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FAQs About Loach Compatibility

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

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

Do dwarf chain loach eat (Guppy) fry    2/23/20
Hi Neale!
Hope you had a good Christmas :)
<Yes, thank you!>
Was just wanting to ask if dwarf chain loaches eat guppy fry?
<Unlikely, but potentially possible. Keep the two species together is probably depends a lot on how easily the Guppy fry can hide (e.g., among floating plants) and how crowded the tank becomes. Loaches feed at night, of course, and will consume anything they come across. But they're not skilled fish-eaters by any means, so while you might lose one or two fry, if you shepherd fry into a breeding trap and keep them there for the first couple of weeks, larger fry should be safe enough.>
I have a Ramshorn snail issue in my 130L guppy breeder tank and I heard Dwarf chain loaches eat them so was considering getting some. Haven't been able to find much info on if they are ok with fry and guppies tho so was wondering if you knew?
<Fish fry will be eaten by anything that can catch them, but adult Guppies are more likely to consume them than loaches.>
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: do dwarf chain loach eat fry     2/29/20

Hi Neale!
Thanks so much. I got 4 and put them in my QT tank. Hopefully they eat some lol. Otherwise Ill have to get assassin snails.
<Clea helena; a fine addition to most tanks.>
Iv not seen any of my fish eat guppy fry so I guess Iv been pretty lucky.
<Likely so, or simply, the output of fry is sufficiently great that even allowing for parental cannibalism, there's enough left over for them to be noticeable.>
I was wondering if clown killifish/clown Panchax eat guppy fry?
<Abso-fracking-lutely. Any of the Panchax-type fish are ferocious predators, albeit of very small, bite-size prey. Cheers, Neale.>

Goldfish and loaches, comp.    11/29/12
Hi. I am setting up a 125 gallon freshwater tank which will house 2 common goldfish and two fancy tail goldfish which I already have.
<Ah, do be careful mixing Standards with Fancies; they don't always get along, especially when sexually mature and breeding season comes round and the males get pushy.>
I am looking for other stock and want to include a school of 6-8 of either zebra or Yo Yo loaches.
<Why not go with Weather Loaches (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)? Infinitely better suited to life with Goldfish, and much more sociable and peaceful.
As for true Botia species like Botia striata and Botia almorhae, they *can* work with any large barb, including Goldfish, assuming water chemistry and quality are appropriate. However, you do have some challenges. Firstly, the Fancy Goldfish will always be at risk of (at best) being chases a bit by the loaches at feeding time and (at worst) being actively nipped. True Botia species are fairly peaceful to be sure, especially compared to "false" Botia species like Skunk Loaches (properly referred to as Yasuhikotakia morleti rather than Botia morleti). But all Botia-type loaches are boisterous fish with a need to be kept in large groups (5+ specimens) and prone to squabbling even then. By contrast, Weather Loaches are peaceable fish that keep their heads down most of the time, avoiding trouble as best they can. Another nice thing about Weather Loaches is that you only need a group of three for success, though the more the merrier, and once settled, they become extremely tame -- hand-feedable even! As such, they're good personality fish for use alongside Goldfish which are another big personality fish that enjoys (gentle) human company. The only real limitation here is that Weather Loaches should never be kept in a tank with jagged or even coarse gravel. Either plain silica sand (sometimes called pool filter sand) on its own or mixed with smooth, fine pea gravel will produce an ideal substrate for both Goldfish and Weather Loaches.>
The tank will be heavily planted and will include cherry shrimp with plenty of hiding spots.
<Cherry Shrimps are live food for Loaches.>
Can the loaches co exist with the goldfish or will they get eaten?
<Weather Loaches work very well with Goldfish of similar size.>
Also, I would like to include a school (12-15) of dwarf loaches. Again, possible? Or does that spell disaster.
<Not a good idea at all. Goldfish are inept predators, but Dwarf Loaches are small, and their defensive spines could easily choke an unlucky Goldfish. In any case, Dwarf Spines need excellent water quality, and that's virtually impossible to assure with Goldfish. Weather Loaches by contrast, if not quite bullet-proof, are at least hardy, adaptable fish that will sail though occasional missed water changes. Cheers, Neale.>

