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FAQs on the Hillstream Fishes

Related Articles: Chinese Hillstream Loach by Adam Jackson, Cypriniiform Fishes, GloFish, A Bad Omen for the Future of the Hobby? by Spencer Glass

Related FAQs: Cypriniiform/Minnow Fishes, White Clouds, Shiners & Rosies, Siamese Algae Eaters, Flying Foxes,

Sewellia Lineolata      1/29/16
<... 4.5 megs? Why ten times the size necessary? Twice? Limited mail space here>
Hello. I have a problem with my Sewellia Lineolata. It has white worm like things on the fins.
<I see... mucus strands on the pectoral fins trailing off. I would sample this material, look under a microscope Re; not treat here as yet w/ a vermifuge, other med.>
Can only see them from underneath the fish so i don't know if they are anywhere else on the body. I have an hillstream type
setup. The tank is 100 cm long and 150 litres. There are Sicyopterus gobies, Stiphodon gobies, Sicyopterus gobies and Sewellia Lineolata which are breeding, i have fry from the Sewellia. Ph 7.2, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20.
<I'd lower this; keep under 10 ppm. See WWM re>

Two 25 percent water changes a week. Temperature 23 - 24 c. There are two external filters an Aquamanta 200 and Fluval 306.There are plants in the tank and pebbles. None of the fish scrape and they all eat well. I have had these fish for just over a year now. I have kept many fish over the years and i haven't seen anything like this before. I have attached some photos,
sorry for the quality. I would appreciate any advice as i don't want to treat without knowing what I'm dealing with. Thank you for any advice you can give me.
<Read our mail requirements as well. Bob Fenner>
Hillstream loach.

<Same msg.s same resp. B>
Hello. Please can you help me with a

re: Sewellia Lineolata      1/29/16
Thank you for such a quick reply. My first thought was anchor worm.
<Assuredly not>
I don't know anyone where i live with a microscope or any knowledge of what it could be.
<... try searching and reading on WWM re 'scopes et al. This animal is stressed somehow, hence the excess body mucus...
BobF>

Re: Sewellia Lineolata        1/30/16
Just a note to say thank you for the advice earlier.
<Certainly welcome>
Glad i didn't treat the fish. The Sewellia Lineolata in question spawned this evening. Thank you again for your advice.
<I too am very glad you didn't treat the system... you have some quite sensitive fish species.
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Zebra Snails and Plecos; mis-mix in wrong env.        4/6/15
Hello,
<Hello Elliot,>
I have a 20 litre
<Really? 20 litres? As in 4.4 Imperial gallons?
Did you mistype 200 litres perhaps? 200 litres makes sense; 20 litres would be an act of animal cruelty.>
coldwater tank in my kitchen.
<Coldwater? Yet one of your fish is a subtropical, the other tropical. What gives?
Why this incorrect mixing of species?>
I have 2 fantail goldfish, 1 Chinese Algae Eater and (used to have) one Stingray Pleco.
They were all doing fine,
<No, they really weren't. They just weren't dead yet. But let's continue...>
until one day we did a full cleanup of the tank, as it was getting green and dirty on the bottom. We took all fish out easily, part from the Pleco. He kept staying onto the side of the tank. Eventually, about after 20 minutes, we got him off and into the temporary bucket. We did the cleanup and put all of the fish back in, but the Pleco wasn’t very well. He stayed to the bottom with his tail up and barely moved.
One day, I purchased a Zebra Snail to help clean up the algae, and he seemed to fit in well, but the day after we put the snail in the tank, my Pleco sadly died.
I was just wondering whether this was a coincidence
<Yes.>
or the snail did something to kill my Pleco.
<Probably the environment, lack of food, insufficient oxygen. Let's be clear, the Stingray Pleco is neither a stingray nor a Pleco. It's a Hillstream Loach,
one of a group of Asian fishes adapted to subtropical, fast-flowing mountain streams. Their lifespan in community tanks is dismal, though they make excellent aquarium fish if you set up a biotope tank. They need lots of water movement (we're talking 10-12 times the volume of the tank per hour) which makes them completely incompatible with fancy Goldfish, or even regular Goldfish, though mixing them with Danios and White Cloud Mountain Minnows works quite well. The Zebra Nerite would probably be okay, too. But basically, a lack of research on your part led to the inevitable death of this fish. The next victim will either be the Chinese Algae Eater or the Goldfish. Why? Because the Chinese Algae Eater (neither from China nor much of an algae eater when mature) becomes a big fish (35 cm/14 inches) that needs tropical conditions and robust tankmates (they're notoriously aggressive when mature). So a coldwater tank that measures 20 litres (5 US gallons!) will eventually become such a cesspit the poor thing will die. On the other hand, should you mean 200 litres, which is still too small for the Chinese Algae Eater, chances are that this fish will harass (and suck the mucous from) your poor fancy Goldfish, leading to their deaths.>
I would like to know so none of my other fish get harmed or die.
<I wouldn't blame the snail here, Elliot. The fault, as the poet said, is not in the stars (or snails) but in ourselves.>
Thanks for your time,
<Most welcome.>
Elliot
<Hoping that this is a belated April Fools to be honest! But if not, lots to digest here Elliot, and time to go a-shopping. Cheers, Neale.>

