New To Clown Loaches

Loachlover357

Idk if the "Help" prefix was necessary. I'm new and I hope I didn't use it wrong. I don't think anyone is dying. Just stressed.

I just recently added 6 clown loaches to our 75 gallon tank. 2 2.5" clowns at first. They hid a lot and one died about a week later. He looked washed out. We found out they like to be in groups so we bought 3 more bigger 3.5". They were still hiding and washed out looking, so we bought another bigger one and another small one. I still don't see them out much. Their color looks a bit better today. Should I be worried? Are they really that hard to acclimate? I see the two smallest out the most. All 4 bigger ones just stay in their little terra cotta house. My profile pic is my tank. My camera isn't very good but you can see their house and one of little ones swimming around on the left. Also, how long does it take to become "bigger" I know I'll be needing a bigger tank eventually. Thanks to anyone who has advice!
20190808_142640.jpg
 

FishGirl38

Well, Clowns loaches are a type of scale-less fish so they are a little more susceptible to things that armored-scale having fish are not. Some medications are corrosive for them, and even ammonia can cause more harm to them than to an average scaled fish.

they're also hiders, naturally, they hang out under things and in caves waiting for meal time. I have 15 kubata loaches in a 45 gallon tank but you wouldn't know it until I drop a shrimp pellet in there. Most I count out at one time is 4 or 5.

Their change in coloration could mean many things. The first thing is stress, if they're all the same type of pale and acting in a similar way, I would say that is the cause and to maybe add more territory for them (hiding spots). The second thing I've noticed with my loaches and coloration (and behavior in general).

I started out with 4, when I only had 4 they would physically fight over what's called the pecking order. They would chase one another in circles like a dog chasing its tail each involved would be extremely pale (almost white - these fish have black, gold, and silver bands on them). It could be, that your fish are in the middle of establishing a pecking order, where the bigger guy will come out on top and everyone else will follow suit. If you re-arrange the tank, change their diet, or lose one of your loaches and observe a behavior similar to what I've described, the hierarchy is probably what is causing it, and the fish will figure it out for themselves. Now that I have 15, I rarely observe this behavior.

Clown loaches are VERY slow growers. In a 75 Gallon tank, they could last quite awhile, maybe 2-2.5 years if not longer. This also depends slightly on what you're feeding them, how often, and how warm their water is. Warmer water speeds up metabolism, and higher protein diets can often increase growth rates. Feeding an omnivorous diet with water at about 78F should be good. Though as you've mentioned, they can grow anywhere from 12-16inches if given the proper environment to do so.
 

Loachlover357

Just found out my ph is between 7.8-8.4. I have a friend with a pool and borrowed some clorox brand pool test strips. I never bought my own test kit, but I will be this weekend. Soooo.....now what do I do?
 

FishGirl38

Well, I recommend the API freshwater master test kit. On amazon it costs somewhere around 25$, in store it's around 35-40$. It includes everything you need for testing ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and low and high range PH. These kits usually have a shelf-life of around 4-5 years and give you thousands of tests worth of solution to work with. They're worth the investment over the test strips.

How often do you do water changes on your tank? and do you know the PH of your source water?

That PH is a little on the high end but 7.8-8.4 is a large range when .5 of a change is enough to really stress fish out. I would wait until you have a test kit and have tested the water before doing anything to alter the water chemistry. With PH, fish can tolerate a range and trying to change the PH in an established aquarium can cause more trouble than good sometimes, stable PH is what is important, PH swings on their own are problematic.

If you haven't done a water change recently, it may help to do so (rarely does it hurt). Once you get a test kit, start with ammonia, then nitrite, then nitrate, then PH. (Read nitrate bottle instructions carefully). I test both low and high range PH to get a good idea of where my PH is at.

You want your ammonia and nitrite as close to 0 as possible. nitrate should be around 20ppm at max. It can be higher and still be 'safe' but there is a such thing as nitrate toxicity and prolonged exposure just isn't good. If you find that anything is out of optimal range, water changes usually help correct the issues.
 

Loachlover357

Well, I recommend the API freshwater master test kit. On amazon it costs somewhere around 25$, in store it's around 35-40$. It includes everything you need for testing ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and low and high range PH. These kits usually have a shelf-life of around 4-5 years and give you thousands of tests worth of solution to work with. They're worth the investment over the test strips.

How often do you do water changes on your tank? and do you know the PH of your source water?

