Clown loach underweight

Jack201

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Hello!

I bought three clown loach two months ago. Two are happy, and have actually doubled in size since I bought them.

The other is sickly, has hardly grown, and is very skinny. He also spends a lot of time resting. Twice I thought I was losing him because he seemed a bit delirious, but he’s bounced back both times. He’s started looking a bit off again, though.

Does anyone have any thoughts/experience? I’m really invested in these animals, as I know they can live a long time.

Some details:
I feed them a bunch of different dried foods and some blanched vegetables once a week or so.
90L tank
Parameters - everything very low. The water is very hard (I live in Berlin)

Thanks in advance.
 

LadfromLondon

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I’d start with exact parameters and tank mates. Also, the loach may be getting bullied by the other two or being out competed by the others for food. Have you assessed his behaviour to the other clown loaches/tank mates when it’s feeding time? Hope there’s a recovery! :)
 
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Jack201

Jack201

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TW2AQUATICS said:
I’d start with exact parameters and tank mates. Also, the loach may be getting bullied by the other two or being out competed by the others for food. Have you assessed his behaviour to the other clown loaches/tank mates when it’s feeding time? Hope there’s a recovery! :)
That's interesting... I had been feeding them extra to make sure he got some, but only a few days ago began feeding less because of algae problems. I'll go back to feeding the larger amount and see if there's a change.
I'm at work at the moment, but I'll do proper parameter test this evening. My last one, ~2 weeks ago, showed everything was standard w/o spikes: not having the numbers in front of me, I can't remember exactly what they were.
 

A201

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As long as the CL continues to eat likely no worries. He's probably at the bottom of the social heirarchy. The hard water probably isn't a major factor. Your tank might be a little cramped, even for juvenile CL's.
 

AvalancheDave

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Talked to a fish vet about this a while ago and he said it was due to nematodes. I don't know if it's 100% correct but it's a good starting point.

It's definitely not normal.
 

86 ssinit

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Pictures will help. Is it small and thin or just smaller? You’ve got about a 20g tank and cl can get to 10+ inches. It’s recomended to get a 4’-6’ long tank for them. I’ve never heard of them bullying one of there own. They’re usually very social. I believe the male is smaller than the female. So that may be a male.
 
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Jack201

Jack201

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Hello, just to come back to this several days on: unfortunately, he had passed that evening by the time I got home. Given that the other two remain healthy, and I haven't experienced other deaths, I think this was probably a case of bullying or just being a 'runt', if such a thing exists among fish. Thank you everyone who offered advice.
 

AvalancheDave

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I've been keeping clown loaches for 18 years and have never seen any real bullying let alone resulting in a fish starving to death.

There's some kind of wasting disease that clown loach owners have dubbed "skinny disease." I'm not sure what causes it (and there may in fact be multiple causes) but many seem to believe it's caused by nematodes.

Regardless, I'm fairly certain it's a disease.
 

jake37

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I'd just like to point out when i started my clown loaches all were under weight but the one that was the skinnest was extremely aggressive around food to the point of attacking anything that came near what he was eating. Once they put on weight they become more opportunistic around food. As long as you are putting in food he can get to (i.e, pellets) generally speaking if he is hungry he will make an effort to eat.

This make me suspect he is ill in some fashion that is inhibiting his ability to either eat or use the nutrient he eats.

TW2AQUATICS said:
I’d start with exact parameters and tank mates. Also, the loach may be getting bullied by the other two or being out competed by the others for food. Have you assessed his behaviour to the other clown loaches/tank mates when it’s feeding time? Hope there’s a recovery! :)
 

AvalancheDave

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A fish vet who keeps clown loaches himself told me "skinny disease" was caused by nematodes. Personally, I'm not 100% sure but it's probably the first thing to treat for.

Animals can waste away as a symptom of disease even if eating reasonably well.
 

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Jack201 said:
Hello, just to come back to this several days on: unfortunately, he had passed that evening by the time I got home. Given that the other two remain healthy, and I haven't experienced other deaths, I think this was probably a case of bullying or just being a 'runt', if such a thing exists among fish. Thank you everyone who offered advice.
Please keep in mind that they will eventually need a VERY large tank, the minimum tank size for them is recommended to be 75 gallons.
 

jake37

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If they get very large; they will need something a whole lot larger than a 75. For a beefy adult you might have to think in terms of 200g min and 500g+. I've only seen 2 or 3 really large ones (over 1 foot); but the two i've seen have been truely large (they are extremely beefy fish). One was being kept in a tank that is 12x3x3 (feet) the other i don't remember as it was a long long time ago.

Bloodfeather said:
Please keep in mind that they will eventually need a VERY large tank, the minimum tank size for them is recommended to be 75 gallons.
 

Bloodfeather

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jake37 said:
If they get very large; they will need something a whole lot larger than a 75. For a beefy adult you might have to think in terms of 200g min and 500g+. I've only seen 2 or 3 really large ones (over 1 foot); but the two i've seen have been truely large (they are extremely beefy fish). One was being kept in a tank that is 12x3x3 (feet) the other i don't remember as it was a long long time ago.
The typical adult size in an aquarium is usually around 8" to my knowledge.
 

FinalFins

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Bloodfeather said:
The typical adult size in an aquarium is usually around 8" to my knowledge.
You have some wild caught ones that are around a foot and with good care a regular pet store one can get to a foot also. Nobody ever sees foot long clown loaches.
 

jake37

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The one our local lfs has was purchased as a small one (2 inch) about 15 years ago. I should measure it but i think it is around 14 or 15 inches long and at least 6 inches wide. There are several people on fishlore that have had them for much longer periods but none have mentioned actual size. The one i'm talking about is a female; the males are noticeably smaller. There are also at least 3 different types of clown loaches (different regions). They differ slightly in pattern and in average adult size. I forget the third one but one is borneo and another is sumatra.

FinalFins said:
You have some wild caught ones that are around a foot and with good care a regular pet store one can get to a foot also. Nobody ever sees foot long clown loaches.
 

A201

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A former FL member kept a group of CL's in a 180 gal. tank for approx. a decade. I believe they were all under 9 inches. They apparently are slow growers.
 

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I have a small Clown Loach that was struggling at first. It survived by looking in the corners for food. The others ignored the tank corners. All have reached 26 years of age.

Minimum tank size for six Clown Loaches is 180g and 6' x 2' x 2'.

Minimum shoal size is six (preferably many more).

Smaller tanks induce stunting.

I know of someone who kept them long term in a 3ft tank and they only grew to 4", though they were long lived and appeared healthy.

Wild fish in the rivers of Borneo are typically 8 - 10" according to research I have read.

Marc Legendre caught 3,000 Clown Loaches in the Musi River, Sumatra, and measured and weighed them all. Only one reached a foot.

However, I have seen and believe they are capable of exceptionally reaching 14" but I have only seen wild ones of this size from Sumatra.

This is a picture of my 11.5" female.
17.12.31 Chromobotia macracanthus Clown Loach 6' aquarium Steve Joul (13) - Cropped Copy.jpg
 

A201

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Great achievement raising a healthy group for that amount of time. Awsome CL, she is worth an unbelievable amount of money. Quite a few CL enthusiasts out there looking for a chance to buy a monster sized CL.
 

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