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FAQs About Loach Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

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

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

Beware of thin loaches!

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

Loaches and Botias are "hungry hogans"  11/07/08 Hello W.W.M. crew! As always, I want to compliment you on this incredible website, and all that you have done, and are doing for this hobby. I did some "measuring" the other day, with a stack of printed W.W.M. articles and F.A.Q's that I've printed and read, and estimated that I've read approximately 1500 pages. This is truly changing the way that I approach this hobby, teach it to my children, and my ability to help people around me, who have ugly, failing aquariums. I have stepped in and saved three aquariums, thus far, just before their owners gave up on them. Thank you one thousand times for what you are doing here! First an observation, and then a question for you. I have recently placed the following livestock into my new, (but fully cycled), 120 gallon, 48" long tank: (3) Lochata Botias, (3) Blueberry Botias, and (1) Dojo loach. In 24 hours, these seven fish devoured well over 200 common pond snails, from babies to adults, that were in the tank prior to the loaches. For all I know, there may have been as many as 300 of the snails. They were everywhere. I knew that loaches would eat snails, but I would never have guessed that they could eat so many in such a short period of time! Holy smokes! Here is my question: I have approximately 20 Vallisneria planted in that same tank. I found one floating when I came home from work yesterday. Can I expect these loaches to create continual havoc, by un-planting those plants? I had planned to finish the tank out with Java Moss, by attaching it to pieces of driftwood. If the loaches are going to ruin the Vallisneria anyway, I'll just remove it out NOW, and plant the entire tank with the Java Moss. Thank you for your expertise and work. Many of us appreciate it, and are doing what we can to further your work in the living rooms and aquariums of our own neighborhoods. Cheers, Jake. <Jake, First: thanks for these very kind words. Bob will be thrilled to read them once he's back in the US. <<I am, and am! Deeply gratifying. RMF>> Anyway, to answer your questions, yes, Loaches will uproot plants. From personal experience with burrowing fish I'd recommend combining a gravel tidy with your substrate. Put the plant-friend substrate down first, to a depth of a couple inches. Add the gravel tidy, and then top off with an inch or so of sand. The plants will quickly secure themselves in the gravel tidy, and while the fish might move a bit of sand (or whatever) they can't actually uproot the plants. Vallisneria in particular develop huge root systems and secure themselves very well using this system. If it helps, you can cut little "x" shaped openings in the gravel tidy and push the roots of the plants part way through. This speeds things up. Certainly works for me and my Cherry Fin Loaches (Acanthocobitis rubidipinnis)!!! Cheers, Neale.>

Florida Gar and Pleco, comp., nutr. of Loricariids   7/24/08 Hi all-- I love your site, and have spent many hours reading in the last few months since I discovered it. However, I've had an issue come up that I have not been able to find an answer to. I have a seven-inch Florida Gar in a 125 gallon tank, with six larger-sized silver dollars and a Pleco. I am not sure of what type he is, but he is definitely not the "common type". He is brown, with a short, wide, compact body, about seven or eight inches long. <Do bear in mind some of these fish will get extremely large; Gar will exceed 60 cm and potentially 90 cm in captivity if they are among the common species traded, such as Lepisosteus platyrhincus, the species usually sold as the "Florida Gar".> Lately, we have noticed him interacting with the gar in a way we had not previously observed. He appears to be sucking on the gar. I know from reading your site and others that this is a bad, bad thing. <Has been reported between these species, and yes, is damaging to the Gar. When the skin is abraded, the mucous is lost and it becomes much easier for secondary infections to get started.> We chase him away and offer algae disks, which he goes for (lately, he's seemed overly ravenous, often eating four times the amount of disks that he used to). <People tend to underfeed Loricariidae. Understand this: they are constant grazers and mud sifters in the wild, and don't understand the "two meals per day" notion many aquarists prefer. You need to give them vegetable foods such as courgette, sweet potato or carrot that they can nibble on through the day, plus bogwood for fibre.> My question is this: is the Pleco suffering from some type of nutritional imbalance that we can remedy? <Likely not an imbalance, but quite probably not enough fibre, so that the fish feels hungry because it isn't full. These catfish are adapted to feeding on a bulky rather than concentrated diet.> If he's just being rude, and that's definitely possible, we can take him to the LFS. However, due to their lack of adequate space for larger fishes, and the fact that hideously overprice any fish that aren't tetras or mollies, therefore forcing the fish to be there in less than ideal conditions for a long period of time, I fear for his life. This would be a last resort. Please help! Thanks. --Melinda <Seemingly no simple answers here, but very likely these fish will need to be separated. Perhaps try offering a better (more vegetable-rich) diet, but if that doesn't help, you will need to rehome one or other fish. Cheers, Neale.>