Gastromyzon & Whitespot  1/1/13
Dear Crew.
Happy New year to you all, and sorry to bother you when I expect you are all on Christmas & New Year  holiday, or recovering from  it!
<Pretty much…!>
I have 3 indoor fish tanks but the questions I have relate to a 20 gallon coldwater, unheated tank.  I have a pond outside, and have one baby goldfish, taken from the pond, which I am trying to rear inside until large enough to go back outside in the pond. It is now about 2 inches long. About a week before the Christmas break I purchased 4 fish labeled Hong Kong Pleco at the LFS.
<In the UK, most commonly Beaufortia kweichowensis, but there are numerous similar species.>
They were housed with goldfish and labeled for coldwater, and are now in my 20 gallon aquarium with the one goldfish.
<Yes, they are often sold this way. Not a good way to keep them though. While Beaufortia, Sewellia, Gastromyzon and Pseudogastromyzon spp. are subtropical (like Goldfish) they are adapted to fast-flowing, oxygen-rich environments -- the complete opposite to what Goldfish are adapted to! While they can coexist in aquaria for a time, the reality is that Goldfish are so big and messy they pollute the aquarium to such a degree that the sensitive Beaufortia end up suffocating (for want of a better word).>
I have been trying to identify them better, using the internet and comparing to the pictures available, and I think I may have 2 Gastromyzon zebrinus, and 2 Gastromyzon stellatus, but I am finding ID difficult, especially with the 2 spotted ones.
<Do visit Loaches.com; they have a very good photo gallery as well as a forum.>
At the time of release into the aquarium I thought one of them had a few white spots, and now I can see that the goldfish has suddenly acquired Whitespot as well.
<Unfortunately all too common when buying new fish.>
I have been looking up how best to treat this, and can find very little information.  I am considering salt treatment, which I have used with success in another tank several months ago.  I have not used it with Plecos and definitely not with Hillstream loaches.  I am wondering how salt tolerant they are?
<They aren't brackish water fish, that's for sure! But at the 1-2 gram/litre concentration they're no more sensitive than Neons, Corydoras or any other freshwater fish.>
I have in my store cupboard a new unused eSHa EXIT that I purchased to use in the previous outbreak in a different tank, and in the end I was not brave enough; I used salt and increased temps with great success, in a tank containing tetra and dwarf Cory cats, and Debawi catfish.  Catfish are my favorite but I am aware that salt and all medications must be used with great care with all fish, particularly catfish and all scaleless fishes.
<The "scaleless fish" is a bit of a red herring; sharks and moray eels are scaleless, yet clearly live in the sea! You are correct that some catfish are intolerant of salty water, but then at least two catfish families (including dozens of species) live primarily or exclusively in the sea, so there again, you can see the salt intolerance thing is overrated. Even Common Plecs and Sailfin Plecs inhabit brackish water in the wild (albeit in non-natural parts of their range, i.e., Florida). So rather than focusing on salt as a binary thing -- "safe" vs. "not safe" -- look at salt as something to use carefully, with an understanding that *overdosing* can cause harm, and that overdosing a tank of strictly freshwater fish like Neons or Hillstream Loaches would be easier to do (i.e., with less salt) than fish that have some degree of salt tolerance (such as Guppies or Kribs).>
I wonder if you have any advice on how to get rid of this irritating (both for me & the poor fishes) problem, and I wonder if the Anti Whitespot Treatment medication I have is safest,
<I have used eSHa 2000 with a variety of supposedly sensitive fish, such as South American Puffers, as well as catfish without problems. I haven't used it with Hillstream Loaches though. Would I try it? Yes; but I'd use salt/heat first.>
or if I should go with what I have done before i.e. salt and increased temps - bearing in mind I have coldwater fish to treat!
<Goldfish and Hillstream Loaches will be fine at, say, 25 C for the week or so required. Indeed, Goldfish can tolerate A LOT more heat than that! For the sake of the Hillstream Loaches, increase aeration and maximise water turnover; they're more sensitive to low oxygen levels than ANYTHING else.>
Also, having looked up all I can find on your pages about these cute little fish, I noticed people have had difficulty feeding them.
<Yes.>
I chopped the round end off a courgette, put a veggie-coil through it to make it sink, and after a couple of days it was showing signs of starting to go a bit soft, and I was ready to take it out. But the next day I noticed it was mostly eaten!  I have now replaced it with a fresh piece.  I don't think goldfish eat courgette - do they?
<Yes. Goldfish are herbivores, and eat most anything soft and gooey.>
And I have actually seen the HK Plecos excreting!
<pedant>Biology teacher that I am, let me remind you excretion is removal of metabolic wastes, in the case of freshwater fish ammonia from the gills, which should be invisible. Defecation is the removal of indigestible remains of food. That's presumably what you saw!</pedant>
Thanks for your help with this.
VWG - Cornwall UK
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: Gastromyzon & Whitespot     1/3/13

