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FAQs About Dojos, Weatherfishes Health/Disease 2

Related Articles: Dojo Use in Ornamental Ponds, Loaches, A New Look At Loaches By Neale Monks,

Related FAQs: Dojos/Weatherfishes Health 1, Dojo Health 2, ojo Health 3, Dojo Health 4, Dojo Health 5Dojo/Weatherfishes 1, Dojos/Weatherfishes 2, & FAQs on: Dojos/Weatherfishes Identification, Dojos/Weatherfishes Behavior, Dojos/Weatherfishes Compatibility, Dojos/Weatherfishes Stocking/Selection, Dojos/Weatherfishes Systems, Dojos/Weatherfishes Feeding, Dojos/Weatherfishes Reproduction, & Loaches 1, Clown Loaches, & Loach Identification, Loach Behavior, Loach Compatibility, Loach Selection, Loach Systems, Loach Feeding, Loach Disease, Loach Reproduction,


Sick loach      9/24/14
I need some help. I have a growth on my golden dojo whom I've had for three years, and I have no clue what it is or how to treat it. I have attached a picture. It is the brown growth on his fin and also is coming out of his "armpit" for lack of a better word. The brown on his head is his coloring and is flat.
<Yes; not an issue>
The brown on and under the fin is definitely raised. He is acting completely normal. Tank is fully cycled. 20 gallon long with one other dojo, 4 platies, and 4 Oto catfish. Heavily planted with 30 gal filtration.
I did recently acquire some new plants, so I'm not sure if that's the culprit?
<Mmm; can't say... and I'd really not add medicine randomly here... Likely this Loach till self-cure in time without
... and adding such do more potential damage than good..>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sick weather loach    9/7/14
So I need some help. I have a 20 gallon long heavily planted aquarium with two hob filters. It houses 2 dojo loaches, 4 Platies, and 4 Oto catfish.
About two weeks ago I had a problem with internal parasites for the Platies and loaches. I treated with API General Cure and everyone made a full recovery!! My ammonia and nitrites are zero, nitrates 25ppm (they are 20ppm out of the tap).
<See WWM re. I'd at least carbon (GAC) these out ahead of using>

One of my loaches is acting very lethargic. Usually the two swim around together and are constantly on the move. But all day this one has been sitting at the bottom of the tank. Occasionally he'll move to another spot, and just lay there. He's not holding himself up on his fins like usual.
Everyone else in the tank are excellent and very active. I see no external signs of illness. He did eat frozen blood worms
<See WWM re these sewer fly larvae as well. Implicated in disease>
in the A.M. So I'm wondering about a couple of possibilities. Could he have some internal bacterial infection from the parasites?
<To strictly respond: Yes; possibly>
Also, I thought about the nitrate level and was trying to figure out what level is okay for loaches, if they are perhaps more sensitive than other fish and the 25ppm is upsetting him?
<Definitely a negative influence>
The tank has been set up for a year and a 1/2, and I performed a 50% water change 4 days ago.
<... see WWM re frequent partial water changes... I'd switch out a quarter every week>
One thing should be said about this loach. I've noticed when something is wrong, he is super sensitive. I had a nitrate spike a few weeks back that clouded one of his eyes, which is now clear. Please help!
<Please do the proscribed reading (can't look the links up for you; presently out visiting in Bali and the Net is painfully slow); and we'll be
chatting. Bob Fenner>

Using liquid fertilizers with dojo loaches     8/15/14
I have a question. I have a 20 gallon long tank and have had my two golden Dojos for a long time. One for two years, one for one year. I recently decided to change my tank to be planted from the ugly plastic stuff I had before! :) As I go along, I continue learning about things I need to be doing.
<Ah yes!>
I have a fairly heavily planted tank. I was considering using Seachem Flourish Comprehensive fertilizer for my plants and wanted to know if this will hurt my loaches.
<It will not. This, indeed all SeaChem's products are safe to use>

I know they are very fragile in terms of being scaleless and I don't want to do anything that will harm them.
At the same time, I have a question about filtration in a planted tank.
Right now I have two HOB Aqueon filters, one 20 and one 10. I have no carbon, only foam and BioMax ceramic rings for biological filtration. The more I read, I have found that, for planted tanks, less filtration is better. I was considering removing the Aqueon 10 and just having the 20 on there. Thoughts?
<I like redundancy in filtration, circulation.... Would leave both on here>
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

A little help. Dojo rdg.: hlth.     6/28/14
Dear WetWebMedia crew,
I have two freshwater weather loaches who currently share my fish tank with three Oranda goldfish and I noticed that the larger one has developed two lumps on the sides of it's neck.
<Not uncommon...>
I don't know whether the lumps are natural or a disease. Please help.
<Need data... and for you to read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Yours faithfully,
Miss Rachel F

Dojo Loach issues!       6/26/14
Please help! My two weather loaches are both having problems! Both are males, one golden and the other brown spotted. They are in a 56 gallon tank with three fancy goldfish. The temperature is about 75 degrees. Nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are all zero.
<How are nitrates rendered thus?>
They have lots of hiding places. The tank has many false plants, no real ones. I have a high powered Fluval filter system. I do monthly water changes.
<I encourage you to read on WWM re; and do partial change outs weekly instead>
The tank has been running for 2 years without any sickness outbreaks. For the past few months, the spotted loach has been swimming without his mid-section touching the bottom, like an archway. He has no injuries or ulcers anywhere on his body. His behavior is unchanged. He is around 7 years old.
The golden loach is almost never on the bottom anymore! He sits in the plants or tucks himself behind the filter intake tube and just hangs there.
It's very strange and has been going on for a while now. Sometimes he gets gas and floats but it always goes away within the same day. But now he's like that all the time and I very worried. He is 5 years old.
My goldfish are completely fine.
It's only the two loaches. The photo shows how the spotted one looks all the time, even when he swims he remains in this strange shape.
<Mmm; what do you feed these fishes? Bob Fenner>

injured dojo loach - spinal injury?     4/27/14
Hello WWM crew:
I have not written in a while mostly due to reasonably good aquarium health and life with a toddler. Just tested water levels and added plant food at recommended levels (on bottle), ammonia =0, nitrite = 0, nitrate around 10ppm (lost my color comparator but found one on the web so this is approximate with consulting my monitor)
<Well done>
and iron=0.5ppm. I won't add the full dose of plant food next time by any means. I will admit our maintenance schedule has been woeful since our daughter was born (now 2), so understocking in the tank is definitely our saving grace. Our substrate is smooth but on the larger side (0.5" smooth stone intermixed with a bit of standard aquarium gravel) and not very deep, many java ferns and an old log for cover. I lost my long standing goldfish this fall (almost 12 years old with various chronic complaints due to past injury and genetic deformity) and was left with a single golden dojo loach female (5 years old, 6-7" long, has spawned once), so decided to get a few more Dojos and a few Shubunkin goldfish for our 70 gal tall display tank.
Two of three Shubunkin died - succumbed to fin injuries caused by aggression on the part of the third, now 4-5" long and thriving (possibly competing for food?
<Mmm; unusually high aggression>
Too small to be mating behavior). One of two new dojo loaches leapt out of the quarantine tank onto some paper on our kitchen table and desiccated before we found him (he might have stood a chance otherwise). The other golden dojo (now 2.5-3" long) seems to have injured itself a few weeks ago - possibly during the water change while my husband was siphoning the substrate, possibly through substrate shift with the other larger loach pushing her bulk around. He was quite weak when we moved him to quarantine but seems to have recovered some energy after quarantine for 2 weeks and no competition for food. He no longer swims competently, however. He gets around by shivering the front half of his body to gain momentum and propulsion and isn't getting anywhere off the bottom of the tank. We've been feeding sinking algae wafers so he has access to food and moved him back to the main tank as he doesn't seem sick, only injured.
I'm beginning to suspect the Shubunkin may be constipated as well, his abdomen has been swelling slowly but steadily over the last few months, no sign of puffing scales so I don't think it's dropsy but we have dosed the tank with Epsom salts as a precaution, and are taking a break on the feeding schedule.
<Good moves>
Now we need to figure out how to best care for the injured loach - whatever the cause it seems like the back half of its body is paralyzed and is unlikely to fully recover. Do we move it to a permanent smaller tank where it doesn't have to compete for food?
<This moving would be best>
Do we euthanize it as it is unlikely to thrive? Do we leave it in the community tank and hope for the best?
<I'd move; keep the system stable; feed black worms... >
Any advice would be much appreciated - your site definitely provides an invaluable service!
All the best,
<And you; Bob Fenner>

Gold dojo with strange holes in it      2/12/14
Hi we just got our power back yesterday after seven days of an ice storm.
<Oh my!>

We kept our 20 tanks going by hand and with one cord coming from our car rotated between all tanks. And mason jars full of hot water. With no room for sleep in any of it, but we lost nobody.
<Sounds like a busy few days.>
I woke up today to notice this on my dojo. I have never seen this before please help me figure out what to do. They mean the world to me. I haven't noticed it in anyone else.
<These look like ulcers. Treat as per Finrot for now, but also review the aquarium for possible sources of injury and/or infection. Catfish and loaches tend to be prone to bacterial infections caused by scratchy and/or dirty substrate, and without a filter, any such problems may have been exacerbated. Do also consider the possibility of bites from other fish in the aquarium. Ulcers usually heal nicely, assuming suitable medication and very clean water/substrate conditions. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Gold dojo with strange holes in it      2/13/14
Thank you very much.
I purchased furan 2 this morning as my research suggested. Do you think a course of that is a good idea? And should I treat just her, or do you think it's something that my other Dojos have been exposed to?
<If the wounds are clean and appear to be healing, treating might not be necessary, but since you've got the antibiotic, I'd use it.>
They are always in a pile together :) These dojo are in a tank with other loaches (peppered, rainbow, ect) and a hi fin banded shark I am growing out for my pond, and i have never seen any aggression beyond the usual mating chase and dance when my peppers and dojo spawn. And that isn't even aggressive.
Thank you for your quick reply. It is much appreciated.
<All sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gold dojo with strange holes in it      2/13/14

Oh and sorry I forgot...my substrate is very fine sand. And due to the loaches feeding habits I keep it very clean. I do a vacume and 40 percent ish water change every two weeks at most. But as you said, without filtration and water I was unable to do so for those days I had no power.
Anyways, that's about all. I have her in an immaculate hospital tank as we speak so I look forewArd to hearing back from you about whether furan 2 is a good choice.
<Furan 2 should work nicely in this situation. It contains two antibiotics and works against a range of bacterial infections.>
You guys should get paid a lot of money!!!! Your worth your weight in gold :) thank you for this and all the other times you have helped me and my fishy friends.
<Thanks for the kind words. Neale.>