That PH is a little on the high end but 7.8-8.4 is a large range when .5 of a change is enough to really stress fish out. I would wait until you have a test kit and have tested the water before doing anything to alter the water chemistry. With PH, fish can tolerate a range and trying to change the PH in an established aquarium can cause more trouble than good sometimes, stable PH is what is important, PH swings on their own are problematic.

If you haven't done a water change recently, it may help to do so (rarely does it hurt). Once you get a test kit, start with ammonia, then nitrite, then nitrate, then PH. (Read nitrate bottle instructions carefully). I test both low and high range PH to get a good idea of where my PH is at.

You want your ammonia and nitrite as close to 0 as possible. nitrate should be around 20ppm at max. It can be higher and still be 'safe' but there is a such thing as nitrate toxicity and prolonged exposure just isn't good. If you find that anything is out of optimal range, water changes usually help correct the issues.
Thanks so much! That's the exact kit I am going to get. I'm pretty sure our petsmart honors Amazon prices.

I think our tap water is 7.2-7.4. I know the ph of the tank was higher. My daughters took off with the strips. Anyway, I agree with you! Water changes rarely hurt! So I'm in the middle of changing 20 gallons, probably be adding 25 with the evaporation. I was doing water changes about 30 gallons every other week, but with the addition of the clown loaches, I got scared about ick and overcleaned. And yes, I changed both my filters like a moron! Lol! I still have tons of java moss and some others hornwart kind of plant and the smallest saddest little sprig of hornwart. Only piece left after the snails. Lots of surface area with the terre cotta pots too.

So.... this week I traded fish to our lfs and had them test the water.
Monday - ammonia .25ppm, nitrites 0 nitrates unknown. Took in 12 fish. (10 White clouds, a tetra, a molly) then changed about 30 gallons.
Tueday- took more water to test and took 4 swordtails, another molly and tetra. So 6 more fish. He said the ammonia just barely registered. No additional water change.
Today- tested ph. Seemed high took out 20 adding 25.
Had to stop and take care of children. I'll let ya know when I het more water added
 

Loachlover357

Thanks so much! That's the exact kit I am going to get. I'm pretty sure our petsmart honors Amazon prices.

I think our tap water is 7.2. I know the ph of the tank was higher. My daughters took off with the strips. Anyway, I agree with you! Water changes rarely hurt! So I'm in the middle of changing 20 gallons, probably be adding 25 with the evaporation. I was doing water changes about 30 gallons every other week, but with the addition of the clown loaches, I got scared about ick and overcleaned. And yes, I changed both my filters like a moron! Lol! I still have tons of java moss and some others hornwart kind of plant and the smallest saddest little sprig of hornwart. Only piece left after the snails. Lots of surface area with the terre cotta pots too.

So.... this week I traded fish to our lfs and had them test the water.
Monday - ammonia .25ppm, nitrites 0 nitrates unknown. Took in 12 fish. (10 White clouds, a tetra, a molly) then changed about 30 gallons.
Tueday- took more water to test and took 4 swordtails, another molly and tetra. So 6 more fish. He said the ammonia just barely registered. No additional water change. That was all before I read anything about ph. Then I borrowed some test strips from a buddy.
Today- tested ph. High between 7.8-8.2 I guess that would make it 8.0 sorry for the confusion. The strips key skips from 7.8 to 8.2, and my color was in the middle.

So I changed out 20 gallons with minimal vacuuming so I'm not sucking up my remaining bacteria. The ph reading is a solid 7.8 now. I text this while my crazy children run around so I hope it's understandable.
 

Loachlover357

I editted my post after finished the water change, but it posted here. Anyways initially, ph was probably 8. There was a big gap from 7.8-8.4 on the test strip key. After changing 20 gallons is was definitely down to the 7.8 color. 7 am here debating on running to petsmart before my hubby leaves for work. Lol.
 

Loachlover357

Well, Clowns loaches are a type of scale-less fish so they are a little more susceptible to things that armored-scale having fish are not. Some medications are corrosive for them, and even ammonia can cause more harm to them than to an average scaled fish.

they're also hiders, naturally, they hang out under things and in caves waiting for meal time. I have 15 kubata loaches in a 45 gallon tank but you wouldn't know it until I drop a shrimp pellet in there. Most I count out at one time is 4 or 5.

Their change in coloration could mean many things. The first thing is stress, if they're all the same type of pale and acting in a similar way, I would say that is the cause and to maybe add more territory for them (hiding spots). The second thing I've noticed with my loaches and coloration (and behavior in general).

