Need to decide how soon to get friends for "Wiggles" the dojo loach

waterlilykari

Some background: As some of you may have read in previous posts of mine, we recently took in a baby gold dojo loach that my son has since named Wiggles. (It was originally supposed to be a temporary nickname to refer to him as until we came up with something better that would become his official name but it seems to have stuck and so I guess he is going to stay as "Wiggles") Wiggles was in with some White Cloud Minnows and Danios or something like that at the LPS but no other loaches. He was very underfed because he was getting out-competed by the minnows and danios. As my son had just lost three of his 6 goldfish to aggression, I gave in when he spotted this little guy was not doing well and begged for us to "take him home and rescue him." While he was an impulse buy, his care is something I take just as seriously as one I got after extensive planning and research.

We tried to put him in the 55 gallon we have set up for goldfish and an adolescent sail fin pleco but between being bare bottomed because of the risk of the goldfish ingesting sand until they are big enough to simply pass it through their systems. With him being so much smaller than everyone else, we only saw him when my son started panicking that his wiggly little buddy was dead or eaten, then made me start tearing apart the tank to find him (and thankfully, we always did find him alive and well). We eventually decided to set up what had previously been a quarantine tank to be a home for him and the other "baby" we got shortly after, a tiny spotted bristlenose pleco that at less than an inch long was also getting lost in the huge tank. They are currently in a 10 gallon with a sand substrate, a few hardy plants, aeration, filtration, and rock decor that I'm not sure what type it actually is but was in a cardboard box at the LPS marked "rainbow rock" that my son and I picked out a few with cavelike little holes in them or stacks up to make bigger caves later on when he needs more than the small "Hidey holes" as my son called them.

Now that the background is out of the way, the questions:
-Would you recommend waiting on getting his friends until he is back to a healthier weight/size? Or would the phycological boost help him more and be worth potential competition between them as long as I monitor to make sure he continues to be fed/make sure they don't steal food from him as the danios and minnows did? (Keeping in mind that we are talking about one that is just hitting 3 inches, and the tank they would be in is not forever, just until they are big enough not to feel intimidated by the chubby goldies and by then, the sail fin will have moved out to bigger accommodations)
-How big do you think I should wait for him/them to get before introducing back to the bigger tank once some changes are made to accommodate the loaches needs as well?
-Will dojo loaches of different color variations school together or should I be looking at sticking with all gold dojo loaches? For that matter, what other color variants are there in addition to the gold dojo?

Thank you so much for any help you can give! While I had previously considered myself an experienced aquarist before this, since joining FishLore I see I still have so much to learn and have been eating up every bit of information I can find
 

fishtankwatcher

I just googled dojo loach & they recommend three at least, also they prefer carnivorous food it seems, maybe that would help?

ETA: Foods and FeedingSince they are the Dojo Loach or Weather Loach is not a picky eater and will generally eat all kinds of live foods, sinking pelleted and tablet foods, flakes, and algae. They like frozen foods as well. To keep a good balance give them a high quality flake or tablet food everyday. Feed mosquito larvae and brine shrimp (either live or frozen), tubifex, daphnia, and some vegetable foods such as algae wafers. They will also eat snails, so are good for snail control.
 

waterlilykari

I did find the same info, it's more of which of Wiggles needs comes first over the other: need to gain weight back before introducing more loaches? Or more loaches = better mood and that means faster weight gain because he is eating better when happier? I did end up getting one friend for Wiggles (and my son has already named #2 "Jiggles") and the second is soooo active I started worrying maybe it was actually stressed and frantic. Then I actually sat and watched them together and it seems I was right on getting the second one after all because they have begun playing together, racing up and down the length of tank, taking rides in the bubbles stream from the aerator, and then relaxing together in the rock caves I made for them.
 

fishtankwatcher

I did find the same info, it's more of which of Wiggles needs comes first over the other: need to gain weight back before introducing more loaches? Or more loaches = better mood and that means faster weight gain because he is eating better when happier?

I would say more loaches = happy fish = gain weight happy fish tend to eat better (in my personal experience)

Cool! I'd recommend one more if you can fit them in
 

waterlilykari

At the moment it's a 20 gallon with 2 loaches approximately 3 inches each and a baby spotted BN pleco at an inch or so long. Another 3 inch loach (give or take) might be pushing it a little given their activity level and not leave much growing room before having to move them to my bigger tank (a 55 gallon). I had originally planned with keeping Wiggles and the baby pleco as well in the 10 just until they grew enough that they weren't feeling intimidated by chubby goldfish, harmless as my Goldies may be. Then again, I am very new to dojo loaches so I could very well be wrong and that's why I've posted so frequently recently across several subject: to double check before I potentially make something go drastically wrong for them because of a simple mistake on my part.
 

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