Re: Gold dojo with strange holes in it     2/13/14
Hey do today my tire track eel was coated in white when I awoke. It is an obvious bacterial infection from our lack of power/water during the storm.
I have furan 2 and I have erythromycin. Wich would be best for him, and should I do half dose?
<The Furan-2, regular dose would be what I'd do. With these Spiny Eels there's a narrow window of opportunity when it comes to skin infections.
I'd gamble on being quick vs. any potential problems from the antibiotic (which, unlike copper or formalin, shouldn't be toxic to Spiny Eels).>
He did ok with his antibiotics last time when he got a tiny bacterial infection from lofting his rocks around. But I can't for the life of me remember what you told me to use and how strong. I've done a massive water change and cleaned the substrate thoroughly. J will be treating him in his tank as he is the only one in it. Also should I raise the temp?
<Slightly warmer water may help, and with Tyre-Track eels especially, the use of a little salt can be a useful tonic, too; around 2-3 gram/litre is a good starting point. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gold dojo with strange holes in it   2/14/14
Within 12 hours of the water change and starting his furan his icky white had all disappeared. It was like the infection was in his slime coat and not under the skin if that is possible.
<Quite possibly. Good result, anyway.>
But all the white and icky slime sloughed off and he looks normal again and is acting much better. I still doses him today though cus I thought it was important to finish the treatment so it doesn't come back. Is that wise?
<Extremely wise. As any medic or vet will tell you, not finishing a course of antibiotic stores up problems for the future.>
My eel and my Dojos thank you :) and so do I.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Re Gold dojo, hlth.        2/20/14
Hi we talked before about my golden dojo getting ill after we lost power and water for a week. She developed holes in her body that I sent pics of.
And we discussed antibiotics. I did a course of furan2 and it seemed like the holes were starting to heal so I put her back in her home to heal in comfort  but withe the bright light on the tank as soon as I put her back I saw a bunch of tiny red spots on her back half and what looks like a swollen bruise under the skin above her dorsal.
Any ideas? I'm beside myself. Should I do another course of furan? Or I have some erythromycin.? Does it still sound bacterial? The only symptoms are external. She is behaving otherwise normal.
Thank you, I appreciate your help.
<A tough one this, without seeing the fish and its environment. Yes, I'd run a second batch of antibiotics as described on the packaging. I'd review the tank to make sure there was nothing interfering with the antibiotic; in other words, no carbon in the filter and minimal amounts of decaying organic matter (bogwood, dead plants, mulm on the substrate). Ideally, I'd medicate in a nice clean hospital tank. There's nothing to stop you running two antibiotics at the same time, but that does increase your risk of messing up biological filtration, so keep tabs on ammonia levels throughout. You could also add a little aquarium salt as per Whitespot/Ick infection; in other words, 2 gram/litre, alongside elevated temperature, 28 C/82 F. When the cysts caused by Whitespot parasites burst, they sometimes become sites for secondary infections, and these infections may be more obvious than the white cysts on some fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gold dojo       2/20/14
She is being treated in a hospital tank with nothing but a bubbler
<<Need a bio-filter... at least sponge, box... and to monitor ammonia, nitrite. RMF>>
 and a rock and a heater. I will run a second course. You recommend furan or erythromycin or bothat the same time?
<At least the Furan; with the Erythromycin as well if you want.>
Thank you so much
<Welcome. Do visit, get in touch with the folks at Loaches.com; they're very helpful and know a lot about loach problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden weather loach, hlth.    10/13/12
I have a golden weather loch and after pulling a dead Gourami out of my tank noticed that the back half of the loach's body has become a very dull and looks almost whitish. Also there are tons of tiny hard to see red spots on it's body. The tail fin looks as though it's collecting blood and I noticed one of my ghost shrimp nibbling on it. now I do know I had a high ammonia level recently and have been treating the tank for a week now to combat that. What is happening to my poor loach and what can I do to help him and keep my other fish safe. I have 2 peacock eels, 3 tinfoil barb's, 3 small albino barb's, and two Ruby shark in the tank. I'm hoping you can help save my fish.
<Something is very wrong with this aquarium. The combination of dead white skin (the hard flakes on the body) and the red areas are classic symptoms of bacterial infection, likely Finrot, but could equally easily be some sort of "Slime Disease" type infection (Costiasis for example). In any case, review the aquarium thoroughly: something is VERY wrong if a Weather Loach is showing this sort of damage -- they're normally very hardy. Look at the type of substrate (soft sand or gravel, nothing sharp); water quality (0 ammonia and nitrite); water temperature (not too high, 25 C or less); and no aggression or fin nipping. For just the three Tinfoil Barbs you'll need an aquarium upwards of 100 gallons, so I assume this is a very big aquarium, but if it isn't that large, plan on upgrading soon.
Furthermore, the (albino) Tiger Barbs are "nippy" if kept in groups of fewer than 6, so there's another source of problems. Ruby Sharks are aggressive, both towards each other and towards other fish they don't like, which could include the Loach (same sort of shape, habits as the Sharks).
How long have you had the Spiny Eels? They're notoriously difficult to maintain in generic community tanks. They must of course have a soft sand substrate -- never gravel -- and feeding them is a real chore if they're kept with other bottom feeders. Anyway, lots of stuff to think about.
Cheers, Neale.>
re: Golden weather loach, spiny eels as well     10/13/12

I have had the eels for about three weeks and they are happier than ever. I have a fine gravel base like what they were kept in at the fish store they came from.
<I cannot stress too strongly how important it is to use the right substrate with Macrognathus species. Anything even remotely scratchy will eventually lead to skin damage, and from that, bacterial infections. Been there, done that. Hmm… have a read:
Generally, spiny eels die prematurely because they either starve, jump out, or get skin infections.>
I have spent hours watching my tank and all of my aggressive guys chase their own kind and that's it.
<Not necessarily a good sign. If they're chasing each other, there's something amiss.>
I am planning on moving the tinfoil barb's to their own much bigger tank soon.
<Real soon…>
Currently they are small, 1-1 1/2 inches. I have a 35 gallon tank.
The largest of my creatures are the eels and they spend near 2/3 of the day buried heads out.
<What they do, and why their skins are so easily damaged.>
As far as the loach goes until today (ghost shrimp nibbling) I have never seen anything touch him short of the eels using him as a pillow. If is a fin rot, or even a mucus disease what type of treatment should be provided to help him out.
<Review Costia/Slime Disease, and treat accordingly.
Quite common. Primarily caused by a protozoan (rather like Whitespot, and often treated similarly) but bacterial infections frequently set in. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Golden weather loach    10/13/12

Thank you for the info, unfortunately the loach has passed on and now I have discovered dropsy (bloated and scales out) on one of my albinos. I'm going to be changing the floor substrate to sand as Well as do a large scale cleaning. I have done 10-15% water changes weekly and I did have a massive ammonia spike about a week ago that I believe is the root of some
of this evil. I also think I'm going to set up my spare 10 gallon for quarantine of the albinos. At this point I'm very confused as to Why it's happening but I'm pointing my finger at the ammonia spike. When I say spike I mean, on the teat it was green almost black. Very strange explosion of ammonia.  I hope I can get this under control and save these fish. I'm also in the process of setting up my 55 and 75 gallon tanks and moving my tinfoils to bigger and better.
<Sounds like you have a good plan. Don't feed the fish while ammonia isn't zero. Changing the substrate shouldn't affect biological filtration, but do take care with the filtration. Non-zero ammonia levels imply some sort of biological filtration issue: too many fish, too much food, not enough filtration (media, current). Review, and act accordingly. Upgrade the filter if needs be. Usually adding better or more filtration fixes ammonia problems. Remove carbon (if used) to make space for more biological media.
Don't add any more fish, obviously, until ammonia remains firmly at zero for some weeks. Cheers, Neale.>

Golden Dojo Loach, deformed... env.      7/17/12
Hey, I have had my Golden Dojo Loach for almost a year. He (or she), I don't really know, is not very active and I have a very small tank.
<There's your answer.>
He shares the tank with an ordinary goldfish. The loach is super healthy, it seems,
<Uh, no.>

and he likes to stay in (or behind) a little pineapple house I got for him. but I have noticed that his back is bent. Like his spine is crooked or something.
<Deformity, very likely caused by poor environmental conditions if the tank is very small. Let's be clear, these loaches need at least 20 gallons to do well, and I'd recommend rather more, 30+ gallons (goldfish need 30+ gallons, too). If your tank is smaller than 20 gallons, fish like your loach (and your goldfish) are not going to do well. The "wrong" behaviour and physical deformities are two of the more obvious signs.>
I don't really know if it affects his swimming that much because he doesn't swim hardly at all.
<Stressed, unhappy, lack of space, lack of companions of its own species.>
Is this a big problem?
<Depends on the value you place on an animal's wellbeing.>
Also, this is just curiosity, but my filter recently broke and I think I'm going to replace it soon. The very day it broke, though, he got a little more active like swimming to the top of the water for food and to just blow bubbles (or breathe in?).
<Correct. This loach species, Misgurnis anguillicaudatus, is able to breathe air and thereby survive in poor water quality for longer than many other fish. Their name in British English, Weather Loach, refers to the up-and-down swimming you see when they get agitated, which seems to happen when air pressure changes, and hence an overactive Weather Loach can signify the approach of a rainstorm.>
He is also laying on the bottom with his head elevated. Why does he do this now that the water is still and quiet?
Thanks a lot!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Golden Dojo Loach     7/17/12

Okay thank you for your input! So is it ok if i get a 20 gallon and have 2 loaches and one gold fish.
<Well, it's still heavily stocked. Workable, but I'd recommend against it.
30 gallons is about right, and the space, cost differences aren't as much as you think; look into it.>
Oh! And I was thinking about getting sand for the bottom too. I heard that loaches like it
<Yes they do. Only downside is Goldfish and loaches will kick the sand around, and potentially throw it into the filter inlets, so you need to place the filter carefully (or else be sure to clean out the filter regularly). Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo Loach with bump     6/7/12
Hello WWM Crew,
Your site has been quite useful for finding information about my fish, but on this particular issue I am stumped and hope that you can help.
Aquarium info:
50-55 gallon tank
Side hanging filter suitable for up to 75 gallons
Tank temp about 73-74 degrees Fahrenheit
Substrate gravel with small buried dish with sand (will replace entirely with sand eventually, buried dish is temporary to build bacteria and as play area for loaches)
1 Pleco - about 8-9 inches
2 golden barbs
2 guppies
2 dojo loaches
1 blue crayfish (tank was purchased from friend as exists, save for the loaches which I bought and the guppies my roommate put in - I have read on your site that crayfish should be kept from other fish, but he has been in the tank for a couple of years with no issue. Tank has been in my possession roughly one month and is my first tank)
All the fish have been doing pretty well until recently. Today I noticed an Ich infection (which unfortunately claimed the life of my clown loach,
<Much more/too tropical than these other species. A poor choice to mix here>
I might have seen the infection sooner but he liked hiding in the boat only coming out briefly in the evenings and was shy if people approach) and, as per advice from this site and the gentleman at my LFS, I have begun treatment with aquarium salt.
<Won't effect a cure on its own
. See WWM re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwichremedyyes.htm >
 I am not asking about the Ich (though being a novice at this, I'd be very receptive to advice)
<The site is all's to search for free>
 merely trying to provide as much background information as possible.  Now to the real problem: One of my loaches (the male if I have sexed him properly) has a bump on his body and I'm not sure if it's an injury, illness or benign.
<Me neither. Unfortunately Misgurnis are given to these... Read here:
 I have attached a photo that will hopefully help, but am looking for any advice on this. I'm trying to go into New Owner Syndrome and panic over everything, but I do want to be responsible owner. I have had the water tested recently and the LFS owner said all was good (I apologize for not having the exact measurements).  I do water changes and gravel siphon about every two weeks
<I do weekly>
 (which is more than the previous owner advised admittedly, but most other references have stated his once a month may be too infrequent, but I'm willing to be corrected).  I did move a bit of the decoration around as the Pleco was not able to get to his favorite spot and may have bumped the loach in doing so, so this may be entirely my fault, but either way I want to make sure everything is okay. Please excuse my longwinded email, but your FAQ stated more information is better, so I erred on the side of too much info. If I have missed any info, please let me know.
Thank you for your time and advice,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Dojo loach issue  /RMF   4/25/12
My dojo loach, Mr. Miyagi, had gotten sick from something that infected the entire tank a while back ( maybe a month and a half give or take a week or two) and I was able to rid the tank of this and all of my other fish are fine. My problem is that it looks like my loach never recovered from it and now has sores on his body that wont heal.
<This situation is actually quite common. Read here:
 I don't think its the water because my other loaches look healthy and act fine. All he does most of the time is chill at the top hanging over the heater until I approach the tank which then he jets out and swims like normal. I know that dojo loaches are bottom fish but he cant stay at the bottom without the aide of a plant or the other fish laying on top of him.