I started out with 4, when I only had 4 they would physically fight over what's called the pecking order. They would chase one another in circles like a dog chasing its tail each involved would be extremely pale (almost white - these fish have black, gold, and silver bands on them). It could be, that your fish are in the middle of establishing a pecking order, where the bigger guy will come out on top and everyone else will follow suit. If you re-arrange the tank, change their diet, or lose one of your loaches and observe a behavior similar to what I've described, the hierarchy is probably what is causing it, and the fish will figure it out for themselves. Now that I have 15, I rarely observe this behavior.

Clown loaches are VERY slow growers. In a 75 Gallon tank, they could last quite awhile, maybe 2-2.5 years if not longer. This also depends slightly on what you're feeding them, how often, and how warm their water is. Warmer water speeds up metabolism, and higher protein diets can often increase growth rates. Feeding an omnivorous diet with water at about 78F should be good. Though as you've mentioned, they can grow anywhere from 12-16inches if given the proper environment to do so.
Thanks so much for all the great info!! This morning I saw 4 out. Not all together. Sometimes that'd swim next to each other, sometimes not. They have better color than the ones hiding all the time. The hiding ones are maybe still adjusting then? Hopefully not sick. I can see their noses sticking and one looks kinda like a very short straw with his little wiskers (don't know proper term) around it. Is he yawning maybe? If the two smallest are swimming around ok, wouldn't that mean the bigger ones are ok with the current water? I do still plan on getting that API master test kit . But, then what do I do? I've seen ph down and some other chemicals. But ive never used anything like that in my tank. I used melefix once but then discovered it was like 1% meleluca (pure tea trea essential oil) .99% water. Also, Should I be worried about alkalinity? It's said very high, but that was according to a pool test strip soooo.... like I said, I will be getting that kit today to properly test my tank, but I don't want to make a second trip. Could you tell me what other water treatments I might need? I have API stress coat, which I used for this wc, and API tap water conditioner, which I use for my wc every other time. Thanks for the advice FishGirl38!
 

Redshark1

HI I've got six Clown Loaches I purchased in January 1995 making them 25 years old.


17.12.20  Chromobotia macracanthus 6' aquarium Steve Joul (8) - Copy.jpg

I keep them with 4 Congo Tetra dither fish which help them feel safe and encourage them to come out more.

Something I did which helped them to come out was cover the back and sides with black paper so they know danger can only come from the front.

My biggest is 11.5" which is the biggest I know to have been raised in captivity. Bigger ones have been obtained from the wild and these are rare, expensive, long and thin shaped and do not aclimatise at all well.

Nowadays the minimum size for a Clown Loach aquarium is accepted as 6' x 24" x 24" which is 180 gallons.

I bought my 6' x 18" x 18" 110 gallon back in the days when a 3' aquarium was recommended. Now we know better.

Due to their social nature it is said that six is the minimum that should be kept and I would go along with that.

Mine grew slowly but were still growing at 23 years of age.

Throughout the last 24 years my ammonia has been 0.25, nitrate 40, pH 7.2 and temperature 80F.

If you wish to keep them for 25 years or more I don't see why you shouldn't be able to as they are easy and interesting fish to keep if you provide constant good care.

They seem more robust than most other fish I've kept after the aclimatisation stage.

The only additive I have used in the last twenty four years is Prime to neutralise Chloramine in the water supply.

I treated them with King British WS3 when they were new as they either came with ich or developed it shortly after purchase. Malachite green and formalin are the ingredients and similar treatments are available from many manufacturers under different names. WS3 was by far the best value brand for a 110 gallon tank.

I have not found Clown Loaches, which have tiny reduced scales, to be more sensitive than other fish with bigger scales and was able to use triple dose on one fish that had difficulty overcoming ich.

I'd say the one thing that has helped me most has been to learn to avoid overfeeding which ruins water quality.
 

Loachlover357

HI I've got six Clown Loaches I purchased in January 1995 making them 25 years old.


17.12.20  Chromobotia macracanthus 6' aquarium Steve Joul (8) - Copy.jpg

I keep them with 4 Congo Tetra dither fish which help them feel safe and encourage them to come out more.

Something I did which helped them to come out was cover the back and sides with black paper so they know danger can only come from the front.

My biggest is 11.5" which is the biggest I know to have been raised in captivity. Bigger ones have been obtained from the wild and these are rare, expensive, long and thin shaped and do not aclimatise at all well.

Nowadays the minimum size for a Clown Loach aquarium is accepted as 6' x 24" x 24" which is 180 gallons.

