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FAQs About Loaches & Relatives 1

Related Articles: Loaches, A New Look At Loaches By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs:  Loaches 2, Dojos/Weatherfishes, Clownloaches, Kuhli Loaches, & Loach Identification, Loach Behavior, Loach Compatibility, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,

Botia lohachata in captivity. A species with variable patterning.

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> Clown loaches won't eat 8/9/05 Help! <Hey Jeff! I did see you called...> I have a 30 gal tank with three large clown loaches, about 6 yrs old. The tank also had a Kissing Gourami but this fish died a couple of weeks ago. It died slowly, it stopped eating and grew thin. Tried treating in in another tank with Maracyn II but this did not help. Now the loaches have stopped eating and they hide most of the day. What can I do? Regards, Jeff Hulett <Start a series (daily) of a few gallon water changes... and try not to worry... these fish can go a very long time w/o eating... I recall your message said your Corydoras had spawned again (a good sign that your overall water quality is not off)... Likely the loaches are "going through some changes" with the warmer weather... will be fine in a week or two. 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> 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>

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>

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>

Golden Dojos/Weatherfish Thank you so much for your advice. <Welcome> I will not get any more Dojos! <I see> The tank was given to me by a friend who moved and could no longer keep it. He gave me no instruction on caring for it other than to feed the fish, as he figured he would come by to do the maintenance (which didn't happen) and when I went away on a 1 month trip, everyone died (the tank was beyond disgustingly filthy when I returned), so, I started over and researched how to maintain a tank on the net.  However, at the local fish store, I was never informed as to the size the knifes would get, but since I like them so much, I will move them to their own tank when they get bigger. <...> The cichlids I have are 2 electric blue cichlids, 2 Neolamprologus sexfasciatus gold, 2 tiger Oscars.  Since the Knifes will need their own tank eventually and the Oscars will too, would they work in their own tank together? <For a short while perhaps (months)> Both the Oscars and the Knifes are my favorites. <These two could live together... but the Africans, no> Since the Dojos are fine and everyone else is happy and healthy, I guess my main question is now, how do I lower my nitrates if the water changes aren't doing the trick? <A few ways... the simplest is by regular good-sized water changes... like 20% a week... but using live plants, deep, large gravel, chemical filtrants... and careful feeding should help> You have a great site, and are very generous with your time in answering everyone's questions.  Thank you again! Tara <Again, you're very welcome. Excelsior! Bob Fenner>

Dying Weather Loaches Hi, I have a 29 gallon tank and I had a dojo that got sick lost almost all of his tail fin and started to loose scales on the back half of his tail. We thought one of my other fish was eating him so we moved him out of that tank and put him in a 10 gallon. Well the next day we came in and he was dying. He had blood in his front fins and in his whiskers. Not know what was wrong my husband reached it to see if he was already gone, and he gave one final frantic swim and then sank to the bottom of the tank on his back and died. Very upset because JOJO was my favorite fish out of all that I have. I jumped up and went back to the pets store and got 4 more. Now I have 3 left from that 4 and 2 of the 3 look like they have fin rot. Well my husband and I got to looking really close to our tank and found these little worms swimming every where. But they would only come out when the rocks in our tank had been stirred up. We have no clue where they came from, what they are or how to get rid of them. I have read several different articles on your website and I am just not sure which one is right.  Please Help. We have had this tank for about 2 months but all of my fish are at least a 1 year old. (except for the 3 new ones). I don't want to loose any more of my fish. We have moved all of the fish to a 10 gallon and they are quite cramped. I am not sure if the parasite moved with them or not.  We have treated the water with parasite clear and fungus clear. We did that for 2 days and it looks really clear now. So we stirred up the rocks and hear came the worms. What can we do? Thank you for your help. Shannon < To get rid of the worms (which are probably plant leaches) use Fluke-Tabs. To get rid of the tail rot ,which is actually a bacterial infection, you need to do a few things. First change 30% of the water, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. If your sand is coarse and abrasive then you may need to change it for a smoother less abrasive material. The rough sand erodes the skin of the fish and then it gets infected. Once the water and the tank are clean you need to treat the tank with Nitrofuranace. This medication may affect the good bacteria that breaks down the fish waste so after treating you may need to add BioSpira from Marineland to get the good bacteria going again.-Chuck> 

Swollen gold dojo I have 2 gold dojo loaches and have a concern about one of them. I have noticed that although they both continue to be active and have no problems eating, one seems to have become thicker than the other and somewhat swollen. Its tail also seems to constantly float upward,  <Not good> it will usually tuck its tail under a plant when resting. I have seen my dojo eliminate waste so I don't think it's constipated. Have any ideas what's going on? Thank you for your time. -Shell <I do hope this is something simple... like an "egg blockage" that will cure itself. If your other livestock can tolerate such, I'd add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons of actual system water here. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Swollen Golden Dojo a Go Hi, <Hello> I just wanted to say thank you for your advice. I did add the Epsom salt, also gave them some peas. Both Dojo's are doing very well, no more floating tails. Aloha, Shell <Ahh, thank you for this update of your success. A hui ho. Bob Fenner>  