 I don't know what to do with him because he swims around and eats fine its just he looks really sick and he cant keep to the bottom. I don't know if putting him down is the best thing to do at this point in time or just let him live out the rest of his life. Any ideas on whats wrong with him or what to do would help because I'm stuck on the right thing to do right now with him.
Thanks, Spencer
<Well... I don't "know" the root cause of such persistent "tumorous" growths on Misgurnis... but suspect there is some sort of micro-Protozoal involvement... that perhaps results in a gaseous in-filling, hence the loss of balance... If the appearance doesn't bother you, the fish doesn't appear to be suffering, I'd leave it as is. Bob Fenner>
Dojo loach issue  /Neale  
My dojo loach, Mr. Miyagi, had gotten sick from something that infected the entire tank a while back( maybe a month and a half give or take a week or two) and I was able to rid the tank of this and all of my other fish are fine. My problem is that it looks like my loach never recovered from it and now has sores on his body that wont heal. I don't think its the water because my other loaches look healthy and act fine. All he does most of the time is chill at the top hanging over the heater until I approach the tank which then he jets out and swims like normal. I know that dojo loaches are bottom fish but he cant stay at the bottom without the aide of a plant or the other fish laying on top of him. I don't know what to do with him because he swims around and eats fine its just he looks really sick and he cant keep to the bottom. I don't know if putting him down is the best thing to do at this point in time or just let him live out the rest of his life.
Any ideas on whats wrong with him or what to do would help because I'm stuck on the right thing to do right now with him.
Thanks, Spencer
<Hi Spencer. The bottom line is I don't think there really isn't anything you can do to "fix" this fish any faster than he can heal himself. So, you have to decide if his quality of life is so bad it's cruel letting him live. It sounds like he's basically happy, and if he can swim about and feed, then I'd honestly let him be. If he's unsightly, you might move him to his own tank you can keep somewhere separate, and let him recuperate there. A 10-15 gallon tank would be fine, with a bare bottom and a couple of hollow pipes for shade. No need for lights or a heater, just the filter.
Otherwise, leave him where he is, and wait for him to get better. If it's a systemic bacterial infection, then antibiotics should help speed things up.
If it's viral, then it really can take months for the fish to recover (see Fish Pox as an example). In the meantime, do check you aren't using anything that might irritate the skin (like salt, copper or formalin) and of course ensure optimal water quality. You might want to use something like Stress Coat, but to be honest, I don't consider these terribly cost effective outside of shipping fish and immediately after treating trauma damage. I will make one final observation: Glass heaters can burn fish very easily, so unless your heater has a plastic heater guard around it, your loach shouldn't be resting on top of it. It could very easily be that heater burns are slowing down the healing process. Get a heater guard if needs be, or make one from plastic mesh that you can wrap around the heater, leaving a half-inch space between the heater itself and the mesh tube (do Google aquarium heater guard if you can't imagine what I'm describing). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dojo loach issue (Bob?)   4/26/12

Thanks for your input. The heater does have plastic around it so that the fish won't get burned.
<Good. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick golden dojo loch, also no data or reading 4/7/12
Please help....my golden dojo is playing dead...I have attached pictures of what he looks like..he just floats around but if you touch him he will swim away..this is the second day this is been going on and I am really worried about him..
<You should be; totally unnatural behavior>
have been researching..one place says he's sleeping and on another site it states this is some kind of bacterial infection..please help me have had him since he was just a baby and don't want to lose him,,,thank you memee4483
<... Need data... Set up, maint., tankmates, water quality... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Lump on my Dojo (Bob, Glugea, or something else?)<<Could be>> 11/20/11
I've had a couple of dojo loaches for about two years and I have been lucky enough to never had to deal with any diseases. I recently moved and this started a few days after the move. I thought at first he had just gotten a bruise during the drive, but this week (week three) it swelled up fast. He likes to hide in a thicket of plants so I don't always get to see his side. I've tried searching for what this is but I can't find any good pictures to compare what it may be. I think it may be a tumor or a cyst.
My other two Dojos in the tank don't appear to be having any signs of this same thing and besides the move no new plants or fish were added.
The only symptoms I can mention at are that he is more reclusive than his tank mates. He likes to hide in the plants or in the back, but I believe this is personality not illness. He still swims around, eats and all that so he doesn't seem uncomfortable.
I am looking for a confirmation if this is cancer, or something else that I can treat. I attached the best photo I could get of the anomaly but it isn't the very best. It appears to be just under the skin with the rapid expansion causing the scales to flake off on the edges and nothing on the main part of the protrusion. It is a little smaller than a pencil eraser so it sticks out pretty far. it isn't a smooth even lump, but more rounded as if this were one mass displacing the rest of the area. It is only one lump, not many, and I see no hairs or breaks in the skin.
I haven't done any treatment as I don't know the proper one to use.
Thank you for looking,
<Hello Devon. Yes, this looks like a tumour. But not all tumours are cancers; many are benign, and provided they don't interfere with movement, breathing or feeding, aren't a major cause for concern. However, there are some viruses and parasites that can cause similar growths, for example Glugea. Unfortunately, Glugea and other similar Microsporidean parasites can be extremely contagious and ultimately deadly, so quarantining and/or euthanasia, followed by disinfection of the aquarium, are usually recommended. Yes, that will entail removing the fish, sterilising everything including the filter, and reintroducing the fish hoping that they aren't already infected and carrying the parasite. Telling something like Glugea apart from a benign cyst is difficult, but Glugea swellings tend to be white because they develop within the skin, covered only by the thinnest layer of fish skin cells, while cysts are more commonly underneath the skin, so there's a thicker layer of skin on top of them and because of that the cyst retains the same basic colouration as the rest of the fish's skin. I'd encourage you to use Google or some similar search engine to compare images. But I do fear Glugea because this contagious parasite is quite common in pond fish, especially at wholesalers and retailers who don't practise good hygiene. This is one of those situations where only a vet will really be able pin down the problem and offer up useful medical advice. Hope this helps, Neale.>

*Weather Loach Question* (Bob, need some help here)<<Actually, you're fine>> 10/30/11
<Hello Jon,>
I am glad I came across your website. I read through the majority of your answers to readers' questions, and you seem VERY knowledgeable on loaches.
Here's my situation that I would REALLY appreciate your help with. . .
<Fire away.>
I have a Dojo Weather Loach that I've had for the last year and a half or so. It's about five and a half inches long and very healthy looking other than last Friday night, 10/21, she started breathing very hard non-stop.
<Do review the usual: non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels; sudden pH changes; excessively high temperatures; social stress, e.g., bullying. I will point out that Weather Loaches are coldwater fish and don't really belong in tropical systems; at the least, they shouldn't be kept above 25 C/77 F. While higher temperatures may not kill them, they will increase metabolism and decrease their resistance to stress and disease.>
I have roughly 20 fish in my 50 gallon Clear-For-Life tank, including another Dojo Weather Loach the same size and purchased from the same store at the same time. This particular loach I'm writing about is the ONLY fish that is exhibiting problems of any type.
<I see.>
On Sunday, 10/23, I set up my Marineland 5 Gallon Hex Hospital Tank and began treating her with Copper Safe at the recommended dosage. A few hours later, her breathing seemed to be much less labored, but as of today, 10/30, she is still breathing hard at times unlike the other loach that you can barely even tell she's breathing. Also, she swims up and down the stream of bubbles coming out of an airstone for hours per day.
<Do not use copper (or formalin) with loaches! If medicating for Whitespot, use the old heat/salt method. Much safer.>
The only thing I've done differently in the last few weeks is I started using buckets of water from the coldest setting of my kitchen faucet rather than the "approximately same temp as tank water" I'd been using previously.
It had been hot lately, and by doing my regular weekly 10 gallon water changes with this cold water, it dropped the tank from 82 before the water change to about 79 after. I didn't figure this would hurt any of the fish, particularly a hardy Weather Loach.
<I understand your reasoning here, and a temperature drop in this range shouldn't cause problems.>
The 50 gallon tank has crystal clarity and good test measurements, and again, no other fish (knock wood) is suffering in any way.
<I see.>
I treated her with the Copper Safe from Sunday, 10/23, to Saturday, 10/29.
On 10/27, I began treating the tank with Maracyn (Erythromycin 200mg) and ended it on 10/29. I performed a complete water change to remove the copper and Maracyn, as it seemed as though neither was helping. Today, I noticed her rear lifting up as if her swim bladder was having problems and her breathing is elevated non-stop now. I went to PetSmart and saw Tetra's Fungus Guard that claims to correct swim bladder disease and torn fins, both of which she has, so I added a half a tab to the 5 gallon hospital tank tonight. Please guide me on this, as my girlfriend is really concerned about Maggie too. Weather Loaches have a lot of personality and we'd hate to lose her .
<Maintenance at tropical temperatures, the not-loach-friendly substrate choice, and perhaps bullying from the Chinese Algae Eater are possible stress factors. Diet is a slippery thing too, because loaches tend to feed when the lights are out, and if all he's been eating are bloodworms, that's not sufficient. The thing with diet is that weeks or months can go by before it's apparent something is wrong. It's hard to pin down precisely what's amiss here. Non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels are the classic causes of generic stress symptoms and overall lack of health, but you seem confident about this. I do think the use of copper has likely made a bad situation worse. If loaches are prone to anything, beyond the usual Whitespot seen on Clown Loaches for example, it's intestinal worms, and some loach-keepers treat their loaches for worms as soon as they buy them.>
We didn't even go out much this weekend, because we knew we wouldn't enjoy ourselves thinking about her constantly. . .
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
Regards, -Jon-
<Sorry I can't offer anything definite. The nice folks over at Loaches Online might be able to offer something more concrete.>
P.S. I'm attaching a picture of Maggie and Molly prior to all of this occurring. . .
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: *Weather Loach Question*, hlth. 10/31/11
Hi Neale,
I'd like to thank you for your very fast response. I really appreciate it.
I like the method that you use to respond with the comments inserted right into the original message, because it really makes me feel like you read through my entire question without skipping anything.
<Glad to be of help.>
Given the information that you shared, my girlfriend and I have decided not to include loaches in our tank in the future. We live in Southern California and the 50 gallon tank hovers around 84 in the middle of summer for a couple of months or so, and this is clearly too warm for Dojos.
Especially when you add the other factors that you pointed out: presence of Chinese algae eaters, large substrate, etc. This is our second pair of weather loaches, and although they are our favorite fishes, it would be selfish to continue subjecting them to less than ideal conditions, even if I am extremely diligent with my water changes and filter media changes, and the inclusion of not one, but two UV sterilizers in our aquarium.
<Quite so. Now, the thing is that short term temperature rises to 84 F shouldn't kill them. So if that's essentially the hottest part of summer, and the rest of the year is in the low 70s F, you should be fine. What really matters when water is warm is that it contains oxygen in the amount these fish need -- you'll see them gulping air at the surface more frequently than normal if they're heat-stressed. With that said, you may find other loaches, e.g., Yo-Yo Loaches, a better all-around fit.>
While I've got you, the update on Maggie's condition is that she is now floating at the top of the aquarium and still breathing rather rapidly. It takes some effort on her part to swim to the bottom, which she does from time to time. I suppose my last question for you is whether or not there is anything that we can do for her at this point?
<To be honest, no. It's a "time will tell" thing. Euthanasia might be the humane step forward; do see the section here on WWM, but in a nutshell, 30 drops of clove oil (Eugenol) in 1 litre of aquarium water does the trick.
Keep the fish held underwater. It loses consciousness within a minute to two, and should be dead within 10 minutes, but I tend to wait for 30-60 minutes so I can be certain the fish is dead. Sterilise nets, buckets used afterwards with bleach or similar.>
I was hoping that the Fungus Guard would do something for her swim bladder issue, but it has gotten worse over the last 24 hours.
<Indeed. "Swim Bladder Disease" is almost always nothing of the sort. In fact I'm not even sure loaches have swim bladders (many bottom-living fish don't have them). What people call Swim Bladder Disease is much more often one or other systemic bacterial infection, e.g., Mycobacteria. A vet could make the diagnosis, and might choose to treat with antibiotics, but usually by the time the fish is obviously sick, the infection is too far gone.>
Again, thank you for making yourself available and being there for us :).
Jon & Shawna
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
P.S. I forgot to mention that I always add aquarium salt (1 Tablespoon per 5 Gallons) when I perform water changes, and I have always found that it keeps our aquarium very healthy. I know it's not recommended for loaches, but they've always seemed to thrive in it, as have our Pictus Catfish,
Algae Eaters, and Plecostomus. I'd be curious for you opinion on this. . .
<Salt is widely used, but with little evidence that it's a good thing in most tanks. At the dosage you're using it, it is unlikely to make much difference either way, but do be aware it isn't necessary and could cause a
background level of stress. Unlikely to be the cause of the death, but perhaps one of many straws on this particular camel's back. Do read:
There are situations where salt is beneficial, but generally I don't recommend people add it to their freshwater tanks on a routine basis.
Cheers, Neale>