Dear Neale
Thank you for your reply! And for your information!
<Welcome.>
I have visited Loaches.com and yes they do have very good pictures, as do seriouslyfish.com.
<Cool.>
The 2 fish I have that I think are G. zebrinus seem to be different to each other in colouration, but their patterning is the same.  One is dark grey with bluish markings, but the other seems darker but with paler markings, almost golden, especially on the tail end.  The pattern is spotted (but not uniformly round spots) on the head, and striped across the body.  They are young fish, less than an inch long, so I am expecting them to change as they grow. The 2 spotted fish I thought are G. stellatus I am now even more confused about.  The spots are uniform and very round, sometimes looking pale blue and sometimes yellow.  There seems to be a red flash on the tail, but they open & close the tail so fast that it is hard to be sure of colouring.  The eyes are black but have a yellow circle around them, which the zebrinus (?) do not have.
<Indeed. In any case, all these Hillstream Loaches are much of a muchness. Small, sensitive to warm water, need lots of oxygen, and prefer a diet based on green algae and tiny invertebrates. Have you seen the newish "Loaches" book from TFH? Worth picking up; I got mine discounted, so shop around!>
I am using API aquarium salt, and have so far added 2 tablespoons to 20 gallons.  You mentioned 1-2 grams per litre, but I have no way of measuring this.
<Kitchen scales for the weight of salt? One level teaspoon is about 6 grams. One US gallon is 3.75 litres.>
A website that I have visited suggests a maximum of 1 tablespoon
<3 teaspoons, i.e., about 3 x 6 grams… 18 grams.>
in 5 gallons,
<18.75 litres…>
for sensitive fish,
<18 grams/18.75 litres, i.e., about 1 gram/litre.>
and I wonder if you agree with this for use with Hillstream loaches?
<I'd use twice as much. But sure, go ahead, see what happens. If the Whitespot clears up, it works! If not, then double the salinity. Do put all of this in perspective. Seawater is 35 gram/litre, so 1 gram/litre is one thirty-fifth of seawater salinity, which is easily drinkable, let alone stressful to freshwater fish.>
The temperature is at 20 degrees C at the moment. I am all for doing things slowly! I can not seem to find an explanation of how this treatment works - is it the salt or the heat that kills the Whitespot?  Will it be killed with salt alone if the dosage is sufficiently high,  or even with heat alone, -  if the fish were heat or salt tolerant?
<Heat speeds up the life cycle of the Whitespot parasite. Depending on water temperature, the parasite lives in the skin of the fish for 1-7 days, during which time it is immune to any medications. This is the "white spot" phase you can see. Then, once the parasite reaches maturity, the cyst burst open and a free-living stage comes out and, among other things, multiplies itself and the "babies" go off to find new fish to parasitise. Heat reduces this phase from 7 days (or more) down to 1 day. Now, only with the baby parasites swimming about, is the medicine or salt able to kill the parasites. Medicines like cooper poison them, salt stresses them to death. Make sense?>
On the matter of being pedantic, I would agree that things need to be right where written words are involved, and I tried to use the word "fishes" correctly; i.e. to describe plural fish but of different species, but I missed an apostrophe, because 'the problem' is belonging to the fishes! [(both for me & the poor fishes) problem] Therefore is *fishes'* more correct? I stand corrected on the use of the word excrete, as I thought wrongly that it was from the word excrement ! (As in excrement!)
<Fair enough!>
I have increased aeration in the tank with use of an air stone, and plan to add a second power head type filter. I forgot to mention also, that since adding the loaches I have noticed a few very very tiny white worm like things clinging to the glass of the aquarium.
<Nematodes. Harmless (usually) especially if they're moving about on the glass. There are some parasitic nematodes, part these tend to be inside the fish so you don't see them, the exception being Camallanus worms.>
I have watched the loaches and they do not eat them, they pass over them.
<Indeed.>
