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FAQs About Loach Behavior

Related Articles: Loaches, Dojos/WeatherfishA New Look At Loaches By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs:  Loaches 1, Loaches 2, Clownloaches, Kuhli Loaches, Loach Identification, Loach Compatibility, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,

Yoyo loach acting oddly, plus a few other queries  11/6/08 Hello, I just found your very helpful website tonight, and I thought you might be able to answer a question I have about the behaviour of one of the fish in my tank. It is not a large tank, it is about two feet and one foot by one foot and it's not very high tech. I recently got a proper hood with a light and I have it on a timer so that they get some dark and plenty of light. I have a filter, but it's just the kind that pulls the water through a kind of a sponge type of thing. I have had the aquarium going to several years now, though when I moved a couple of months ago I ended up doing what amounted to about a 2 thirds water change. I have floating plants I'm not sure what they're called but they're kind of "seaweed" like plants that don't need too much light because I got them before I got the light for the aquarium. They shelter about a third of the tank and the fish seem to enjoy that. The fish are five or six plain old zebra Danios, one of those algae eating brown catfish (about an inch and a half long or so, so just a baby, I hear they can get big, at which point he will be donated to my parents fish pond) <Absolutely NOT! You cannot put tropical catfish in a fish pond! Not only will the thing likely die a miserable death if you live in somewhere non-tropical, you're likely breaking any number of laws.> there are three platys (sp?) two female and one male and a yoyo loach (I didn't buy this one, my sister who was looking after the aquarium while I was away for a couple of years bought him). My main question is about this loach. Recently I have noticed him swimming in vertical circles against one end of the tank, <Sort of normal. Most Loaches will do this under a variety of circumstances. Air pressure changes for one! But it can also be an indication that the fish is unhappy: this loach (Botia almorhae) is gregarious and should be in groups of 5-6 specimens, at least. So if nothing else, it's unhappy.> I've seen other fish do this but the loach seems to be doing it a lot more than seems "normal" to me, or more than I noticed before. Does this indicate a problem? Is he outgrowing the tank? (he is I guess about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long). He only does it at the one end of the tank where there are the more plants. and it doesn't make a difference if the light is on or not. I feed them almost only flake food, occasionally for a treat I give them one those frozen mosquito larva cubes. How big can the loach get, at what point will he be too big for this tank? Is he happen alone or should there really be more than one loach in the tank? I've read both that they like to be on their own and that they like to be social, so I'm not sure what to think on that front. <Botia almorhae gets to 15 cm/6 inches. Practically all Loaches are gregarious; people sometimes keep them alone because [a] they can't be bothered to buy any others; or [b] because they think Loaches are aggressive. In small groups (2-4 specimens) Loaches can be aggressive to one another. They squabble over hierarchy. But if you keep them correctly, in a big school, this aggression is diffused and the loaches behave normally.> A couple of other quick questions. I am not too good at doing regular water changes, in part because I can't seem to get a good idea of how much and how often the water should be changed. I haven't had a fish die since this summer when I added the platys and two or three died early on. I took a water sample to Petland and they said that the water needed to be changed more often, they suggested that I not add any more fish for the time being and do a 1/3 water change every 3 days for a couple of weeks to get things cleared up. I did that and I haven't had any more fish die, but I'm not sure what would be a "normal" maintenance amount of water changing to do. <By default, change 25% every week. Here's the thing: fish in the tank will adapt to gradually worse conditions (up to a point, anyway). When you add new fish, they don't have time to adapt, and sicken and die.> Also a couple of months ago, one of my zebra Danios got into a fight of some kind and lost most of it's tail fin. I read up about it and discovered that they are able to regenerate fins which was a relief. I haven't been able to determine which of the other fish may have caused the injury (another of the Danios lost and eye around the same time). Any suggestions? Who is the most likely suspect and what would cause this behaviour. There haven't been any injuries since then so I guess they've sorted themselves out? Incidentally when the fish regenerated it's tail fin the stripes on the regenerated tail are vertical rather than horizontal. I took a picture to show to my zoology prof because we were talking about how cells know where they are in the body and how to differentiate, it seems these cells got confused. The tail is perfectly functional otherwise though and the fish doesn't seem concerned about it. Is this something that happens often? <Danios will sometimes bite each other when kept in small tanks or insufficient numbers. Like Loaches, there's much hierarchical squabbling. As for the stripes, I have no idea! Sounds fascinating, and would love to see a photo.> Oh and one last thing... I have two cats of the feline variety... and they love to sit beside the tank and watch the fish, they don't try and eat them or anything, though they do sometimes paw gently at the glass. I think it's kind of cute, but do you think the fish are stressed out by this? <The fish don't care. Indeed, many fish quite like interacting with stuff outside the tank. Part of the appeal of big cichlids and pufferfish is that these big, intelligent fish have very pet-like personalities, and will observe things outside the tank. I had a Midas cichlid that would swim to the corner of the tank where there was a chair, and swim about watching whoever was sitting down. Sometimes he'd get cranky and start threat displays, other times he was begging for food. So provided the cats can't get into the tank, then this is not a problem, a source of stimulation for both the fish and the cats.> Thanks for reading this, Emily <Happy to help, Neale.>

