Clown Loach Tank Mates

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by LT Connell, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. LT ConnellNew MemberMember

    Super glad I found this forum! I posted the other day, asking for recommendations for our new tank; however, in the interim, we have loosened up on our restrictions as to WHAT we want to go in with our Clown Loaches.

    History - we currently have 1 CL in a 75g tank with various community fish. Note: he's still a juvenile, so no space issues yet.

    New Tank - we are in the process of doing a fishless cycle on a new 300g tank (72 x 36 x 27). This will eventually house the CL and his buddies (when we buy them). Question #1 - how many loaches are recommended in a group? Question #2 - are there any varieties of Cichlids that would make good tankmakes for the loaches?

    We have relatively alkaline water (good for the cichlids) and also hard water. We live in Florida where most clowns are bred in similar water conditions as to what we have (well water). Actually from my understanding most water in Florida is hard with a high ph.

    Any input would be appreciated.
  2. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    You have lots of options! I would go for around 6-10 clown loaches, keeping their adult size in mind.

    Lots of cichlids would work. What kind did you want? There are hundreds of species in the hobby, and not all want/need hard water, but most all can adapt and thrive in it, so you don't need to worry about changing it.
  3. LT ConnellNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the input. I am very new to Cichlid keeping, so I truly an open to options, but every aquarium store I go to has different suggestions for us.....Probably more interested in the less aggressive species. Also, we put gravel as our substrate, so if they require sand that would be an issue.

    Not sure the tank can hold 6-10 CL's though. LOL I probably couldn't afford the food bill either! The one I have now is a little piglet at mealtime.
  4. TexasDomerFishlore LegendMember

    A 300 gal could hold 6 - with schooling and shoaling species, you can usually add a few more without worry. If you want to be on the smaller side, just stock with 6. They appreciate big groups, and you have room for it.

    Is sand totally not possible? You can get some sand very cheaply ($8 for 50 lbs, and you'd need around 6 or so bags), and it's much easier to keep clean than gravel. Not to mention, it's better for so many fish (I don't know of any fish that prefers gravel).
  5. Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    In my opinion it would be better for the fish if you avoid territorial cichlids because Clown Loaches don't respect territories and will swim not only into cichlid territories but also bump into the cichlids themselves and treat them as fellow Clown Loaches. I believe this stresses territorial cichlids which expect their space to be respected and don't relish the rough and tumble of loachy life. Also, many cichlids are too aggressive for the milder temperament of Clown Loaches.

    I'd say shoals of dither fish such as large tetras make the best Clown Loach companions, providing colour and movement in the upper tank zone. This ensures there is something to see if the Clown Loaches retire to their hiding places and they indicate that it is safe to come out when the Clown Loaches want to venture out. A Sailfin or Common Pleco may be useful if you have abundant algae as this would keep it under control. A single Red-tailed Black Sharks or Rainbow Shark seems to be a good choice if you think it enhances the display with its different colour and activity.

    Clown Loaches grow very slowly so it will take many years for them to reach their maximum size, assuming you purchase the usual small specimens that are available. 24 years in my case. There may be the option of importing large individuals from the wild at great expense and questionable morality (these are the wild breeding stock). The mortality of these large wild fish is high so importing them is also risky. Growing your own is best and can result in better looking fish. I'd avoid the hormone bred fish (if still available) as the ones I've seen were poor quality (having snub noses and questionable body shapes), though the variable stripe patterns were a novelty. Take care to get good coloured specimens at the start. My first purchased fish is a washed out colour.