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>

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 FAQ, actually petfish hypochondria Hi, I have a 75 gallon tank with 5 clown loaches (approx. 5 inches long), 2 catfishes, and 2 discus.  After cleaning the filter in my Fluval 304, I noticed 1 of my Clownloaches developed partial eye cloudiness in one eye and another clown loach developed what started looking like a small 1mm x 5mm whitish bump turned into a round pimple-like bump. <Good observations> They have a great appetite.   What can I use to treat them? <Mmm, I prescribe nothing... just time going by... the markings are/were due to abrupt chemical changes in your system... not a pathogen... and besides, even mild medications will harm your other fishes> Do they need to be separated in a "sick" tank? <No> You have mentioned for other internal bacteria diseases or infections to use Flagyl, but how much ? <None> Let say I have Flagyl 500 mg tablet form.   <... this material, Metronidazole is quite toxic... kills the kidneys of fishes easily... Do NOT use it in this instance> Would I go by the approximate weight of the fish ?  What is the weight of a 6 inch 15 year old clown loach ?  Can I crush up the Flagyl tablet and dilute it with tank water then soak it in Tubifex worms ?  Will it further harm the rest of the healthy fish or will the antibiotic make the other fishes bigger and healthier ?  I've heard of using Methylene blue approximately 6 drops per gallon on the entire tank.  What is your feelings on this and where would I buy Methylene blue ?  15 years ago, when I bought the tiny little babies, one of them would not eat and was wasting away.  At that time I didn't have my heart and soul invested in them because I just bought them.   So I figured I would experiment.  I had left over amoxicillin (from my sick cat).  If memories serves me correctly, I crushed up a tablet, separated it to approximately 1 mg, dilute it with water, soaked it with Tubifex (the worms died instantly), then fed it to the sick fish, which was in a breeder tank inside the 75 gallon tank.  So the sick wasting fish would accidentally have to suck and antibiotic soaked worm.  A week later, he was swimming with the rest of the fishes.  The rest of the other fishes ate whatever antibiotic soaked worms floated out of the breeder tank.  And they all lived !! 15 years later they are XXL and were healthy until now.  But now I don't want to experiment.  Please advise.  Thank you for your time.   Tammy <Tam... don't fall prey to the "pill" mentality... these are not "safe" to just add... and there is no need to generally add any of them to otherwise well-maintained systems. I would add nothing here. Bob Fenner> Clown Loaches with white spots laying on the bottom of the tank I have a new 90L tank (just over a month old). I have slowly introduced 8 Neon Tetras, 1 Siamese Fighting Fish, 2 Plecostomus, 2 Clown Loaches and a growing snail infestation. <Suspect these last two are related> I am a complete beginner here as this is my first ever tank, I have read some books and many web pages but none seem to answer specifically my question. Please let me explain a little first before asking yourselves. After introducing the Clowns they seemed to hide behind plants and rocks for the most part of the day, I hardly ever saw them. <This is normal behavior... they're new.> This did not worry me as they appeared to be doing their job (the snail population dropped dramatically). The Fighting Fish never seemed to display his colours as he did in the shop, this was solved by adding a mirror to the side of the tank. One day after adding the mirror I noticed a little white spot on one of the loaches on the rare occasions I saw them, by the evening it was covered and the other fish started developing it. By the second day I had added Interpret White Spot Plus No6. Over the next few days the spots diminished on all the fish except the loaches, after the second dose the other fish seemed clear and the loaches if not clear at least diminished. The loaches however are no longer hiding in the back of the tank where I can't see them, they are laying one on top of the other huddled up next to they mirror and barely moving. Every now and then they will dart into the middle of the tank for a few minutes then return and lay still for ages. My question is are they still suffering from the White Spot, are they suffering from something else or is this normal behavior? <Likely just the white spot/ich> Please excuse any ignorance here but I really am beginning to worry about them as it says on many pages white spot can be lethal, while on just as many it says it can be easily cured. Tony Robertson <Ignorance is acceptable... we're here to diminish this... Your fish, indeed your tank "has ich"... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm  Re: the medication, did you remove all chemical filtration (e.g. carbon) from your filters? This will remove the med. Did you raise the tank temperature? I would... all the livestock you list can easily tolerate the mid 80's F... but not the ich. Know that the loaches are "ich magnets" (i.e. very susceptible to this parasite), AND sensitive to ich medications... you will want to check the label, what you can re the med... and likely use half doses... Don't add any more livestock for a few weeks till after this problem is solved. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Clown Loaches with white spots laying on the bottom of the tank. Dear Mr. Fenner <Tony> May I say thank you very much for you advice, it has helped to belay my fears quite a bit. <Glad we have helped you> You asked if I had removed the carbon filters, I had as that was an instruction with the white spot medication although I must admit I was unsure as to why I had to do it but my guess matched your reason. You also suggested raising the temperature, this I had not done as the instruction suggested raising it to 26c while I have had my tank at a constant 27c since the second day after installation.  <I might raise it as much as 29C... the rationale: the causative organism (Ichthyophthirius multifilius) cannot tolerate heat as well as its fish hosts> It is now two days since I first wrote and things have improved a great deal with the Clown Loaches. All signs of ich appear to have left all the fish, the loaches (the ones I was worried about the most) seem a tad paler than I recall but they do seem a bit more active. They are not laying on top of one another anymore but rather moving around on the bottom of the tank. I definitely believe they are going to live, which was not my belief a couple of days ago. <Do understand the general life cycle of the protozoan...> I had planned on adding a few more fish later this week but I think now I will wait a week longer. <Yes! At least a few weeks... you may well simply be in "mid cycle"> I'm hoping to add some Angelfish, Red-tailed sharks and some small striped ones I saw in the shop last time I was there but unfortunately don't recall what they were called. I will seek advice from the shop before making any purchases as they did seem very knowledgeable last time. I had been blaming them for the ich in my tank but I now realize and understand that it is extremely common so I'll forgive them, but it won't stop me asking for a discount.  Again let me repeat my thanks as your advice and web pages were deeply appreciated. Tony Robertson <You are welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Lumpy Loach -- Mycobacterium Infection? -- 01/11/2005 Hi, <Hello!> I have a 75-gallon tank with three 14 year-old clown loaches and two large green kissing fish.   <Must be some pretty large loaches, at that age!  It wouldn't be a terrible idea to try for a larger tank, if possible.> One of the loaches has large lumps all over his body under the skin, appears to be very swollen -- even his eyes appear to be bulging.  He is hiding in the back of the tank and will not come out to eat; he just stays in the same place breathing very rapidly, in an upright position, leaning on tubing.  He has been like this for about a month and I really didn't expect him to be alive this long since I just noticed his illness right before I went out of town.  I assumed that he had an age related problem since a couple of his tank mates have passed on over the past couple of years.  I haven't been able to find out anything about this particular illness.   <To be quite honest, this sounds to me like a very good indication of mycobacteriosis.  The swelling, pop-eye, and lumps/tumors/granulomas are very strong symptoms of this Myxosporidian bacterial infection.  It's really quite a good thing that the critter did not die while you were gone -- a dead fish can release literally millions of 'spores' that can infect other fish in the tank!> The nitrates in this tank stay fairly high even with frequent water changes and Poly-filters in the filters.   <Yes....  These are very large fish in a (comparatively) small tank; increased water volume would really be a good idea.> There are no indications (redness, etc) on his outward appearance that would suggest a bacterial or fungal condition.  I would try to treat him in a separate tank if I knew what to try, or at this point would it be better to euthanize him?   <Sadly, mycobacteriosis is essentially incurable.  There is some indication that Kanamycin sulfate may have some effect, but recovery is unlikely, I'm so sorry to say.  Either way, should you choose to medicate or not, definitely remove the fish as soon as possible from the healthy animals -- I can assure you, you do not want this to spread, if that is, in fact, what it is.  Also, PLEASE read the following link, so you can understand what risk this illness might pose to you:  http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/sp/feature/index.htm .  Do please understand that without seeing the fish for myself, I cannot guarantee that this is an accurate diagnosis -- but based on the symptoms you describe, it is my best guess.  Gah, I hate being the bearer of bad news.> I appreciate your consideration. Thank you, Karen Chaney <Wishing you and your loach the best,  -Sabrina>

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>  

Lumpy weather loach Hi, Wonder if you can help, no one else seems to be able. I have a weather loach who is about 3  yrs old. he developed a lump near his rear end months   ago which split the skin, the lump seemed to go down after treating him for bacteria (as the skin had come inflamed). Since then the lump seems to go bigger   then shrink. Over the last weeks he has developed lots of lumps and has started  to raise his rear as though it is full of air. I know this might be daft but I  had an Oranda that did similar and she had constipation, could it be this. I  have tried peas and spinach with the loach just in case, but he doesn't like it  much. Is it safe to use Epsom salts on weather loaches as I am a bit worried  about medicating as they are quite sensitive because they lack scales. He (I  think actually he may be a she) is swimming and eating as though nothing is  wrong and shows no illness besides a very swollen stomach/anal area and lots of  stretch marks. Any help would be much appreciated. The loach is in a 180litre  cold water tank with several goldfish comets Orandas and best friend another  larger weather loach. water testing showed tank as it should be and no other  sign of disease in fish. < Sounds like an internal bacterial infection caused by stress and the wrong kind of food. Isolate the fish and treat with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks in anticipation of any help. Kind Regards Tricia

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> HLLE on Clown Loach Greetings, all. I have a 180 gal FW tank. <!> I keep it at about 80F. I have two 13 year old clown loaches <!!>(8+ inches) and two smaller ones (3-4 inches). I also have 9 ghost catfish, 1 black skirt tetra, three hatchetfish and two large-ish Plecos. <!!!> I wrote awhile back about one of the smaller loaches having nibbled fins. Now, I notice that one of the larger clowns (the largest, in fact) has three, almost regularly-spaced craters or lesions (bites?) on his dorsum, just behind the "head". They do not look infected, and he still eats voraciously. The tank is very clean, with bio-ball sump-based filtration and a 40W UV light. 40 gallon water changes weekly.  Could this be hole in head? No white/slimy fecal matter and he acts healthy. The marks are in a row, all inside one of his dark stripes. <It does not sound like the few fish I have seen with hole in the head (HLLE) but it sure is possible. The fact that the holes are "clean" and in a row makes me think it is not HLLE. Although not directly fatal, it can lead to secondary infections that are. Watch for redness or a white pus. I found a good link for you to read up on. See:  http://www.masla.com/fish/hlle.html. BTW Great job on keeping your fish! 180 gallons and a rather light bio load! Big fish in there though. Make sure you check the nitrates and try to keep them below 20ppm. Don> Thanks! <No, Thank YOU!> Tom <Don>