Itchy Weather Loach 8/23/11
220 litre Freshwater Tank.
2 Sarasa Comets about 6 inches in length and 2 weather loaches. (5 inch and 3 inch)
Cycled and established for nearly 2 years.
Had previous 130 litre for a year for them, but upgraded as tank was too small for the four fish. Kept all the same water and cycled new filter alongside old filter for three months until bacteria established.
Aqua Manta 400 external filter with carbon, sponges and ceramic. Cleaned weekly with water changes using tank water only.
20% Water changes weekly using RO water with added minerals with part gravel vacuum.
Constant readings using Nutrafin Test Kit at:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm
PH 7.6
Fed a mixture of live bloodworm, frozen bloodworm, sinking catfish pellets, Goldfish pellets, peas and live plants.
I have noticed that one of the weather loaches is occasionally having moments of itchiness against the bottom of the tank. No other signs of illness. Eating normally and showing normal active behaviour.
Also one Sarasa Comet tends to head for the surface and what look's like sucking air. No other obvious signs of ill health. Eating normally and otherwise behaving normally.
The fish have never been ill before.
<Well, you've clearly done the important water quality checks, which is good. I'd perhaps do a hardness test of some sort as well, but you've done the pH, and the value of 7.6 suggests moderately hard water, which is good for Goldfish. I would think about whether the pH has changed though -- old tanks are prone to rapid pH drops, especially if water changes aren't as regular as they might be, or, more dramatically, if you rely upon calcareous media like crushed coral to buffer the pH. "Flashing" behaviour,
when fish scratch themselves against objects, tends to mean one of three different things: Whitespot, Velvet, and chemical irritants (such as ammonia or nitrite) in the water. Goldfish and Weather Loaches are both very tolerant of salt, so using the salt/heat method to treat for Whitespot and Velvet might be worth doing, even as a precaution; use a dose of 2 g/l and run that way for a couple of weeks. If you do water changes, be sure to add the appropriate amount of salt to each bucket of new water, i.e., if you take out 20 litres of water, then the new 20 litres of water will need 20 x 2 = 40 grammes of salt stirred in.
Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo Swollen, reading - 2/9/11
Hello. I have a Dojo that swelled up about three weeks ago. The entire body bloated.
<Does happen... Read here:
About a week later, I noticed that there were spots forming, which have turned into blisters. Multiple blisters, the full body is involved, except the head, which appears of normal shape, size and color. I called the pet store where I purchase all of my supplies, and she was at a loss. The best guess she had was that it may be something bacterial. This fish is in very obvious pain when it tries to move. I have a 46 gallon tank with multiple guppies, 4 dwarf plecostomus, one algae eater, one Cory cat fish, one channel cat-fish, one loach, 2 large plecostomus, and the dojo.
<What re water quality, feeding? The Loricariids may be incompatible... the conditions for the Channel... >
My tank has no heater. There is one floating live plant, and 2 snails. I am going to get a small tank to quarantine and treat the dojo tomorrow.
Please note that the fins are all looking fine, and I see no blood. The fish still eats the shrimp pellets I feed them. Thanks, any help will be very appreciated. By the way, no other fish in my tank appear to have anything wrong with them.
<And read the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Dojo Question (RMF, any ideas?)<<Mortuus est, env.>> 9/27/10
Hello, Crew -
<Hello Dena,>
First, my thanks for offering this question/answer service. I've searched this site and others, narrowed it down, figured out the lingo and heard conflicting stories. So, now I've come to you'¦
<Fire away!>
Attached is a pic of my poor dojo. He's only a few years old. What I have figured out (I think) is that he's shedding his skin (or slime coat). Some sites have said it happens occasionally under normal circumstances and others say it's only when the loach is stressed. Well, he definitely looks stressed. I had not seen him for a few days and he appears today like this. He's very rigid, breathing heavy, not eating.
<He's not shedding his slime coat. While fish shed slime all the time, it's rare for that to be visible, any more than you don't normally notice us shedding skin or hair. So you can usually forget about that. This loach is clearly very sick and/or stressed.>
The tank was overdue for a gravel cleaning, so I finally did that on Friday night - removed 2/3 of the water, only filled back up with 1/3 water. Treated the water with API Stress Coat. Sunday night I finished filling up the tank completely. pH is at round 6.0 which I read is ok for him.
<Actually, pH 6 is quite low. I'm surprised your other fish are fine. Once pH drops below 7, biological filtration diminishes, and below 6 it stops altogether. Your Firemouth cichlid needs slightly basic and alkaline conditions, and for this collection of fish I'd be aiming at 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5. Contrary to popular belief, there's no great advantage to maintaining an acidic, soft water aquarium unless you have fish that need those conditions to live or breed. For general community tanks, slightly basic pH levels are better for the filter, and slightly hard water tends to be more stable in terms of pH changes.>
Cannot find my nitrite test kit. My heater is set at 76. He looked fine before I cleaned the tank. I also have four Angels, 3 Corys and a Firemouth in there and they all look fine. Angels just laid some eggs today, so I'm assuming it can't be too bad in there.
<Angels come from soft water habitats and do indeed quite like low pH levels. But farmed Angelfish certainly don't need these conditions. While it's good your Angel spawned, I wouldn't read to much into this as Angels will spawn across a broad water chemistry range.>
What is happening? Why is it happening? What can I do about it?
<It's very difficult to know if this is Slime Disease (often called "Costia") which is caused by a parasite, or a bacterial infection, or simply a reaction to unfavourable environmental conditions. My gut feeling is that this is a bacterial infection, possibly caused by damage to the skin, Loaches being sensitive to changes in water chemistry, irritants in the water like copper, and abrasive substrates such as gravel. I'd treat with a broad antibiotic, ideally a combination such as Maracyn 1 and Maracyn 2; outside the US you may need to ask your vet for advice and a prescription. With that said, treating for Costia wouldn't be a bad idea and can be done alongside your antibiotics. I'd also work hard to get water chemistry somewhere more sensible, focusing on hardness rather than pH, so don't just blithely add pH-up products. The home-brew Rift Valley salt mix at one-fourth to one-half the dose recommended at the link below should do the trick nicely. Don't change water chemistry at once, but across several days, and feel free to increase or decrease the amounts of Epsom salt (to raise/lower general hardness) or sodium bicarbonate (to raise/lower carbonate hardness and therefore pH).
To be honest, if the fish is stiff already and barely swimming, medication may be too late. See here about euthanising fish:
My advice about water chemistry management still stands though.>
Thank you!
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Dojo Question (RMF, any ideas?) 09/29/10
This is excellent information. I am very grateful for your expertise.
My dojo did pass away last night-very sad. I am going out today to update my testing kits and will get things under control.
Thanks again,
<Glad to have offered some assistance, and sorry the fish didn't make it.
Good luck with your remaining fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Swollen weather loach 3/8/10
<Hello Jenna,>
My weather loach, Mr. H, is swollen from his top fin backwards. His skin is also slightly red. He is still active and eats well, but the swelling is starting to slow him down and looks sore!
<I see. Well, with Loaches generally, there are three things to start with.
The first is the cleanliness of the tank. Because they're on the bottom, they're exposed to water with the least oxygen, and it's easy for the gravel to become dirty, exposing the fish to bacteria that may cause infections. Look to make sure that the bottom of the tank has a good, strong water current. Secondly, like all Loaches, these Weather Loaches are sensitive to copper and certain other chemicals used in things like Ick medications. In general, loaches should be removed to a hospital tank while such medications are being used *unless* you know they are safe to use with loaches and other sensitive fish. Finally, check the tank isn't too warm.
Weather Loaches are coldwater fish, and if kept in tropical tanks they rarely do well for long.>
I have tried a 5 day antibiotic dip which was originally prescribed by the vet for one of my other fish.
<You *really* shouldn't do this. What's prescribed for one fish shouldn't be used for another.>
This hasn't helped.
<Indeed not.>
I did add some Epsom salt to my main tank but they may have been removed by the carbon in the filter?
<No connection between these two things.>
I've also fed him some peas. I haven't seen him go to the toilet, but then I wouldn't normally. He's still passing wind, however, so that's probably a good sign!
<As far as it goes, yes.>
Please can you let me know your thoughts on what might be wrong and how I can treat him?
<It's likely some sort of secondary infection, such as Finrot or perhaps Columnaris. Treat with an anti-Finrot medication, preferably an antibiotic.
Avoid copper or formalin-based medications. Remove carbon while using such medications.>
Many thanks,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo Loach with Fin Rot 2/15/10
Hello, My name is J-P and I have a Dojo loach with the initial stages of Fin Rot.
Tank Parameters:
Size: 500 gal separated into 6 units
Ammonia: .03
<Here's why your fish is sick.>
Nitrite: 0~.1 (lowest level on the scale)
<This is also a problem.>
Nitrate: off the scale (50+)
<Hmm... while nitrate isn't usually lethal in the short term, you do want levels less than 50 mg/l, and ideally below 20 mg/l. Tap water here in the UK can have up to 50 mg/l nitrate, but above that it is considered unsafe for drinking. If you have substantially higher levels of nitrate in the aquarium, this tends to imply massive overstocking, not enough water changes, or wildly generous feeding. Often all three!>
Temp 72F (22C)
<Funny sort of collection of fish you have.>
Sand substrate
1x Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)
1x Common Koi (Cyprinus Carpio)
1x Comet (Carassius auratus)
2x Ryukin Goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus)
3x Rubbernose Pleco (Parancistrus aurantiacus)
1x Common Pleco (Hypostomus punctatus)
3x Otocinclus (or possibly Gyrinocheilus aymonieri)
<Should be easy to tell these apart! Otocinclus are small catfish with a black stripe along each flank; Gyrinocheilus are huge (to 35 cm) loach-like fish with a bluish-green zigzag band along the flank. Gyrinocheilus also have a distinct spiracle above each gill slit, essentially a small hole at the top of the gill slit through which they suck in water, while breathing out water through the gill slit.>
Several dozen pond snails and 1 Assassin snail
Several swords
Java moss (various kinds)
Dozen Tiger lotus'
6-8 Banana plants
Dozens of other 'unknown plants'
<Likely Goldfish food, too...>
The tank finished cycling on or around Jan 17th. Transplanted the Loach, Koi and 2 Ryukin on Jan 25th. Added the other fish on a weekly basis.
The story:
Mr. Dojo likes to jump tanks.
<Is what they do.>
I find him in a different tank almost every day. Twice I found him caught in the pre-filter. This last time he was caught I know he was in there for over 9 hours. While trying to get him out, he accidently got 'flushed' into the sump / refrigerium. I removed some media and he escaped into open water J About 6 hours later I noticed he had some fin rot. I dosed the tank with 4 OZ (118ml) of Melafix, and 8OZ (237 ml) of Pimafix. (I understand that some people are not fans of this type of medication)
<It's not so much being "fans", as that these medications aren't especially reliable. While they can be used as preventatives, they're of limited value once a bacterial infection is established. Tea-tree oil kills some bacteria, but doesn't harm others, so it's difficult to say whether they'll work. In other words, I have no issues with people using them in tanks when a fish is damaged, just to make sure the fish doesn't become infected. But once the fish actually shows symptoms of Finrot and Fungus, I'd recommend using a proven, more reliable medication.>
The next morning I noticed that the fin rot has progressed a little and I added another 4 OZ of Melafix and 4 OZ of stress coat.
<As I said, these medications don't necessarily reverse infections once established.>
Other than water changes (which I will get to after this writing), is there anything else I can do to help out Mr. Dojo?
<Sure. Almost any reliable antibacterial or antibiotic would be good here. I happen to like things like Seachem ParaGuard and eSHa 2000 that treat Finrot, Fungus and Columnaris all at the same time, since these remove the need to determine which external infection your fish actually has. But if you're sure you're dealing with Finrot, then by all means use a Finrot-specific medication.>
Any recommended meds? We are currently on holidays here so I will not be able to get any medication for 3 days L (shops are closed). All other tank mates seem fine. I have read the FAQ, and the disease list and it mentions antibiotics but was not very specific.
<What were you reading? Seems pretty specific to me...
The fish is aprox 1 year old and currently 9' long.
Thanks in advance.
<You have real problems with water quality, so fix those alongside whatever medication you choose to use. Do also remember to read the instructions re: removal of carbon and other such things. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Dojo Loach with Fin Rot 2/15/10
Thank you for he reply :)
Thank you for the link also, I don't know how I missed that one :(
I ordered the Seachem Paraguard as recommended and I hope he will pull through until Wed :)
Thank you again!
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

