Making my loaches and corys happy

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BlackwaterRat

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Hi all! I have a stocking question today...

Back in May I adopted a 55 gallon tank from an older couple moving out of state. So far I've kept everything the same while we all adjusted to each other. Now that things are going pretty well, I've been trying to decide if I should add some buddies to make them happier. Here's why...

Current residents: an 8-year-old pleco (about 8 inches long), a 6-year-old pleco (about 5 inches), 3 zebra loaches and 2 clown loaches (all around 5-years-old and 3-4 inches long), and 3 corys of mixed species (oldest is about 5 and 3 inches, the other two are 3 and 2 inches). The two plecos are very easygoing, active, and excellent eaters. The zebra loaches are my favorites because it's like watching dolphins playing when they get going. They play for hours in the evening.

My concerns: My clown loaches and corys are all super shy and don't play very much at all. They all seem very healthy, and they eat well, but the clowns startle very easily and all of them tend to hide most of the time. Now, I know that clowns are nocturnal so they are more likely to be active at night anyway, but from everything I've read, it seems like they ought to be more like the zebras. I've read similar things about the corys and their friendly personalities, but mine seem more scared than anything.

If I were starting from scratch myself, this would not have been the combination I would've chosen, but as this was what the couple had, it is what it is. I love all of these species, but I kind of feel like they weren't really looking too far ahead when they grouped them all together. I'm actually a little surprised that Ralph, the big pleco, has made it to the age of 8 and hasn't come close to outgrowing a 55 gallon tank.

But to my questions...I had hope that the 5 loaches would be enough to keep each other happy, even though they are mixed, but is it possible that the clowns are so shy because they need more fellow clowns? Every once in a while I see a clown play with the zebras, but for the most part the clowns keep to themselves. Same goes for the corys--do they need some more buddies? And do they prefer to be kept with their own species? I'm not totally sure, but I think the biggest is an Emerald and the two smaller are pygmys of some sort, but I'm not looking at them at the moment and I my mind is blanking...

I have been hesitant to upset the balance of the tank, but my sadness over these nervous little guys is beginning to outweigh my fear of introducing new residents. My water parameters have been great all along--I did have what I think was a bacterial bloom two weeks ago, but I am pretty sure I have been overfeeding, and it seems to be back under control. I would, of course, quarantine any new fish because it would break my heart to introduce any badness.

So, what do you guys think? Is it time to bring in some fresh faces? Can this tank even handle another loach? I do not forsee another big tank in the near future, so this will be their home for a while at least. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Amy
 

freak78

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Your tank is full as it is. But the problem with your clowns is they need more buddy's. At least 5 clowns I would recommend, with clowns the more there are the happier they are. With two plecos I hope your filtration is up to par. I currently have 6 clowns between 4 and 5 inches and their always out in front playing around.
 

BlackwaterRat

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Hi, freak78; thanks for the quick response. I agree the tank is pretty full, which is why I have been reluctant to add anybody so far. I have the filter on there that they gave me, which they've been using for years. It is a double biowheel hang-on, and it had been doing great until I started to give the boys some zucchini. I'm starting to think that as much as they love it, I may have to quit just because it is making an absolute mess. The old owners told me they changed water/vacuumed the tank every three weeks, but right now I'm vacuuming every couple of days to stay on top of the zucchini seeds and the big old pleco poops. If nothing else, I am going to cut way back...

Amy
 

finnsfish

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Just to point out make your corys happier, I would as they are schooling fish I would up there schools to 6. But if you can't fit them all in rehome one species of them and up the numbers on the other. Then they will be much happier.


 
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