Thin Kuhli Loach

AquaticLeopard

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 29 gallons
How long has the tank been running? about 4 years
Does it have a filter? 50 gallon Aquaclear, 20 gallon Aquaclear both with prefilter sponges and a sponge filter
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 26.4C
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 10 Kuhli Loaches and some plants

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? once weekly
How much of the water do you change? Typically 4-6 gallons, 15-20%
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I vacuum the surface of the sand to remove debris

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? tank was cycled when it was started about 4 years ago
What do you use to test the water? API master test kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 7.2

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Once a day
How much do you feed your fish? Just enough that there is no food left in the morning (the kuhlis wont come out to eat until late at night)
What brand of food do you feed your fish? I rotate through Fluval bug bites and Nutrafin max sinking bottom feeder pellets
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? once or twice a week I feed either frozen blood worms or frozen baby brine shrimp.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Just over 3 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? last night
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? swimming sluggishly and unable to stay upright, keeps rolling belly up and appears to be having laboured breathing.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no treatment yet
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? This is one of the smaller loaches I purchased, he appears quite skinny as well as being shorter than the others that were purchased at the same time.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? he doesn't bother hiding, does not appear to have eaten and still moves a little bit, no obvious injuries or lesions but is skinnier than the rest of the loaches.

Explain your emergency situation in detail.

Prior to purchasing 8 small black Kuhli Loaches, my tank was home to one male betta and 2 mature Kuhli Loaches. The day before I bought the Kuhli Loaches I moved the betta to his own tank. Then I bought 8 Kuhlis, the largest of the group is about 3/4 the size of the mature ones in my tank, most are just over half the size. I slowly drip acclimated them before putting in the tank, everyone seemed to be doing well, there were no pale or sluggish fish seen, no one looked obviously skinny. All the fish appeared happy and healthy for the first 3 weeks, eating well active after water changes and before it got stormy one night. My water parameters have remained constant since the addition of the new fish. It does not appear that my cycle has crashed or stalled even with the nitrates at 0ppm. I have read that planted tanks with low bioload can have 0 nitrates and still be cycled.

So far only one of the Loaches appears to be ill, the rest, while shy are still active at night, eat well and move around a bit during the day in search of new hiding spots. I believe the sick one is one of the two smallest loaches, last night all of a sudden he appeared to be having difficulty swimming and kept rolling belly up on the sand. He appears to have little energy and when food was placed next to him, he showed no interest. Now that he is moving so little I can see that he looks quite thin in addition to being small.

Is there any hope for this loach since he has started rolling belly up? I don't have much experience with illness in my aquariums other than the odd unexpected death or old age deaths. Any suggestions for giving this guy and his apparently healthy tankmates the best possible chance?

I was planning to keep slowly stocking the tank over the next few months but I will be putting that on hold until at least 3-4 weeks after this is resolved.

Thanks.

Edit: as a side note, his colouring is still the same as the other Loaches. He is not pale like a stressed fish.
 

The2dCour

Any pictures? Yes planted tanks can be cycled and remain 0ppm nitrate with a low bioload. I doubt it is the nitrates, my tank runs pretty nitrate rich and the loaches are fine. Have you checked the hardness of your water? Again I doubt this is a problem but if it were super duper hard it might be affecting them. Loaches are funny and can roll around on their belly up (mine do it to catch or access food) but it sounds like yours is displaying more sick symptoms than that.

What are you feeding? How often? Does he eat at all? Try some sinking pellets instead of the goods stuff. Maybe he's being picky in a weird way.
 
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AquaticLeopard

Any pictures? Yes planted tanks can be cycled and remain 0ppm nitrate with a low bioload. I doubt it is the nitrates, my tank runs pretty nitrate rich and the loaches are fine. Have you checked the hardness of your water? Again I doubt this is a problem but if it were super duper hard it might be affecting them. Loaches are funny and can roll around on their belly up (mine do it to catch or access food) but it sounds like yours is displaying more sick symptoms than that.

What are you feeding? How often? Does he eat at all? Try some sinking pellets instead of the goods stuff. Maybe he's being picky in a weird way.
Sorry for the confusion, I don't believe the Nitrates to be the problem either. I just mentioned it because I have seen people focus on the cycle when someones nitrates are at 0ppm, and I don't believe that to be the case this time.

He is definitely a sick loach, I have seen the others roll, tumble and zip around the tank on occasion, but this is sluggish, slow movements. He seems to get stuck upside down or on his side for extended periods of time. I will try to get a couple photos without stressing him. Other than being a bit skinny and upside down there are no outward signs of illness though.
Here are the best photos I can get of the Loaches. The first two are of the healthy loaches and the last three are of the sick loach trying to right himself. He is maybe just under 2 inches long.
 

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AquaticLeopard

I did my weekly 20%water change today and saw no sign of the sick loach. All the other loaches look healthy and active still. I searched the whole tank and I can't find the sick loach anywhere. I know he probably hasn't jumped out of the tank, he could barely do more than shuffle along the bottom of the tank last night. he was in pretty bad shape last night, so unfortunately I believe he has probably passed away now. I am going to take another look just in case he is still alive and just stuck somewhere.

Anyone have any idea what could have killed this loach and how to give the rest of my loaches the best chance to survive it?
 
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