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

Very small Clown Loaches Hi there, I would like to know what clown loaches look like when only days old - 1 week?  We have just discovered babies in our tank and we only have clown loaches and another type of fish that are multiple.  I know the loaches are not easy to breed but these have a bright yellow sack so do you have any photo's that would help in the identification, can't find anything on the net. Thanks a million
< Most baby fish have an egg sac attached to them. As the egg sac is being absorbed the fish should start looking more and more like the adults whatever they may be. Usually clown loaches get to be about a foot long before that are breeding size and then scatter their eggs about. I know that they are bred in the orient using hormone injections but this would indeed be a rare occurrence if it were the clown loaches in fact that bred.-Chuck> Cheers, Michelle Trute

Sick Botia angelicus Hi Bob - <Hi Sherri, MacL here with you this morning> I purchased 2 Botia Angelicus from my LFS on 8/7/04.  I put them in my 40 gal tank that also has a few clown loaches, a dojo, a yoyo, swordtail and a couple of angelfish.  One of the Botia's has done just great.  The other, however, seems to be wasting away.  He doesn't seem to be interested in food, he just sort of swims around during feeding time and ignores it.  I moved him to a 2 gal hosp tank about 3 days ago, but am not sure what to do with him.  He has no outward signs of any diseases, but I'm afraid he'll die soon if he doesn't eat. I can now see the outline of his bones.  Any suggestions? <Is he being out competed for food with the clown loaches?  Are you feeding him some type of pellet that drops to the ground. The problem with medicating him is that we aren't seeing anything in particular to medicate. We don't know if he's got parasites or if he has some type of bacterial infection going on. My best guess might be to try Melafix in your hospital tank and see if that help. Good luck Sherri and keep me posted. Look for signs of anything on him. MacL > Thx, Sherri Re: Sick Botia angelicus I don't believe it was a food competition. I feed plenty of bottom dweller type pellets and the tank is big enough that there is always an empty corner at feeding time.  I do have some Pimafix...would that suffice?  Or should I buy the Melafix?  I'm not sure what the difference is offhand. Even in isolation, he doesn't appear to be interested in food.  I've even got a piece of zucchini in there and he really hasn't touched it. < Go to loaches.com and make sure that we are talking about the same fish. There are some slight differences in maintenance for each species so a good identification is a good place to start. Your fish may have collected in the wild. Either way I would offer some live Tubifex( California black worms)  as an enticement to eat. If he doesn't eat then we have to assume that there are internal problems. Metronidazole will kill internal anaerobic bacteria so I would start there first. There are foods that will take care of internal worms but they must first be consumed by the fish to be effective. Treat with the Metronidazole then after your fish has regained his strength treat with Pepso medicated food.-Chuck> I really appreciate your assistance! Sherri

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

Growing Clown Loaches Hi Bob! <Hello Mohammad> This is Ahmed from Pakistan. I have 3 clown loaches in my 5 feet tank. 7 Bala sharks, 1 rainbow shark, 1 paradise Gourami are the tank mates of my clown loaches. I have 2 questions from u concerned with my loaches. Firstly what food should I offer to my loaches to attain maximum size in the minimum time n how many times in a day should I feed my fish? <Clown loaches will eat most any type of foods that make their way down to the bottom of the tank, but should be offered some high/er protein rations daily... worms of all kinds (even chopped up if large), insect larvae, shrimps... sinking pellets are good if high quality. Best to feed them twice per day... And you likely know these are very long-lived fishes. I know of some in captivity for more than thirty years> I serve floating pellets to my fish. Though I know that they (clown loaches) grow pretty slow. Secondly when I see my loaches from a greater distance they don't hide but when I reach near to aquarium they float just like a bullet n hide in a drift wood like a flash. Are these fishes shy in nature? Thanks Bob. <Do look into and use some sinking foods as well... keep your tank covered (to prevent jumping), keep up regular water changes (weekly) and you'll be surprised how quickly your loaches will grow. Bob Fenner> YoYo Loach Question Hi there, I have a yo yo loach that I've had for about 6 months and he/she seems to be getting extremely thin and very sluggish.  It still eats and swims around, but more often now I see it hiding with my Kuhli loaches.  Any idea what illness my poor loach might have? Thanks, Jackie <<Dear Jackie; First you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The first two should be zero, and the nitrate level should be kept between 20-60ppm. Higher readings will require multiple back-to-back water changes to lower it. Once you have determined the state of your water, you can add medication. Meds are not going to be too effective if the reason the fish got sick was due to water quality, which, left unremedied, will simply hinder the cure. At any rate, the most logical culprit is an internal parasite. Your LFS should carry a medication with Metronidazole as an ingredient, ask them for it. Follow the instructions to the letter, and hopefully things will improve. And keep testing your water :) -Gwen>> Looking for a Dojo Loach

I was considering a Dojo Loach (possibly gold) for a 29g and have seen some widely ranging information on these in regards to their size.  I have seen postings stating their max aquarium size anywhere from 15cm upwards of 20inches.  In a "typical" aquarium what size should I expect one of these to grow, and would it outgrow a 29g and if so in how long? < Generally Dojo's are bottom loving catfish that spend all their time sifting through fine sand for something to eat. Fine well rounded sand is best because coarse materials will be abrasive to the mouth and eyes. Go to planetcatfish.com and see all the Dojo's that are out there. Many species are referred to as Dojo's. Most in the hobby only get around 8 inches while the gold variety is smaller around 4 inches.> Also I have read that they like to burrow and bury themselves.  I am concerned about this as I have a crushed coral substrate which would not be good.  I read they like sandy bottoms which would go with the burrowing.  I do have lots of cover and live plants so at least the layout should be acceptable. < Fine sand is the only way to go or else you will become an expert in wound control.-Chuck> Patrick

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>

Chuck Clowns Around with the loaches I have a 90 gallon show tank with discus, clown loaches and Bushynosed Plecos. It is decorated with wood and single piece of holey stone which gives the loaches many hiding places. The substrate is typical natural colored aquarium gravel. I was considering removing the gravel and leaving the tank bare bottomed so I could keep it very clean. Is that going to be a problem for the clown loaches?  < I would not remove all the gravel. I would leave about 1/2 inch to 3/4 of an inch of gravel or fine sand. There are bacteria living on the gravel that help break down the fishes waste. If you removed all the gravel you would probably encounter big ammonia spikes every time you changed your filter and that would affect the entire tank. I would service the filter once every two weeks and then gravel vac the substrate on alternate weeks.-Chuck>  James Nyman

Re: Identification help Hi Robert, Sure, that's Botia kubotai. (See http://www.loaches.com/species_pages/botia_sp_myanmar.html) Thanks, Jeff <Outstanding! Thank you Jeff. Bob Fenner> ========================== Jeff Shafer Loaches Online http://www.loaches.com/ ========================== > Jeff, please take a look at the attached pic. Do you recognize this species? > This image made at the recent Interzoo show... > Thank you, Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com

Sick Kuhli Loaches  Thank you for considering my question. I actually have two which are related.  1) My local pet store used to be able to get healthy Kuhli Loaches all the time. In recent years (no matter the source) they arrive sick and the whole lot of them die. The symptoms are reddish gill area, then swirling, then they die. Any recommendations. We would love to be able to get some "new stock" in our area.  2) This is my main question, the first is background for what knowledge I do have. This morning I discovered one of my Kuhli Loaches is pinkish around the gill area. I have had my Kuhlis for quite a long time and have not introduced any new fish for - 6 weeks. What is my best bet for treatment? I don't want him to follow the same fate as those at our pet store.  <<Hello. Kuhli loaches are a problem lately in most stores. The stock is just not healthy anymore, and they seem particularly prone to bacterial infections and gill flukes. Stores can treat them with antibiotics, and if lucky, some may survive. Strong antibiotics will kill your nitrifying bacteria, though, so be careful! For you, I would recommend Melafix and salt (a teaspoon per gallon). Or you can try to find yourself some Maracyn Two, which is a safer antibiotic to use since it's relatively gentle, and not as much of a threat to your nitrifying bacteria when used as directed.  To prevent further Kuhli problems in your tank, maintain good water quality and do regular gravel cleaning. This will help keep the nasty bacteria levels in your substrate under control, which promote infections, and prevent anoxic areas from developing underneath your decorations and rocks. It's hard to vacuum using a regular siphon, since cutting your Kuhlis in half with the tube is always a possibility, so what I recommend is that move the decorations around, and you "sift" the gravel with your hands regularly to release the debris, and let your filter remove it. Make sure you have good water circulation, so the suspended debris is removed by your filter. If need be, you can add a powerhead to your tank for circulating the dirty water during this cleaning process. Then clean your filter floss and do a water change about an hour later.  Also, if you happen to see the solid black Kuhli loaches for sale, buy them instead. They are (thus far) much hardier, easier to keep, and just as entertaining. -Gwen>>