Question about two different tanks. Guppy stkg., Loach comp.    12/13/11
Hi there! I have two tanks and multiple questions.
Tank 1: I recently acquired a heavily planted 6 month old established 10 gallon tank from a friend that was moving and could no longer keep them. I found she had 6 platies in there (4 males 2 females), 2 ADFs, 2 ghost shrimp and 1 Amano shrimp. Although they were all vibrant, disease free and seemingly healthy I could tell the platies were frustrated so I gave the platies to my roommate with an abundance of females. The question is, how many fancy guppies can I put in their place?
<About the same number>
  I was thinking about getting
6 males but I'm not familiar with ADFs bioload... do they poop a lot?
<Not too much; though are easily over-fed, the uneaten food/s causing issues at times>
 Would the tank be overstocked if I decided I wanted 8 guppies?
<Mmm, maybe; though the more crowded, the greater the likelihood of negative interaction. I'd stick w/ six>
Also, if I keep only males will they be stressed or aggressive with one another?
<These all-male systems can work out. Do just keep a keen eye open lest one become a bully, need removing>
Tank 2: Another 10 gallon, heavily planted. It has 5 Yunnanilus cruciatus loaches
(I can't find a consistent common name for these guys. They were bought under the name of 'multi-striped loach' but I can't find anything about them when I type that into Google)
<Mmm, try the scientific name... Banded Dwarf Loach...>
 and I was wondering whether or not they
would get along with a Betta? 
<Should, yes>
Are they aggressive?
<Not really, no>
I've read they can be
"gregarious" but would a Betta be able to live peacefully with them?
<Are gregarious w/ their own kind. Live near, on the bottom, decor... will very likely ignore a Betta>
PS. Both tanks are kept at 76 degrees, filtered, and 30% weekly water changes.
<Mmm, do please read on WWM re Betta splendens husbandry and here:
re the loaches>
Thanks for all your help!
- Melanie
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Zebra Loaches, snail cont., comp.  7/30/10
Hi Crew, hope all is going well for you. I have a couple of questions, please. I wanted to know if it is true that zebra loaches indeed do eat snails
<If hungry, yes, up to a point. But this is misunderstood by many. They will have near-zero impact on Melanoides livebearing snails for example, and really only tackle small Physa and Physella. They generally ignore the tiny Planorbis snails. In any case, if you're feeding them -- or the other fish they're kept with -- they'll generally eat that "easy" food rather than the snails. Any retailer who tells you a given loach will cure a snail problem is not really being honest. Many fish eat snails on occasion, for example Oscars, Synodontis and many of the Mbuna, but that doesn't mean these fish are snail cures.>
and if they would be good tank companions for angels and Corys.
<Bit on the boisterous size, so it does depend on the size of the tank.
Assuming 55 gallons/250 litres or more, yes, a group of Botia striata will get along with most community fish. There will be competition for food though, so take care with Corydoras. Personally, I prefer not to mix Botiine loaches with Corydoras except for Dwarf Chain Loaches. Angels generally dislike strong water currents, so you'll need to be careful ensuring proper circulation for these loaches while not buffeting about the poor Angels. Would recommend Kuhli Loaches as the classic "pond" loaches as opposed to these stream-dwelling species.>
Also, what is the minimum grouping that is healthy for them
<As with all Botiine loaches, 5 or more, or they'll fight all the time and will be so shy you'll never see them.>
and are they hardy to keep?
<Given the right conditions, i.e., low to moderate temperature, lots of water current, and a soft substrate, yes, they're quite hardy. The usual cautions apply though with regard to copper and formalin.>
Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Zebra Loaches  7/31/10

Thank you Neale, I guess I won't try to use that method then.
<Perhaps not.>
Could you please recommend some safe product (if any) that will rid my tank of snails?
<I wouldn't use any "product", but I will recommend the snail-eating "Assassin Snail" Clea helena, a species that will consume snails and over time does establish an equilibrium. They aren't an instant fix, but you will find they have a strong negative effect on snails by eating the juveniles, so that the number of adult snails declines. Clea helena breeds but since they're either male or female you will need a reasonably large group to be sure to get males and females. They breed slowly, and it is several months before you'll spot any juveniles.>
I do not even know what type they are. I had never used live plants of any kind until I set up this current aquarium and the ones I have now are java fern. I assume that is where the snails came from. I try to vacuum as many as possible when doing a water change (I have a sand bottom). I know of a product called "rid a snail" but have heard that would hurt my cories.
<Indeed. The molluscicides sold to aquarists typically contain potassium permanganate, and this is very toxic indeed. Broadly, it is safe used as short dip for new plants, but otherwise should not be added to the aquarium. Even if it was safe in the aquarium, having handfuls of dead snails rotting in an aquarium will bring down water quality. So why bother?>
Also I currently have 6 angels and 3 gold gouramis in addition to my cories. I am getting tired of the gouramis and have decided to have just an all angel (except for the cories) tank. Will there be fighting if I add more angels to the ones who have been in the 75 gallon tank for over a year? Thanks again for all you do.
<Angels can be territorial, so fighting is definitely a risk. You should be okay because you already have six of them, but there's no guarantees. For what it's worth, I think you might want to leave the Gouramis; I find they
have a "disturbance" factor on the Angels that ensures the school of Angels stays together. They do what cichlid keepers call acting as the target fish, a focus for the aggression that maintains pair bonds. In a 75 gallon tank the impact three gold Gouramis will have on water quality is minimal, so I'd honestly leave them there, or at least replace them with another largish Gourami species like Lace or Moonlight Gouramis.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Zebra Loaches -- 7/31/10

Hi Neale, as far as this "target fish" thing goes, does that mean that the aggression some of the angels have towards one another may be directed towards the gouramis thus keeping them from fighting among themselves?
<No. Target fish are *different species* that are threats that cichlid social units recognise, and those threats help to keep the cichlids working together. Without target fish the cichlids have more energy to divert into fights over hierarchy. Also, without target fish, pairs tend to be weaker, so males are more likely to bully the females. In other words, by ensuring the cichlids are "scared" a bit, the social group works better. It's complex, and I'd encourage you to read Paul Loiselle on this issue, in 'The Cichlid Aquarium'.>
I do think they are pretty fish but even though I have one male and two females I get tired of seeing the male always chasing one of the females around the tank all the time.
<Male Gold/Blue Gouramis -- varieties of Trichogaster trichopterus -- are notorious bullies, and as you'll see elsewhere I recommend people just keep females. Lace and Moonlight Gouramis are much less aggressive.>
That is the only reason I want to get rid of them. I don't know if the male chases the same female or not, but would adding one more female help the situation?
<Possibly, but I'd prefer to remove the male if you can, or swap for another Trichogaster species.>
Thank you again. James
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Zebra Loaches -- 7/31/10
Thank you for the information. It is always good to learn new things in the aquarium world. I managed to catch the male gold Gourami and take him back to the LFS. Do you recommend me buying any more females or is having just 2 OK? Thank you again.
<For the purposes of target fish, two is fine. Cheers, Neale.>

