Hillstream loach is always hiding

Crab67

I have a hillstream loach and it is the black/brown with white spots kind. Ever since I got it, it has always been hiding, I’m not sure if it is unhappy or if this is something they do? Sometimes its wedged between the filter, and I shone a light on it and its mouth was moving, however most of the time I have no idea where it is. I think it hides in this decoration, but I haven’t seen it in like 3 days and I’m worried it will die and I won’t know about it. I haven’t been feeding it, I tried cucumber but it never found it, or were too scared to come out into the open to eat it. My tank is 15g and it has a lot of plants, it doesnt have a air stone, but my filter drops water like a fountain and so I think that puts oxygen in the water. Its tank mates are platy, betta and tetra. The temp is 24°C as I don’t want to go any lower because of my other fish. If you know anything about the fish or how I can make sure it’s happy please let me know.
 

MacZ

Crab67

Hillstream Loaches - The Specialists at Life In The Fast Lane — Loaches Online
Sewellia lineolata – Tiger Hillstream Loach (Balitora lineolata, Sewellia songboensis) — Seriously Fish

Did you research the species before getting it? The info you give sounds like your tank is not suitable. The points you are bringing up, though, makes me think you have researchd by now and know the tank is not suitable.

My advice: Rehome the fish or make the tank suitable. No way inbetween.
yes..I admit I didn’t research before hand. I have been trying to make it more suitable by dropping temp to 24 but I am unsure what else I can do. It is impossible to catch, they swim so fast you like blink and it’s gone.
 

V1K

Other than the tank being a bit too small, it doesn't sound too terrible. How soon after getting it did you reduce the temperature? If you kept it in too warm of a tank for a long time, its health may have deteriorated irreversibly. How long did you have it? In my experience they are very shy for a week or so, but hen not shy at all. Another thing is, they are a shoaling species, so they feel more confident in larger numbers - which is unfortunately out of question in your tank. Given time, it should become more confident even being alone. I had a group of them but unfortunately I was unsuccessful and all but one died over time. The one that remains now seems perfectly fine being alone, and isn't shy at all.
In my experience they couldn't care less about cucumbers. One veggie they like is deshelled frozen peas. Other than that they eat pleco tabs and other sinking fish food.

Could you upload a picture of the tank, to see how the environment looks like. They like to graze on flat stones, flat wood, or wide leaves. If your tank only has stuff like fine leaf plants, gravel and spiderwood, it might not have suitable grazing surfaces.
 

Crab67

Other than the tank being a bit too small, it doesn't sound too terrible. How soon after getting it did you reduce the temperature? If you kept it in too warm of a tank for a long time, its health may have deteriorated irreversibly. How long did you have it? In my experience they are very shy for a week or so, but hen not shy at all. Another thing is, they are a shoaling species, so they feel more confident in larger numbers - which is unfortunately out of question in your tank. Given time, it should become more confident even being alone. I had a group of them but unfortunately I was unsuccessful and all but one died over time. The one that remains now seems perfectly fine being alone, and isn't shy at all.
In my experience they couldn't care less about cucumbers. One veggie they like is deshelled frozen peas. Other than that they eat pleco tabs and other sinking fish food.

Could you upload a picture of the tank, to see how the environment looks like. They like to graze on flat stones, flat wood, or wide leaves. If your tank only has stuff like fine leaf plants, gravel and spiderwood, it might not have suitable grazing surfaces.
Hey, thank you so much for replying. Unfortunately I am not at home, but I will post a photo later. I got it exactly a week ago, and the temperature was 25-26, but I decreased it instantly as I researched it when it was acclimating. I think it’s okay in that sense though as I have seen it on the glass behind the filter and when I shined a torch on it I could see his mouth moving. So I believe it is eating, but I am worried about whethe he is eating enough/varied diet. How to you make sure yours eats the peas/pellets you feed him and not any other greedy fish in the tank? I think mine would just ignore any food I put in the tank for him.
 

V1K

How to you make sure yours eats the peas/pellets you feed him and not any other greedy fish in the tank? I think mine would just ignore any food I put in the tank for him.
I just give enough peas/pellets for all the greedy fish AND the hillstream loach. If it's still too slow to get to food in time, you may try feeding less frequently, but more abundantly - so that it takes longer for other fish to eat it all. Within reason of course, you don't want to burry your tank in food.
 

Crab67

Could you upload a picture of the tank, to see how the environment looks like.