My Dojo is hungry!   Hello, I recently purchased what I know them as is Dojos, Long snake like with an otter personality, I believe the person at the fish store called them Dojo Loaches?     I need to know to know what to feed them. Thanks Bob <One of my favorite fishes! The Dojo, or Weatherfish... please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojousepds.htm They will gladly consume all types of fish foods. Bob Fenner>

This Clown's Not Joking Hey Crew, <Hello! Ryan with you> I recently had to shut down my 75gall saltwater tank because it is too big/heavy for my new apartment. <Sorry to hear> To ease the pain of this loss, I purchased a small 5 gallon Hex. Eclipse system for my dresser. Cycled the tank for 3 weeks w a platy. The plan was/is to plant the tank nicely and put a nice Betta in there (of course got a show quality fish from Canada to be shipped next week!).  Also wanted to get one Corydoras cat to keep the bottom clean. Here is the problem/mistake I made ALREADY.  I hadn't dealt with freshwater fish for a long long time and thought I knew "enough" to do this w/out reading. If I had stuck to my 2 fish/plant plan I think I would have been ok. But when I went to get my Corydoras 2 days ago.....I came home w/ a Clown Loach instead. I thought "they're nicer and serve the same purpose." Wrong....<At least you didn't make me tell you!>...I decided to read AFTER the fact and see that it won't fit in my tank for long and needs to be in groups of 3 or more. <I have seen this fish well over 8 inches> And I'm starting to wonder....do they even scavenge??? <Not in the way a true scavenger does> I've feed him 2x and while he gets excited, he doesn't seem to find the food as it sinks to the bottom. Will he find the food at night on the bottom?? <Yes> Secondly, will this guy be ok by himself or does he NEED to be in groups. <he needs to be returned, he will die in your setup within a few months.>  Thirdly...should I just bring him back or give him away??  <Bring him back, stick you your initial plan!  It was a good one.  See ya, Ryan>

Is it a YoYo Loach? Ok. I've just left my LFS and they have what is being called a yoyo loach in their display tank.  If this is a yoyo, then he's unlike any that I've ever seen.  He's absolutely stunning!  He's got similar markings of a yoyo (I have 3 of them) but he's much more elongated. <Ironically you are the second person in a month to have contacted me stating that they have seen a "yoyo" for sale like that.  I had done a search on it, and unless it's a new subspecies that isn't identified yet, then there isn't anything online that resembles the loach you have described.  I have yet to see these "new" Yoyo's, but they sound quite impressive.  My yoyo is "standard", maybe when I want another one I'll try to find myself one of these.> I've spent the last 2 hours searching all of the loach sites that have pictures and I haven't been able to find out what he really is.  Do you know of a loach that has similar markings to a yoyo, but is longer and much thinner.   <I have seen Rostratas sometime confused with them at stores like Petco.  But, it was something that was easily identified to anyone who knew what a YoYo looked like.  I think that it might just be a unique YoYo.  Perhaps something you shouldn't pass up.> Even his tail fins seemed a bit longer than any yoyo that I've seen.  I know for sure it's not a Tiger or Rostrata. Thanks! Sherri <Wish I could give you a definitive answer what this loach might be, but I don't know many other Loaches with that distinctive "Y" and "o" patter where the YoYo gets it's name from.  Good luck -Magnus>

The Weird Yo-Yo, Continued Thank you...this unique 'yoyo' is in the display tank - they won't sell him!  Darn!  Thx again! <Do take a look here for some more on Botia almorhae (the yo-yo): http://www.loaches.com/species_pages/botia_almorhae.html  They have some neat pics and some good text on this fish and its color morphs.  Might also look on what they have to say here, regarding the "angelicus" loach, as it is *somewhat* yo-yo-like in patterning:   http://www.loaches.com/species_pages/botia_sp_myanmar.html .  And of course, play around from the homepage:   http://www.loaches.com/ .  There's a lot of good info there, and it's well kept up and usually quite up-to-date.  Hope you can find some insight on this strange fellah!  Enjoy.  -Sabrina>

Brackish loaches? (1/6/04)  Hello Bob. I enjoy your site immensely.  <Me, too. Ananda here tonight...>  I currently have a system set up for Archerfish, and as it establishes, I've been researching potential tankmates. As a beginner to brackish water fishkeeping, I've found it to be the most informative single resource on the net.  <So did I. Thanks!>  I do however have a few questions that aren't covered on the site:  (My substrate is an even mix of sand and crushed coral, with a small amount of smooth pebble-sized gravel. The specific gravity is about 1.005, and the temp is 80F)  Your section on brackish fishes mentions that loaches, and in particular the Clown Loach are happy in a brackish environment. However, I've found other resources that say loaches are extremely salt-intolerant. Do you know what the real story is?  <I believe that clown loaches may venture into brackish water, but do not stay there long-term.... Most other sources say *all* loaches are salt-intolerant, and I know that's not the case (more on that in a bit). I have clown loaches, but haven't had the guts to try turning their tank into a brackish system.>  I've always liked loaches in my freshwater community tanks, so I'd like to add a few. If they do tolerate salt, can you tell me what their upper limit of salinity is?  <I know they will tolerate 1.003 for at least a few weeks -- a friend treated her loaches for Ich by adding freshwater salt, adding it slowly (over a couple of days) until she got to 1.003, and increasing their tank temp to about 86. I have heard of people who've had success keeping yo-yo loaches, Botia almorhae (formerly B. lohachata) in systems up to 1.006.>  I'm also a big fan of mollusks, and apparently "freshwater" clams such as Corbicula fluminea can adapt to fairly high levels of salinity. Do you have any experience or comments on keeping these clams (or similar species) in an aquarium setting?  <I haven't tried it. However, I've heard that freshwater mollusks can be disease carriers.>  Also, I've been searching for a type of snail that would be suitable for such an environment. Everything I can find on the net seems to be purely freshwater or marine. Any suggestions?  <Malaysian trumpet snails, also called cone snails, do just fine in brackish systems. They will reproduce to near-plague proportions if you give them a chance. Going from the other end of the spectrum, I've heard that some turbo snails can be adapted to brackish systems. Doing so, however, is a matter of weeks, if not months. And Pufferpunk recently got some freshwater Nassarius snails, so they, too could be adapted. Again, however, the process would be slow.>  Thanks in advance,  -Brian  <You're quite welcome. Do check out the WWM brackish forum at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk --Ananda>  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>

Clown loaches 'n' columnaris Hi - I purchased 3 clown loaches about 3 or 4 weeks ago. They've seemed fine until about 3 days ago.  1 of them has white around his mouth. Could it be cotton mouth?  How would I treat this?   <This sounds like columnaris (mouth fungus, mouth rot, other names).  I would treat with a broad spectrum antibiotic like Oxytetracycline, preferably in a medicated food, if possible.> I had something similar about a year ago that started with a Dojo and 14 of my 19 fish perished.  I treated it with Penicillin upon advice from a local fish store.  I have a 29 gal tank. Testing yesterday showed everything was fine. <What were your test results?  Usually this bacterial illness is brought on by high nitrates, perhaps a pH other than what the fish prefer, low oxygen concentrations, etc.> Thanks SG <Wishing your fish a swift recovery,  -Sabrina>