Different coloured Kuhli Loaches - do they mix?  6/1/10
Before today I had one striped Kuhli Loach and one black Kuhli Loach. They seemed to get on fine, but did not ever intertwine or group together as I have read about on other sites.
<Too few of them. These loaches really need to be kept in a large group, I'd recommend 5 or more. Since they add very little to the aquarium loading, being so long and thin, you only need to set aside a couple of gallons per loach.>
I was worried this was because I only had two, so today, I have purchased another striped Kuhli Loach. My two striped loaches have instantly become tight friends, and always seem to be together.
My question is, should my black Kuhli have another black Kuhli, or is he/she just antisocial? I was told the two different colours would group together, but it would seem they are a different species/genus, (Not very good at biology, sorry).
<They are likely different species of Pangio, the Black Kuhli being Pangio oblonga while the Common Kuhli is usually Pangio kuhlii. So yes, they may well be unwilling to mix in much the same way as humans and chimps don't
attend the same dinner parties, despite being closely related.>
They are in a 10 gallon tank with pea gravel, 4 zebra Danios and 5 neon tetras. There are plants and caves for them to hide in. The ammonia and nitrite are both 0, and the nitrate is 20-25ppm.
<Tank is a bit small for Danios... but otherwise sounds fine.>
Thank you for any help you can offer. I just want to do what is best for my loaches, they are definitely my favourite fish in my tank.
<I'd get some more of both kind, so you have at least three of each, and hope for the best.>
<Cheers, Neale>
Re: Different coloured Kuhli Loaches - do they mix?  6/1/10
thank you very much for your response. I will be getting more Kuhli Loaches as soon as I can! I just wanted to double check I will not be overstocked if I get three more loaches? It is only a 10 gallon tank, and with 4 Zebra
Danios, 5 Neon Tetras and 6 Kuhli Loaches, would this not be overstocked?
Brilliant if not.
<Certainly "well" stocked. But provided you have zero nitrite/ammonia levels, you'll probably be okay. To be honest, I'd swap the Danios for 4 more Neons, and you should be fine.>
I do know the tank is too small for Zebra Danios, but they were sold to me as good fish for cycling the tank before I had done any research.
I naively trusted my LFS. I have made sure to have as much swimming space at the top of my tank as possible (i.e.. no high plants or ornaments to get in their way), and they all seem healthy and lively.
Thanks again,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Different coloured Kuhli Loaches - do they mix? - update   6/2/10
Just a quick update email to let you know I have followed your advice, and, even though the new loaches have only been in the tank for a few hours, they all seem much "happier".
The black Kuhlis have taken over the cave, and the stripey ones have the ground covering plastic plant, (the new stripey one is so tiny, he must be a baby!).
<Interesting that they've claimed different spots. I wonder if one species is dominant and chose the best hiding place? Or do the two species prefer different types of hiding places?>
My Kuhlis and I thank you for your quick response and much valued help.
<No problems.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Different coloured Kuhli Loaches - do they mix? - update   6/3/10
Hi Neale,
if it helps with the different spots conundrum, they are definitely staying in their different claimed areas. They will mix when they're swimming around, but not often.
When the Black Kuhli was on his own, he very rarely went in the cave and lived under the plant (where the striped Kuhlis live now). It is only now there are 3 black Kuhlis he has shown any interest in the cave. This would leave me to believe, correctly or incorrectly, that under the plant is the best hiding place, but maybe there are just too many Kuhlis to all live under there. :-) They are wonderful creatures and are keeping me very entertained.
<Yes, lovely fish.>
Thanks again for all your help with these critters,
<Glad to help! Cheers, Neale.>

