another tank (if we can catch him!!!) he's pretty zippy, or is there something I can do to calm him at feed time?
<In a tank this size, the Clowns should be able to get, keep away. I wouldn't be overly concerned. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bristlenose getting bossy    5/1/12

Thanks Bob, maybe it stresses me more than the Clowns. Jasper (BN) is a great little fellow, always out and about not a hider at all and very entertaining. But with this chasing that only started about 3 weeks ago it is quite stressful to watch, he occasionally does it to our Bolivian Ram Louie who zips out of the way but then immediately goes and feeds right by his face. Will keep an eye to make sure he doesn't ride them. We have a 100 litre hospital / quarantine tank now that I got for hubby's birthday so if he does get worse he will have to move in there for the time being.
Again thanks Bob.
<A Bristlenose will be fine with Clown Loaches. They should largely ignore each other, and the Ancistrus will retire to a cave or hollow ornament if it feels put upon. Ancistrus aren't species given to attacking large fish, in the way some Otocinclus do for example. So don't see any problems here.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bristlenose getting bossy 5/2/12

Thanks Neal, must read too much into the comments of others, like sucking the slime coats of discus etc!! Changed Jaspers veggies last night to Butter Squash and a carrot (usually has green varieties), seemed to enjoy something different and pretty much left the others alone. So maybe I just need to mix it up more so he doesn't get bored, bet all hell breaks loose as usual though when the algae wafers go in, everyone fights for those....thanks again Rebecca
<Oh, for sure Clowns and Ancistrus enjoy many of the same foods. But Ancistrus hold their own well against similar sized fish. Once the Clowns get to full size -- typically 20-25 cm/8-10 inches in captivity -- then the Ancistrus would probably be happier kept with fish of its own, more diminutive size. But in a sufficiently large aquarium, and if you put some food where the Clowns can't get at it, like inside a hollow tube, it should be possible for the Ancistrus to coexist with adult Clowns. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Setting up a new aquarium, Clown Loach comp.     1/4/12
Thank you for the advise.  The loach trio are in and love their new environment.  My next question is, how many more fish, if any,  can I put in an aquarium of this size? ( 4ft long holding 55 gallons.)
<Mmm, quite a few...>
 It just seems a little empty.  I also wonder what type would be best.
<MANY choices here. Please give a read here:
 My older loach, when he was first dropped on the doorstep of my black moor's aquarium, beat the smaller moor to a pulp and poked out his eye, so I don't want to make the wrong choice. 
<... goldfish are exceedingly poor choices to stock w/ tropicals of any sort>
 I do love the clowns so I want to build this environment around them. 
I've tried to sift through the online sources and don't have much faith in the pet store route considering that a local owner sold me a five gallon tank and two black moors for my daughter a few years ago,  never suggesting that the tank was way to small and that I'd be challenged keeping them afloat, they do live:)  Once again thanks for your input.
<Glad to render it. BobF>