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 

Treating clown loaches for Ich (10/14/03) <Hi! Ananda the clown loach nut here tonight...> After a 35% water change, my 5 clown loaches developed ick.   <Uh-oh.> No fish had been added to my tank in months so I'm pretty sure it was caused by the water change. I use Reverse Osmosis water and there is no control of temperature.   <Yep, that'll do it. You need to get a container big enough to hold all your water-change water and get a heater for it.> I introduce it a gallon every  30 to 45 min.s or so so the tank has a chance to heat keep up.   <The initial temperature shock is enough to trigger the ich.> ANYWAY, after the loaches developed ick, I tried Ick Away for several days (with charcoal filters removed and temperature up to 82) which did nothing to help. <Argh. I have yet to hear anything good about "Ick Away".> I then went to CopperSafe before leaving for the weekend.   <Never use copper with loaches! They're just too susceptible to it.> When I returned, 3 of the 5 were dead and the other 2 were covered in Ick.  Within a couple hours, they died too.   <Sorry to hear that... hopefully you've done another water change to take care of the probable ammonia and nitrate spike?> None of my other fish have ick.   <Clown loaches are ich magnets, so I'm not surprised to hear they got it bad but nothing else did...> My tank is a 30 gallon with an Emperor 400.   <That's what I use on my 30 gallon tank. But...with copper added to the tank, the bio-wheels have been sterilized and are going to be ineffective until the tank re-cycles. You're going to have to do more frequent water changes for a while. Your other option is to get some Bio-Spira, which must be refrigerated until you use it, as it contains live nitrifying bacteria.> Fish are 3 Rummy Nose Tetras, 2 Corys, 2 Rosey Reds, 3 Red Platy's, 3 Black Molly's, and  3 Otocinclus. <You're almost at the maximum fish capacity this tank can hold. With the loaches, I would characterize that tank as overcrowded. I keep my loaches in a 55 gallon tank -- they're still fairly small, about 3" long -- with the knowledge that they're going to need at least a 90 gallon tank in a couple of years.>   What is the BEST way to cure Clown Loaches of ICK.   <Many people use their ich medication of choice at half-strength, for twice as long as is generally recommended. That, and they crank the tank temp up. Personally, I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to my clown loaches. I've used "FW Ecolibrium" when they had ich -- it's more expensive than most ich meds, but it's completely safe for scaleless fish. I have a couple of bottles around, though I've been able to avoid ich since the first time they got it by carefully matching new water to tank water for water changes and by quarantining any new fish that get added to their tank. I got the Ecolibrium through Drs. Foster & Smith (they're a WetWebMedia sponsor, so you can get to their web site from the banner at the top of the Daily FAQ page).> And while I'm at it, what's the best way to cure most fish of ICK?   <Increased temperature: 86 degrees or higher for 10 days. And salt -- "freshwater" salt, not marine salt, since you don't want to change the pH. Your mollies and platies won't mind salt at all (mollies actually prefer some salt in the water). The rest of your fish should be able to tolerate a bit of it for a while. The level you need is 2 ppt salinity, which generally works out to a specific gravity of 1.002-1.003. Get the Aquarium Systems SeaTest hydrometer to check the specific gravity (it's the only one that measures low levels, except for the glass thermometer/hydrometers -- which are pretty easy to break). You'll need to find a temp. vs. s.g. chart to convert the actual s.g., since the SeaTest is calibrated for 76 degrees and your tank will probably have a higher temperature than that.> I've been searching the web high and low and I've seen nothing definite on the cure for ICK that seems to work. <One person's experiences with ich and her clown loaches: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=3&thread=11808 > Thanks for a great website. <You're welcome -- check out our forums, too!> -Mike P.s.  GO CUBS!!!!! <Ah, they lost tonight. :-( Maybe tomorrow night... --Ananda>

Re: Ich on clown loaches (10/16/03) Ananda, thanks for the great info.   <You're welcome!> I'll check out Drs. Foster & Smith for proper medication (by the way, their catalog is almost a quick guide to proper fish and tank care.  It's indispensable.)   <I use it a lot, too, but more for finding out which things are supposed to do what! But do compare their information to others' -- you may find that a phrase can be misinterpreted, or someone else's version may make more sense, etc.> My LFS told me that CopperSafe was the *BEST* way to cure ick for Loaches.   <Ack! Sounds like someone was seriously mis-informed....> I prefer the method of Sea Salt and raised temperatures to any medication.  Not because of the cost, but because I hate adding any chemicals.  Is there a salt level/temp setting I can use all the time that would be preventative against ick?   <Hmmm. Any increased temperature for long periods is going to speed the metabolism of the fish as well as any parasites -- and speeding the fishes' metabolism will shorten their lifespan.> Just curious.  Or after the 10 days at 86 degrees should I just bring it back down to 78? <That would be my recommendation.> Thanks again for the help and a big thank you to the team for such an informative website.   -Mike <Thanks for the kind words. --Ananda> P.s.  Go CUBS - Game 7!  :) <*grumble* There were no fireworks in Chi-town last night....>

Dead clown loach - 'skinny disease', or worms? me again.... <Sabrina, here> answers to your questions....I do a 20%-30% water change once a month...ph 6.6, no ammonia, no nitrites, <Excellent.> I feed them a variety of things...zooplankton, Tubifex worms, <Tubifex - live, frozen, or freeze-dried?  Live Tubifex are pretty well known for their tendency to transmit disease; probably not the best option....> shrimp pellets, tropical flake food, Gammarus...frozen shrimp....a good mix of things I thought. <Yes.> Like I said in my previous email...everyone seems to think it was skinny disease....a parasite that they say can be in the loach already and 6 months to a year or more kill them.... <I've found some conflicting information on this - some sources say 'skinny disease' is a bacteria, as Jason said previously, and some say it's a Microsporidean - a protozoan parasite - and is difficult to treat.  However....  As I read this, I'm rather certain that, whichever way it is, you're not looking at this 'skinny disease', but at an internal large-type parasite (rather than a protozoa or a bacteria), like nematodes.  This is common in wild fish.> because they come from the wild....I had read that you can treat  prophylactically with Levamisole hydrochloride to keep this from happening...but did not find out where to get it or how much..... is this true? <I would agree with this advice - Levamisole or Piperazine are the route to take for internal wormies.  Look into "Discomed" or, if you can find it, "Dewormer", both by Aquatronics.  The former is administered via food, and contains Levamisole.  The former is already *in* food, and contains Piperazine.  Either route should do the trick.> You had mentioned medicated pellets with erythromycin....I have medicated pellets but it is tetracycline...for bacteria...would that be sufficient if this happens again? <I'm rather convinced that you're dealing with a parasite, not a bacteria.  I'd suggest, if you're considering getting in more wild-caught fish, first and foremost set up a quarantine tank so you can nail illnesses before they get into the main system.  Secondly, keep good antibacterial meds on hand, as well as anthelminthic (worm killin') meds on hand.  Medicated food is probably the best route.> In regards to that, I read that loaches with skinny disease do not always eat and by feeding with the pellets it might do more harm than good by damaging bacteria in filter and gravel... throwing ammonia and nitrites up therefore hurting other fish........ <Unlikely.  If the loaches don't eat the food, the other fish will, most likely.  I don't see much likelihood at all of causing harm to the tank going this route.> Sorry so many questions... <Don't apologies - it's totally understandable.> I always find conflicting info on the net....& never know what to believe.... <Conflicting info - yes, indeed.  And there are many ways to skin a cat - and everyone you talk to will give you a different way.  -Sabrina> any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance,  Monica     

Skinny-wormy-loach follow-up I feed freeze dried Tubifex. <Great.> Thanks for all of the info. <You betcha.  -Sabrina> Monica