Pygmy chain loach attacking male guppies -- 10/20/09
I have a 60 litre aquarium which until two weeks ago housed 4 male guppies and two bronze albino catfish.
<A very small tank; stock carefully.>
Two weeks ago we decided to add 4 new male guppies and 3 pygmy chain loach, the chain loach to help remove any snails.
<The loaches, Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, won't have any noticeable impact on snails at all.>
The fish seemed to settle in happily but this evening we noticed one of the chain loach attacking two of the older and larger guppies.
<Chain Loaches are highly gregarious, and like ALL Yasuhikotakia species, are semi-aggressive. The fact their small limits how much damage they can do, but it doesn't alter their actual behaviour any. On the whole Chain Loaches are good community fish, but if you don't keep them in a big enough group, then all bets are off... Schooling fish of all types, from Danios to Chain Loaches, won't behave "normally" in groups less than six, and in the case of Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, you're not at all sensible keeping any less than ten. Most loaches get "bored" when kept in insufficient numbers, and those that don't, often become shy. So it's crucially important to keep loaches in appropriate numbers. In the case of Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, that's at least six, and ideally 10+.>
About 30 minutes later, on checking to see that the guppies were okay, one of the guppies was floating dead and the other's tail was ragged and he was swimming tail down and looking very weak and vulnerable.
<Fancy Guppies are slow moving and kind of stupid, and tend to get harassed by all sorts of things. It's easier to write a list of what's safe with Fancy Guppies than to list every single species that might cause trouble.
Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki is best kept with active, schooling midwater fish such as Danios. While they can mix with Corydoras, there will be competition for food, so you'll need to consider that. It goes without saying a *hungry and bored* loach is even more likely to cause problems than a bored loach.>
All the water levels in the tank are good and the catfish seem happy. Why have the loaches started attacking and guppies and what action should I take. It is so distressing to have lost this fish to the loaches.
Any help and advice would be gratefully received.
<Do read up on the needs of fish *prior* to purchase. Much easier to prevent/avoid problems than fix them.>
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
RE: pygmy chain loach attacking male guppies
Thank you for this advice; the annoying thing is that I took advice from the staff in the shop as to both the compatibility of the two types of fish and the minimum number of loaches to have. I guess I should have
researched this myself first.
<Indeed. It's really as simple as this: would you take advice from a sales clerk at a clothes store without looking in the mirror to see how an outfit looked? Would you take it on trust from a car salesman than a particular vehicle suited your needs? Nope. Just so with fish. While some sales clerks will offer useful advice, not all do, and many aren't even fishkeepers themselves, but simply working a job. Go fish shop shopping, note down any fish you're interested in, and then check them out in a reliable aquarium book such as the Baensch Aquarium Atlas. Or feel free to write us here at WWM; we're all experienced fishkeepers, and we're happy to offer tailor-made advice.>
If I increase the number of loaches do you think I am likely to have any further problems?
<There is a good chance that this will do so. As I said earlier, they should be in a big group anyway, but there's always the issue in a small tank that Fancy Guppies are "too tempting" a target. You also need to make sure the loaches aren't hungry.>
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Angelicus Botias, comp.   10/5/09
I have two Angelicus Botias (Botia Kubotai) in a 125 U.S. gallon tank with assorted community fish. I plan to distribute everyone into other aquariums and turn the tank into a semi-aggressive community with a Tyre-track eel, Black ghost knife fish, Leopard Ctenopoma, Rhino Pleco (Family Pleco, been around forever) and six silver dollars. I want to keep the Botias in the tank, but I'm afraid they'll harass the eel.
<Harass the eel? Probably not. Steal its food! Hell, yes. This combination is a poor one. Botias invariably need to be kept in groups of five or more specimens, and even a singleton wouldn't leave any food for the Spiny Eel.>
I'm wondering if I could put them in a well established heavily (Plastic) planted 35 gallon tank with a Parrot cichlid (about the size of a small tomato) and a Female convict cichlid, who both have caves for territories.
<Can't say a 35 gallon tank for two territorial cichlids plus a group of semi-aggressive Botia kubotai sounds sensible. If nothing else, Blood Parrots and Convicts have somewhat different water chemistry requirements.
But even at a middling pH 7.5, 10-15 degrees dH, the Convict at least could pose a serious threat to the Blood Parrot and perhaps the Botia kubotai, though with enough caves, you might get lucky.>
My worry is that the Cichlids, who like to hang out at the middle and bottom, will not get along with the Botias.
<Botia kubotai can work with cichlids, but generally in larger tanks.>
If I can't put them with the Cichlids, could I keep them in the 125 gallon, but add 2-4 more Botia Kubotai to spread out the aggression?
<Aggression isn't the issue. In fact the Spiny Eel will largely ignore the Botia kubotai, and vice versa. No, the issue is food. Spiny Eels simply don't compete at feeding time with loaches or catfish. Period, end of
story. The majority of specimens kept thus starve. Yes, Spiny Eels can be tamed and often learn to be hand fed, at which point you might keep a specimen with a Plec. But beyond that, it's a bad idea to keep Spiny Eels with ANY nocturnal bottom feeders.>
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! -Jack.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Feeding (Corydoras, Botia) 5/30/2009
Hello Crew, Hope you are having a great day!! I have some questions on feeding please. I currently have 6 panda cories and plan on buying some yoyo loaches and a bristlenose catfish.
<Wouldn't keep Botia almorhae with Corydoras panda; the differences in size, aggression at feeding time, and social behaviour are just too acute.
Botia almorhae would work well with Ancistrus though, and similarly Ancistrus and Corydoras get along fine. If you must have loaches with Corydoras panda, look at either Pangio spp. or perhaps Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, though this latter species is delicate and does need to be kept in a large group, so tank size will be an issue.>
First, I want to know if they will all get along or if the loaches will bother the cories.
<Yes they will bother the Corydoras.>
Also, when it comes to feeding how is that done since they all eat mostly food off the bottom. Should I put their food in separate places in the tank, or will it be OK to feed them all together?
<Botia species will simply learn to eat food from one corner first, and then bully the Corydoras away from the food in the other corner next. Does depend on the size of the tank of course, and in a 200 gallon system I'm sure they'd muddle through! But realistically, not a combination I'd go for.>
I am worried about the loaches maybe picking on the cories during feeding time.
<Your concern is justified.>
Thank you for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Suitable fish? Loach comp., planted sys. lgtg.   10/1/08
Hello Crew
Hope you are well. I'm writing to ask today if a Yoyo loach would be a suitable addition to my 40 gallon tank.
<"A", as in one? Loaches are social animals... really only happy in a grouping>
I have a bit of a snail problem and read the yoyo loach eat snails.
<Mmm, yes>
I also find them attractive. The tank is well planted with a couple of pieces of driftwood. The other inhabitants are:
12 neon tetras
2 male guppies
2 Endler's guppies
4 female guppies
6 baby guppies
3 albino Cory catfish
1 Bristlenose catfish
The filtration is internal and 1500L/hr. I've had it up and running about a month now but took the filter media out of my old tank into the new one to seed the bacteria. Also I was wondering if I have enough light for my plants? I have 90cm 30 watt light and a small one which I added from my old tank which is only 8 watt.
<Mmm, really, you need/want 2-3 or more times this amount of lighting>
My banana plant which I've had for months and has grown well has started to turn stringy and slimy and doesn't have many roots or leaves left.
<Likely the lighting...>
I have a purple waffle plant
<Mmm, not really an aquatic species...>
and its leaves seem to be falling off a lot, besides that it seems healthy and its roots are starting to bury into the substrate. All the other plants seem fine. Thank you.
<I'd look into more light... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lightingags.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Never Mind! Purple "waffle"
Hi again!
I recently wrote this morning mentioning that I had a purple waffle that was loosing leaves and was wondering why. Well don't bother answering because I've done a little research, the LFS ripped me off! Its not a true aquatic plant and will rot underwater slowly! That really makes me mad. Just thought I'd let you know so I don't waste your time.
<Well done! BobF>