Re: Yoyo loach acting oddly, plus a few other queries 11/09/08 Thanks for the reply, <Most welcome.> A ha, option two then is a trade in at Petland, they can take larger fish and give you another small one in return. I assume they turn around and sell the large fish to someone with an aquarium large enough to accommodate it. What kind of temperatures do these catfish need. I didn't realize they were tropical as I live in Winnipeg and we have catfish here, but I searched around on the web and found that there are a few zillion kinds of catfish! My aquarium isn't heated, is that a problem? Winnipeg gets cool in winter and hot in summer so my mom's fish are indoors in the winter and only go out in the summer. There are some "tropical" animals that spend the summers here. Currently my mom just puts out those feeder comets that you get at the pet shop for 30 cents or something. Most of them survive the winter indoors and most are caught and brought in the following winter so I think this past summer she did not add any new fish (in fact they seem to be reproducing as well). <Your Catfish is likely Pterygoplichthys (if a common Plec) or Ancistrus (if a Bristlenose Plec). In any case, it needs water temperature around 24-26 degrees C all year around. It cannot adapt to coldwater conditions, and if the water temperature drops below, say, 18 degrees C for any length of time the fish will get sick. I think you need to review what "tropical fishkeeping" means -- unless you live in the tropics, any tropical aquarium needs a heater. End of discussion. There are coldwater and subtropical fish that can, with varying degrees of success, acclimate to room temperature in centrally heated houses. But your catfish does not belong to these groups. Goldfish are coldwater (actually, subtropical) fish and do well outdoors except in the coldest parts of the world. If your pet store will take back a fish you cannot home properly, whether because of its size or environmental requirements, so much the better.> Okay, I will save up and try and get him some friends [for the Botia]. Am I best to wait until I can add at least 5 more or to add them one at a time as I can afford? (I am a poor university student). Can I add that many fish to my tank without overloading it or should I wait until I can get a larger tank? <That should be fine, but increase the numbers to at least 3 first time around: in twos, there's a chance you'll get two males who will spend all their time squabbling.> Okay, I will give that a try. I remember also reading that platys and Danios have different preferences as far as the acidity of the water. I found this out after putting them together. Is this a problem? Can you recommend a water testing kit/method that wouldn't be too expensive, complicated, or time consuming, but that would give me some idea of the conditions in the tank? <A simple dip stick testing kit that does (at least) pH, hardness, nitrite, and nitrate all on the one strip of paper costs about £10 here in England. Slice the strips down the middle and you double the numbers of tests in your kit from 25 to 50!> There doesn't appear to be anymore fighting going on now. I think the Danios fighting amongst themselves if probably more likely than one of the other fish picking on them because the Danios are very fast. Picture attached. <OK.> Good, it's a source of entertainment for me too. The cats don't seem interested in getting into the tank (heavens, there's water in there, one could get wet!) However I caught Monty drinking out of there once when I'd been out and his water dish had gone dry, put an end to that though. If it looks like the cats might try and reach into the water I'll find some way of closing it more solidly (duct tape comes to mind) but as far as I can tell they seem fine. I just wanted to know if it would be stressing the fish. Thanks for reading this, Emily <Cats do prefer water without chlorine, and will commonly drink from fish tanks rather than their water bowls. Often they ignore the fish. It's unlikely a cat could life/open a standard aquarium hood so I wouldn't worry too much about this. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: clown loach, sys., beh.  8/25/06 Hi again,              This loach had a partner clown loach when he was bought a couple years ago but they fought a lot and the other didn't make it. I don't believe it was due to the fighting. His other tank mate died so there is only a little 2 inch Pleco of some sort in with him. It is a 20 gal tank. Is this unhealthy for him (stunt his growth or pine in loneliness) He seems aggressive but not a killer. He is 5 inches now. <Not enough room for other Botia here... but are social animals, best kept in small odd numbers where the environment allows. BobF>                                                                                                                    Sherri