Skunk loaches (10/10/03) <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank, established.  I have to dwarf gouramis, two zebra Danios, one common Plec, one red tail black shark (just added) and (now) one 1" skunk loach.   <The skunk loach, Botia morleti, gets to be 4" long; the shark, Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, gets to almost 5". Hopefully you will have larger quarters for them in the future.> I had two skunk loaches (same size), however, the shark had an ick spot. I treated the tank with 1/2 strength Quik Cure. About 12 hours after the initial treatment, one of my skunk loaches was hanging on top of my heater (I have a submersible). He looked injured on one side right in the gill area, from about his eye back across the gill. I want to know if this is a result of the treatment or did the shark injure him. <My bets are on the shark -- or perhaps the other skunk loach! This is one of the more aggressive loaches, and with only 10 gallons, that's not a lot of room for them to stake out their territories. Half-strength Quick Cure *should* be okay for loaches, and would not have caused a visible exterior injury.> The other loach is fine. I put him in a brood net in the tank as I don't have a hospital tank. But, he died within 12 hours. <Presumably, you mean the injured loach was in the brood net...without a photo of the injury, it's difficult for me to say what caused it.> I will be upgrading to a bigger tank, 30 gal, in about a week.  I also have a 30 gal already established and fully stocked.  I would appreciate any advice for these loaches.   Thanks, Donna <Well, they definitely need the space of the 30g tank. Depending on what fish you have in the other 30g, you might consider moving the loach or the shark. Unlike many loaches, which prefer to be in groups, as an adult this loach prefers to be by itself. More on these guys here: http://loaches.com/species_pages/botia_morleti.html ... By the way...you do plan on keeping the 10 gallon for a hospital tank, right? :-)  --Ananda>

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>

- Skinny Disease? - I just lost one of my clown loaches... had 2, he got real skinny within 2-3 days... he just stayed on the bottom... would come up and try to eat but looked like he did not get much. Someone said it might be "skinny disease" what is this... <Caused by bacteria.> how do you treat it... <Antibiotics - erythromycin in the food.> And how do you prevent it. <Keep on top of water quality issues - most often, disease susceptibility is directly related to water quality.> Had added a dwarf Gourami recently but had been QT'ed for 3 weeks... and looked fine. Please help... don't want to loose anymore clowns. <Please tell more about your husbandry - water change regimen, what you feed, water parameters, etc.> Thanks in advance, Monica <Cheers, J -- >

White cloud with growing black markings Evening all, <Good evening, Rosa!  Sabrina here tonight> You've always been helpful and on target in the past and after doing a lot of searching, with no answers, thought you might come to the rescue, yet again... <Thank you for the kind words - and we'll sure try> I have a question about white cloud minnows- I have had 2 for about a year now, they are yellow and white, with black specks and markings.  Hearty, fun, and social.  They share a planted tank (15 gallon fresh) with some Otos, harlequin rasboras and cherry barbs.  Recently I added 3 clowns to fish tank who at first were pretty dominant and stressed out other fish for a while- now they are all alright with each other and the clowns sit at bottom of tank, or hang out in driftwood, and leave other fish alone. <I assume you mean clown loaches?  Clown loaches get enormous, over time.  You might want to consider a smaller loach species, or plan on upgrading tank size eventually.  At least clown loaches are very slow growers, so you're okay for now.> Soon after all this I noticed that the markings on one of my white clouds were getting darker- the black specks were getting deeper in color and actually bigger. Nothing else wrong with fish, no ich or anything like that- just that its original black specks - actually one in particular on its back- is just a lot longer.  The fish is fine- eats, hangs out with other fish, but I wondered about this.  Is there some kind of skin disease or perhaps stress, or maybe just 'normal'- perhaps markings just increase with age? <It's hard to tell without seeing the fish; if there's any way you could get us a picture, that'd be great.  Otherwise, do a google search on their Latin name, Tanichthys albonubes, and compare yours with pictures of others; that may at least help you to see if the coloration is normal or not.> If you could help me out here I'd appreciate it- I'm always checking on this fish and just a bit worried- would like to know that it's nothing- or, if it is something, what I should do.  Thanks,  Rosa Haritos White cloud with growing black markings - part II Hi Sabrina- thanks for response. <No prob.> I'm actually going to SF, CA for business trip tomorrow and I won't be back until 25th- I CAN send a photo of fish and will, when I get back. <Ah, welcome to my neck of the world.> Haven't found ANYTHING using Latin Name- tried it-- just pix of Ich's disease- and I know it's not that. <Try this:   http://images.google.com/images?q=Tanichthys+albonubes&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search .  Should give you lots of pics of White Clouds.> Yup, clown loaches. It was actually someone at WetWeb who told me they are great snail eaters- and they get big, but as you say, slowly. So I bought 3 - so they wouldn't be lonely, and GUESS WHAT- no way did they eat snails!! <Now THAT is stunning.  I've NEVER seen a clown loach turn its nose up at snails!!  It might just be that they needed some time to settle in, first; also, don't feed them other food for a few days, and they should dig right in.> Even when I crushed them and put then right next to them--so I had to pick at snails for a whole week to get rid of an infestation. I asked LFS and they said they would exchange for zebra loach- which is suppose to be more aggressive re snails, but peaceful for the tank--and smaller. <Well, smaller, yes; but I think these have pretty much the same temperament as clown loaches.  Mine certainly do, anyway.  And though they certainly chow down on snails (took all of two weeks for three zebra loaches in my 72g to rid me of all my snails), clown loaches are reportedly much better snail eradicators.> BUT my son, who is 6, fell in love with these fish and pleaded not to trade em. so I'm stuck. <Heh, at least you're stuck with a nice type of fish!> Thanks re white minnow - I'll send photo when I get back. If you find anything in meantime, I'd appreciate it. <Well, I'm afraid it's not so much a matter of finding anything; there's just so many things that it could be.  Stress, normal coloration, etc.  I do look forward to helping you figure this out once you've got a picture for us!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Thanks again, best  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

Lookin' for Loaches Hey guys, first thanks for all the great info on this site. It has saved a lot of headaches so far. I have a 25 gallon tank that just finished cycling. I have 3 Serpae Tetras and 2 Zebra Danios. I have a fine sand substrate and I am looking for a fish to add that would help stir up the bottom of the tank a little. The LFS recommended a Clown Loach but that advice I'm not sold on since I've heard they can grow to 12 inches.  Thanks for any ideas. <And indeed they can!  There are so, so many options available for you.  Any of the smaller loaches, Botia striata, Botia dario, Botia lohachata....  Kuhli loaches.... soooo many loaches out there!  Also Corydoras cats.  http://www.loaches.com  is a nice place to start looking at loach options, and you can find loads of info on cats of the genus Corydoras at http://www.planetcatfish.com - as well as on the WetWeb site and FAQs.  I would like to mention that loaches and Corys are scaleless, and that you might want to keep an eye on them to see if they react poorly to the sand if it is at all sharp.  Also, please be sure to keep loaches or Corys in groups of three or more, as they are schooling fish.  -Sabrina>

Black Spots <Hello! Ryan here> I was researching your site but I couldn't find much on Black Spot on clown loaches. I had just transfer my clown loaches to a new 55 gallon, that was set up for 8 months. Few days later so far what I can see 2 of them developed black spots on their bodies and fins. Please help, I heard that loaches are very sensitive to medications because they don't have scales. Any recommendations? This is already 3 days later, hope I don't loose them. Thank you, hope to hear from you soon. Iveta . <1 drop per 2 gallons of Maracide should be fine.  This can be increased to 1 drop per gallon if needed.  Please do this in a quarantine to be safe.  Clown loaches can be on the sensitive side- so add the Maracide gradually.  It's the sudden change in aquarium conditions that are deadly.  Best of luck! Ryan>