The worms seem to curl up and then when the loach has passed over the top, uncurl back into a straight line again.  They are very tiny, no more than 3mm long, and very thin.  There can not be many as now I am looking for them I can not see any!
<Mostly these nematodes feed on organic matter. They're everywhere in the wild. Apparently there's one that lives in beer mats! It's called Panagrellus redivivus.>
There are also a few odd looking cling-on things that look like the scale insect you get on houseplants. There are a few here and there on the filter and on the glass, and I can't say as I have noticed them before the introduction of the loaches!
<There's presumably something they're eating. Algae possibly, but more often uneaten fish flake etc.>
On the subject of compatibility - hopefully the goldfish can go in the pond when big enough - do you have any suggestion for a few suitable tank mates for the loaches? - if this the road I decide to embark upon that is - is it correct that tiger barbs can be kept at low water temperatures?
<Wouldn't be my first choice. But there are some good, low-end tropical barbs. Rosy Barbs are lovely but a bit big. Golden Barbs (Puntius semifasciolatus) are one option, as would many of the Danios and of course White Cloud Mountain Minnows (but don't mix these with Danios larger than they are!).>
Thank you for your time & knowledge!
VWG
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Trouble feeding Hillstream Loaches (Sewellia lineolata)   10/17/12
Hello.  A very knowledgeable woman from my local pet shop recommend that I post here for help, so here I am.  I am having a great deal of difficulty getting food to my group of 5 Hillstream Loaches and am hoping that you can help me find the best solution.
<Ok>
I got my first aquarium when I was 14 and have had a few tanks since then, so I had a little fish keeping knowledge, but I haven’t had a set up for the last 15 years or so and I’m 45 now. I‘ve wanted one for years and finally found a beautiful 30 gallon complete setup for $40 this Summer!  I’ve learned the bulk of what I know now by looking stuff up on the Internet over the last few months. I never even knew about cycling before, so I’m pretty amazed that I had the success that I did with my tanks in the past! Must have been beginner’s luck. 
<A bit perhaps>
I had never even heard of Hillstream Loaches.
<Neat animals... rarely kept long or well by home hobbyists... as their needs (fast moving, high DO water of moderate temp.... are not met>
 I found one
<Social animals>
 at an aquarium store about an hour from where I live. The clerk said it wouldn’t get too big and would be fine in my community tank on its own. (no other Loaches) I usually like to research a fish before buying, but I didn’t want to take another 2 hour round trip car ride, so I brought it home.  And the fun begins.  I will never again buy a fish without having done plenty of research beforehand.   
<Ah, good>
I brought the Loach home and got her acclimated to my 30 gallon community tank and instantly she started wreaking havoc with my 3 Julii Corys.  When I started asking questions at my local pet shop, I was told that they usually get along with Corys and that they like colder water and prefer to be kept in groups.  Not nice.
I started doing research online and drove my local pet shop buddies crazy with questions for weeks and finally got a new 55 gallon subtropical tank up and running. I am running a Rena XP2 Canister filter with a power nozzle which creates quite a current. The tank is set at 72 degrees. I have bubble curtains all along the back wall of the tank. It is stocked with lots of rocks, aquatic plants and driftwood. It has been running for about 5 weeks and there’s virtually no visible algae.
Here’s where the next problem begins.  I started cycling the tank with 6 long finned Rosy Barbs and a few weeks later added 1 more rosy barb, 7 tiger barbs and my single Hillstream Loach. My Corys are breathing easy for the first time in weeks, but now my Hillstream Loach is miserable. The Barbs are absolutely voracious and will not leave any food for the Loach, no matter what I try. 
<Yes>
I had to wait almost a month to get 4 more loaches, in hopes that as a group they’d be more secure and have a better chance to ward off the Barbs and get some food.  It didn’t turn out that way and now I have a bunch of hungry loaches instead of just one. 