"Gold dojo" "old age", one of your web pages 12/3/09
Good Morning,
Searching Google with "gold dojo" "old age" produced your web page, among others, and it was the closest to what I need to ask.
I had 4 gold Dojo's for 3 years. We lost one to an Ich outbreak six months ago.
<Do understand Ick should never be fatal since it's so easy to cure, but most of the cures sold in pet stores are toxic at some level, and Loaches in particularly will be killed by copper- and formalin-based medications.
When treating loaches, only use the heat/salt method.>
We still have 2 in one 29 gal tank that are doing fine. The remaining Dojo in the other 29 gal tank is the one I am concerned about. It still swims around fat and happy, eating like a pig, but it now has 'depressions' just aft of it's top fin. It looks like 2 indentations on either side of the back of the top fin. It is smooth and symmetrical, runs a little more than an inch long overall, and tapers towards the tail. It almost looks like a very elongated Heart shape. The widest parts of the heart shape stick out horizontally about a 64th of an inch beyond the normal side of the dojo's body.
<Gosh! Had no idea people still measured things in 64ths of inches...
Anyway, in my terms, 0.4 mm. That doesn't sound like very much.>
There are no signs of bloody fins, parasites, holes, fish lice or fungus.
Other than the weird shape it looks great and eats everything it gets.
<Wouldn't worry about it then. Fin damage is not uncommon with burrowing fish, and can also be caused by fighting between specimens or interactions with territorial tankmates. Fin membranes have evolved to be quite
resilient, and given good conditions repair themselves without problems.
Only if you see early signs of Finrot, e.g., pink/white congestion along the edges, should you reach for the medicine bottle.>
I understand they can live for 10 years or more.
<Like a lot of coldwater fish, they can live a very long time.>
These Dojos were bought 4 years ago within 3 weeks of each other. They are all 4 to 5 inches long, with the problem dojo being right at 5 inches. The other 2 Dojos are still perfectly round from snout to tail. I kept them
separated because the 29 gal with the 2 Dojos has never had a problem.
Unfortunately, the first 29gal and the 37gal have been a textbook example of why you should "Always Quarantine new fish!"
<Yes indeed. Not always practical, but almost always a wise move.>
Thank you for any info you can provide.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: "gold dojo" "old age", one of your web pages 12/3/09

Hi Neale
Yes, yours was the most complete and interesting. Was reading the web for about an hour and a half on a half a dozen sites before I wrote to you.
<Nice to know this.>
[Re: the heat/salt method.] Thank you. Will keep that in mind in the future. We just purchased a 75 gal (283.5L) tank and will be consolidating the other tanks with the 75 gal at 78F to 79F (25.6C to 26.1C), 6.5 to 7Ph and the second remaining tank will be the 37 gal (139.9L) kept at 71F to 72F (21.7C to 22.2C), 6.5 to 7Ph. The 37 gal will house 5 Panda Garras, 6 green reticulated hillstream loaches, hopefully 3 healthy Gold Dojo's, a banjo cat, and a future small school of danios. What would be the best treatment for Ich if it happens again in the 37gal tank?
<The salt/heat method is always the best choice whenever loaches or other sensitive fish are being kept. Garras and Minnows should be fine with off-the-shelf medications, but things like catfish and loaches are best treated with salt/heat.>
[Gosh! Had no idea people still measured things in 64ths of inches...
Anyway, in my terms, 0.4 mm. That doesn't sound like very much.]
lol, It's small, but it definitely sticks out farther horizontally than the sides of the fish.
<I see.>
We had a school of Danios for most of the past 4 years. Watching them grow old one at a time with the bent spine, and then a 4 or 5 week lifespan after that, was what prompted my question with the Dojo. The elongated heart shape on the Dojo's back showed up in a similar timeframe. It doesn't seem to affect him yet, but it really creeps me out.
<Unless there's an obvious lump (cf. Fish Pox, Lymphocystis) or infection (cf. Finrot) then I can't see that this is obviously a disease. Loaches, and indeed bottom dwellers generally, may develop odd infections along the belly and those fins in contact with the substrate. This seems to be caused by an abrasive and/or dirty substrate.>
Thanks, Matt
<Happy to help, Neale.>

A continuing problem with sick dojo loach, and now my emerald green Cory cat has the same illness 9/22/09
I am still struggling with the problem Neale responded to in August.
<Oh dear.>
The latest news is one of my balloon belly mollies died last week, the one that gave birth a few weeks earlier.
<Too bad.>
I noticed that she was stuck to the filter and assumed she was dead, but when I unplugged it she swam away. Then shortly after I noticed she was swimming oddly, a little crooked.
<Physical damage, to the fins at least, perhaps more serious. Balloon Mollies are deformed right from the get-go, with a crooked spine and deformed swim bladder. They swim poorly even in the best of health, and Mollies generally are prone to poor health in freshwater tanks. A deformed, sensitive species...? No thanks -- I recommend against them.>
She would stay close to the bottom but swam up eagerly whenever it was feeding time. She got stuck on the filter a couple more times throughout a few days and then died. I wasn't sure this odd swimming was due to the filter mis-hap or if she was sick and weak before the first filter incident.
<Healthy fish don't get sucked into filters, so if you see a dead fish in a filter, it was moribund/dead before it got there.>
And four days ago my Cory cat (the only one) showed the same signs of illness as my dojo loach - red around the gill area and at the base of his fins. He was also swimming insanely and I saw rapid gill movement.
<Interesting that these are both bottom feeders. I wonder if there's something wrong with your substrate and/or water circulation. If this was me, I'd replace the substrate (or at least thoroughly clean in outside the tank, e.g., in a bucket using a garden hose) and then check the filter was shifting water along the bottom of the tank properly.>
I put him in the quarantine tank with the dojo loach and started Maracyn-2.
They have had four days of treatment now. The Cory cat developed mouth rot too, just like the dojo did. And yesterday I noticed a whitish lump on his underside. I'm going to try to attach a picture at the bottom of this e-mail somehow (I have not been successful ever at resizing pictures).
<Again, the mouth and the belly (and the whiskers, so check those) are in contact with the substrate. A dirty substrate promotes (though doesn't cause) bacterial infections by producing the conditions those bacteria prefer. One reason I like sand rather than gravel is that it's less likely to get dirty, and also less likely to physically abrade sore or sensitive tissues. The addition of Malayan Livebearing Snails to tanks with a sandy substrate is a good way to keep the sand clean and well oxygenated.>
I figured that since the dojo loach, although healed from mouth rot, was still looking a little pinkish all this time, that this bacterial infection was still lingering (or incurable and I should pick up some clove oil soon as you had suggested in the first place) and it couldn't hurt to do another treatment. The hole in his head hasn't gotten any bigger and looks like it is either just staying put or healing at a slow rate.
And here is all of the info about my tank:
(this is from my records from starting it up, figured I'd give you all the info - sorry if it's way too much)
55 gallons
first set up February 28th 2009 - I tried to do a fishless cycle and thought I was successful, though now I wonder.
on this set-up day I filled the tank, used Prime, poured some of my established 10 gallon tank water into the new tank, added purchased bacteria, added a tank decoration from the 10 gallon tank.
Day 6, I tested the water
GH 180
KH 120
PH 7.5
Day 7 added water softener pouch for 7 hours and tested:
GH 120 (test strips hard to read, but wasn't the solid 180 color it was on Day 6)
KH 120/180 (test strips hard to read)
PH 6.5
<Why the water softener? Why are you lowering the pH? Let's be clear: a pH of 7.5 is ideal for most aquarium fish. Multiple reasons, but the important ones are [a] the filter bacteria prefer a basic pH, and [b] hard, alkaline water is less likely to experience pH variation than soft, acid water.
Unless you're breeding fish that specifically need soft water, it's best to leave hard, alkaline water as it is.>
Added the established 10 gallon tank filter, plus another tank decoration (from the 10gallon tank)
added two of my zebra Danios
added more purchased bacteria
<The bacteria are in the system; adding more largely pointless. I'd sooner add a big clump of floating plants such as Indian Ferns. These carry lots of helpful bacteria on their roots, so help cycle tanks, and more importantly, suck up ammonia and nitrite as they grow.>
Day 8 tested water:
GH 120 ? (test strips hard to read)
KH 40 ? (test strips hard to read)
PH 6
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
<Again, we have this dropping pH, likely because your carbonate hardness (KH) is FAR TOO LOW for a freshwater community. Remember, Mollies MUST have hard, basic water, at least 15 degrees dH (~250 mg/l calcium carbonate equivalent), and ideally much more. There are VERY few community fish that actually demand soft water, and you certainly wouldn't keep them with Mollies.
Day 11
ammonia read > .25
<No surprise. When pH gets below 7, biological filters start to work significantly less efficiently, and below pH 6, the bacteria don't work at all.>
Day 13
ammonia read .25 or less
GH 30
KH 40
PH 6
Nitrite 0
Nitrate the test strip was faintly pink, but basically zero
Day 15
ammonia .25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
PH 6.5
KH 180
GH 120
did 8 gallon water change, added 55 mL bacteria
<Still got ammonia; the pH is low, the filter crashed, and that's likely one key factor here.>
Day 17
ammonia .25
Day 20
ammonia <.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
PH 8
KK 40
GH 120
added three red serpae tetras (from my 10 gallon tank)
<Why adding fish?>
Day 23 and Day 24
ammonia 0
Day 25
had water tested at store, tested fine. purchased 3 dwarf gouramis/added to tank
<Wouldn't touch these fish with a bargepole, and in an unstable tank, their lifespan isn't likely very high. Golden rule: don't add fish while you're still trying to keep others alive.>
added 55 mL bacteria
Day 27
ammonia 0
Day 36
Nitrite and Nitrate both at 0
Day 38
added 3 Rasbora tetras, changed Right filter
Day 42
8 gallon water change
Day 61
8 gallon water change
Day 67
8 gallon water change, changed Left filter this is about where I stopped recording. I tested during this time and everything was at zero. I Figured the tank was cycled.
My tests today read:
PH 7
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
ALK KH 180
Hardness GH 150
<Better. But still, let's get the pH to 7.5, if necessary by adding suitable amounts of Rift Valley cichlid salt mix; I'd say about 1/4th to 1/3rd the dose recommended for Rift Valley tanks should be fine. Don't alter the pH directly; just change the carbonate hardness, and the pH will follow, and in a stable way.>
I use an AquaTech filter - I had made my own filter cartridges for a few times, using the white fluffy filter material (it was the only kind the pest store sold) and charcoal, using one of the plastic pieces from inside a store-bought filter on the inside. I stopped doing this in case this is why the fish are getting sick.
I feed with:
TetraMin Tropical Tablets, "the rich mix for bottom feeders"
Omega One Natural Protein Formula shrimp pellets
Omega One Super Color Flakes (natural protein formula)
Tetra Min Tropical Flakes
I use Seachem Prime with every water change, adding it to the buckets before pouring into the tank
temp 76-78 F
I currently have in there:
4 Rasboras
2 black neon tetras
3 cardinal tetras
1 balloon molly
1 Pleco
all seem fine, except the Pleco goes a little pale in patches once in a while, but this was happening from the beginning and I thought it might be normal for them when they were resting (I had never had one before).
<The patches are mucous, and often a reaction to water quality problems.>
I think in my original email to you (or it is in the Disease Emergency post)
I mentioned that there were to mollies (or platies, I can't tell the difference) that I introduced a few weeks before the Dojos got sick. One of them died about a week after, and the other one died suddenly a week after that. When I scooped it out of the tank I saw that it had a bright red circle about 4mms wide on its side. This is what leads me to think that it was this fish that introduced disease to my tank, but I'm obviously no expert.
<Well, I am an expert, and I'll tell you if you keep lowering the pH like this, any livebearers you add will die. End of story. For optimal results, aim for moderately hard, moderately basic conditions: pH 7.5, 10-20 degrees dH (that's about 175 to 350 mg/l calcium carbonate equivalent). That will keep livebearers happy, while remaining acceptable to a wide range of community fish. Yes, Neons and Rasboras and the like come from soft water habitats, but they don't share them with Mollies or Platies! So you have to use your noodle a bit here, and figure out which species are most sensitive to water chemistry issues (livebearers) and act accordingly.>
The first dojo loach that died had those red spots, but smaller and not as bright, all over his body when he died.
<Still a bad sign.>
At least the Cory cat's getting sick has given the dojo loach some welcomed company in the quarantine tank. He did perk up to see his old friend and they hang out together most of the time now.
Of course I would love to save the two sick fish, but I'm even more concerned about the future of my main tank. There must be something wrong with it, especially since my Cory cat is sick with the same symptoms. Where do I go from here?
<See above.>
Any hope for the sick fish or is it time to let them go? the Cory cat is still quite active, and the dojo loach isn't acting like he is anywhere near death either.
<Likely can, will recover given good conditions and right medications.>
Thank you so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Pictures below - the dojo loach is looking good except for pinkish hue around gills and back end of body. Tough to see in the picture though.
You can see the hole in his head though - I hope it isn't a terrible case.
It seems to be staying put.
<Nothing came through. Please be sure to attach ~500 kB images to your e-mail. Images that are too big cause problems for us.>