Can a community tank include Black Ghost Knife & Clown Loaches?   5/5/11
Hi team,
Today sadly I had to euthanise my large Oranda Wolfgang, I'd had him since he was a tiny baby, I'm not sure what happened to him, his Wen grew so big it covered his eyes but he was still happy, he was always a little top-heavy
A couple of months ago he just started lying on his side & not moving much, I thought (seeing all the water parameters were fine) that it was just because he couldn't see & was unsure of what to do, he'd still right himself to eat & swim around the bottom. The past week he's been really bad, barely moving except for dinner & he was starting to get thin & get pressure sores on his sides from lying down, so sadly, the time came, he's now buried under the hibiscus with Yolky his longtime Ranchu friend
What I was wondering now was, I have a 4' x 2' x 2' tank that's just got a peppermint Bristlenose in it & so I was wondering what to put in the tank.
<Many possibilities>
When I first got into fish keeping about 25 years ago my Mum bought me a Black Ghost Knife fish, he was only tiny when she got him & over the 8 years that I had him, he grew to over a foot in length. Poor Moo though taught me the valuable lesson of having a back-up heater in the tank as one day in winter he started fitting & it turned out that the tank was cold as the heater had blown up. It was such a loss to fish-kind.
We then went onto the community type tank with clown loaches, Corys, glass cats, various large tetras & a butterfly fish.
I do like the clown loaches, they've got a lot of personality & I would dearly love to have another black ghost knife. Would they co-exist?
<Mmm, can, yes>
I was thinking 1 black ghost knife & maybe 6 clown loaches, maybe some sort of Corys, the glass cats & what about Congo tetras?
<These two would add colour, motion to the mid-water area>
I know that I can't have small fish in with the ghost knife (Moo ate Mum's beautiful guppies when they had to move into his tank for awhile) & I vaguely remember that you can't have Plecos with knife fish but would those others mentioned be ok?
<Yes. Do see/read on WWM re the water quality, nutritional needs of all you list here>
Also, what about salt in the water?
<Not a good idea generally. Read here:
I always used to put some conditioning salts in with Wolfgang & Yolky, it was a mix of pool salt, Epsom salts, bicarb & Melafix as well as Prime & Stability.
<Shortened their life times>
It's been awhile since I've had tropical fish as after I lost Moo I went into marine fish for about a decade but then swapped to the Orandas 'cause I thought that they would be easier to look after (give me back my marine tanks any day!)
Sorry about the long winded waffle but I really wasn't sure & I would like to start off on the right foot again.
Also, in terms of cleaning the tank out, it's warm anyway as Wolfgang liked it a little warmer, should I do a full water change or just a % & clean out the filter? It should be good bacteria wise as it's been running for years.
<I would change out most all, vacuuming the gravel>
Thanks in advance for any advice & thanks also for reading.
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Re: Tank height/width for Oscar (Neale?) 2nd part... Clown Loach comp.?  -- 9/27/07 Neale, Crew, As a P.S. Neale, I read the articles on the different Plecs, very good information. The only other fish I have a real desire for is the Clown Loach. I've never gotten any because my water is very hard (300 ppm) with a PH of 8 and everything I read says you 'need' soft water with a PH of 6 or so. I discussed my water with you recently in regards to the Oscar and you stated that seldom does a 'soft water fish' fail to acclimate to hard water. Would that hold true for the Clown Loach? Or is that stretching it too far? I know they can get up to 12" but it takes them many years to get there. I've also always read you 'have' to have a minimum of 3, do you agree with that? That would be what I'd really WANT to go into a 180 gal with the Oscar, I'm not sure my water would be acceptable though. I don't feel right "settling" for a Plec (although the Royal Plec is actually pretty) just to alleviate boredom. Thanks for helping me, I'm truly trying not to bother you! Mitzi <Clown loaches can and do thrive when kept with Oscars. Water chemistry is largely irrelevant with Clowns. What they appreciate it swimming space and water quality, both of which you're providing. When kept in groups of 4-6, Clowns become very different fish to how they seem when kept singly in a small aquarium. They scoot about nose-to-tail like Corydoras some of the time, though sometimes they'll turn around and snip at each other, perhaps establishing a pecking order. While they can get to 30 cm or so, that's uncommon in aquaria. A 15-20 cm specimen -- after 7 or 8 years of growth! -- would be pretty good going. Royal Plecs are very pretty, and I have one of my own. My favourite fish, and quite tame in her way. But so destructive of plants! Though she doesn't eat them, she uproots them, and causes me much grief in trying to make her aquarium pretty. This species mixes very well with Oscars. They are delicate after import though, so be sure and look for a nice, fat specimen with bright -- not sunken -- eyes. This actually holds true for all "rare" Plecs. PS. Usually, hard water fish have problems acclimating to soft water, and not the other way around. Soft water fish may not like hard water, but it rarely does them any harm. But when hard water fish are kept in soft water, you end up with fish that have fungus, finrot, etc. I think it's a question of soft water lacking essential minerals while soft water has a surfeit of them -- it's easier for soft water fish to adjust to excess, than for hard water fish to make do without entirely. There are exceptions, but few. Cheers, Neale> Re: Tank height/width for Oscar (Neale?) 2nd part -- 9/27/07 Oh good-thank you! The thought of actually being able to get some Clown Loach after wanting them so long makes my whole day :-)) They grow slower than I thought, I believe when the time comes I'll find 6 that are almost as big as the Oscar. He should still be under 6" by the time I get the 180 g so finding 5" Clown Loaches shouldn't be too hard. They'll definitely get quarantined also. I've wanted them for so long but didn't think I could have them without an RO unit. If it came down to it I could always get an RO unit in the future if I find they don't do well in harder water. Thank you! What great news for a Friday! Mitzi <Hi Mitzi. Clown loaches are definitely among the most slow growing fish in the hobby. In part, this might be because they're often kept in sub-optimal aquarium conditions. But they do also seem to be simply slow-growing, late-maturing, long-lived fish. Truly, hard water isn't an issue. These loaches are routinely kept by British aquarists, most of whom have to make do with "liquid rock". It's easy to fixate on soft water because it's more true to the natural ecology of many fish. But hard water has a key advantage: it's chemically stable. Fish will usually adapt fine to non-natural water chemistry, but what they HATE is fluctuating water chemistry. Unless you really need soft water, e.g., for breeding fish, then there's no practical advantages to using soft water with most standard aquarium fish. Cheers, Neale>