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

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>

Clown Loach with Distended Stomach (05/29/03) <Hi! Ananda here this morning...> One of my clown loaches, "he's" only about 2.5" so still young, suddenly developed a heavily distended belly.  The fish is otherwise healthy and has been, swimming around, eating voraciously.  I did drop a pea in the tank earlier in the day. <One of my clown loaches got rather bloated-looking once. I tried peas, but they weren't interested. I did some reading and found that it might have been their diet of mostly dry (and freeze-dried) foods. I took my bloated clown loach and put him in a hospital tank with one teaspoon of Epsom salts per five gallons of tank water. The next two days, I added another teaspoon each day, so I had a tablespoon of the Epsom salts per five gallons of tank water. I then fed the clown loach treats like frozen/thawed bloodworms, live blackworms, and even a few Mysis shrimp. In about a week, my clown loach looked like his more slender self. I did do a daily 5%-10% water change, adding back enough Epsom salt to keep the level up.> But I also removed another clown loach from the tank that hadn't eaten in at least a week or two, and was "wasting away". <What are you feeding them?> All other parameters in the 30G tank are fine: ammo, nitrite, nitrate all at 0.  UV sterilizer running fine.  Other mates are 3 male rainbows not quite full grown, 6 cardinal tetras, 3 albino Pristellas, a Rubbernose Pleco and two baby dwarf Bristlenose (both under 2"). <Hmmmm. Depending on what kind of rainbows you have, I think you are either pushing the limits  or passing them on stocking this tank.> Any idea what is with my clown loach's tummy and if I should be worried? <If it isn't just bloat, it may be parasites. If that's the case, I'd suggest Metronidazole, at half dosage for double the duration.> Or did he just swallow half of the pea (it broke in half upon entering the tank) and it is showing (seems unlikely to me)? <If the swelling is visible for more than a few hours, it's not just an undigested pea... --Ananda >

Re: Clown Loach with Distended Stomach (05/30/03) <Ananda here again> Thanks.  I think it was something "he" ate!  Looks fine now (and did yesterday too).  Probably, he can't believe he ate the WHOLE THING! <In other words, "Clown loach go >burp!<" ...  Thanks for following up with the good news... --Ananda>

Golden Dojo in a pond Hi, <Hello> I'm a little confused about the difference (as far as temperature) between the Spotted Dojo and the Golden Dojo. On your site it says "The Spotted Dojo or Weatherfish is less tolerant to temperature change and range", so that would mean that the Golden Dojo is MORE tolerant of temperature change and range? <No, though Misgurnis anguillicaudata is both the common and the xanthic variety of Dojo or Weatherfish, the "normal" condition seems to be hardier> My thinking is more used to goldfish, so I would think the fancier the fish the less hardy they are. <You are correct> So I'm guessing it's just a typo. <The Spotted Dojo is another species... Cobitis taenia I believe> I just want to be prepared so that when I go to get a couple Dojos if they happen to have a Golden one I would like to get that for visibility. Also, I was wondering how many would be good. I have a 1000 gallon pond with 18 fish (comets, shubunkins, fantails, and a Sarasa) with 3 small koi about to join them. I would definitely want to get at least 2, at most 4, but would 4 be too much? <Not too many> I'm also a little worried about them getting out of the pond. I've read that they have a tendency to jump out of aquariums and sometimes crawl on the floor. <Not really a common problem in ponds> Any other tips for Dojos in ponds would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike <Bob Fenner>

Ich & Loaches I have one clown loach, two platys, and one African butterfly in my 10 gallon hex tank. I am new at this and just learning the ropes. I now have ick in the tank and am trying to find out what to do about it. I have used ick guard but am concerned as I continue reading that this may not be good for the loach. Please help on what to do?? I have a friend with the quick cure and she is recommending that for treatment. Any advice would be wonderful. N <You should be able to treat with the Ick Guard but only use ½ of the recommended dosage. Ronni>

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>

Loaches and rams Hello guys, <And gal...Ananda here answering the freshwater questions tonight...> I'm currently running a 46 gallon bow front freshwater aquarium.  A month ago, I developed a snail problem.  Snails had always been present, but not at a high level.  The snail population seemed to be growing exponentially.  I purchased a Yo-Yo loach to help control the population.  He's done exactly that.  There is a very small number of snails left in the tank.  I'm concerned he may not be getting enough to eat.  He doesn't seem to actively feed.  He's shown no indications of any problems, I would just like to know if I should buy any special foods to make sure he getting enough food.   <Nope, these guys will eat just about anything, even coming up to the surface to eat. If he hasn't done that, he still has enough snails.> I also have always been fascinated by gold rams.  I have a tank with small schools of Danios, platies, & Cory cats.  Assuming overstocking is not a problem, could gold rams (male/female) be an acceptable addition to my community set up? I know cichlids are very different fish with very different needs.   <Platies prefer hard, alkaline water, with a pH of 7.2-7.8 (and possibly even higher in some cases.) Danios and Cory cats do well with neutral and slightly acidic water. Gold rams need soft, very acidic water, with a pH in the 5-6 range.> Thanks for your advise. Jeremy <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Clown loaches for snail control <Ananda here tonight, answering the freshwater fish questions...> hi guys need your help again if you do not mind . <Not at all -- that's what we're here for.> 100,s of stinking snails. these are the cone shaped type not sure of scientific name. <Probably the ones commonly called "Malaysian trumpet snails".> guy at local fish store said clown loaches will not eat them shells too hard <Baloney. My clown loaches eat these all the time. They don't need to crush the shells; loaches suck the snail out of the shell.> want to refrain from chem.s-  he suggested a product called had-a-snail. <I'm surprised he's trying to sell you chemicals rather than more fish.> at my wits end  heeeeeeelp meeeee rocky <Check out our loaches page and its associated FAQs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cobitids.htm ...also http://www.loaches.com has much info from loach fans. --Ananda>

- Is it a Loach? - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I've got a couple new fish and need to know more about them. They look like eels or snakes, about 3 inches long, slimmer than a pencil, and 1 is black and 1 is light brown to gray. They were called Loaches and were hidden under a rock. From info I've read they look like Kuhli Loaches and are nocturnal. <Perhaps secretive is a better word.> I put them in my 55 gal. with my 2 zebra Danios, 2 scissortail rasboras, 2 black mollies, 2 red platys, 2 Cory cats & a small pencil algae eater about 4 days ago. <Goodness... that's a lot of fish in that tank.> They immediately burrowed in the small gravel & hid inside the rock cave. I've only seen one the next day when I shook the cave and he shot out like a bullet. <If these are indeed Kuhli loaches, then they're only going to feel comfortable around other Kuhli loaches. You might consider getting them a tank of their own.> Help !!! Should I worry & look for them or should I just assume they're not going to show in the daytime. <I would give it some time. It's only been four days.> And how can I enjoy them if I can't ever see them? <Perhaps in a tank of their own. Do read up on them here and in the FAQs and pages beyond: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cobitids.htm > Sign me, Lonely Fish Lover <Cheers, J -- >

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 question in planted tank Hey all great website, since I found it a few weeks ago I've spent hours reading and learning..... anyways on to my question.  I'm getting ready to start my first live plant tank.  I have a 30 gallon "tall" tank and plan on using only an outside filtration system (an emperor 400 I believe the model is).  I've read on your site about snail infestations resulting from newly acquired live plants.  I do not have room in my place for a smaller quarantine tank so I need to find an alternative method of snail control.  I've read on your site about using loaches to control the problem.  I plan on using some floating plants as well as rooted ones and having cardinal tetras as well as some other small tropicals and I was wondering what type of loach you would recommend for my tank.  some species of loach seem to get rather large and I would be worried about losing small fish such as cardinal tetras to these fish.  any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks! Ben K <Hey Ben, maybe a dwarf loach? Botia sidthmunki. Check out the link below, lots of good snail info here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/snailsags.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Sexing Dojos, Weatherfish Loaches Hello, I was wondering if I could get some advice on how I to tell the difference between a male and female dojo. Is there a way?   Thanks, Terry <Hey Terry, from what I have found, the difference is in the pectoral fins.  The males have larger pectoral fins than the females, and the two first spines are stronger than the rest hope this helps.  Best Regards, Gage>

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>

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>

Clown Loach Question About two months ago I purchased a large (4-5") Clown Loach to add to my 72 gal bowfront aquarium. About 2-3 weeks ago he developed black spots over his body?  <Don't know, does it?> None of the other fish (5 Gouramis/5 Corys/1 pictus cat/2 Balas) developed black spots. All the fish, including the loach continue to eat fine (dry flakes/fresh worms).  <I see> The water is clear, the ammonia and nitrate are basically nil. The water is 6.7ph. I do about 15% water changes every two weeks and vacuum the bottom. The live plants are not only doing well, I have a great crop of baby plants coming up.  <Sounds good> But I have a black spotted clown loach? The spots do not look like any type of parasite. Once in a while the loach will rub against some sandstone rocks, but its very infrequent (almost only for a couple of days after I change the water)?  <Nothing to worry about in my estimation. This fish species does "scratch" quite a bit... and I've seen these "melanin" markings in them as well> So are the black spots dangerous to the other fish? Is there anything I should do?  <Enjoy your fish/es... Perhaps get it a pal... they are social animals... maybe a nice "castle" or other dark hiding, fun place for it to hang... Bob Fenner> I appreciate any information you can provide me. Thanks - Mark Corrinet.