This is my fish tank, the decoration is fake wood. I bought some real wood, rosewood on the weekend, but it’s still leeching a lot of tannins. I found the loach as well, and attached a picture of her/him, I have no idea how to gender them. (Its not actually behind the filter for once, but very close maybe it’s gaining confidence :D)
image.jpg
image.jpg
 

V1K

This is my fish tank, the decoration is fake wood. I bought some real wood, rosewood on the weekend, but it’s still leeching a lot of tannins. I found the loach as well, and attached a picture of her/him, I have no idea how to gender them. (Its not actually behind the filter for once, but very close maybe it’s gaining confidence :D)


image.jpg
image.jpg
Looks like a boy. And a skinny one, if I'm seeing it right. Hopefully he starts eating soon, because if he doesn't, his chances aren't good. In my tank, the loaches sitting in one area and not eating were usually a sign they will die within a month or so.

The artificial wood looks too rough for grazing, a natural wood of similar size would be better for it, or any other bottom feeder you may have in the future (btw your tank looks like a good place for a small school of some of the smaller corydoras, they like sandy tanks like this). The stones and the plant on the right look like nice grazing surfaces. If you could add even more of those stones it would be good. I've noticed that the rocks are very clean, how long has the tank itself been running?
 

Crab67

Looks like a boy. And a skinny one, if I'm seeing it right. Hopefully he starts eating soon, because if he doesn't, his chances aren't good. In my tank, the loaches sitting in one area and not eating were usually a sign they will die within a month or so.

The artificial wood looks too rough for grazing, a natural wood of similar size would be better for it, or any other bottom feeder you may have in the future (btw your tank looks like a good place for a small school of some of the smaller corydoras, they like sandy tanks like this). The stones and the plant on the right look like nice grazing surfaces. If you could add even more of those stones it would be good. I've noticed that the rocks are very clean, how long has the tank itself been running?
it has been running for 4 weeks, I am new to owning fish. It’s sad to hear that you think he’s skinny :( it means need to figure out how to feed him ASAP, I think I will try put some deshelled frozen peas in for him tonight. And I’ll have a look at the corydora, thanks for the recommendation I haven’t heard of them before.

image.jpgpea
 

DoubleDutch

I noticed that mine scavage powdered food from surfaces. Also I think it probably needs some company.
 

Crab67

I noticed that mine scavage powdered food from surfaces. Also I think it probably needs some company.
how did you get powdered food on surfaces? im really having trouble getting mine to eat, if I shoved brine shrimps I front of him do you think he would eat it? Or dried blood worm. I can’t tell if he doesn’t want the food or if he just can’t see it
 

V1K

how did you get powdered food on surfaces?
Well, if you crush some flakes etc underwater, some of those particles ought to sink - they are too small for fish to take out of the water column.

Hillstream loaches aren't the sharpest tools in the shed when it comes to feeding, even by fish standards, so they don't react to feeding time as fast as other fish. BUT in your case I don't think that's the biggest issue, as your loach doesn't try to scavenge ever. If he was like, late to the party and tried getting some food half an hour after all the fish have eaten, I'd say he's just a dumbo that needs some help. But from what you've written so far, he just sits in one spot and never tries to scavenge. Which would suggest it's not food availability that is an issue. It's either stress (and hopefully he'll get over it), or he's sick (and will probably die).
 

DoubleDutch


The tiny particles will divide all over the place.
 

Crab67

Well, if you crush some flakes etc underwater, some of those particles ought to sink - they are too small for fish to take out of the water column.

Hillstream loaches aren't the sharpest tools in the shed when it comes to feeding, even by fish standards, so they don't react to feeding time as fast as other fish. BUT in your case I don't think that's the biggest issue, as your loach doesn't try to scavenge ever. If he was like, late to the party and tried getting some food half an hour after all the fish have eaten, I'd say he's just a dumbo that needs some help. But from what you've written so far, he just sits in one spot and never tries to scavenge. Which would suggest it's not food availability that is an issue. It's either stress (and hopefully he'll get over it), or he's sick (and will probably die).
So you don’t think there is anything I could really do? I made it so his favourite spot was unavailable hoping that would force him to try swim around find somewhere else maybe see food overnight that I left out. And he did vanish, but in the morning I felt bad and moved the filter back again. And sure enough he was there again without fail. It’s like he has some magical filter gap sense, maybe I should try shove crushed flakes down there? He hasn’t even touched the stones or sand, he’s always attached to the glass by the filter, or attached to the inside of the decoration. So putting peas or food on the floor seems pointless.
 

V1K

It’s like he has some magical filter gap sense, maybe I should try shove crushed flakes down there?
I know some pleco tabs can be stuck to the glass. You get them wet, and then you press them against the glass and they stay there, at least for a while. You could try something like that at the spot he hangs out. If that doesn't get his attention, then I'm really out of ideas.
 

Crab67

I know some pleco tabs can be stuck to the glass. You get them wet, and then you press them against the glass and they stay there, at least for a while. You could try something like that at the spot he hangs out. If that doesn't get his attention, then I'm really out of ideas.
Thanks for your help I’ll try that, it sounds good.
 

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