Just wanted to share - Pleco & Yoyo 03/19/2008 Hi everyone at WWM! <Rachel> Don't have a question this time around, but I do want to extend another thanks to Andrew for all his help with my SW setup questions. (unfortunately, my SW tank plans have been bumped by house remodeling? but someday it will be mine!) <Ahhh!> Went to feed our current fish (55gal FW community, 55gal brackish, and two happy Bettas) this morning, and was greeted with a scene of our Pleco, who's between 5 and 6 inches, and the smallest of our three Biota almorhae having a ?pow-wow? on top of one of our Greco-Roman tank décor pieces. <Shades of Lord Elgin!> I say the smallest of the three yoyos as they were all the same size when we got them in December/January (me and my memory here?), and we now have Big Loach (who's a little over 2 inches now), Middle Loach (just a little smaller), and Little loach, who hasn't grown much at all. He/she hid for quite some time (about a month and a half) after first introducing them to the tank, but is now out pretty much all the time and active, so we're still hoping for the best and keeping a watchful eye on Little. Attached is a smaller image, with a larger version here on my website. http://www.realmofsavage.com/images/big_n_little.jpg I love WWM, and read all the latest FAQs every day. Keep up the great work and I hope to be able to share some SW tank pictures in the nearer future. =) Rachel Savage <Thank you my/our friend. Bob Fenner>

Black ghost knife attacked by loaches  1/14/08 We purchased a black ghost knife 3days ago and from the very beginning the fish swam near the surface on it's side and it seldom ventured to other parts of the tank. The fish was approximately 4cm in length. In our tank we also have 2 clown loaches, 2 Pakistanian loaches, 1 Corydoras, 1 angelfish, 3 gouramis and a small eel. <One Corydoras isn't nice. Corydoras are SCHOOLING fish, which means they should be kept in groups. Please add some more of the same species (unless you want to accrue a lot of bad Karma from the catfish gods).> We started noticing that the black ghost knife was being attacked by the loaches. The clown loaches are approx 6cm and Pakistanian loaches 4cm. The tank is 4feet in length (980 Aqua One) The tank has 2 plants and water is changed regularly, 25% biweekly. There is a large rock with many holes to swim through and places to hide as well as a fake pot with hiding capability. The temp of the tank is approx 28degrees C. The tank was 34degrees C when the fish was first put in; our thermometer was not working but I realised the temp when I stuck my hand in. I slowly reduced the temperature using ice blocks. The pH of the tank is approx 7.2 The bottom feeders are fed the appropriate pellets once a day and we were feeding the others blood worms. The only other thing I have noticed in the tank is a yellow (algae?) growing on the sides of the tanks in round circles similar to what would be seen with bacterial growth. We put in anti-algae drops and cleaned the tank to deal with this. I have not yet observed any re-growth. <Don't use Anti-Algae medications; they cause major problems, not least of all their toxicity to other organisms as well as producing nitrate spikes as all the algae die. What you have sounds like Diatoms, a type of algae that grows most noticeably in aquaria that are not adequately illuminated. Easily beaten by installing strong lights and lots of fast-growing plants. Nothing else works, other than manual scraping.> 1. do you think the ghost knife was unhealthy from the beginning judging from it's behaviour? <It was probably fine. But Apteronotus albifrons is NOT an easy fish, and is extremely sensitive to poor water quality as well as medications/potions of various types.> 2. is it normal for loaches to attack black ghost knives? <Loaches are, with a few exceptions, NOT NICE FISH. They aren't community fish (exceptions are Kuhli loaches, Weather loaches, and to a certain degree Clown loaches; everything else is more or less aggressive and should be treated as such).> 3. We would love to get another black ghost knife but not if it is doomed to die before it's time, can you suggest any other reasons for the loss of our fish and tips to keep one safe in future? <Hmm... not impossible to keep, and under good conditions live many (10+) years in captivity. But you do need to cover all the bases... these aren't like Danios you can just add to a tank and hope for the best. They have very specific needs in terms of food, hiding places, substrate, etc. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bgksys.htm If you need more info, get back in touch!> Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Ali. <We're happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Yoyo loach sex change, comp. 12/07/2007 I have a bit of a bizarre question. I bought a yoyo loach to take care of a snail problem and it worked really well. "She" was enough to keep the snail population manageable without killing all of them. Unfortunately, "she" was very aggressive toward the other fish in the tank, killing three and removing the dorsal fin from a Cory cat. <Sadly all to common with Loaches; whether boys of girls, most species are somewhere on a scale of 'mean'. They are really best kept in groups you see, where they can waste their energy fighting with each other. On their own, this instinct ends up poorly for their non-loach tankmates.> So I went out and bought "her" 2 smaller yoyo companions. Throughout all of this, "she" had sand colored barbells and a thick middle that led me to believe that "she" was a female. Plus, at one point she got so fat I thought she would burst and I assumed she was full of eggs. Well, now that she has friends, she has gotten very slender and her barbells have gone cherry red. Is it possible that she became a he? <Unlikely she's changed sex. This is actually very rare in freshwater fish, despite the myths about things like swordtails changing sex (never yet seen under lab conditions). More likely she was immature and how no reason to show her full range of colours before. In any case, Yo-yo Loaches (Botia almorhae) are basically impossible to sex by eye.> I've found nothing on the web that suggests that loaches are hermaphroditic but I'm finding evidence in front of my own eyes. <Unless you've dissected your fish, there's no way to know she was a girl before and a boy now. Many fish start off with "female" colours of some sort, and only acquire male colours when they are sexually mature. Immature males have the female colours when young because it prevents them from being attacked by mature males; since immature males are no threat to the mature males and won't steal nesting sites or potential breeding partners, this ruse is advantageous to the species.> Thanks, Emily <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: yoyo loach sex change, and comp.  -- 12/8/07 Thanks very much. It is doing much better now with a couple of friends and the rest of the fish in the tank are pleased too. <Very good. Often Loaches will settle down if they have pals to play/fight with. If nothing else, the other fish get some time on their own. If you have the space, keep 6 of the same species: they'll be much more settled, and less shy as well. Cheers, Neale.>