Clown loaches hiding for too long?   8/14/06 Hello there crew, My question is concerning my 55 gallon freshwater tank- more specifically- a pair of clown loaches. I've had them for almost a year and they are growing quickly, and keeping my snail population in check. <Neat!> Recently I put in a hollow piece of artificial drift wood and the opening is on top, so now both of them have taken to living full time inside. <Very common> The problem is they never come back out, or at least not that I have noticed, and after a few weeks I get nervous and pour them out. <Mmm, no need... will come out "eventually"...> When they come out they are really pale, the orange is totally white and the black stripes are just light grey. Their color returns quickly but they act very nervous if they cant get back in. They have other places to hide in the tank, but they don't seclude themselves the same way in those. Are they going to just sit in there until they die? <Nope> or are they breeding? <Not likely... really have to be quite large (several inches long)...> I  would appreciate your help on this one, Thanks -Julian <I'd try offering some favored food during the lights on hours... bloodworms, black worms, sinking tablets... and being patient. Possibly adding a third, smaller individual may cause these two to be more outgoing. Bob Fenner> Weather Loach Not Evolving  - 05/22/2006 Hi, I have 3 loaches in my tank 2 of which are the golden variety (pink). One has befriended the grey loach and the other is acting very strangely, it spends most of it's time resting on top of the pump almost out of the surface of the water, and has recently found its way onto a rock which is completely out of the water.  When he then re-enters the water it seems to be in a state of panic splashing around franticly.  I was told by an assistant in a pet shop that he could be evolving ? < Not evolving. May just be responding to changes in the atmospheric pressures. That is why they are called weather loaches.-Chuck> Lethargic Yo-Yo loach   4/1/06 I have a recently set up, 20 gallon tank (little over 4 weeks) and in addition to Emperor tetras <These really need well-established water, settings...> and Rainbow Dwarf Gouramis, I have 3 yo-yo loaches. Out of the 1st set of 3, one died within 3 days, but the other two are great, very active, eat a lot, nice dark coloring. Last week I purchased another loach to replace the lost one and after a couple of days, it is looking pale and lethargic. It lays by the submersed heater on in one of the caves. Once in awhile it perks up, gets it coloring back and swims around. I'm concerned, and while I found one other article with the same issue, I was hoping you could give me some more info. The water is changed 20% once a week, Nitrites and Ammonia are zero, Nitrates is at 20 (which according to my tests is within the safe range). <At the edge, border...> The temp in the tank is kept between 76 & 78 degrees. Is it just a luck of the draw with yo-yo loaches (all purchased from the same store) or do certain ones need special care? <Mmm, possibly... In good health, these cobitids are "hard as nails", but they don't "put up" with certain types of challenges well (metal poisoning... very common from mis-medicating for instance). What is the pH and hardness/alkalinity of your water? They Tetras like very different circumstances... See WWM, fishbase.org re. Bob Fenner> Please assist. Thanks, Christine

