Clown Loach in trouble?

  • #1
HI all,
I'm not really sure if this is disease, but there is something going on so maybe someone can help. I inherited this tank a month ago when we did a 50% water change due to the move, and I did a 25% water change more recently, both with dechlorinator from the LFS. I have a 30 gallon (I think) bow front tank with 7 tetras (white skirt, I think), a koi angelfish and three clown loaches, two medium sized, a little over an inch, and one smaller one. I am looking for a bigger home for the loaches, but nothing yet. I don't know water stats as I haven't been able to get my hands on a test kit.

The fish were fed flakes until about a week ago when they went on bloodworms only until I could give them flakes again today. They seemed to do fine on that (I tried zucchinI but didn't know what to do with it, so I'll have to try again sometime). So today some time following the first feeding of flakes again we noticed the two larger loaches fighting, one seemed to attack the other at his mouth. The one being attacked definitely seems in trouble. He shakes a bit, his mouth is white and swollen? puffy?, definitely bigger then usual (we don't usually see anything but the barbs at the edge) and he's swimming strangely, and when hit by the other loach sort of floating or falling onto him.

We saw something like this before when I turned off the air pump for some reason and accidentally left it off for a day. People had said it shouldn't be an issue, but I saw both the loaches were shaking and fighting and once I put it back on and opened the hood for a bit all was good. I just now raised the level of the air pump and opened the hood just in case that would help, but the one I'm worried about is spending a lot of time hiding now, so I can't tell how he is.

I was hoping someone could let me know if they've seen these symptoms and what they mean. I will try to get a test kit, or bring water to the LFS, but I won't be able to do anything until tomorrow.

Thanks for any advice or suggestions.
  • #2
Is he turning gray?
if so, they are probably old enough to establish a pecking order.
  • #3
Well, maybe the water stats are making them "insane". I had an issue like that before. I had a 30 gal and,kept two clown loaches with a bunch of other fishes. I think they are getting mature enough to start establishing territory. Sometimes clown loaches are not always leaceful... I suggest upgrade to a bigger tank. You said you have a Koi angelfish in there, maybe when no one's,looking it attacks and stresses them out. Maybe once you get a bigger tank, things will go well. I mean, maybe its stress. How big is your Angelfish?
If he is turning gray, I suggest separate him. It seems as if the other one is going insane. Btw, sometimes clown loaches "play dead".

-Cacret, Dapper King xD lol swag dapper
  • #4
The topic should have been posted in the Clown Loach section of the forum where it would have been easier for Clown Loach owners to spot.

These are tiny Clown Loaches not medium if they are just over an inch!

As suggested by Plecomaker, given good water conditions it would be normal for Clown Loaches to fight to establish a pecking order. It is possible for these fights to go on for a long time and with a small number of fish for one individual to bear the brunt of all the aggression.

Ideally Clown Loaches would be in an aquarium at least four times the volume of yours and in a shoal of at least six. However, I don't think this is necessarily the cause of your problem now.

The shaking and falling into one another I recognise from the fights between my own fish.

Ideally you hope for these fights to subside and for the shoal to live relatively peacefully when each member knows their place in the pecking order but it doesn't always happen like that.

If you are set on Clown Loaches as your main fish it would be worth getting a larger shoal and planning for larger accomodation (as you say). If you then had a problem with an individual fish then you could remove or replace it.

However, I would advise that my two females used to fight regularly over many years and this only subsided when they reached 17 years of age. They were always friends again after the activity and sat side by side. Two of my males had the most violent fight imaginable which lasted several hours, but all was peaceful afterwards.

Now the fish are 21 there is a definite pecking order and fights no longer take place. There is sometimes what I take to be mating behaviour but never any eggs are laid.
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
thanks for all your responses. as I mentioned they have done this before and then go back to being friends, laying side by side in their hiding spot. so sounds like it is just the pecking order. After an hour or so they seemed to settle down today.

Actually after I wrote this I went to check them out again and I think they are more like two inches each, with the smaller one about an inch, I would love to get a bigger tank, but I don't think I can, so i'm looking for another home for them. The Koi is big, probably 2.5 inches tall or so (for the body, more with the fins) and definitely picks on the loaches on occasion, but they usually get away from him.

I took the whole tank with the fish included when I bought it, so one day I hope to restock it with a bunch of little fish that can have some nice size shoals. Whenever that time comes I'll do some research to see what will work well. until then I'll try to care for these guys and find them the right situation when I can

Thanks again for your reassuring info. Happy fish keeping!

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