Siamese Algae Eaters killing Shrimp? 10/14/07 Hi, Great Site! I recently purchased 2 Siamese Algae Eaters (as far as I can see the are the real ones, not just flying foxes etc) to add to my 70L tank. The tank had one overly curious Zebra Loach, some Neon Tetras and two large-ish Amano Shrimps. Before buying the SEA's I checked whether they would cause any problems with anything I had in there, just in case, and nothing came up. They're only small at the moment, about 2.5 cm. So I bought some. The next morning after putting them in the tank I noticed one of my Amano Shrimps laying dead in the entrance to a pipe that I've laid under the gravel for the loach to hide in, his lair if you will. And the other shrimp was hiding on the ground and struggling to move (later that evening I found him half eaten at the front of the tank). Is it possible that these two SAEs killed both my shrimp that were if anything a cm bigger than them? Failing that how about my Zebra Loach? He was always chasing after them, but mainly around feeding times when they were partial to nicking his pellets. But they had been fine for the year or so that I had them together for. Thanks in advance for your help in solving my mystery! Andy <Andy, SAEs, and indeed most small Crossocheilus/Epalzeorhynchus-type fish are relatively harmless towards shrimp. Many "Amano" style aquaria mix the two animals together. On the other hand, Loaches are dedicated invertebrate feeders, and many species are equipped with strong jaws expressly modified to crush shells. Shrimps are especially vulnerable at moulting times, and it may well be that your Loach had ignored them until one particular moulting event where "he had a bit of a nibble" and found the results were tasty! Cheers, Neale.>

Yo-yo loach + parrot Cichlid... both comp.   9/23/07 In my current 20 gallon setup I have 2 yo-yo loaches that tend to pick on common things such as platys and mollies. And I also have A Gold Gourami. Recently I have added a fairly small (1 inch) parrot cichlid. The sign at my LFS said that they are semi-aggressive so I figured that it should be ok with the yo-yo loaches. I just got finished re-establishing the territory and was wondering what you thought of this. <Greetings. Botia almorhae is one of the more aggressive loaches when kept with standard community fish, as you've discovered. Partly this is an issue with how they are kept: they must be kept in groups of at least four specimens because they fight over pecking order, but given they grow to 15 cm in length, they require a fairly big aquarium. A 20 gallon tank isn't an option in the long term. Simply because fish are "semi aggressive" doesn't mean they are sure to get along. While you might get a stand-off where each fish learns to leave its companions alone, you can also end up with endless warfare. In this case, I wouldn't guarantee your parrot cichlid (by which I assume you mean the blood parrot hybrids, not the true parrot cichlid Hoplarchus psittacus) will be left alone. Loaches are waspish and seem to be more dangerous to dumpy, slow moving things that high-performance tankmates like barbs and characins. Blood parrot hybrid cichlids are best kept alone or with plecs. They are, of course, far too large for a 20 gallon tank. A 40 gallon tank is the absolute minimum for an adult. As with any other cichlid, they are intolerant of dissolved metabolites, and when kept in a tank that is too small run a high risk of diseases such as hole-in-the-head. Hope this helps, Neale>

Discus and loaches  7/19/06 Hello again, been awhile for me. Going discus and reading all I can here. Invaluable. My question is: I've had 6 striated loaches in a community tank and would love to keep them in with the discus. I'm keeping Otos and Siamese algae eaters with the discus and haven't decided on the one only schooling species I want to keep. Will the loaches be a problem? <Mmm, should get along fine as long as there is sufficient room. Do "enjoy" similar water quality: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=12255&genusname=Botia&speciesname=striata Bob Fenner>

Queen Loaches Aggressive 10/31/05 Hi, Thanks a lot. I researched at loaches.com and this loach is Queen loach (Botia dario). However it says that they are not aggressive. Anyway I have separated dollars and every one seems to be happy. Thanks a lot < Aggressive is a relative term. It may not be as aggressive as some loaches but compared to tropical fish in general it could easily bully other fish around if it wanted to.-Chuck> 

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 research the right loach for your particular tank situation.-Chuck> 

Discus Being Chased  12/04/05 I noticed today that the reticulated loaches seemed to chase and pester the lone discus in the 150gal system. Is it possible that they are the complication? < Aggression ads to the stress your discus are going through. It would be best for the discus if they were not being chased around.> I noticed the discus feeding on some flake that had fallen from the water's surface. While eating and about, his fins are open and he seems well, but when not he is dark and acts like he's hiding. Any suggestions? Branon. < Hopefully his fins will stay open more and more as he gets re-accustomed to the tank.-Chuck> 

Loaches Do you think loaches shaped like the clown loach such as the horai's loach and the yo-yo loach and the orange finned loach can be kept with a few pairs of convict cichlids in a 55 gallon tank?  <I give you good odds with these smaller cobitid species and the Convicts... given the size of the system, if the Cichlids start to tussle, reproduce, the loaches should be able to get, stay out of the way> I know clown loaches can. I was wondering if I could add more loaches into my tank to make it look better. Thanks <Do of course provide coconut shell, magic castle, other decor for your loaches use to hide in. Bob Fenner>

Do Dojo loach's eat other fish ? <Well... big fish do eat little fish, but in the case of the dojo loach, I highly doubt they would eat another fish.>