Tricolor/Red finned Sharks  11/21/06 Hello there, it's Michelle again! <<Hello, Michelle. It's Tom again, as well.>> I wanted to let you know that the red fin is doing marvelous, and I've gotten myself a pair of weather loaches, and a Kuhli loach. (I hope to get more in a couple of weeks!) <<Sounds great.>> I did have a pictus and of course the bala, but sadly something VERY horrible happened. <<Uh oh'¦>> I was sold a faulty tank- it had a chip under the encasing at the base corner of the tank. Overnight, the tank spread out from under the casing (which was literally impossible to see) and it exploded. The bala and the pictus died. :( I was luckily able to save a few fish. <<Sorry to hear about your Shark and Catfish, Michelle, though I'm glad not all were lost.>> Anyway, I wanted to inform that my fish are currently in a 5-gallon Q-tank... they WERE in my 10 gallon Q-tank, but that proved to be a disaster. I'm very ashamed to have them in such a small tank, but it is VERY temporary- I'm cycling a 20 gallon as we speak and they only have to stay in the 5-gallon for a little under two weeks. I make frequent water changes (once every 5 days) and give them extra aeration and filtration. <<Excellent and, there's no need to apologize for anything. I know that you know that this isn't ideal but you don't have a lot of options right now, do you?>> I wanted to know, because I hadn't had the chance to ask before, would clown loaches and red fins interact well? My rainbow has been a great roommate with my loaches- both weather and the Kuhli. Now, I understand that the weather loach prefers cold water, but the temperature is steady at 79, and they're known to function excellently within a broad range such as 72 to 84 degrees. <<Michelle, Clown Loaches (Botia macracantha) are 'funny' about how they interact with other fish. I say this because they can get along quite well with everyone in the tank or they can turn out to be pretty nasty, particularly with smaller fish. As adults, provided you can get them to that stage, they don't exhibit the almost playful type of behavior that they display as juveniles. Specifically, they've been known to act in a somewhat aggressive fashion at night attacking other tank mates. As to your specific question, I would say yes, at least early on. There may be some jockeying for territory but a larger tank would help a great deal in that regard. Both grow moderately large so I don't think you'll see one or the other being 'dominant'. Provided your Rainbow Shark doesn't mistake the Loach(es) for something they're not, I think they could make a decent combination.>> Am I making good decisions on tank mates? All of these fish will grow to be large (I intend to get a much bigger tank than the 20 of course, that's my starter tank). Will the rainbow accept them with age? <<As I suggested, I might be apt to have concerns later in their lives more so than early on.>> If not, I'd be more than happy to get him his own tank with a few tiger barbs. I've grown quite fond of him! <<Either way, Michelle, I don't think you'd be going wrong.>> Please write back and let me know your thoughts. :) Thank you for your time, -Michelle <<Happy to share it with you. Best of luck. Tom>>