Re: Lethargic Yo-Yo loach    4/4/06 The pH is 7.8 (high, I know) and the alkalinity is 150. Since I have live plants in the tank, I use plant supplements including iron. However, over the weekend #3 has perked up considerably and is swimming and eating with #1 and #2. His color is back and he spends more time in the open. Unless things take a turn for the worse, I think he'll be ok. Thanks for your assistance! <I agree. Thanks for the update. 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>

Clown loach no info.   2/10/06 I have a community tank consisting of tetras, a pleco, and recently the addition of 4 clown loaches in an attempt to look after a snail problem....three of the loaches are doing well, good colour, active, etc. However the third has lost colour, is very faded, and spends much of it's time away from his peers, often at the top of the tank swimming erratically. I'd read that the ammonia could be the issue however have tested and they are 0%, like wise the ph is good. what now? help Rebekah <... water quality? Temperature? See WWM re requirements, ranges. Bob Fenner>

Ghost or Glass Catfish and midget clown loach I had a Ghost Catfish and it died this morning it was perfectly fine except some of its tail was bit of by my firemouth cichlid.... <Oh oh... these two fishes are not compatible... the Firemouth (and most cichlids) are way too mean to house with an easygoing species like Ghost Glass Cats> The water conditions are fine and I didn't see any visual problems with the fish. just wondering what could have happened. It wasn't to old either it was only like 2 inches long.  <I suspect that the initial trauma and "dark of the night" was too much for your catfish... Look for more "armored" species of catfishes, like the Suckermouth Catfishes. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/loricariids.htm> Also I have a baby clown loach ( doing fine) but when I got him hw was only like an inch long and he really hasn't grown much at all probably have had him for 4 months now.  <Mmm, loaches are slow growers, but they also need plenty of "high quality" food... Are you making sure yours is getting enough protein in its diet? You might want to look into sinking pellets of sorts here> I had to treat him for ich right when I got him could the medication have effected his growth (used a malachite green based medication. <You're right. Good input, observation. It definitely could have done so.> Thanks for your help bye <Keep studying. Bob Fenner>

Does overcrowding work for Botias Hi. I'd like to know whether overcrowding strategy for cichlids works for Botia modesta (blue loaches). I have two in a 75-gallon, but one is very aggressive, so I had to move him into a 15-gallon tank. ( the fish is roughly 4-5 inches). Can I overcrowd it by adding more modesta, so that they won't be fighting as often? I'm thinking of adding 3 more. There won't be any other inhabitants. I want to remove the remaining loach from the 75 and add it into the 15-gallon tank, plus two more. <I think your strategy is sound... Botia's do respond (reduce apparent aggression) by being crowded together. Have seen this many times in hobby and commercial settings. Bob Fenner>

Clown loach playing with black gravel -- pics? (03/02/03) This may be a rather bizarre question, but I'm sure I saw a series of photos of Clown Loaches that were moving black pebbles to the floor of their cave. Most of the gravel in the tank was a different color and they seemingly wanted the black gravel in their cave. I thought there was a link from this site to the series of photos, but I have searched every way I know how and I can't find it anywhere on the web. Have you seen these photos? <Nope, and I didn't have any luck in my searches, either. I'd check at www.loaches.com and post on their boards -- someone there might have seen or heard of these photos. --Ananda>

