FAQs About Dojos, Weatherfishes
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 5, Dojo/Weatherfishes 1,
Dojos/Weatherfishes 2, & FAQs on:
Dojos/Weatherfishes Reproduction, &
Clown Loaches, &
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
I did recently acquire some new plants, so I'm not sure if that's the
<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
Using liquid fertilizers with dojo loaches
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
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
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
chatting. Bob Fenner>
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.
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.
Dear WetWebMedia crew,
I have two freshwater weather loaches who currently share my fish tank
three Oranda goldfish and I noticed that the larger one has developed
lumps on the sides of it's neck.
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>
Miss Rachel F
Dojo Loach issues!
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
<I encourage you to read on WWM re; and do partial change outs weekly
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
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?
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)
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
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
All the best,
<And you; Bob Fenner>
Gold dojo with strange holes in it
Hi we just got our power back yesterday after seven days of an
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
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
Thank you for your quick reply. It is much appreciated.
<All sounds good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gold dojo with strange holes in it
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
<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
<Thanks for the kind words. Neale.>
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
<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.
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
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
<<Need a bio-filter... at least sponge, box... and to monitor ammonia,
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
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
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
re: Golden weather loach, spiny eels as well
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
I am planning on moving the tinfoil barb's to their own much bigger tank
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.
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 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.
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
<There's your answer.>
He shares the tank with an ordinary goldfish. The loach is super
healthy, it seems,
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
<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
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
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!
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
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.
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 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
<Much more/too tropical than these other species. A poor choice to mix
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:
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.
<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.
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.
<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
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?)
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...
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Lump on my Dojo (Bob, Glugea, or something
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
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
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,
*Weather Loach Question* (Bob, need some help
here)<<Actually, you're fine>>
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. . .
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
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.
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
<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 treated her with the Copper Safe from Sunday, 10/23, to
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
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!
<Sorry I can't offer anything definite. The nice folks
over at Loaches Online might be able to offer something more
P.S. I'm attaching a picture of Maggie and Molly prior to all
of this occurring. . .
Re: *Weather Loach Question*, hlth.
I'd like to thank you for your very fast response. I really
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
<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
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
I was hoping that the Fungus Guard would do something for her
swim bladder issue, but it has gotten worse over the last 24
<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
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
Itchy Weather Loach
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
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
Constant readings using Nutrafin Test Kit at:
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.
Dojo Swollen, reading -
Hello. I have a Dojo that swelled up about three weeks ago. The entire
<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
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,
Hello, Crew -
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'¦
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
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'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
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Dojo Question (RMF, any ideas?)
This is excellent information. I am very grateful for your
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.
<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
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
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.
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
Avoid copper or formalin-based medications. Remove carbon while using
Dojo Loach with Fin Rot
Hello, My name is J-P and I have a Dojo loach with the initial stages
of Fin Rot.
Size: 500 gal separated into 6 units
<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.>
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
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
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,
Re: Dojo Loach with Fin Rot
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
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
<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
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
Anyway, in my terms, 0.4 mm. That doesn't sound like very
There are no signs of bloody fins, parasites, holes, fish lice or
Other than the weird shape it looks great and eats everything it
<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
resilient, and given good conditions repair themselves without
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
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
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
Thank you for any info you can provide.
Re: "gold dojo" "old
age", one of your web pages 12/3/09
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
<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
Anyway, in my terms, 0.4 mm. That doesn't sound like very
lol, It's small, but it definitely sticks out farther horizontally
than the sides of the fish.
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
<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
<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
The latest news is one of my balloon belly mollies died last
week, the one that gave birth a few weeks earlier.
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
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
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)
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
Day 6, I tested the water
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)
<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
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)
<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.
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.>
ammonia read .25 or less
Nitrate the test strip was faintly pink, but basically zero
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.>
added three red serpae tetras (from my 10 gallon tank)
<Why adding fish?>
Day 23 and Day 24
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
added 55 mL bacteria
Nitrite and Nitrate both at 0
added 3 Rasbora tetras, changed Right filter
8 gallon water change
8 gallon water change
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:
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
I feed with:
TetraMin Tropical Tablets, "the rich mix for bottom
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:
2 black neon tetras
3 cardinal tetras
1 balloon molly
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
I think in my original email to you (or it is in the Disease
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
<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
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?
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
Thank you so much,
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
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
re: a continuing problem with sick dojo loach, and now
my emerald green Cory cat has the same illness
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
<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
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
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
<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
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
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
<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
<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
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
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
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
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
<Didn't. If all else fails, try some free image hosting
service such as Flickr, and include the link in your
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
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
Thanks again for your help. I have a few final questions
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
Can I treat the main tank with anything to make sure there
isn't anything lurking in there waiting to cause more
<Right now, I'd finish the cause of meds you're on,
and then concentrate on providing good, stable water
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
<Should heal within a few weeks, should conditions
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
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
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
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.>
Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying?
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
<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
very worried about him . Any help you guys/gals could provide would be
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?
Hello again if it's Neale and simply hello if
<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
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
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
<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
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
<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
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
very worried about him . Any help you guys/gals could provide would be
<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!
Re: Dojo/Weather loach, is he dying?
temp 22C, ammonia 0, nitrite 0 no nitrate test ph 7.2
Thank-you Neale for your earlier response.
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
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
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
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
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
bear in mind the boundary between Finrot and Septicaemia is a narrow
one, and Septicaemia is difficult to treat. So prompt action is
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.
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!
Re: emergency - dojo loach not well with
blood in whiskers.... -- 08/04/09
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
Do see here:
I am of course attached to the loaches and truly want to save him if I
Thank you for your time.
<At this point, euthanasia is probably the only sensible, humane
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.>
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
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
Also is lava rock safe for Dojo loaches or will they cut themselves on
<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
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
It is a very sad day...
Injured Golden Dojo - HELP!
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
<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
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:
Re: Injured Golden Dojo - HELP!
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. :/
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,
Dojo loach eel and ich
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
<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
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
<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!
<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
Re: dojo loach eel and ich
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
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
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.
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dojofaqs.htm