I have been trying for several weeks to find a solution and have tried numerous types of foods including granules, tropical flake, bloodworms, Tubifex worms, lettuce, cucumbers and 3 different sizes of sinking pellets.
<The last would be my first choice>
 I have tried target feeding the Loaches with a turkey baster and a syringe, but they get scared and swim away.  I have tried distracting the Barbs with food and hiding pellets for the Loaches, I’ve tried feeding the barbs first, shutting off the lights and then trying to drop pellets in a few different locations, but the barbs always find the food and devour it in a frenzy, leaving nothing for the loaches.  No matter what I try, it looks like feeding time at the zoo and the loaches run for the hills.
<... I'd devise a screened area that will only allow the loaches in (exclude the Barbs, even the Corydoras) placed permanently in a spot you can see, get to... This and provide some sort of inexpensive live plants for all to chew on at their leisure... Perhaps weighted and floating Anacharis/Egeria>
To make things worse, with the addition of the new fish and all this feeding going on, my tank got pretty polluted and my ammonia spiked to .25 PPM, but after a 30% water change 3 days ago; all my numbers for nitrates, nitrites, PH and ammonia were optimal.
I figure the Loaches must be getting something in the way of leftovers, but I have no idea if it’s enough to sustain them.  They appear fine and their behavior seems typical, but I’m worried that they will take a turn for the worst if I can’t come up with a solution. 
I am wondering if I should just put them in another tank of their own, but my husband and I would prefer not to have to purchase another tank.  However, I am more opposed to rehoming them because they are my favorites!  If they need a different environment, what is the minimum tank size for a group of 5?
<Maybe 20 gallons>
 I have found differing views ranging from 20 gallon to 55 gallon minimum requirements. They are each only about 2 inches long.
I appreciate any feedback!  Thanks.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re...? Fernando... Neale... 9/30/11
Thank you for your time. That was just what I need to know, very helpful. I have some questions about the temperature of the water and about feeding. I live in Puerto Rico and is very hot this days. I just cant do anything about it. Do I need a chiller?
<Depends a lot on the species you're keeping. Most South American and Southeast Asian fish can adapt to unusually warm days, provided the nights are cooler, and equally importantly, that part of the year is a bit cooler as well. For most tropical fish, 25 C/77 F is ideal, with a few species, such as Discus and some of the Gouramis, doing better kept warmer, 28-30 C/82-86 F.>
How the temperature of the water can affect my fish? Is it better cold than hot?
<Depends on the species. Corydoras are certainly better kept a bit cooler, 22-25 C/72-77 F being the preferred range for most species.>
I have a question about my Hillstream loach. I am feeding all my fishes with tropical granules because I think that flakes make the tank a little dirty. They seem to like it. But I haven't seem the Hillstream loach eating the granules. I think he is only feeding from natural algae of the tank and ornamental rocks.
<Yes, very likely. Algae wafers, such as those from Hikari, are an excellent alternative.>
Some one told me that I should put some algae wafers in the tank once in a while to maintain him healthy but he is already healthy.
<Yes.>
Should I feed him with algae wafers or just let him be? I was thinking to buy a spotted Hillstream loach cause they seem pretty much the same fish but may be it will help with the natural algae growing inside the tank.
what can I do about that? Illumination in the tank is a led marine land lamp and some other from natural light but not directly from the sun.
<Hillstream Loaches are sensitive to low oxygen levels, and above 25 C/77 F, you are likely to have problems keeping them healthy. Floating blocks of ice can help, as can increasing evaporation through air bubbles and even by putting a fan nearby. Under stock the tank and provide plenty of surface area and good circulation. The idea is that even if the water is warm, at least it has lots of oxygen in it, especially at the bottom, where the Loaches live. If all else fails, a chiller may be a wise investment.
Cheers, Neale.>