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

Locating Gold Dojo Loaches hi Robert, <<Bob has gone diving, JasonC here standing in.>> my name is Jim Brilliant and I want to know if you could help me find these loaches and who sells them. I would like to purchase many gold dojo loaches and albino's, too. thank you for any assistance you can provide <<I would try a couple of things, one check our discussion forum which has a diverse group of kind folk who just might have the answer. http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/  I would also use Google or your favorite search engine and just pop that subject in there "gold dojo loaches" - I just did and it turned up four pages of possibilities. The Internet is your oyster. Cheers, J -- >>

Sick clown loach Hi I have two clown loaches in my aquarium for the last 2 weeks. Today I found him lying on the bottom of the tank and the colour in his stripes are slowly fading. I know clown loaches are prone to lying on the bottom of the tank looking dead but it is the fading colour that is worrying me. Do you have any idea what may be wrong with my loach?? <Very very likely nothing is wrong at all... Clown Loaches are notorious/well-known for both their brilliant, delightful coloring, markings AND clown-like behavior... Do check your water quality, perhaps offer some favorite food (like blood worms, tubificids...) and don't worry. If the other loach looks fine, and neither have symptoms of outright disease, they're likely fine. Am sending your note to our resident loach-man, Jeff, for his input. Bob Fenner> Thanks Lisa

Re: sick clown loach Hi Robert My clown loach died today however the other one is still healthy and swimming around normally so hopefully it will stay healthy. The one that died seemed to be smaller and had lost weight since we bought it. Lisa <Sorry to read of your loss. Have witnessed these mortalities in newly acquired Clown Loaches... consider that "something", likely parasitic or infectious, is wrong internally... not catching in most all cases. Bob Fenner>

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>

Re: Hypancistrus zebra, to Kissing Gourami, to Clown Loaches Ah, thanks. Maybe I'll ask Santa for one... <Only if you and the biz have been good> By the way a couple of fish questions: First, my kissing Gourami gets very excited at feeding time. He chases the other fish around, "kissing" them to move them away from the food as it settles to the bottom. Then, after eating, he seems to kiss or gulp air (can't tell which) at the surface for 10-20 minutes. Is this normal? <Yes... these are "outgoing" fish...> Would clown loaches survive outside in pots in the summertime in San Diego/Encinitas? Mine are getting pretty big for my 30 gal. <Mmm, likely yes... but would keep inside... have seen quite large, very old (decades) clown loaches kept in modest size systems. They don't seem to suffer for being kept in such systems. Bob Fenner> Thanks.

Re: ... Clown Loaches OK, Thanks. I'll keep them in. I'm thinking of constructing some PVC "caves" for the loaches. What do you think? <A very nice idea> Sort of a loach habit-trail or a loach motel. I move the rocks around occasionally as they seem to like change. <Yes, life is. Bob F>

Sick Fish????? Robert (Bob), I have two fish now that seem to have the same problem... From what I can figure out, it seems to be swim bladder disease. <Mmm, but what is the cause/s of the swim bladder anomalies?> Here are the symptoms.... The first fish, (Red Platy) I noticed about two weeks ago. He would seem to rest on the bottom of the tank and occasionally make a swim to the surface of the tank. After closer observation I noticed that he wasn't just resting on the bottom, but seem to be having trouble swimming. By which I mean, that it seem to take great effort to move from any given spot. Seem to move in place. After keeping close eye on the little guy for about a week I decided he wasn't getting any better. If anything it was worse. So at this time I place him in a 5 gal. quarantine tank. I added 1 tsp. of Aquarium salt and 1 tsp. of Fungus Eliminator by Jungle Labs. He's been in the quarantine for approx. 4 days now with no visible improvement, (doesn't seem to be getting worse either). Now I've noticed my second victim to this.... Prob. my favorite little guy in the whole tank. It's a beautifully colored clown loach. I've been watching him for the past two days in which he seem to rest on the bottom with very little movement and what seem to be heavy breathing with his mouth acting like it was gasping for air. He then decided to hide in one of the caves I have setup. He finally came out this evening and just sat there showing the same signs as when I saw him a couple of days earlier. I continued to watch him through the evening and he finally came to a resting point on the bottom against the front of the tank, ( kinda leaning toward one side... almost laying on one side.) At this point I placed him in the quarantine tank as well. Now for my question.... Am I correct in the diagnosis??  <Mmm, you are to be commended for your keen interest, careful observations...> Is there anything I'm doing wrong?? ( by the way, the tank does have a few live plants, and PH and Nitrate/Nitrite levels are all right on target) What can I do to correct this problem?? and get my little buddies feeling well again. <I do believe the Platy is suffering more from "genetic" causes than anything else (not infectious, parasitic disease, nutritional deficiencies... and that it will get better or not... of its own accord (nothing more you can really do for it)... This livebearer does just "have problems" of this sort nowadays... sometimes, large numbers of imported livebearers show this symptomology. And the Clown Loach is really just doing "what Clown Loaches do"... in resting at odd angles, breathing hard at times, hiding in castles... Not to worry here. If you want to see it out more often, do consider adding one or two more. I would place it/him back in his main tank.  Sincerely, John R. Aulgur <I am sending your note to a friend, Jeff, who is also a Clown Loach keeper. For his comments, input. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Fish????? Clown Loach Just wanted to update you on the Clown Loach situation. Unfortunately he passed away sometime last night. I found him on his side, not breathing, and the color in his stripes slowly fading. Checked the chemistry of the tank and all seems fine...,(within required levels). Not sure as to what or why he ended up this way, but as soon as I can find some more I will try again.... (of course after doing a little more research/reading). Thank you once again for the help. <Ahh, sorry to hear of your loss... this does happen with Clown Loaches at times... unfortunately. Less when they're in a group... and ones kept for months tend to live for years... sometimes many. My thoughts are with you. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, John R. Aulgur

Re: Sick Fish????? Clown Loach Jeff I concur. The Clown loaches do rest at odd angles, sometimes on their backs or upside down! This is perfectly normal. So is the appearance of heavy breathing. I've had three loaches for quite some time and they have always exhibited this behavior. Bob's right about getting more, the loaches love to school and chase each other around all day long. We started with one and he was pretty sedentary until we added another. Our single loach would hide in a small flower pot almost constantly until we got another. He's now grown from 1.5 inches to over six inches, so its impossible for him/her to fit through the opening now. <Ah, as good a response as I had hoped for> As far as the platys, we have platys with our loaches as well and they seem to fall ill after 6 months to a year and gradually darken, start breathing hard and then die. No other fish in this tank seem affected. Various attempts at treatments including salt and antibiotics in quarantine tanks have failed to help. I have noticed that the pH can hasten this. A pH drop to below 6.8 for more than a couple of weeks will generally result in a fatality or two. Since you are keeping plants, your pH is probably near neutral or slightly acidic. This might be something to look into. <Thank you Jeff. See you soon. Bob Fenner/Dogfish>

Re: Sick Fish????? Clown Loach Jeff Thank you for you quick response. Really helped to have someone who is more knowledgeable put my mind at easy quickly. Once again, thank you for your help and quick response. Sincerely, John R. Aulgur <A pleasure. And you did receive the response from Jeff? I cut/pasted it below. Bob Fenner> 

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