Sad looking Oranda  10/24/06 Hi, I recently bought this Oranda, along with a Lionhead. They are in a tank with 2 more goldfish, very small (4) black phantoms, catfish and one clown loach. <An incompatible mix... the goldfish like cool, hard, alkaline water... are very "messy"...> When I got them, the Oranda had a beautiful wen. Then I noticed about 2 days later, the wen looked like it was chewed on , pieces gone, the edges seemed white and billowy. <Yes... the loach or catfish> Called our local Aquarium, and they told us to add Maroxy to the tank. <Typical Western ethic response... treating the symptom/s...> I noticed the Lionhead seemed to be having same sort of problem. Then I saw the clown loach following the Lionhead and it seemed to be nipping on it, so I took the loach out of the tank. Well, this photo is about 5 days later, half water change, water quality is good, only thing is we had to raise temp up when we were treating the tank. It now has no wen and whatever this is it seems to be spreading. All other fish seem fine and the Oranda and Lionhead are all swimming good, eating well. Can you please help me with this problem. Thanks for any info. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshcompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Clown loach with nibbled fins Hi there -- been a long time since I've written.  I have a 180 gal tank with 4 clown loaches (2 are 8 inches long and 13 years old; 2 are 3 inches long and about 3 years old) 10 small glass catfish, 2 Plecos and one black skirt tetra.  One of the smaller loaches looks like his fins have been nibbled off.  He looks good otherwise and eats well.  I haven't seen anyone nipping at him, although one of the larger loaches gets impatient with him (haven't seen actual contact, though).  They had been co-existing peacefully for 2 years without incident.  There have been no new additions to the tank.  There are lots of hiding places, and the tank is very clean with bio-ball filtration and weekly 40 gallon water changes.  The temp is at 80F. Any ideas on who the culprit(s) might be? < Sure sounds like one of the other larger loaches is the culprit. They are getting old enough and large enough to where they might be thinking about breeding and might be picking on the smaller loaches as part of territorial disputes.-Chuck> thanks Tom

Clown Loaches Hi, It's been a while since I spoke to you all. <Welcome back> Unfortunately I seem to have a new problem. I have 2 clown loaches, when I got them they were both the same size. As they got older one had become larger than the other. I had been told by my LFS that they were schooling fish and I should at least get 2. So I did. I was also told that they would get along as they grew. But as it turned out the larger one is picking on the smaller one. Are they naturally aggressive toward one another, or would a larger amount (1 or 2 more) ease the problem between the 2.  Any advice would be much appreciated.  THANK YOU DS <Clown Loaches are somewhat aggressive, and also playful with one another, I would add between 1-3 more, depending on the size of your tank.  They will be happier with the increased number of fish, and the aggressive one can spread the beatings around so no one fish is picked on too much.  Best Regards, Gage>

Clown Loaches Eating Tetras? Hello, I have a 54 gal. community tank stocked with various tetra's, Angels, YoYo Loaches, 3 Clown loaches, and some Neon's.  I recently bought 6 more neons to add to the tank and have seen my Clown Loaches eating them.  Is this normal behavior? <Nope> The Clowns are about 4" long and have been living peacefully with the other fish including about 6 neon's.  It was only after adding the new Neon's that the problem started.  Any advise? <Did you actually witness your Clown Loach striking the neon in a Jaws like fashion?  Is it possible that the new fish died due to maybe stress from the move, and the Clown Loach was just cleaning up the remains?  Most likely the Loach was just scavenging the left overs.  Sorry about your Tetra.  Loaches mouths are not really designed for killing, but they can be a little aggressive and are capable of harassing other fish, if the loaches are killing your Tetras you should look into separating them, or getting larger Tetras.  Best Regards, Gage> Thank you, Kurt

