Kuhli Loach: Erratic Swimming & Fast Breathing

Ayzal

It’s been about a week since I got this group of 6, but just this one keeps swimming erratically around. It would swim to the top and sometimes almost launch itself out of the tank. It would also try to wedge itself between the weir teeth on the overflow box or just lay flat against them.

I trapped it in this breeder box to observe it and take photos but it’s now back in the main tank. I couldn’t uploaded a video, but here is the link showing the swimming. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Temp: 79-80
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5.0 (hard to tell with color but it’s between these 2)
pH: 7-7.2
 

Aquarium77

I have 6 kuhli loaches as well, they usually swim really fast up and down the tank sides. From what I remember they are known to jump as well, mine have tried a couple times. Kuhli's also like to hide and wedge into narrow spaces, like mine love to hid under my sponge filter. In the video when the kuhli loach is swimming, mine do that all the time, and their pretty healthy, had them a month and half with no issues so far, so I wouldn't be too concerned, just keep and eye out for anything else just in case.
 
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JuDom

It’s been about a week since I got this group of 6, but just this one keeps swimming erratically around. It would swim to the top and sometimes almost launch itself out of the tank. It would also try to wedge itself between the weir teeth on the overflow box or just lay flat against them.

I trapped it in this breeder box to observe it and take photos but it’s now back in the main tank. I couldn’t uploaded a video, but here is the link showing the swimming. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Temp: 79-80
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5.0 (hard to tell with color but it’s between these 2)
pH: 7-7.2
Hi There! :)
I think you shouldn’t worry too much right now as they are still settling in to your tank. It is very common for fish to “glass surf” or swim erratically at first.
From what I’ve heard about loaches, they are a little quirky and swim in crazy patterns that people have politely deemed the “loach dance” which I think is cute.
As long as your water parameters are good, I’d give him time to settle in.
He should calm down soon :)
 
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Ayzal

Okay, thank you. I was afraid it broke something or injured the gills with all the fast breathing. I’ve never seen it eat either, so I’ve been on nerves watching it.
 
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Ayzal

Update: I checked just now and there’s red edges to it’s tail? Is this fin rot, septicemia, or some bacterial disease?
 
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JuDom

Update: I checked just now and there’s red edges to it’s tail? Is this fin rot, septicemia, or some bacterial disease?
Hi again.
I’d recommend getting him in QT if possible.
With the redness of his tail fin, I would imagine it to be some sort of bacterial thing which he very well could have come home to you with and now it’s manifesting.
Could be columnaris, although I don’t see white patches. Or potentially Aeromonas which is another bacterial disease with symptoms of hemorrhagic septicemia and fin rot.
I hope someone else chimes in on this because I’ve never kept loaches and I’m really not 100% certain..
But my recommendation to put him in QT still stands. Do you have any bacterial remedies on hand?
 
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Ayzal

They just came to my LFS maybe a week. I have ich-x, maracyn, maracyn 2, paracleanse, and em erythromycin.
 
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JuDom

They just came to my LFS maybe a week. I have ich-x, maracyn, maracyn 2, paracleanse, and em erythromycin.
The conditions that fish are kept in(usually;barring some private breeders) between being born and coming home with us are typically less than ideal.
Their tanks are heavily stocked and it’s the “perfect storm” of elements that can cause bacterial infections in fish very easily.
I’m honestly surprised that none of the other loaches are showing any symptoms?

I believe Maracyn would be a good med to try because that would heal columnaris.
So, get him in QT and start dosing him with that..making sure that the dose is accurate for the volume of water you’re adding it to. If he shows signs of improvement, you know it’s bacterial based. If not, we have to continue to examine his symptoms and find another avenue...I do believe it should help tho

I wouldn’t recommend dosing your whole tank because firstly, that’s a lot of meds and secondly, no reason to dose healthy fish.

Still hoping for some others to chime in on this as I’m not 100% in my diagnosis.
 
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Ayzal

The conditions that fish are kept in(usually;barring some private breeders) between being born and coming home with us are typically less than ideal.
Their tanks are heavily stocked and it’s the “perfect storm” of elements that can cause bacterial infections in fish very easily.
I’m honestly surprised that none of the other loaches are showing any symptoms?