Loach Lost Good Morning! In my classroom I have had an Eclipse 6 system set up for a few months. The tank houses 5 Harlequin rasboras, and until today, a 2.5 inch yo-yo loach. They have existed peacefully together for at least a couple of months. However, I came in today, and the loach is completely gone. No remnants, no bones, nothing! Water conditions are normal, no ammonia or nitrite issues, and the pH is 7.0. I took out the decorations, sifted through the gravel, He is gone. Would the Harlequin rasboras attack a loach? It seems weird to me. Any ideas? Melissa <Good afternoon back at you. Don here. Three thoughts. He jumped out (look on floor up to several feet away), someone took him home or he's in the filter. The rasboras could not have killed and consumed him. Does anyone come in over the weekend to sweep/mop floors. You may want to ask them about it> Sleeping Loaches Hi there, and thank you in advance for sharing your time.  I'm sure you are very busy, and there are others that will need your help more desperately than me at the moment, but if you get time to answer my questions, it would be greatly appreciated. I have searched your website, and have found tons of information, but I'm still a bit in the fog about this. I recently purchased three Botia kubotai loaches, and I have to admit they are the most beautiful, and most fun to watch fish that I own. And I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible on this. I have read and heard of this "skinny disease", and was wondering what exactly should I be looking for? What are the early signs of this disease, and do you, or someone else have pictures of it so I would know exactly what to look for? <The loss of energy and the fish stops feeding. Hence they get skinny> All three of my Kubotai's are very active, and seem to be eating well. One usually stays off to himself, and has a very defined, dark pattern of markings.  The other two will hang out with each other, swimming, playing, and fighting, but both seem to have somewhat of a lighter tint to their markings. Also, when one of them, (can't tell if it's just one or more), is trying to lay down, it will kind of flip over, right side up. Could this be glancing, or is it just not able to get comfortable?  Could this be the beginning of the skinny disease? Or am I just another proud, but paranoid owner? Thank you for your time, Richard <A loach sleeping on it side is a sure sign it will die, within about 20 years! Sorry, but yes, you are a bit paranoid. But that's a good thing when concerning our pets, IMO. It is very common for loaches to sleep this way. Sometimes in a big pile. Scary to see, but normal. As long as they are all active and eating, relax and enjoy them. Great fish! Don>  

LOAFING LOACHES Hi Guys, I hope you can shed some light on why my 2 clown loaches have suddenly become very listless with one in particular just lying at the back of the tank. This is a marked change in behaviour as they have been very active for the month since I introduced them to my 200 litre planted tank. Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are fine and ph is 7. I do seem to have a bit of an algae problem despite doing weekly water changes and was wondering if the level of dissolved organic compounds may be too high and affecting the loaches adversely. I've since cut the lighting back to 9 hours and am going to reduce the amount of food I've been giving them. Any advice would be appreciated. Regards, Jane < It is not uncommon for loaches to be found occasionally lying on their sides. Many new aquarists become freaked out by their loaches strange behavior but it is normal for them. If they really are sick then look closely for ich. These guys can pick this up in a tank when all the other fish seem unaffected.-Chuck> 

Clown Loach I have 2 loaches, 2 black tipped sharks(?), and have just added 2 Oscars. I only mention all of the above because I do not remember seeing this problem before the Oscars were added. One of my loaches is constantly swimming at the surface with his mouth wide open, never closing it. He is seriously faded and seems to have red cheeks (I know that is silly but really what it looks like). The sharks are very worried about him and so am I. Can you help me? Kim <Sounds like this fish is extremely stressed... by? I would check your water quality... for ammonia and nitrite at least... Has this tank been set-up long? Is it big enough for these fishes? How is it filtered? Is it cycled? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmaintindex.htm - scroll down to Environmental Disease and read the Related FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Not so Golden Dojos Hi, <Hello> A week ago, I had 3 golden dojo loaches.  Today, I have 1 left.  I believe they have fin rot as their dorsal fins have progressively disintegrated over the course of the week and then it appears to spread in a lighter colored saddle shape across the back, with swelling and then death.  The first one died, then the second one started with the fin disintegration and when it died, my third one started. <Unusual... and frightening... This sport, species is usually very tough> I am new to aquaria and am not sure how to proceed...do I increase tank temp (currently 80deg), add salt (how much, it's a 150 gallon tank), and/or medicate (with what). <Am (as usual) first curious as to your water quality... and the history of your having these fish...> This is a young community tank, with 6 cichlids, clown loaches, shovelnose cats, peacock eel, clown knife.  Everyone else seems fine and everyone gets along. <Thus far... don't see the species of cichlid posted, but the Clown Knife will get large enough to eat all if the cars are Sorubim lima...>   I have tested pH (7.4-7.8), ammonia (0), nitrite (0), nitrate (40ppm). <The last a bit high... by about twice.> I have done 2 partial water changes of 25% since the onset of the disease, with gravel vacuuming.  My nitrates have not lowered and they are not naturally occurring in the tap water. <Beyond EPA limit for source waters> Any assistance is greatly appreciated, as I really like the Dojos and want to figure out what the management problem is so that I can keep them alive. Thanks, Tara <Mmm, well... from the information you've well-provided, it is not easy to see that the Misgurnis loaches likely had some sort of infectious (though possibly internal parasitic) disease... And they are inappropriate with the Knife and Cats... If you have another tank (with smaller tankmates), you might try some Gold Dojos there... I'd check with your dealer to make sure they had no problem with this "batch", and hold off on others until they've had them on hand for a week or two. Bob Fenner>

