My clown loaches keep on getting sick

Discussion in 'Clown Loach' started by Interzonearts, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. InterzoneartsValued MemberMember

    I had 3 clown loaches for about 2.5 years until i bought a school of neon tetras that turned out to be sick and died within a few days. It looked like ich but some of the dots were somewhat bigger an a bit grayish. Unfortunately they took the loaches down with them along with one of my bristle nose and one female swordtail.

    I did use an ich medication, based on malachite green IIRC. I had it since i first got the loaches and they came down with ich. Back then it worked well and the fish were healthy ever since.

    But not this time. What was really puzzling and sad at the same time was that the fish started dying very quickly. That's when i found his forum and learned about treating ich with raised temp and vacuuming the gravel.

    At that point i wasn't even sure it was ich and my fish looked quite weakened by the disease and treatment so i started raising the temp about 2F per day until i got to 86F. i kept it there for few days and then i went up to 88F and kept it there for about 3 weeks.

    And, before i started raising the temperature, the store owner who sold me the neons brought me over 3 about 1" long clown loaches, two of them died on the first day but one of them survived along with a maturing male swordtail, one 4" bristle nose and maybe a dozen of little swordtails (the female give birth to them just before she died.) and they all looked healthy and happy especially i dropped the temp down to 80F

    In the meantime i set up a quarantine tank and, about two weeks ago when it was fully cycled, i decided to buy company to my loach. He (she) didn't seem lonely, was very active and played a lot with the swordtail (who completely ignored the loach) I got two about 1.5" loaches, put them in the quarantine tank. Ich showed up on the third day so i did the temperature treatment. after about a week of being symptom free, i put the two into my main tank where they did all the usual clown loach dancing and what not.

    The loach that'd been very visible till he got the company, went into hiding for a couple of days and then they started integrating to a degree. but after a few days it started to lose weight, then the three of them started playing dead for most of the day as the first loach kept on looking weaker and skinner. Then the new two started showing white spots again and they started loosing weight as well.

    I got the temp up to 86F and the spots disappear but the loaches would just lay on a piece of driftwood next to each other. The strongest one's got two spots today, each one on the black stripe in the middle - one is white and the one on the opposite side looks red. and i haven't seen the other two in a couple of days.

    Please help me figure out what's going on.

    45G. ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates less than 5ppm
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2013
  2. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!
    I personally wouldn't add any more fish until you figure out what's going on.
    How often are you doing water changes?
    What all do you have in the tank now?
    Sorry for all the questions but they will help us help you.

  3. InterzoneartsValued MemberMember

    I change about 25% every 5 days or so and i use Stress Coat with that.
    In the tank - one 4" bristle nose
    one 3" swordtail
    one 2" black molly
    three 1 - 1.5" clown loaches
    twelve 1/4" swordtails
    several snails

    I should ad that when i was putting the two new loaches in the tank i took out a piece of plastic decor and after reading the thread below i realized that the loaches would play dead right where the decor used to be.

    I got two power filters at both ends of the tank, a sponge filter and an air-stone as well.

  4. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to FishLore! :;toast

    Clown loaches get pretty big and usually 125 tanks are recommended. Not necessarily related to your problem, but something you should know.

    I definitely agree with Carol that you shouldn't add any more fish; it's very possible the problem is contagious and you may just be setting yourself up for more heartache :( As another side note, when quarantining, you should wait at least two weeks of seeing no symptoms before adding the fish to the main tank.

    I'm not very well-versed in fish diseases, but I'm sure someone will come along who is :) Best of luck!

  5. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    When you treat for ICH you need to leave the water temp up, do extra water changes and vacuums for a full two weeks. If you still see spots continue for another week.

    I'm wondering if your fish are a little weak from the meds and the temps being raised and lowered so much.

    How much filtration and water movement do you have? Loaches need highly oxygenated moving water.
    When temps are raised extra water movement( a bubbler maybe) is helpful since warmer water has less oxygen in it.
    Just some thoughts. Hope it helps
    keep us posted please :)
  6. Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    I was sorry to read about your problems. I know it's like showing a red rag to a bull saying it's a too small tank and asking about water quality but these are issues you need to look at yourself.

    In my (extensive) experience I have come to believe that given reasonable living conditions fish will exibit a natural immunity to disease that will only be rarely overcome. The trick is learning how to provide good living conditions by continual improvement. I had lots of diseases in my first 10 years but nothing in the last 18 years.

    Having said that, Clown Loach are prone to Whitespot so their immunity to this disease is clearly weak.

    But at least whitespot is normally very easy to cure (though I have heard of resistant strains so you could be unlucky).

    All you can do is provide the best conditions possible for your fish and keep working on getting better at it.

    I can assure you that Clown Loach make easy and hardy fish to keep. Mine are now 19 years old and I rate them as easily the best aquarium fish I have ever kept.

    Just have a look at what you can do better. You will find the way.
  7. InterzoneartsValued MemberMember

    Looks lika i'm down to my last loach. The molly's gone too. ..-

    Anyways you're right i need a bigger tank. As to water quality, i guess i could start using activated carbon again. I thought less than 5ppm of nitrates was quite decent but maybe i could vacuum more thoroughly.