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

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>

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>

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> Dojo Loach resuscitation/Heimlich on a fish?? 7/12/05 Hi all at WWM, <Howdy Ter> The strangest thing happened to me yesterday with my Gold Dojo loach, and I just wanted to share it with you guys, and see if you had come across anything like it before! He is my absolute favorite fish, such a character, so yesterday was a total fiasco. <Oh?> I was feeding my small tank (consisting of a female Betta, 2 silvertip tetras, and a Gold Dojo loach, and an Oto) as normal yesterday, when I noticed my Gold Dojo was going after a large broken off chunk of Sinking wafer. He usually nibbles on these things, but today he seems to try to swallow the whole thing. <I get the same way around pizzas> Anyways, as soon as the too big-piece-of-food fit into his mouth, it seemed like trouble. He was chomping wildly at first, and then I noticed his body started convulsing a bit, like I'd never seen him before. I thought he might be choking, but then he swam away fine, like nothing happened. All of a sudden, 2 minutes later, he started darting madly across and up and down the tank, faster and crazier than I had ever seen. He was spiraling out of control, never stopping, unless he hit a rock or the substrate, and then he would land on his back, belly up. He did this a few times, and then went still, belly up on the bottom of the tank, rapidly losing his color. Now I've heard that they go nuts before the weather changes, but this didn't seem like the case, he was doing the same thing as my guppy when he died. So, by now my girlfriend and I are in panic, we reach in to the tank and pull him out by hand, and place him in a cut off Arrowhead jug that I had just filled with tap water and I threw some Bio-Coat in a hurry in hopes of conditioning it. By now he is pretty much unresponsive, limp, but occasionally twitching in my hand. I start doing everything I learned in CPR class, but for a fish!: rubbing his belly back and forth, trying to open up his gills, pinching his throat lightly in hopes I can maybe expel the food. I even tried blowing in to his mouth getting it to open up!!! All this time, he is getting more and more limp, taking maybe one or two breaths. This goes on for maybe about 5 minutes (in my panic I really don't know though) when I had basically given up hope and thought he was dead. He was laying belly up in my hand, totally limp. Then, my girlfriend yells at me to try putting him in the water, so not knowing a better alternative, I put my hand in the jug, and suddenly, I noticed he turned on his side, and he starts breathing!!! Totally to our surprise and unconfirmed relief, he gradually gets upright by himself and keeps on breathing in our quarantine jug. <Yay!> So we keep watch over him for the next hour, and he just lays there still, continually breathing, just resting on the bottom. Little bubbles even occasionally pop out of his gills. We are so ecstatic by now that we cut the bottom out of another jug, poke holes in it and stick it in our main tank as a temporary makeshift sanctuary for him. By the time we put him back in the tank, he has started squirming a bit more. Now, its the next morning, and I see him making his way around the sanctuary jug, swimming up to the surface, and hobbling around. Anyways, I know this is probably just the beginning of the battle, because he must have endured an amazing amount of stress from the whole ordeal and possibly some internal damage from me rubbing his stomach and gills. He seems to be getting more and more energetic, but I put a dose of Melafix into the tank after this happened to stave off any strange infections, and I also had a dose of Bio-Coat and Amquel+ that I put in the day before doing a regular 25% water change. Is there anything else I can do for him during this time?? <Mmm, nothing more I would do> Would aquarium salt be a good addition to help the healing process??? <Actually no... the Tetras and Oto don't "like it"> (and would this be ok for a tank with Tetras, a female Betta, live plants, an Oto, and a couple ghost shrimp??)   This is definitely one of the weirdest things to happen to my fish, so I just wanted to share this experience with you guys and see if you had come across anything like it before! Also if you had any advice as to what else I can do for him, and when I can put him back along with his fellow tankmates. Ill definitely keep a close eye on him for the next couple days. Take care, Terry <I'd return the fish to the main tank... likely better water quality there. Bob Fenner>

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>

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