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FAQs About Loach Reproduction/Breeding

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,

Black Kuhli/Java Loach Fry   8/2/11
My husband and I are definitely amateur aquarium keepers. We found this site immensely helpful when we were trying to figure out what fish to add to our tank. We received an already established 20 gallon high tank, which had been established at least 6 months when we got it, to total at least 8 months. We don't currently have an adequate water testing kit. We have dip strips with the 5 tests on one strip that tell us about where it is, with plans to get a decent testing kit ASAP. We ran out of funds before we realized how important it is to know your parameters. It's currently reading pH between 7.2-7.8, Alkalinity close to 180, Hardness a little above 'hard', so probably around 200, Nitrite reading 0 and Nitrates close to 0, but less than 20.
<All sounds fine for a mixed community tank.>
We have 4 male guppies and 5 guppy fries about 5 weeks old. We, as I stated, are amateur and accidentally ended up with a 4 to 1 balance of guppies. As we tried to remedy the situation the female guppy had fries and died shortly after. Our levels were testing fine and no other fish showed signs of stress/illness.
<Likely a combination of stress from the males and the strain of giving birth. Sadly, the death of a lone female Guppy or any other livebearer isn't that rare when they're kept with larger numbers of males. Just gone through much the same thing with my Halfbeaks, so after having 6 females and 3 males, the females have all died after 2-3 years of life, while the 3 males seem right as rain. Frustrating.>
In our tank we also have 6 Glolite tetras, and 5 Black Kuhli Loaches. We have a Tetra Whisper 20i and an underground filter of unknown make and/or age which uses airlines and risers for the filtration flow. We have gravel due to the UGF and knew it was not ideal for the Kuhlis. We have created places to hide above the gravel and have watched for signs of scratches, fin tears, etc. We also have some live plants: 3 small Wisteria plants and a few pieces of Anacharis floating on the top. The rest of the tank has lava rock and fake plants.
<Nice, but do watch the lava rock -- it's scratchy, and can damage fish sometimes.>
Our loaches were sold to us as Black Kuhli Loaches, which appears to be accurate using the loaches.com species index. They match the description of the Pangio Oblonga and the pictures as well.
<Yes, would agree that the bigger of the two Loaches you've sent me is a Pangio of some sort.>
However, we aren't able to tell the difference between the Oblonga and the Pangia, so it might be that breed of loaches instead.
<Indeed, and besides the hybrids and varieties, the true species aren't easy to tell apart either.>
Now to the point of this e-mail. My husband was watching the tank and thought he saw one of our guppy fry swim around on the bottom of the tank.
He watched closer and saw the fry disappear under a rock, which is abnormal behavior for our fry. He watched closer, and a small but long and thin fish swam out from under a fake plant. It is very distinctly a baby loach.
Upon further observation we've been able to see at least one other 'fry'.
We now accidentally have at least 2 loach fries. We do 40% water changes once a week, and vacuum 1/3 of the gravel thoroughly each time, so we're amazed any eggs survived. We did not expect to have our Loaches breed.
<Indeed not. Pangio breed only very, very rarely in aquaria, and always -- so far as I know -- by accident.>
We attempted to do some research, but not much is available on how to care for the fries. I refer to this site frequently for thorough information and hoped you might have some insight on how to best care for them. Attached is one picture of an adult loach, and one picture of the loach fry. In the picture with the loach fry, one of our guppy fry is in the foreground and is about 1 cm long for a size comparison. Any help or advice you can give would be great!
<The loach fry are clearly big enough to fend for themselves, so there's nothing much you need to do. Your loach fry seem to be at least a month old judging by their size, and really all you need to ensure is that you don't add anything to the tank likely to view them as food.>
Thanks for having such an informative site,
<In this instance, I'm going to recommend you take a look at the excellent Loaches Online site, which has, among other things, another, rather similar report on Pangio oblonga breeding in an aquarium:
PS. Here is a link to a video of the loaches doing a 'rain dance' which we've read is probably more of a mating dance than a celebration of coming rain. In case it's helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0m4J9N8Uzw 
<Well done, and thanks for writing. Cheers, Neale.>

Botia kubotai eggs? 1/14/10
Hi, I've been taking most fish out of a 125 gallon (US) tank in preparation for some new tank mates. As I was trying to catch hatchet fish, I found a whitish-clearish round mass (like a marble) attached to a plastic plant. I
have no idea what it is, and as far as I know it's the only one of it in the tank. I think it might be the egg of something, but I'm not sure what.
Here's a list of everything that is in the tank:
Three Silver hatchet fish (several years old), one rhino Pleco (10-12 inches long), two Botia Kubotai (fully matured), one harlequin Rasbora (being moved to a tank with more Rasboras), pne penguin tetra (also being
moved to a tank with more tetras), one horse head loach and one Kuhli loach. Do you have any Idea what this may be? It looks like an egg case, but I'm not even sure it's an egg. Thanks!
<Almost certainly a snail egg mass. These are typically 5-10 mm long, jelly-like in texture, and when carefully observed will be seen to contain multiple specks, the snail embryos. You won't be the first person to have mistaken such an thing for fish eggs! The snails are harmless, and your Loaches will eat them anyway, once they hatch. Fish eggs tend to be laid singly, either in nests (if guarded by parents) or scattered through the place (if not guarded). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Botia Kubotai eggs? 1/14/10
Strange-- I haven't added anything new to the tank in quite a while, so I don't know how they were introduced. But at least my loaches will get a treat. Thanks!
<Snails get into tanks in various ways. Sometimes in portions of live food, sometimes on plants, and sometimes in bags along with your aquarium fish.
In and of themselves snails rarely cause problems, but a few species will eat live plants, and in large numbers they can be pests, or at least unsightly. Snail "plagues" are usually a symptom of bad aquarium maintenance. In any case, a tank with Loaches, Puffers or any other snail-eating species is unlikely to have problems with snails.
Cheers, Neale.>

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

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

Fish Questions?? Dojo repro.   2/26/07 Hey I was wondering what a dojo's eggs look like? <Mmm, small (about 1 mm. in diameter), round, light brown...> Mine are male and female I think. And they have been swimming and curling around each  other. I think my female has had babies but I am not  sure. We found a whitish gold pod in our tank. It is short and round. Thanks, Serenity Strong <Mmm, this pod is "not it"... Please read here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&rlz=1I7PCTA&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=misgurnus+reproduction&spell=1 Bob Fenner>

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>

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> Michelle Trute

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