Loach party? (06/10/03) Hiya campers! <Hi! Ananda camping out in front of the computer tonight...> I purchased some plants about a month ago, and while the peeps in the store SWORE there were no snails in that tank, obviously there were as I have apparently become a snail breeder (ick). <Unless, of course, you have puffers or loaches! Since I have both, I actually have a snail farm tank.> Someone recommended loaches, and I went to the good LFS (which is 40 min.s away) to pick up some yo-yos. Of course, they had none so I purchased 3 clowns instead (like em just as well, but was hoping NOT to need a new tank in the near future LOL). <They don't grow super-fast, but they do grow. Kudos for getting a trio!> One of the clown didn't make it (no surprise; I understand they are all wild caught and they can be tetchy). <Yup! Be very, very careful to match the water temperatures with all water changes!> The other 2 are happy, hale n hearty, and will be out of QT next week and into the main tank. <HOT DANG SHE QUARANTINED HER NEW FISH!!  [insert applause here] My loach-fanatic friend says you should try to get clown loaches that are at least a couple of inches long (excluding tail length). And look for the ones that are the most robust.> I went to the icky LFS today to get some bloodworms (its closer), and noticed THEY have yo-yos. So my question is, if I purchase a yo-yo to replace the clown I lost, will he be just as happy hanging with clowns as he would with other yo-yos? <I haven't had yo-yos, but I'm not certain that they would.> (This is assuming I can get the lil guy to survive; the icky pet store is a fish morgue.) <Oooh.. then don't get them there!> I understand loaches are not happy alone (hence my original purchase of 3) but can't seem to find if they will be happy with other types of loaches. I checked your faq and loaches.com, but there were no clear answers. <You might want to post on both the WetWeb boards at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk and the boards at loaches.com. We do have a yo-yo loach fan on the WetWeb boards.> I'd prefer to understock the tank as its a 25 gallon, and I've already got 2 angels and a liposarcus in there (and yeah, there will be a larger tank in the future LOL just hopefully not till next year); hence my thinking of only getting the single yo-yo. Any suggestions? <Shop around for another clown loach. I usually like to get my fish from independently-owned stores. But not with the loaches. I admit to getting mine from a chain store, because they *consistently* had the healthiest clown loaches. Something else to keep the loaches happy: give them some caves they can hide and sleep in. My loaches absolutely love playing "loach pile" in the carved strawberry rock pieces that came with my 55g tank. When they cruise from one end of the tank to the other, I swear they go out of their way to swim through the holes in the rocks!> Thanx! Allison <You're welcome! And please join us on the WetWebMedia discussion boards and give us a progress report.  --Ananda>

Re: 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 forthe 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

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 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>

Going Planted; Yo-Yo Loach  Hello,  <Hi>  I have a 46 gallon community tank with Cardinal Tetras, Zebra Danios, Cory Cats, a Yo-Yo Loach, a Gourami, and pair of Kribensis. The tank has been established for about a year, and I'm now transitioning my tank to a planted tank. I have purchased new lights that holds 3-36" 30 watt bulbs. I have also purchased a Hagen fermentation style CO2 kit. Does my lighting sound adequate?  <That really depends on what plants you want to keep; with your lighting, I'd stay away from plants that have high light requirements. There are gobs and gobs of plants you can play with for this setup.>  I'm also curious if the Hagen will inject enough CO2 into the tank.  <This depends on how heavily you wish to plant the tank; you might want a second such system, or a DIY CO2 generator in addition to the one Hagen generator.>  I'm a little torn on what kind of fertilizer I should use (liquid/solid). Any suggestions that may help?  <Well, to be honest, I use both. I'd recommend liquid fertilizers regularly, and any particularly picky plants, give a fertilizer plug.>  One of my Danios is much larger than the others in the chest area (for lack of the appropriate term). It almost seems to be swollen. Do Danios swell during reproduction,  <Females will get rather plump, so yes.>  ...or does my fish likely have some kind of disease?  <Without seeing the fish, there's no real way I could tell you; but if the fish is otherwise acting/looking/eating well, I'd wager it's just a robust female.>  Ammonia and nitrites are at 0, nitrates are acceptable, and pH is 7.4.  <All good, though the cardinal tetras would appreciate a lower pH, but if you're planning on CO2 injection, that should help.>  One more thing - have you heard of yo-yo loaches being aggressive. He seems to be the bully of the tank, and seems to pick on weaker fish.  <Certainly sounds like a yo-yo loach! They do tend to be a little boisterous as they grow; not aggressive so much as insanely hyper-active.>  Over the past year, I've had some fish die and look mangled. I'm not sure if they died for other reasons, and the scavengers started working on them, or if the loach had something to do with it.  <I would certainly bet the first idea is the likeliest, though I'm sure the loach probably does cause the other fish some stress. Loaches do better in groups, so he's probably just making up for that by playing with the other fish instead - much to the other fishes' displeasure, I'm sure. If you like loaches but want something a little more laid back, consider Botia striata; they stay a bit smaller and are a little less, uh, annoying, to other fish - and on top of that, they're quite attractive.>  The Kribs are a relatively new addition, so I can't blame them. All other fish are extremely docile.  <Though I doubt the loach outright killed anyone, he might've stressed 'em to the point of illness/weakness, and eventually death, but that's only one possibility. If you really think he's a danger to any of the other fish, it might be a good idea to remove him. Otherwise, you *might* try adding a couple more, see if they share their attentions with one another, or if they still harass the other fish; that might be a touch risky, though.>  Thanks for your help.  <Hope all goes well, and that you enjoy the world of plantiness! -Sabrina>  Jeremy Lane 

Snail Eaters Hello, I have a 90gal. fairly heavily planted tank with 8- 3" Discus, 6-Siamese Algae eaters, 3-Cory paleatus, and 1-Bristle nose Pleco.  I am planning to add about 20 cardinal tetra's (they are in quarantine now).  My question is regarding snails.  I inadvertently introduced them with my plants and am now looking for a way to control them.   <Ugh.> I know that Clown Loaches will eat them however I am afraid they will be too active for the Discus.   <Quite possible.> Someone told me that Dwarf Cichlid Ram's will control my snail population and get along O.K. with the Discus.  I can't find much info on the internet to back that up.  What is your opinion?  Will the Ram's eat snails?   <I would seriously doubt that they could eliminate a snail problem.  I've known a few angelfish that ate snails, but only on pretty rare occasions, so certainly it might be possible that a ram would eat snails, but I can't see 'em keeping the population under control, in any stretch.> Will they get along O.K. in a soft water PH about 6.3 Planted Discus tank?   <Absolutely they would.> Do you have any other suggestions to get rid of the snails?   <Botia striata are my loach of choice for this use.  So far, IME, they seem to me to be the most laid back of the Botias, and are *extremely* adept at snail munchin'.  Give 'em a try, and in a week or so, you'll be in good shape, snail-wise, I'd wager.  If they seem to be too crazy for the discus, you can always remove them.  Three B. striata is all it took to rid my 72g plant tank of a *heavy* snail infestation in about a week.> I don't really want to use any chemicals because they might harm the plants and the other fish.  Thanks for your help!  Kurt <Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina>