I believe Maracyn would be a good med to try because that would heal columnaris.
So, get him in QT and start dosing him with that..making sure that the dose is accurate for the volume of water you’re adding it to. If he shows signs of improvement, you know it’s bacterial based. If not, we have to continue to examine his symptoms and find another avenue...I do believe it should help tho

I wouldn’t recommend dosing your whole tank because firstly, that’s a lot of meds and secondly, no reason to dose healthy fish.

Still hoping for some others to chime in on this as I’m not 100% in my diagnosis.
Okay, I’ll start that. Thank you for the advice!
 
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JuDom

Okay, I’ll start that. Thank you for the advice!
You’re very welcome. I hope you find success and that your kuhli gets better soon.
Come back and update as you go. :)
And please make sure you dose the medicine appropriately to the size QT tank that you have. It’s so easy to overdose by accident and that could prove fatal. Best of luck!
 
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Ayzal

Here is day 4 on the maracyn. I lost a day on treating him because I couldn’t find him in the tank, but he’s in a separate hospital tank by himself.

The breathing is more normal now, but he’s losing scales? That’s the fading color? The tip of his tail is no longer red at least. He still hasn’t eaten anything since I’ve gotten him.
 
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JuDom

Here is day 4 on the maracyn. I lost a day on treating him because I couldn’t find him in the tank, but he’s in a separate hospital tank by himself.

The breathing is more normal now, but he’s losing scales? That’s the fading color? The tip of his tail is no longer red at least. He still hasn’t eaten anything since I’ve gotten him.
Hi, again.
I do see that the redness has depleted..but he does seem to be losing his color in some spots.
I’m still not 100% on what’s wrong..:(
Any chance you could provide him with a place to hide within the QT space? I know they like to hide and that might help with his stress levels which would in turn speed up his recovery process.
 
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Ayzal

Hi, again.
I do see that the redness has depleted..but he does seem to be losing his color in some spots.
I’m still not 100% on what’s wrong..:(
Any chance you could provide him with a place to hide within the QT space? I know they like to hide and that might help with his stress levels which would in turn speed up his recovery process.
Could the color fading be him actually losing scales? He was hiding in dragon stone before in tight places in the DT. He has smooth stones in the QT now where he hides most of the time. Now he likes laying on top of the filter sponge.

I’m worried that he isn’t eating too. How long can they go without food?

Today will be day 5 of maracyn dosing, so I’ll do a partial water change tomorrow and do a second regimen of maracyn. Thank you so much for your help so far!
 
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JuDom

Could the color fading be him actually losing scales? He was hiding in dragon stone before in tight places in the DT. He has smooth stones in the QT now where he hides most of the time. Now he likes laying on top of the filter sponge.

I’m worried that he isn’t eating too. How long can they go without food?

Today will be day 5 of maracyn dosing, so I’ll do a partial water change tomorrow and do a second regimen of maracyn. Thank you so much for your help so far!

Kuhlis actually don’t have scales. They have a slightly different kind of slime coat than the average fish which they occasionally shed the way a snake would.
Do you have any frozen foods you can offer him? Even the most stubborn of eaters will go for a good portion of frozen bloodworms IMO.
 
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Ayzal

Kuhlis actually don’t have scales. They have a slightly different kind of slime coat than the average fish which they occasionally shed the way a snake would.
Do you have any frozen foods you can offer him? Even the most stubborn of eaters will go for a good portion of frozen bloodworms IMO.
Oh, did not know that!

I have frozen brine shrimp only. I will get some bloodworms after work today.
 
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JuDom

Oh, did not know that!

I have frozen brine shrimp only. I will get some bloodworms after work today.
The brine shrimp could work also. But anything to get him to eat is what you’re aiming for.

Keep me updated. :)
 
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Ayzal

Update: I did two rounds of the maracyn and it worked! His coloration is back to normal and he finally started eating too! He’s strong enough to move the rocks around too. I’ll keep him in the QT another day or two just to make sure he’s fully alright before adding him back to the main tank. Thank you so much for your help!
 
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JuDom

Oh yay! :D I’m so happy to hear that!
He looks great. And you’re very welcome.

Happy Holidays!
 
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Ayzal

I've added him back to the main tank and he's doing really well. He's joined the other group and I see them swimming about together like crazy! I can't catch a picture of them, but all the color is back to normal.
 
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JuDom

*does the “loach dance” in celebration*

Great news! Back with his family just in time for the holidays! :D
 
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