I bought my 6' x 18" x 18" 110 gallon back in the days when a 3' aquarium was recommended. Now we know better.

Due to their social nature it is said that six is the minimum that should be kept and I would go along with that.

Mine grew slowly but were still growing at 23 years of age.

Throughout the last 24 years my ammonia has been 0.25, nitrate 40, pH 7.2 and temperature 80F.

If you wish to keep them for 25 years or more I don't see why you shouldn't be able to as they are easy and interesting fish to keep if you provide constant good care.

They seem more robust than most other fish I've kept after the aclimatisation stage.

The only additive I have used in the last twenty four years is Prime to neutralise Chloramine in the water supply.

I treated them with King British WS3 when they were new as they either came with ich or developed it shortly after purchase. Malachite green and formalin are the ingredients and similar treatments are available from many manufacturers under different names. WS3 was by far the best value brand for a 110 gallon tank.

I have not found Clown Loaches, which have tiny reduced scales, to be more sensitive than other fish with bigger scales and was able to use triple dose on one fish that had difficulty overcoming ich.

I'd say the one thing that has helped me most has been to learn to avoid overfeeding which ruins water quality.
Thanks so much for all the great information! ! I'm not familiar with congo tetras, but I have a school of 12 red minor tetras, or serpea tetras. Ive seen one of the little guys palling around with them. I can't wait til they re assemble their hierarchy and I get to see their whole little group crusin around!!! And I do plan on getting a larger tank some day.
 

Redshark1

Loachlover357 The school of Red minor Tetras should be fine as dither fish, just as long as they do not nip the Clown Loaches.

Congo Tetras are just a bigger peaceful and reliable tetra in my water that are not stressed by the Clown Loaches.

Most people buy them for the reflective colours of the males which are stunning in the right light. My lights do not show them off well although sunlight coming into the room after mid-day will make them shimmer.

However, I am keeping only four females as although they are plain they are calmer.

I had two males but one bit the other repeatedly at the base of the tail. I took out the aggressor and the wound healed completely on the other one. This male later died probably of old age at six years old and I am left with the females.
 

coralbandit

Welcome to clown loaches and way to go getting a heard of them !
I have 11 in my 180g that are 11-17 years old I think .Probably older and one of my favorites .
Once acclimated they should be the most bullet proof fish you will ever own.
Feed lightly as mentioned to keep water quality up and make them come out to find morsels where you can see them .
When I moved the well at house was 8+ ph..Don't mess with nothing except temperature..
Keep them warm ..
 

Loachlover357

Loachlover357 The school of Red minor Tetras should be fine as dither fish, just as long as they do not nip the Clown Loaches.

Congo Tetras are just a bigger peaceful and reliable tetra in my water that are not stressed by the Clown Loaches.

Most people buy them for the reflective colours of the males which are stunning in the right light. My lights do not show them off well although sunlight coming into the room after mid-day will make them shimmer.

However, I am keeping only four females as although they are plain they are calmer.

I had two males but one bit the other repeatedly at the base of the tail. I took out the aggressor and the wound healed completely on the other one. This male later died probably of old age at six years old and I am left with the females.
That's cool! I looked them up. They are really pretty. The school of red minors I have are only aggressive with each other, but not to the point of fins being nipped. In the morning is when I notice them sparring the most. They seem deeper red then (the males ). They school or just post up the rest of the time. Males and females look the exact same for all I can tell, except the males get redder and the females look plumper. The deep red ones are the ones sparring in the morning so I just assumed they were the males. Mine seem resilient as well. I had 14 until last week. I took 2 in to the lfs. None had been sick in the 3 years we've had them. The littlest clown like to follow them sometimes.
 

Loachlover357

Welcome to clown loaches and way to go getting a heard of them !
I have 11 in my 180g that are 11-17 years old I think .Probably older and one of my favorites .
Once acclimated they should be the most bullet proof fish you will ever own.
Feed lightly as mentioned to keep water quality up and make them come out to find morsels where you can see them .
When I moved the well at house was 8+ ph..Don't mess with nothing except temperature..
Keep them warm ..
Thanks coralbandit! I love em already! Thanks for telling me about the ph. I had bought ph down when I bought my test kit. I'm really pretty against chemicals in my tank. Ok, so you said temperature. How stable does it need to be? My tank is in front of a window. Its currently 78 during the day and maybe down to 76.5 at night. I have 2 hillstream loaches and I'm pretty sure they like cooler temps.
 

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