re: a continuing problem with sick dojo loach, and now my emerald green Cory cat has the same illness 09/24/09
Thank you for your reply - I have some questions and explanations and have tried to make them easy for you to find by using lines to separate my words from the original e-mail.
I wasn't able to get the resized pictures to attach to this e-mail and hope that it is acceptable that I cut and pasted them at the bottom.
<Nothing came through. Cutting and pasting images into e-mails doesn't always work. Do use the "attach" button on whatever your e-mail program is.>
I have sand substrate. It is children's play sand. I was told by a fish store employee that it is great because it is a more natural color and less expensive than the marketed kind for aquariums.
<Provided the sand is [a] smooth and [b] chemically inert, you can use whatever you want. Sand comes in two grades, "sharp" and "smooth", and sharp sand will damage your fish. As for the chemistry, the sand needs to be lime-free. Personally, I use smooth silica sand from garden centres as a 100% safe alternative. Play sand, pool filter sand, etc. may be fine, but there are no guarantees. The play sand from one shop may be different from another, so I can't give you any assurances. If the sand feels smooth, that's good, and if it doesn't react with acid (e.g., vinegar) that's good too.>
After Googling and reading the same online, I went ahead with this. I washed it thoroughly, in small quantities, by running water and stirring it until the water was nearly clear. Was this a mistake to use this kind of sand and do you still believe I need to change it or wash it again?
<Provided the sand is safe to use for the reasons stated above, cleaning it is more a visual thing. Most folks find that the silt in bags of sand makes their tanks murky for a few days, but nothing a water change and a good, strong filter won't fix. Replace/clean the mechanical filter media after the first week because that's where most of the silt ends up/>
and I am soooooo uncomfortable with the idea of introducing snails into my tank again, as I had way too many in my 10 gallon at one point after one hitching a ride in with a fresh plant.
<Snails convert organic matter into baby snails. If you have too many, then you have other problems.>
This is also why I am super hesitant to ever bring fresh plants into my tank again.
<Non sequitur. There are plenty of ways to kill snails on plants before you put them in your aquarium. Snail-killing potions are sold in aquarium shops and work well as "dips".>
I had "pond snails" I believe.
<Typically Physa and Planorbis spp.>
Are they the same as Malayan Livebearing Snails?
<No, these are Melanoides spp.>
I will introduce the snails if you really think I should though...
<I have Melanoides snails in all my tanks. I find the good they do -- as substrate cleaners and aerators -- easily outweighs their nuisance value.
While they do breed quickly, a combination of physical removal, predators, and simply ignoring them works a treat. Clea helena, the Assassin Snail, is a great snail population limiter.>=
Well, I freaked out that my 55 gallon tank had harder water than my established 10 gallon tank and it was harder than the water straight from the tap. This confused me and figured I should get the water the same hardness as the established 10 gallon was. So I was trying to soften it just a bit, not lower the pH. I had heard so much about not being worried about or try changing the pH that I didn't think it a big problem that the pH changed (and figured it would level out with water changes). Lesson learned.
Why adding fish? Because I thought that adding the three fish (transferring from the established 10 gallon tank) would help the cycle to continue at a safe rate. I was more paying attention to the ammonia/nitrate/nitrite tests than the other areas.
<Ah, I see. Generally, so long as a tank has a few fish in there, the cycling process will continue happily enough. Adding extra fish is of marginal value, unless you plan to *dramatically* increase the population of fish in there at some point. For example, if you cycled with a couple of Guppies, and then added an adult Oscar, that would probably be bad!>
I didn't realize I was trying to keep others alive at this point...just thought I was helping the bacteria multiply at a safe rate for the fish.
They did not last super long (and they were so darn territorial with each other it was annoying to have them in there, too).
<Yes, many schooling fish stop being schooling fish when in groups of less than six, and in some cases, they become outright nasty.>
I am having trouble finding Rift Valley cichlid salt mix here. One store sells "cichlid lake salt",
<That's the stuff!>
and she told me that all of their salts will adjust the pH, not the carbonate hardness.
<She's wrong. By definition, these salts raise the pH precisely because they're raising the carbonate hardness. It's the carbonate hardness that creates the "stuff" that makes the water basic. It's the carbonate hardness that "mops up" the acidity.>
If I did more frequent water changes for a while, will that help??
<Up to a point, yes, the more water changes you do, the less background acidification becomes an issue. But this gets tedious, very quickly, so think about what you're trying to achieve here: an easy hobby that involves nothing more than daily feeding and water changes every week or two.>
I hope that doesn't sound like a stupid question. Or is this something that I would need to add to my tank on a fairly regular basis? (if I can find it - I suppose I can order it online somewhere)
<Do read here:
There's a recipe for making your own Rift Valley Cichlid Salt Mix for pennies a time. It's easy to do. For a regular community tank -- as opposed to a Rift Valley cichlid aquarium -- you'd use a smaller dose than described there; try reducing the amounts to one-fourth to one-third the amounts listed.>
I'm worried about this fish if he is reacting to water problems and am so frustrated I can't find the salt you mentioned. I noticed today that he was pale on about half of his body, and then when I turned the light on, most of the rest of his body went pale. I checked back later and he is dark as could be....tried to take a picture when he was pale but he had disappeared when I returned with the camera.
<Oh. For what it's worth, Plecs are quite tough fish, and given good conditions, generally recover from stress quickly.>
I'm sorry and feel stupid saying this - but I don't know what 10-20 degrees dH or the equivalent you mentioned means.
<Simply being precise. The other way of saying this: on your test kit, there'll be a scale of some sort, running from Soft to Moderately Soft to Moderately Hard to Hard to Very Hard, or words to that effect. For Mollies, the water MUST be Hard to Very Hard. For community fish, Moderately Soft to Hard is generally fine. In other words, Mollies only mix well with those community fish tolerant of "Hard" water, i.e., things like Platies and Rainbowfish, but not so much Rasboras or Cardinal Tetras. You have to pick and choose tankmates for Mollies very carefully.>
Possibly this is information on the comparison card for the liquid test tube version of the tests (and not test strips)? Aside from borrowing a friend's test tube testing kit for the last test I did to get you accurate info, I haven't used those for anything but ammonia (but plan to purchase a kit soon).
<I see.>
Would this Maracyn two be the right medication?
<Either than, or regular Maracyn should work. They treat different bacteria, on the average, people find trying Maracyn first works best, and only use Maracyn 2 if that doesn't work. But your own mileage may vary.>
This poor loach is now enduring a third treatment since this all started, and although he seems to be doing okay, he still has pink/red at the base of his side fins and a pinkish tone to his gill area. He looked this way when I put him back in the main tank and got sick again so I of course don't want to put him back until he's 100%. It seems that his recovery has plateaued and I don't know what to do about this. The Cory cat seems to be responding well to treatment thus far, but still looks red/pink and I assume he will have the same plateau.
okay, here is what I think the right sizes for you to see. The dojo picture doesn't look all that clear, but anywhere where it looks darker/pinkish is the pink that I am talking about that isn't going away.
I am cut and pasting them into the email and I hope this works.
<Didn't. If all else fails, try some free image hosting service such as Flickr, and include the link in your message.>
Thanks so much for your time.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: a continuing problem with sick dojo loach, and now my emerald green Cory cat has the same illness 9/25/09
A link to the pictures! what a smart idea - here it is.
<I think you're meant to send an invitation to view this online album. As it is, I had to join Snapfish. Normally, we don't have time to go through hoops for this sort of thing. But it's a nice sunny morning here in England, so I joined up. Anyway, your fish don't appear to be especially "sick" as such, though the Corydoras looks a little underweight (if you can see the belly, it's concave, which isn't a good sign). My feeling is that these fish may have a mild bacterial infection, but it's more than likely we're talking about an environmental reaction. Variation in pH, a dirty substrate, marginal water quality may all be issues. In particular, take the time to review tank maintenance. Sand needs to be kept clean, and the best way to ensure this is to check there's a good flow of water along the bottom of the tank. Use a turkey baster to pipette out detritus between water changes. Feed your catfish and loaches their own food, ideally at night, so that they're not subsisting on leftovers; a good all-around food for both species would be Hikari Algae Wafers.>
Thanks again for your help. I have a few final questions
<Fire away.>
If my dojo loach continues to stay pinkish, what do I do? The two fish have had 7 days of powder packet treatments of Maracyn-two thus far. The instructions say to continue treatment until signs of illness are gone.
This could be a while if ever and I can't imagine the medicine is something good long term.
<I can't see anything obviously wrong with this Weather Loach. They can appear a little pink when the light shines through the thinner parts of their body, and if there's something amiss with the environment, they may appear irritated. But essentially these are hardy fish, provided they are maintained at below 25 degrees C (77 F). The same for Corydoras, and in fact I'd keep both species at the cooler end of the range, 22-24 C being ideal.>
And, do you suppose this sickness came about more because of the pH being below 7.5 or because there is some disease living in my tank that I still need to deal with?
<pH itself is rarely something that causes sickness unless it [a] fluctuates wildly within a few hours or [b] is outside the tolerances of a particular species. Loaches and Corydoras are fine between pH 6 to 8, so the value itself isn't an issue. But if exposed to pH that varies a lot, that can stress them. One key issue often overlooked is the toxicity of ammonia at different pH levels. In the acidic range, ammonia is less toxic than in the basic range, so if the pH goes from 6.5 to 7.5, while the pH change itself might be harmless, the sudden increase in toxicity of a small amount of ammonia in the system can cause severe stress.>
Can I treat the main tank with anything to make sure there isn't anything lurking in there waiting to cause more trouble?
<Right now, I'd finish the cause of meds you're on, and then concentrate on providing good, stable water conditions.>
How long would you to treat these sick fish before giving up?
<They honestly don't look that sick to me. Perhaps it's these photos?>
Until the hole in his head completely heals (how long does that take, anyway)?
<Should heal within a few weeks, should conditions allow.>
Until he is no longer pink? Both? The loach has been sick/pink for about six weeks now, poor guy.
<Are you sure it's simply not his normal colouration? Unlike Finrot, the classic bacterial infection, the fins on this fish are intact. If he had Finrot, I'd expect ragged fins.>
He doesn't look miserable now, at least, but I sure don't want to keep him in the 10 gallon hospital tank forever. The last time I thought he looked good to go and I put him back in the main tank, he was sick within four days and back in the hospital tank (and with a hole in his head appearing a few days after that).
<I see.>
I dropped some of the sand in a bowl of vinegar and saw no reaction. I am hopeful then that it is not the substrate that caused this problem and that I don't need to mess with it.
I have a hard time killing snails (or I should say I just can't do it) and will need to look into this Assassin snail if I go this route. Though I am picturing the slowest predator/pray chase I've ever seen, ha ha.
<Prepare to be surprised! When the Assassin Snails kick into gear, they're remarkably brisk.>
<Cheers, Neale>

Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying? 9/2/2009
Hello again if it's Neale and simply hello if it isn't
<BobF this time>
I have a question about my Weather Loach. I bought a tank with one Golden Dojo in it, reading that they prefer to be in groups I got it a friend, the golden one however would have nothing to do with it even though the regular loach (half the golden's size) was constantly trying to play (perhaps harass) with the golden. Feeling bad for the second loach I then got it a friend (loach 3). Well loach 3 became inseparable to the golden one now leaving out loach 2. They would ignore him and any time he came to hang out with them they would avoid him and the golden even charged him a few times.
Well I got another one and now have two groups of two, they have paired up and ignore each other. This has all taken place in the last 4 weeks.
<Give these Misgurnis time... likely will "pal around" in a few weeks more>
However for the last week the golden loach is almost completely sedentary, it just lays still, even it's gills don't move often. I can see no damage to the loach all fins appear normal (his pectoral fins have always been quite thin and close together more foot like than fin like (always been that way). His "whiskers" are kind of droopy but intact (new). There is no swelling apparent and I have searched him repeatedly for ich and see no signs of it. The other fish will move the golden around. Both the loaches, the Pleco (though it is much smaller) even the platies root around under the golden loach. he doesn't try to get away if my hand is near him and doesn't try to avoid the net or any other object. He occasionally roots for food but not often and it is often stolen from him. I keep thinking he is dead just laying there showing no response to any stimulus and then he will finally move out of the other fishes way. The ph 7.2 ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 don't know the nitrate but it is a moderately planted tank and I do weekly water changes of 30%, and gravel vacuuming (the pet store said I should only do it biweekly due to all my plants, is that right?).
<Should be fine>
I think the tank is under stocked as is. Can you think what might help this guy I can see NO strange physical alteration or problem but he is completely listless. I was planning my whole tank around this guy and I am
very worried about him . Any help you guys/gals could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Safe Journeys and a pleasant evening/morning to you.
<Well, Dojos/Weatherfish can be very sedentary by nature, and this system/livestock are all still quite new. I would not be concerned at this point. Bob Fenner>
Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying? 9/2/2009
Hello again if it's Neale and simply hello if it isn't
<It is indeed me, Neale.>
I have a question about my Weather Loach. I bought a tank with one Golden Dojo in it, reading that they prefer to be in groups I got it a friend, the golden one however would have nothing to do with it even though the regular loach (half the golden's size) was constantly trying to play (perhaps harass) with the golden.
<All loaches are more or less boisterous, with the exception perhaps of things like Kuhli Loaches. So while Weather Loaches are definitely best kept in groups, this doesn't mean they won't bicker! The point is that
they're more outgoing, less likely to hide, and generally healthier if given company of their own kind. With most loaches, groups of 5+ work best, and in smaller groups, results can be a little unpredictable.>
Feeling bad for the second loach I then got it a friend (loach 3). Well loach 3 became inseparable to the golden one now leaving out loach 2. They would ignore him and any time he came to hang out with them they would avoid him and the golden even charged him a few times. Well I got another one and now have two groups of two, they have paired up and ignore each other.
<Well, you've done what you can. Unless the tank is big enough adding a fifth specimen is viable, I wouldn't worry too much.>
This has all taken place in the last 4 weeks. However for the last week the golden loach is almost completely sedentary, it just lays still, even it's gills don't move often. I can see no damage to the loach all fins appear normal (his pectoral fins have always been quite thin and close together more foot like than fin like (always been that way).
<Doesn't sound promising.>
His "whiskers" are kind of droopy but intact (new).
<Loaches whiskers *should* be intact; if your loaches have short whiskers, it doesn't mean they're growing and falling off naturally, it means the gravel is too sharp or the substrate so dirty bacterial infections are
There is no swelling apparent and I have searched him repeatedly for ich and see no signs of it.
The other fish will move the golden around. Both the loaches, the Pleco (though it is much smaller) even the platies root around under the golden loach. he doesn't try to get away if my hand is near him and doesn't try to avoid the net or any other object.
<Very odd. Do you have a quarantine tank? If you do, even a 10 gallon would be fine, try putting this fish on its own in cool (around 15-20 degrees C water) with lots of oxygen and a suitable cave (such as flower pot).>
He occasionally roots for food but not often and it is often stolen from him. I keep thinking he is dead just laying there showing no response to any stimulus and then he will finally move out of the other fishes way.
<I'd net the fish out, if you can, and have a look at the fish more closely. Does he seem emaciated? Are there any signs of redness or dead skin on his belly? Are the fins whole or do they show signs of raggedness?>
The ph 7.2 ammonia is 0 nitrite 0 don't know the nitrate but it is a moderately planted tank and I do weekly water changes of 30%, and gravel vacuuming (the pet store said I should only do it biweekly due to all my
plants, is that right?).
<You can clean the substrate as often as you want by siphoning up the detritus as you do water changes. A little agitation of the substrate won't do any harm either. But yes, it is indeed the case the constantly churning
the substrate will make your plants unhappy. Essentially, clean the gravel however you want, just leave their roots alone! In practise, in a tank with healthy, fast-growing plants, the substrate shouldn't need any cleaning
beyond weekly siphoning up any detritus from the surface.>
I think the tank is under stocked as is. Can you think what might help this guy I can see NO strange physical alteration or problem but he is completely listless. I was planning my whole tank around this guy and I am
very worried about him . Any help you guys/gals could provide would be greatly appreciated.
<Not entirely clear to me, either.>
Safe Journeys and a pleasant evening/morning to you, KJ
<Feels like morning, actually mid afternoon: I'm jet lagged! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying? 9/5/09

Hello crew
temp 22C, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 no nitrate test ph 7.2
Thank-you Neale for your earlier response.
<RMF here>
Hello to whoever this reaches. I have quarantined my loach for the last two days. This morning on inspection I noticed that he appears to have pooling blood at the base of his tail before his fins and on the plate of his gills. This seems to match the descriptions of a bacterial infection and I am planning of treating it as such
<... please read here:
and the linked FW infectious disease files at bottom. I would be very careful re administering an antimicrobial/antibiotic. Most such issues resolve themselves without>
*crossing my fingers*, though I have looked him ALL over and there appears to be NO tearing of the skin anywhere to have precipitated it. My question is should I be doing daily %50 water changes to my main tank to avoid the other residents of my 90G tank from contracting whatever it is that has effected my weather loach?
<I would not change this much water, this frequently, unless there was some very compelling reason... I.e., a markedly poor environment>
My previous comment about his droopy *whiskers* was that the droopy was new not the barbels he has always had them but they stuck straight out now they aren't as .... sticky outy as they once were.
In regards to the suggestion of having 5 loaches*
It is a 90G tank with
*4dojo loaches (one quarantined)
*4 Platies (need to get 2 more females)
*3 turquoise rainbows (plan on getting 1-2 more)
*1 dwarf Gourami
*5 white cloud minnows (plan on having a school of 15)
* 1 bristle nose Pleco
* 1 common Pleco (growing him for someone else/ not a permanent resident)
Adding the 5th weather loach shouldn't be a problem should it?
<I would hold off on adding any new livestock while/if you perceive there is a health issue present. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying? PLEASE HELP 9/5/09

Hello all
I have unintentionally added possibly diseased wood to my aquarium,
<Hmm... wood itself should be safe, but if transferred from a tank with a parasite outbreak, any wet object can carry the free-living stages, and so contaminate another tank.>
the person I got it from just told me that they have a serious ich outbreak.
<I see.>
I now have 3 questions, Could my Weather loach have it without showing signs of the white spots?
<Yes; these parasites sometimes attack the gills first, and some fish, because of their particular skin structure, mucous production, or whatever don't ever show Ick on their fins and bodies.>
2)The Golden Weather loach has the blood pooling at the base of his tail before the fins and on his gill plate... is it to late for the treatment has it most likely gone septic?
<Doesn't sound like Ick is the problem here. Blood tends to clog where the tissues are infected, and this in turn suggests a bacterial rather than protozoan infection. In particular, Finrot. Try a suitable antibiotic. Do
bear in mind the boundary between Finrot and Septicaemia is a narrow one, and Septicaemia is difficult to treat. So prompt action is important.>
3) I have White cloud minnows, platies, weather loaches dwarf Gourami, Pleco, Bristlenose Pleco, and turquoise rainbows can I start the heat and salt method before I see the white spots (I've read that the Loaches are very intolerant of salt and that the minnows are very intolerant of heat)?
<At the doses and temperatures required, neither your Minnows nor your Loaches will be unduly affected. Indeed, the Salt/Heat method is by far the safer treatment for Loaches than copper-based Ick medications. Cheers, Neale.>
Thank-you Neale RE: Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying? PLEASE HELP 9/21/09

Thank-you for your help Neale.
<My pleasure.>
I treated the Golden loach with anti-biotic and the tank with the salt and heat method all residents are well and appear content the loaches are all having fun playing king of the loach pile (was worried that they wouldn't all get along -previous post).
<Sounds like good news!>
No fatalities and no obvious lingering effects. So specific thanks to Neale and broader thanks to everyone on the crew. Hope you all have a pleasant day and safe travels.
Sincerely KJ Cahoon
<So glad everything worked out well in the end. Happy fishkeeping! Cheers, Neale.>

Re: emergency - dojo loach not well with blood in whiskers.... -- 08/04/09
Hello again,
I am so hoping you can help me. I can't imagine you have time to reply to everyone's emails about problems, but maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones (and if not, I completely understand).
<Well, it's an hour a day on my part!>
I am attaching the previous message below so you have all the info in one place. This message is also posted on the bulletin board under Disease Emergency, and I have tried to post a picture to this board, but it doesn't seem to be loading.
<Have seen the image, here:
I'm sorry if I should not be emailing you (I am new to this forum as of last night) with my problem, but I am sure to have this problem all over again with my second loach. The first one died and I've attached a picture of his body so you can see these red spots. There are many more now than there were last night when I sent this. If there is any way you can help, I'd be so grateful! This second loach now has blood spots at the base of his front fins and isn't eating. I hope it's not too late to save him.
<It looks like a systemic bacterial infection, and frankly, curing it as this point is unlikely. The small red spots are blockages in the bloodstream where bacteria have clogged the blood vessels. Now, most bacterial infections are opportunistic in nature. These are typically caused by water quality issues, though other factors, such as diet, can be relevant. However, a few bacterial infections are cause by things like Mycobacterium spp., and these are usually difficult or impossible to treat.
Do see here:
I am of course attached to the loaches and truly want to save him if I can.
Thank you for your time.
<At this point, euthanasia is probably the only sensible, humane approach:
Would not add similar fish for a while, and would actually leave the population of fish "as is" for a good couple of months, and monitor what happens.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Am I simply thinking doom and gloom? Re Dojo hlth. 7/30/09
Hello this is KJ
I have managed to do more research and have solved my stocking problem and have realized a few changes (including needing a covered set up with dojo loaches, perhaps adding a connected rice paddy) need to be implemented I however still have a few questions; I am obviously keeping the dojo loach and getting it some friends, however is it possible to use a finer gravel/sand in part of the tank and the original gravel in the other areas of the tank?
<You can try, but realistically, it'll all get mixed up eventually. Unless you have plants with roots, then simply use some plain vanilla smooth silica sand along the bottom to a depth of maybe 2.5 cm/1 inch. This will be enough to shore up bogwood and rocks, without being so deep it's difficult to keep clean. Plants will roots obviously won't like a substrate this shallow, but floating plants and epiphytes (such as Java fern and Anubias) couldn't care less.>
Will this create a area were he will burrow and an area that he will not, or just make it so he hurts himself/herself is some parts of the tank and is fine in others?
<They do like sand, and will dig right into it! Smooth gravel doesn't do too much harm, but avoid anything obviously jagged or abrasive.>
Also is lava rock safe for Dojo loaches or will they cut themselves on it?
<Wouldn't recommend it.>
Can you recommend any particularly good biotope books/web sites for Asia (if you don't know any off hand don't worry about it)?
<There's a book called "The Complete Aquarium" by Peter Scott you'll probably find very helpful. It's got a series of biotope tanks detailing all the bits and pieces you need to build them. It's been out of print for a while, but you can pick up used copies very inexpensively.>
Thank you for your time
P.S. This is one of the best sites I have found for clear concise information. It is the least contradictory and is quite easy to navigate.
Congratulations on having a fabulous site.
<Bob will be gratified to hear this. Thank you. Cheers, Neale.> <<I am. RMF>>