Clown loaches and snails Hi gang, <Greetings!> I have a planted tank with several medium (3") clown loaches...initially stocked to control snail stowaways on plants, which they do well.  In fact, not only have the loaches become one of my favorite fishes in all my tanks, I actually breed and raise Ramshorn snails just so I can give them a treat a few times a month!  =) <I'm sure they love this, I do it myself with my clowns.> My question:  I have a couple LARGE (2" or so) Gold Inca (not exactly sure of the species) snails in need of a home.  They've been housed in my quarantine tank for nearly a year, so I doubt introducing pathogens would pose a risk to the tank, however, would the clown loaches pose a risk to these big guys? <Very possibly. I know I've seen clowns eat snails that were over an inch in size so I'd be afraid to try it even with snails as large as yours.> Also... now that I have your attention, hehe.  What are some species of plants (if any) that would do OK in a moderately aerated tank?   I'm not looking to win any awards in these tanks, just to add some "live" decorations. <A lot would depend on your lighting. Some of my favorites for moderately lit, moderately aerated tanks are Anacharis (this one is rumored to be touchy but I've always had good luck with it), Elodea, and Anubias.> Thanks a bunch, and keep up the good work on WWM! Cheers, Michael <Thank you and you're welcome! Ronni>

Snails and clown loaches Hi guys/gals, hope you are all well! <Yes, thank you> I am having trouble with an outbreak of snails and want advise about clown loaches that are NOT eating them!! <Unusual... it may well be that they are just not "familiar" with them as a food source. Do try "squishing" a few smaller (softer shelled) specimens and leaving them in with the loaches without their usual meaty food items for a couple of days... this will usually "do the trick"> I went to LFS last Tuesday and bout 3 clown loaches since I've read they do well in groups of 3. They are rather attractive but I was a little concerned about over stocking my tank- it's a 15 gallon planted tank- was doing extremely well, with 2 rasboras, 2 white clouds, 3 Otos, 2 cherry barbs. But I have a piece of driftwood that has never caused me trouble- but I added 2 ml of Zoe, vitamin supplement for fish, and it turns out that upon close reading of label, Zoe also helps invertebrates grow- so I think that is where all the snails (look like Ramshorns) came from- a ton of them. They've eaten holes in a lot of my plants and that's why I wanted to get the loaches. <Mmm, well, your loaches will eventually "out-grow" this size system> I wanted to get a dwarf loach, Botia Sidthimunki , but the guy told me they are sometimes aggressive and my fish are rather timid lot! So I decided to go for 3 loaches and risk overstocking tank. I do weekly changes, about 2-3 gallons, and it's always pristine. I've had these fish for 6 days, and THEY ARE NOT eating snails! in fact, when I feed flake food to my other fish, the 3 rush to top and push others around and eat flakes!! Is this normal? Perhaps the LFS fed them flakes?? <Maybe, and not unusual... they are called "clowns" for more than their colorful markings> What do I do know, since I still have snails-- took out 12 small ones this evening?? Is dwarf loach aggressive? thanks in advance... Rosa <Try the "squished" possibility. Bob Fenner> Re: Snails and clown loaches Dear Bob, thanks for response. I was on loaches.com and someone there gave me same advice- so will try that.  Meanwhile, I've read the zebra loach is a more snail aggressive loach and they don't get quite as large as clowns, or at least that what LFS told me. <This is so> Any suggestions re substituting the clowns for the zebras? <I would stick with the Clowns for now, maybe swap them out for Botia sidthmunki later if the Clowns don't work out. Bob Fenner> thank you again, Rosa