Help Determining the Sex of Sewellia lineolata Please 3/16/11
Hello!
<Hi there>
I think I've just about read all the articles and studied every picture available on the web to help determine the sex of my Sewellia lineolata (commonly known as: Reticulated Hillstream Loach, Tiger Hillstream Loach, et al), but I am having soo much trouble seeing what they describe. I think mine is a female, but I'm really not sure. What do you think?
<This is a female. See the description, photos near the bottom here:
http://www.loaches.com/articles/sewellia-lineolata-the-reticulated-hillstream-loach-easy-to-spawn-or-a-whole-lot-of-luck
As stated, the easiest diagnostic feature distinguishing the sexes are aspects of the shape of the head... Bob Fenner>
Thank you soo much!

Hillstream Loach art. by AdamJ. . 6/25/08 Hello Bob, I recently did a quick write up for the new-ish BB forum, featuring Hillstream loaches. I noticed we didn't have an article up at WWM or even a stub/placeholder. I'm attaching it if you wish to use it, it's fairly brief but it's at the least a good placeholder until someone provides one with more detail. To be honest I had trouble finding much on this critter in English. <Looks great Mr. J... will post with credit to you (see you're "back" today)... And send you along some fish bucks if/when we get tog. next. Cheers, BobF>>

Hillstream loaches... comp., sys. 4/25/08 Hello, I recently went into my favourite fish store with my dad. I saw this fish which was called Hillstream loach. <Neat animals...> I liked this fish. The employee told me it was good with discus. <Mmm, no... these fishes (Balitoridae) like fast moving water, of much lower temp.... a bit more alkaline than Symphysodon... See the Net re... perhaps at least here: http://www.loaches.com/species-index/beaufortia-kweichowensis> My dad told me to look it up because the employee lied to us before. I could not get a question. Are they compatible with a discus? <Behaviorally, yes, but physiologically, not close. Better to seek out some similar small-sized Loricariids...> My dads tank is a 33 gallon with a pair of discus, 5 see through cats, 12 cardinal tetra, 6 Corys and 3 Kuhli loaches, with lots of plants. Thank you for your help. <Ahh! This tank is really well-over-stocked as it is. I would NOT be adding any more fish life here. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly aka Hillstream loaches 6/28/06 Dear Crew, I've just found your site and love it! After doing lots of research online for my fish it's so nice to have so much information in one place. <Ah, yes> I do have some questions about the Hillstream loaches since I can't seem to find much information anywhere on them. I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 very small fancy goldfish (1 black moor, Narvey, about two inches with its tail, (are you supposed to measure with or without the tail?), <For science, w/o, for petfish, w/ most of the time> and 1 calico telescope, Penelope, fantail about 1.5"). Sex unknown on both. They both seem to be healthy and happy. I'm considering either getting a small school of white cloud (5 or 6) or one more goldfish (I'd love to find a fantail panda). I have a bio-filter for a 20-40 gallon and a bubble curtain (mostly for aesthetic value). To get to the point what I want to know is are Hillstream loaches compatible with goldfish, from what I've read they are temperature wise, but I've heard them compared to Plecos since they eat algae and kind of look like them, and since I've heard Plecos and other algae eaters are iffy I'm not sure if I want to add one to the tank. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Cynthia <I have seen these fishes housed together with good success. As you state, do enjoy similar water qualities, and Homalopterids are not "mean" like Loricariids, Gyrinocheilus toward goldfishes. Bob Fenner> Butterfly aka Hillstream loaches 6/28/06 Dear Crew, I've just found your site and love it! After doing lots of research online for my fish it's so nice to have so much information in one place. <Ah, yes> I do have some questions about the Hillstream loaches since I can't seem to find much information anywhere on them. I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 very small fancy goldfish (1 black moor, Narvey, about two inches with its tail, (are you supposed to measure with or without the tail?), <For science, w/o, for petfish, w/ most of the time> and 1 calico telescope, Penelope, fantail about 1.5"). Sex unknown on both. They both seem to be healthy and happy. I'm considering either getting a small school of white cloud (5 or 6) or one more goldfish (I'd love to find a fantail panda). I have a bio-filter for a 20-40 gallon and a bubble curtain (mostly for aesthetic value). To get to the point what I want to know is are Hillstream loaches compatible with goldfish, from what I've read they are temperature wise, but I've heard them compared to Plecos since they eat algae and kind of look like them, and since I've heard Plecos and other algae eaters are iffy I'm not sure if I want to add one to the tank. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Cynthia <I have seen these fishes housed together with good success. As you state, do enjoy similar water qualities, and Homalopterids are not "mean" like Loricariids, Gyrinocheilus toward goldfishes. Bob Fenner>