Yoyo Loach and other questions Hi I emailed you a couple of weeks ago. I have the over-population of snails. I called about 11 different pet stores that sold fish. Finally I found a Aquarium store. Well no one has Skunk Botia's. The people at the fish store told me to get the Yoyo's because they are smaller and won't kill my baby fish. Yeah I'm experimenting with breeding fish. Well I have 5 guppies and I have no clue how many babies. I have 2 from almost a month ago but I saw some really small ones today. I have 3 yoyos and 2 shrimp. I can't remember what kind it is. It isn't a ghost shrimp. Also I have 2 big snails.. They sell them at pet smart. Will the Yoyo's do the job?  I read that they don't like Malaysian snail. Could that prove a problem. My fish tank is 15 gallons. Is it too over populated? If so what is a good way for catching baby fish? Or what would you recommend. I have a 2 gallon in my kitchen I can transfer them to. It is empty. thanks <Should work out. 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

About Kuhli loaches and snails Hi, I have a bit of a snail problem in my 20-25gal tank. (size isn't 100% sure since it's not a standard tank) I pick out snails whenever I see them and I don't usually notice them much but sometimes it gets to be a problem. Also on my java fern which is in separate living quarters at the moment because of the education I am using) there are a ZILLION baby snails. (not surprising - I noticed several snail egg sacs on the fern when I moved it to its current quarters) I'm treating the separate bucket with had-a-snail. oh yes and I am currently treating the main tank with Coppersafe for Ich, which is supposed to be 'dangerous' to invertebrates but it doesn't seem to bother the snails at all! <Figures! But it may be doing a number on your filter. Please check for ammonia and nitrite spikes. Much better to QT fish for treatment and allow the tank to be fish free for a month. Treating the main tank can cause you more problems than snails.> (I am using a half-strength dosage to be gentle on plants, tetras and Otos) Anyway I am concerned about this as the last thing I want is a big snail infestation. I'm wondering if Kuhli loaches might do the trick? Obviously a clown loach would be the most effective, but I don't want to have to trade the fish back again as I live over an hour's drive from the nearest pet store.  Also I was reading your faq a bit and you guys mentioned zebra loaches - I've never seen one but they also sound like a good option if I could actually find them. <Hi, Don here. Please check the link below for an thread on this subject going on in the forum right now. Please feel free to join in. Aquabid.com is great for finding fish not stocked in most LFS. Of course with the price of shipping added in, it can be costly. Perhaps talk to the manager at a pet store. > [l] http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=23318&tstart=0&trange=30[/l] Can you guys give any recommendations?  a permanent, live in fish would be best. If the Kuhli loaches might do it (I have heard in a few places that they may eat snails) I have had them in the past and I quite enjoy them :) If zebra loaches wouldn't get too big (the tank is around 36 inches long and about 15 wide, and 10-12 deep, I don't recall exactly), and if I could find them, they seem like the best choice. Thanks for any help you can give, your site has always been helpful :) ~Anna

Clown loach from African tank to Goldfish tank 7/14/05 Hi.  I have a 72g African cichlid tank that is relatively new and doing great!  However, last week I purchased 3 small clown loaches because the sales guy told me they would be fine... <Umm, learn to do your own research... ahead of purchasing livestock> because of their sharp spines and that if a fish tried to eat one, they would spit it out. <Uhh, no> Well, two days later, my 4 inch frontosa ate one for breakfast...and had another half of one for lunch.  I removed the third clown loach and put him in my 30g fancy goldfish tank. <Also inappropriate> There are 2 lionheads and 1 Oranda and also 10 zebra danios that I rescued from the African tank (I cycled with the zebras).  I put a heater in the goldfish tank and keep it at 75.  Everyone seems to be doing fine.  I thought I'd keep the loach in there until he was big enough to put back into the African tank.   <Mmm, not a good idea... you actually have "three sets" of animals with different enough environmental needs and temperaments to warrant/require three different systems> I know they like company of their own kind, but I don't really want to put more "tropical" fish in that tank.  I am also afraid of my cutie goldfishes getting ich.  Any advice?  (btw...I can take the clown loach back to where I got him from). Thanks! Michelle <I'd either do this, or look into getting another more peaceful tropical system going. Bob Fenner>

Pond Snail Problem 7/30/05 Hi, I was hoping someone could help me with my snail problem. I have a 20 gallon US aquarium with 2 Otos, 1 guppy, 4 neon tetras, and 2 Black Phantom Tetras. I had some small pond snails get into my tank from the plants I bought from the fish store, I tried to remove them manually, then tried Had-A-Snail, with no luck. <Unusual> I'm wondering with the size and population of my tank if there is a fish I could get that would eat the pond snails. <There are a few... the best are loaches... oh, I see you know this from below> I know one is a Skunk Loach, but I am having trouble finding one, do you have any other suggestions. PS I have tried to get them with the food trick, but they keep coming back. Thanks Andrea <Keep reading... on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Snail Problem 8/3/05 Hi again, with my tank size and amount of fish do you think I would be able to get a YoYo Loach. If so, would I be able to get one or two? Thanks again. < Try Fluke-Tabs to get rid of snails and any other invertebrates in the tank. Go to loaches.com and you can find info on any type of Botia. Two Yo-Yo loaches look like they would get crowded and fight. One small one at most.-Chuck>

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