Re: Clown Loach Question Thanks for the assistance. Your prior advise on the lighting for the tank worked very well also. My 5 year old son loves the tank.  <Ah, good> I am relieved that the clown is ok. I want to purchase him some friends, but large clown loaches are rare on the coast were I live and I have had a standing order for two more. So hopefully he will have more friends soon. There are lots of hiding places for him so that's not a problem.  <Small companions would be fine here as well... and do grow quite quickly> One other question. I want to add more fish to the tank, but anything small dies a rather sad death due to the pictus cat (4-5") (as I found out to late with ten neon tetras) and anything gentle like mollies or similar get stomped on by the Gouramis. They beat my beta almost to death before I saved him and moved him to another tank (bad reason, but I did get another aquarium out of it).  I don't particularly like cichlids. Is there anything else I could add that you might suggest? <Many things. Please consider the many Barbs, larger Danios... maybe even a freshwater "Shark". Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm> Also could I add one of those green puffer fish? Can they live in non-brackish water?  I know the puffers can nip fins (probably serve the Gouramis right), I would say it would be even money if the puffer can hold his own. (the Gouramis are one of the big blues, a white/gold color and three small grey blues.  <I don't recommend a freshwater or more brackish water Puffer for your system... too much trouble, possible aggression. Stick with more easygoing, hardier species here> Thanks for your continued kindness and information. Take care - Mark. <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Escape Artist Clown Loach and Eating Habits - 12/20/2005 Seasons Greetings to the Crew! <And to you, Steve!> I discovered a small problem this evening that may require me to tear up my tank to rectify.  So before I dig in, I thought I'd check to see if anyone has any experience with the problem at hand. <Alrighty, sounds like a plan.> I have two large freshwater aquariums (650 gallons and 200 gallons) plumbed to a common 150 gallon sump filled with bio-balls.   <Wow, can I move in?> The sump feeds a Sequence pond pump that pushes the return through a Hayward pleated pool filter and UV filters before dividing the flow back to the two aquariums.  The large aquarium is home to a number of medium sized gold Severums, rose line barbs, rosy barbs, moonlight Gouramis, Juraparoids, and large Congo tetras.  The smaller aquarium is home to an assortment of small tetras - cardinals, rummy nose, red minors, harlequin, and penguins, as well as three large flower shrimp.   <Sounds excellent.> On Friday I added three large 5 inch clown loaches to the big aquarium.   <You'll get a better effect with a few more - these schoolers put on great antics in groups.  And in your 650 gallon tank, I'd have no qualms recommending a few more!  Do please remember to quarantine, though, as ALL clown loaches are collected wild, and often bring parasites with them.> Today I was shocked to find one of these loaches swimming in the smaller tetra tank.   <Yikes!> After thinking through the possibilities, it became obvious that the clown loach swam upstream through a return in the large aquarium until it found the divide leading to the smaller aquarium and followed the current through the 1.5" plumbing into the smaller aquarium.   <Wow, what a trip....> I understand that clown loaches enjoy eating snails and crustaceans and so am wondering how quickly I can expect them to make a meal of my three 3" flower shrimps.   <Mm, I doubt the loach will harass the shrimp.  As long as they're not bite-sized, they should be okay, I think.> The smaller aquarium is filled with large landscaping rock and numerous plastic plants and would represent a not-so-fun filled evening of tearing everything thing out of the tank to catch the crafty clown loach.  I would be happy to leave the clown loach in the smaller tank if the shrimp had a chance of surviving. <For the loaches' schooling desires, better to get this fellow back into his school, and prevent a reoccurrence of his plumbing escapades.> Who wins - clown loach or flower shrimp? <For now, likely a draw.  I doubt the loach will have any interest at all.> Thanks for your advice and continued contributions to the hobby.  You guys and gals are the best. <And thank you for these kind words!> Sincerely,  Steve in Minneapolis (current temp: 4 below zero) <Yee-IKES!  I thought it was chilly at 40 in the Santa Cruz Mountains!  If you get snow, shovel a little extra for me, okay?  I sure do miss it.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Aggressive Loaches Not Clowning Around - The Most Respectfully Submitted Email EVER! 10/28/05 Hi, Kindly accept my sincere regards for such a excellent site. I set up my first 15g tank in July this year, did some stupid things, some wise things (reading your site) and have finally stopped killing my fishes. In fact I now have now a second 55g tank with 3 goldfishes and a freshwater minnow called tiger shark My question is regards with my 15g tank, it has a filter, heater, and is a established tank for three months, original occupants were goldfishes now shifted to 55g. 15g tank has two silver dollars 1.5', 2 platy, 2 sword tails, I wanted to add some loaches. I read extensively and come to conclusion that clown loaches were schooling fishes and decided on a minimum of 4 fishes 1.5'. The fishes sold to me do not seem to be clown loaches although they look like clown, this fellow said that they are called 'Rani loaches' and are same. However my problem is that these loaches have started picking on dollars, striking at their eyes or base of tail. This problem is now so acute that dollars are now showing signs of stress. Kindly guide me why is this happening. If I separate the fishes which can I put with goldfish or should I return them. Thanks Sandeep R < I went to loaches.com and could not find any fish listed there when I searched for rani. All loaches are not alike. Some are small and very peaceful while others can be very aggressive and get large. Please go to loaches.com to

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