Gold Dojo Demise. -- 07/17/09
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Elizabeth,>
I have used your website as a source for all of my fresh and saltwater needs! I cannot thank you enough for the mass amount of information you provide to the public, thanks again.
<Glad you've found us helpful.>
This is my first time writing, as I was unable to find an answer to a horrible and very sad situation that occurred yesterday. I bought my best friend a Gold Dojo Loach about 2 years ago, and he thrived in a 10 gallon tank along with 2 tiger barbs and a clown loach.
<Ten gallons really isn't enough space for these fish; Tiger Barbs should be kept in groups of 6+ specimens in a 20 gallon or larger tank, and Clown Loaches should also be kept in groups, and as adults (which can be up to 30
cm/12 inches long) need very big aquaria, more than 55 gallons. So whatever else might be going on in your tank, we can't disregard simple overcrowding. The thing with overcrowding is that it gets worse with time.
When you buy the fish as babies, a small tank might be fine. But as they grow, they get bigger, they need more oxygen, and they place more of a demand on the filter. Eventually they reach a cut-off point where the fish are now too big for the small aquarium, water quality suffers, and one or more fish sickens and dies. In other words, saying the fish were fine for X years and then suddenly died is precisely what you'd see in an overcrowded tank, especially if you weren't looking for the early-warning signs like fish gulping air more often than usual, or ammonia/nitrite levels that were
not zero, or pH levels that drop rapidly between water changes.>
The Dojo was named Fidel and he became an instant favorite of ours. He was always happy and healthy, with a great appetite (He was fed live Tubifex & sinking pellets) up until yesterday afternoon. I got a call from my friend, she said that Fidel was swimming like mad across the surface of the water and she wanted me to check on him when I got home. About 2 hours later, I get home from work to find Fidel listlessly swimming at the surface of the water. I noticed a spot on the base of his side fin that was white & pink in color.
<Among other things, frenetic swimming and signs of inflammation/incipient Finrot are precisely and absolutely the sorts of things you see in overcrowded tanks about to crash. While these symptoms can *also* be caused by other problems, because your tank is too small for the fish you have, we can't be sure it's one thing or the other.>
It also looked like his skin was peeling, so I dosed the tank with Melafix in hopes that it would help.
<Largely useless.>
I left for roller derby practice and came home two hours later to find him on the bottom of the tank, barely moving. I then noticed he had a very red, swelling anus and he looked emaciated and pale along the back end of his
body. I added some aquarium salt into the tank, but he stayed fairly motionless through the rest of the night. I was unable to check on him this morning (the tank is in my friends room) But I assume he didn't make it. He really was a great fish and he died before we could really do anything to help him. What could I have done?
<Always keep fish in a tank big enough for their needs. Good aquarium books, like the Baensch Aquarium Atlas, will quote minimum tank sizes. In the case of the Dojo Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) you're looking at something upwards of 20 gallons. Anything less simply won't be viable, if only because small problems that might be easy to fix instead cascade into big problems that kill your fish very quickly.>
Here's the catch:
One drunken night about 2-3 weeks ago, my friend brings home a bag of 3 carnie (carnival) goldfish home and just dumps them in her tank without QT.
They thrive, but Fidel dies...
<Because your tank is now far overstocked. Three Goldfish would need, at least, a 30 gallon tank. Given your selection of fish, even a 55 gallon tank would be overcrowded once these fish are all mature. Even assuming they're baby Goldfish a couple of inches long doesn't let you off the hook, because by themselves three juvenile Goldfish would overstock a 10 gallon tank. Just to be clear, a 10 gallon tank is practically worthless, and only suitable for very small, sedentary fishes, things like Neons and Sparkling Gouramis. Anything that's active or mature at more than an inch or so in length is too big for these tanks, even Danios!>
I know nothing of her water parameters, but I know she is diligent at keeping her tank clean and does regular water changes. Do you think the carnie fish were the culprit?
<Sort of; by adding additional fish, you so egregiously overstocked the tank that "something had to give". Your Weather Loach died to "make space" for the other fish, and as time goes on, more fish will die, until the aquarium is stocked with the right size and amount of fish for its capacity. Have you done the idea of "carrying capacity" at school or college? Fish tanks have a carrying capacity, and anything you add above that level causes a die-back until carrying capacity is reached once more.
Science is not flexible about these things!>
I'm sorry if this question was answered in a previous e-mail, but I just couldn't seem to find anything that fit right. I also just need some peace of mind...thank you in advance for any information you can provide.
It is a very sad day...
<Cheers, Neale.>

Injured Golden Dojo - HELP! 7/10/09
My 5 year old golden dojo cut himself (1/8" or smaller circular injury mid-body on one side) and has swollen up badly in the last 24 hours.
<Fish rarely, if ever, cut themselves. Their lateral line system means that they can "feel" pressure waves caused by solid objects all around themselves. If a fish gets cut, it wasn't an accident, but a sign something happened: for example aggression; failed attempts at predation; or the use (by the aquarist) of an abrasive substrate in a tank with burrowing fish. Review, and act accordingly, understanding that this was no accident.>
He has air bubbles emitting from a swollen anus anytime he finds energy to swim around. Mostly he flips upside down and his tail floats above his head. He looks like he's dying and suffering. Do you have any advice?
Thank you in advance. -Mike
<Doesn't sound good. If the wound is small and confined to muscle or skin tissue, then treatment, ideally in a hospital tank, with a reliable antibiotic such as Maracyn would stand a good chance of working. If the wound is severe, and in particular if the body cavity is punctured, then I'd have to suggest euthanasia. See here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Injured Golden Dojo - HELP! 7/11/09

Thank you, Neale. I didn't know of the dojo's needs for sand substrate before this injury. There is also two rocks in the tank that would qualify as hazardous. I'm surprised he wasn't injured before this. :/
<I see.>
There is a large plecostomus in the tank that could have shown aggression I suppose, as they are similar size (in length anyway).
<Plecs (you probably have Pterygoplichthys sp. rather than Hypostomus plecostomus) are generally fine with loaches.>
This morning the dojo
(Gordie) was prone in the tank, no visible gill movement. I lifted him and he was very stiff but wiggled a little bit against the stiffness - last stage of life?? No gill movement at all, so I'm not sure what was going on but obviously not good. I prepared a side container, transferred him, then introduced the emulsified clove oil. Since there was no apparent gill movement, I just made sure there was plenty of it and let him rest in it for a while. No movement whatsoever during that period (eyes, gills, tails, nothing). Then I introduced vodka to make sure he would pass (if he hadn't already).
<Although often mentioned by aquarists, nothing written by *vets* mentions the use of alcohol in euthanising fish, and I'd therefore recommend it; the article I linked to last time was based on *veterinary* advice rather than aquaristic hear-say, which I think is important when we're taking about pain relief, sedation and painless destruction of animals.>
Very sad, he was a character, so much so he reminded me of a dolphin. I learned a valuable lesson and will do more studying on the type of fish I take on before bringing them home.
Thank you for your help.
<Sorry things didn't turn out any better. Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo loach eel and ich 6/18/2009
Hello Crew,
It's been yrs since I last emailed you guys for help & I am happy to report I have spent my teens & early 20s researching & gaining experience w/ my fish.
Sadly I made a beginners mistake by only QTing my new mollies for a week & noticing a few small spots 2 days later that I assumed to be ich.
<Do review the needs of Mollies:
Contrary to popular misconception, they aren't especially good additions to freshwater tanks, and are invariably hardier and easier to keep in brackish water conditions. Since the free-living stage of the Ick parasite is not able to live in brackish water, Mollies under such conditions aren't bothered by this disease.>
So I pulled the 2 with spots out & put them back in QT & dosed them with quICK cure, set up my 20 gallon & pulled my fire eel & dojo loach from the main tank & then treated my main tank also. This was 2 days ago and the spots on the mollies in QT are gone & no one else has shown any signs although I will continue treatment for another 3 days.
<With Loaches and Fire Eels, it's perfectly viable to treat your fish for Ick all at the same time, using the old salt/heat combination.>
My problem is that I am unsure what to do about the dojo & eel? They have shown no signs of ich and the temp in the 20g is 81 which I assumed would speed up the life cycle of ich & the fish would be showing some signs so I could know whether or not to treat them?
<Since these fish were exposed to the Ick-ridden Mollies, they should be treated accordingly. Make a brine solution in a jug containing warm water into which you add 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per US gallon of water in the aquarium. Once dissolved, pour into the outflow of the filter so it quickly mixes. Leave at the high temperature you have for about 2 weeks. This should kill any free-living parasites. The salinity is actually very low, and won't harm fish, plants or filter bacteria.>
There is so much conflicting information on ich & the life cycle, how long it can survive & at what temps & I have spent countless hours reading only leaving myself more confused! Should I leave the dojo & eel alone & watch them, or should I treat them with Coppersafe in the 20g then and them back to the main tank in a week after the quICK cure has been filtered out? I have never lost a fish to ich & I certainly don't want my fire eel to be my first.
<Spiny Eels and Loaches are both notoriously sensitive to some medications, so where possible, use salt plus heat method instead of copper- and formalin-based medications.>
I would like to get them in the main tank as soon as possible as I am currently maintaining 7 tanks. I cant give you any specifics on water quality as I do not test my water anymore. I do change 40-50% each week as the main tank is heavily stocked (7 female Bettas, 4 platy, 8 mollies, 2 swordtails, 2 Bala sharks, 1 Gourami, & before this the dojo loach & the eel 9" & fat as a garden hose!) a lot in a 50g & I did test for the 1st few months, things were stable w/ my water changes & I had no problems until this, which was caused by the new fish.
<Quite the mix.>
I would just also I to state that I got the Balas, eel, dojo, Gourami, and a 30g tank stuffed full of several other fish (2 black skirts tetras, a serpae, a glow light tetra, 3 Kuhlis, 2 big unidentified loaches, a killifish, 2 true SAE's, another Gourami, a beautiful but fairly aggressive male electric yellow cichlid and 9 of his off spring!) so you can see why some ended up in my main tank! Also I have been trying unsuccessfully to find suitable homes for the Bala sharks & the cichlids for nearly 2 months.
But the closet big city is Vegas & it is 90 miles away so I don't know what to do! I myself would never had bought the Balas as I know how big they get, however I have grown a bit fond of there peaceful nature & clicking sounds. (0: They are about 6 inches for nose to tail. Anyways this was a long email but this is really the only place I could look for help on what and not to do w/ the eel and dojo. And PLEASE if you know anyone who wants some fish send them my way! (0=
<Your best bet here is to join an online forum that includes members from your country; most have "buy, sell and swap" sections, through which members trade fish. The popular Tropical Fish Forums one for example has sections of this type for both UK and US hobbyists. Being a Brit myself, I really don't keep up to date with the fish swapping scene in the US, I'm afraid!>
Thanks for the help, Jenny
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: dojo loach eel and ich 6/18/09

thanks for the advice! I had originally started a salt, heat mix for the dojo and the eel. I had 21 teaspoons in my 20g so far and then I started feeling bad for my dojo as it was breathing rapidly so I took half the salt
<The salt was unlikely to be the reason the loach was breathing heavily; because Ick and Velvet parasites readily (perhaps preferentially?) attack the gill filaments, it's often the case that fish find it difficult to
breathe long before you see the tell-tale white cysts on the body of the fish.>
Also, I do keep salt in my main aquarium, though not to the point of brackish, 30 teaspoons in my 50 gallon.
<Unless you're keeping brackish water fish, there is absolutely no point to adding salt to a freshwater aquarium on a permanent basis. This is "old school" fishkeeping, where salt was used to detoxify nitrite and nitrate, which were often at high levels in aquaria through to the 1970s because of inadequate filtration and infrequent water changes. Like activated carbon, salt is redundant in freshwater aquaria run along modern principles: lots of filtration and weekly water changes of 25-50%. On the other hand, if you insist on keeping Mollies with freshwater fish, raising carbonate hardness and ensuring a stable pH around 7.5 to 8.0 will significantly help things, and because Mollies are so sensitive to nitrate, the use of small amounts of sodium chloride might be useful. But to be honest, I recommend against Mollies in community tanks; we get so many letters about sick Mollies, it's beyond a joke!>
I have never had any deaths besides of fry being eaten, they really have no chance with all the Bettas.
<I imagine your success with fish has more to do with good fishkeeping than the use of salt!>
So anyways I will try the salt/heat combo again. Do I need to keep the salt in the tank for a full 2 weeks?
<Yes; salt doesn't kill the Ick you see on the fish, but the free-living "babies" that emerge when the Ick cysts burst. Those cysts take a few days to a week to burst at tropical temperatures, so it's usual to run the tank
with salt in it for two weeks to minimise the chances of [a] any cysts not having burst; and [b] any free-living stages still being in the water.>
Thanks, Jenny
<Cheers, Neale.>

Dojo Loach, hlth. 4/9/09
So today I was cleaning my tank, and I noticed that Jimmy the Exploder, my year and a half old Dojo Loach had some strange bumps on her body, and her normally rounded tail was pointed, and there seemed to be something sharp sticking out of her tail.
<Mmm, the former are indication... oh, see the link below. The last... maybe Anchorworm... see WWM, the Net re>
I keep the PH and everything at a normal level, and they are fed once a day. I give them algae pellets, though they seem to ignore those at first and go for the bloodworms that the beta gets. There are two other loaches in there with her so she isn't lonely, but she seems to be the only one sick. Her scales are hard to see, though she does NOT look like a pine-cone, so I know it isn't Dropsy.
Any Advice?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojofaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

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