    The loaches that were killed by whatever i brought with the neons had been with me for a while and first i had only a 20g then i went up to 30 and they were OK. Maybe it was some nasty strain of ich. The guy who sold me the neons said he'd traced it back to a cichlid convention. Some of his fish died on the first day of showing any symptoms. He told me that he got rid of all the fish and restocked his store.

    i changed 50% yesterday and today my last loach looked like he was about to go. So i decided to use ICH GUARD. 3 tablets for the 45g. i keep the temp at 88F.

    The loach dropped on the bottom shortly after and i could barely see his gills move. But maybe after an hour or so he got up quite energetically and now he's hanging upside down close to the heater and he stays there - with his head down - pretty much in the same spot even though there's quite a bit of current there - i got air just below the heater to improve heat distribution. He's been there for the last 5 hours or so.
  8. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Your loach may be sensitive to that medication, though it does seem he's responding to it. Check the package. Many such fish (loaches and catfish, mostly) are sensitive to a lot of ich meds. I would recommend Kordon Rid-Ich Plus. It stains like nothing else but has not bothered any of my fish and is said to be safer for many ich meds for these types of fish. Don't use it until you get at least most of the other med out of the water.
  9. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Carbon has nothing to do with water quality, in fact I'd say more members on this site prefer to not use it, than to use it. I also second Eienna's advice about loaches and meds. Plus, it's often the case that medicines that are in tablet form (that you drop in the tank and fizz) aren't very trustworthy; most members prefer liquids or powders. (The medicine Eienna suggested is a liquid. A rather blue one!)
  10. guster730Valued MemberMember

    As I recall you should do half doses with most meds for clown loaches since they're sensitive, but I suppose it depends on what you're using. Anyway did you take out the carbon to dose the medication? Otherwise why not use carbon? Every time I've had to take my carbon out to dose meds my water gets really nasty, I love carbon.
  11. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah, you have to remove the carbon while medicating.
    I don't use carbon at all except right after medicating in some cases. Really, to keep the quality up, you need to keep up on the water changes. Tons of plants can also help. If you have a lot of contaminants in your local tap water, you might be best off looking into RO.
  12. kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Carbon definitely has its uses, but I think sometimes it's like a makes the water seem healthy because it's covering up issues. If your water gets nasty when you remove the carbon, you may want to look into why :) I don't have carbon in any of my filters, and I have five tanks running at the moment.
  13. InterzoneartsValued MemberMember

    So i ordered Rid Ich Plus and it should come by the end of the week.

    I found the loach in the corner with his head in the ground, He was breathing fast so i held my hand to the glass for a while then i did another 50% and added another 3 tabs. The thinking behind it was i have to kill whatever is killing the loach before he dies.

    After that he spent maybe a couple of hours in the corner nearly dead it seemed but then he got up and got to the place where i drop the pellets. He didn't eat much but he was fairly active for the rest of the day. I think he's gonna make it and i named him Adolf (old wolf, not the other Adolf) even if he turns out to be a girl.

    This is really a nice forum. i did manage to kill a few fish with carelessness and impatience but here I got plenty of good advice and support, Thanks guys.

    I'm going to put some activated carbon in the filter tomorrow to get rid of the medicine before the new one comes. i plan on doing daily WC of 50% for now. And i'll look into reverse osmosis.
  14. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    I really hope it survives. *snug*
    As for the RO, you will need to replace the minerals lost. I use Seachem Replenish and have Seachem Fresh Trace on the way. I imagine my plant ferts help, too. Having a planted tank, I should be using Seachem Equilibrium, but I want to use up my Replenish first since I already bought it.
  15. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    Glad he's hanging in. Giving him extremely clean water and some current will go along way toward him getting better.
  16. Redshark1Fishlore VIPMember

    If you have a mature aquarium in which the tank water checks out fine, you are not overstocked, you have the aquarium at the right temperature, you have it well filtered and oxygenated and the exchange water is good then normally everything should be OK.

    You will be keeping tight control of food levels entering the aquarium - enough to ensure all the fish maintain bodyweight but not so much that there is excess (it takes practice to achieve this), removing build-up of dirt (faeces - via filtration or by vacuuming), exchanging water regularly in effective but modest amounts (i.e. 20-33% weekly).

    With the Ich I would keep the temp raised and increase oxygenation. I would use medications if the disease is not cleared by this method. Weak fish can be hard to cure but as long as they are feeding there is reason for optimism. A few live bloodworm can be a great help to a fishes appetite.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  17. InterzoneartsValued MemberMember

    Well, Adolf didn't make it..

    At any rate i treated the tank with rid-ich+ for four days and and i kept the temp up and vacuumed the gravel for few more days. No fish in the tank is showing any signs of distress for at least a week, so i wonder if i should start lowering the temperature.

    The last time around i just turned the heater controller from 88 to 80F and it took about 30 hrs for the tank to cool down to 80F it was less than 1F per three hrs. But maybe i should do it slower - 2-3F per day. I'd like to get some feedback please.
  18. EiennaFishlore VIPMember

    Slower is better...I'm not sure what level of difference it will make, but best to err on the safe side especially when fish have just been sick in the tank.

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