Yoyo loaches ok or not? Hi! <Hello there> I stumbled on your website while looking for clues as to why my yoyos are acting the way they are. I bought them about 2 weeks and a half (I got 3), they have always been active, rummaging around, swimming about and everything has been going great. We've even heard them click. <Neat> Today, I'm a little worried, ok a lot worried. They don't look so hot. 2 of them are faded. They all have enlarged stomachs although one especially. It seemed like it happened overnight. I fed them last night and I didn't notice anything strange. I've been feeding my other fish flakes and I have been dropping shrimp pellets and algae wafers depending on the day but I don't think they are eating any of that. I do have snails though. One of them is just laying on the rock, sometimes on his side, sometimes normally and I'll watch him and he'll be on his side and then all of a sudden, he'll just roll over and be "normal" again. <Not uncommon loach behavior> One doesn't look discolored much although he does seem a little plump. He is swimming around doing his thing and the other 2 are just laying there. The 2 that are just laying there also seem to be opening their mouths more than the others. <"When in doubt, do a water change"... Something may be amiss with dissolved oxygen...> I have a 55 gallon community (with angels, tetras, 1 Farlowella) that has been running for about 3 months. My tetras have even spawned twice. The water is fine, ammonia +nitrate levels are good. I'm not sure what's going on but I am freaking out. I read your Q&A and I really don't know about them sleeping? I mean, could that be all there is to it? I sure hope so :( Thank you for reading this and I hope you can help me, Marie <Do keep your eye on them, change ten, twenty percent of the water... Bob Fenner>

Re: yoyo loaches ok or not? I appreciate your reply and I did a 20-30% water change, I do a water change every 7-10 days and check my levels. Still all fine. I do have a bubble wall going so I'm not sure that there is a problem with the oxygen level. <Likely not here> How often to they sleep? For how long? <Sort of like dogs, cats... at different times, night, day... minutes to hours> I love my loaches and I would hate for something to be wrong with them. And again, I really appreciate you emailing me and answering my newbie loach questions :) Marie <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Clown Loaches - Diseased, or Clownin' Around? - 08/12/2005 We have had 2 clown loaches in a 240 litre community tank for 8 months. They are in with two small eels (7inch) two angel two gourami and some pleco's. <Some....  How many?> Only two small Plecos have been introduced recently.   <Not much space for several territorial bottom-dwellers....> Over the last 24 - 48 hours one clown loach has stayed at the bottom often falling over on his side, <Can be quite normal....  Try a google search with "clown loach playing dead".> and his colouring have gone very dark (like bruising but all over)?   <Possibly a problem....> The other clown loach is desperately trying to help him but I don't what it is or how to treat him? <First, test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.  Be certain ammonia and nitrite are always ZERO.  Maintain nitrate at 20ppm or less.  If your water is not within this range, do water changes to correct it.  If all checks out, and you see no other behaviour issues with this fish, all may indeed be quite well.  I would "wait and see" for now, and keep a close eye on the fish.> Please help,  -Karen <Wishing you and your fishes well,  -Sabrina>

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