Advice on new additions please!! Hillstream loach fdg. -- 06/29/07 > Hiya, > I think I've identified the Hillstream loaches as Gastromyzon ctenocephalus and so far they seem to be okay! I lowered the temp to 22C and added another air pump for them. They don't look pinched and I've seen them eating algae/wafers and bloodworms. I've had them 2 weeks now! I read an article on the net recommending leaving smooth round pebbles in a bucket of water outside to grow algae, then adding to the tank for them to munch on. Is this a good idea? What about adding pathogens/ nasty algae etc to my tank from outside? Is there a way to encourage mild algae growth without sacrificing water quality? Thanks! <Greetings. Leaving the rocks outdoors to cultivate algae sounds like a great idea. The risk of introducing disease is virtually nil. Most aquarium fish diseases come from other fish, not the air. About the only thing that might go wrong is if someone used insecticide or weed killer in the garden, and some got into the algae-stone bucket. That would be very bad. But otherwise I take algae from ponds to feed fish (especially baby fish) all the time. One thing though: algae is only part of the diet of these fish. The other part is small invertebrates. Frozen bloodworms, lobster eggs, marine plankton, and so on would be the things I'd keep in the freezer to give to these fish a couple of times a week. Plec "algae wafers" should make good staples, and would be more convenient than algae. You could also try thinly sliced cucumber, cooked spinach, and blanched lettuce leaves. Finally, algae has no effect on water quality, unless it suddenly dies off at once (very rare, unless you use algae-killer potions). High nitrates and phosphates will encourage growth of algae, but algae doesn't create nitrate and phosphate. So don't worry about algae messing up the water quality. Doesn't work that way. Cheers, Neale.>

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