10 Gallon Tank Weather loach QT, refusing to eat

wisecrackerz

I'm stumped; it's a catch 22 and I don't know how to fix it.

I picked up the only two weather loaches in my LFS just over two weeks ago. They were being kept in a 10G tank with close to a dozen RTS; they both had several scars on their flanks, fins, and faces. Both were about a big around as a #2 pencil, and about 2" long. The loach with more scarring died 3 days in, it could have been stress from the move, internal injuries, or something else, but he showed no signs of disease. The one that's left is refusing to eat, and is visibly losing weight. There are pond snails in the tank, and their number has visibly decreased since the loaches were added, and so I believe the remaining loach to be eating some snails. However, due to the visible weight loss (he's about 2/3 his former girth), I am concerned this is not enough.

He has refused the following, repeatedly, since the death of his comrade (both fish ate well before the one passed):
blood worms
bottom feeder discs
algae discs
sinking shrimp pellets
gold fish pellets (small)
gold fish flake
tropical flake
betta pellets
betta flake
brine shrimp
crushed pond snails
green algae
first flakes
goldfish eggs

Ammonia is 0ppm, nitrite is 0ppm, nitrates are 40ppm (this seems to be a contaminant in the local water supply at this time of year; water changes do not bring it down). Tank temperature is ~68-70F. Tank is a 10G bare bottomed QT tank, with an AC 50 for filtration. The tank contains multiple leafy anubias varieties for shelter and nitrate reduction, a handfull of salvinia and duckweed, drift wood (no longer leaching tannins), java fern, moss balls, some porous lava rock, and a handfull of stones with a large artificial rock forming a cave for cover.

I simply can't think of anything else to try. I've seen loaches kept along starve themselves to near anorexia (there was one so thin, it might have been a horsefaced loach) when kept alone, although I've also seen them live alone quite healthily. I wouldn't be worried, but he's visibly losing weight at this point. He remains reasonably active for a solitary weather loach, and seems genuinely curious about goings on outside the tank, but shows no signs of interest in food of any kind listed above. It has been almost 2 weeks since I've seen him eat at this point, and he should be growing at this age.

I could add a pile of sand to his tank, if perhaps someplace to bury himself might help, but that seems far fetched. I'll even scour the city for another loach, if company might inspire some apatite (my other loaches are much too large for a 10 gallon now), which has worked for other weather loaches I've had, but I'm worried about exposing him to another potentially ill fish, and he's in my only QT over 2.5g.

If anyone who's had experience coaxing reluctant loaches to eat can provide some suggestions, I'd be very grateful. I'd like to give this little guy a chance.
 

AshWolFF

Weather Loaches prefer colder water tanks them living in tropical conditions is a misconception. I also think he refuses to eat because he is stressed. He definitely needs to get out of QT and into a tank with no heater, long periods of time in a cramped space can do a number on a fish. Weather Loaches love having 4-6x of them so he's definitely lonely. A small tank size, no friends, is just stressing him out.

Stress can cause loss of appetite, in humans and in animals.

I don't recommend adding sand as there will be dust in the water which they can inhale, by the way.
 

wisecrackerz

I don't mean any disrespect, but I have to disagree about the sand, and really just about everything else you've said; weather loaches are filter feeders, and they prefer sand.

I keep my 3 large weather loaches in a 68F (well within their comfort range, btw, not a tropical temp, which would be 72-78F) 75G tank. I'm upping my school, but I'm not willing to shock my bioload, and cause a recycle, by adding the 5 loaches I need all at once.

I'm not stupid enough to break QT and throw a possibly infectious fish into my main tank. I bought him with the intent to add him to that tank after QT. A 10G tank is a perfectly fine QT for a small (2") loach before moving on to a large permanent home.

I also don't chill my cw tanks; many people don't. My apartment is usually around 68F, normal in this region.
 

luke355027355027

I don't mean any disrespect, but I have to disagree about the sand, and really just about everything else you've said; weather loaches are filter feeders, and they prefer sand.

I keep my 3 large weather loaches in a 68F (well within their comfort range, btw, not a tropical temp, which would be 72-78F) 75G tank. I'm upping my school, but I'm not willing to shock my bioload, and cause a recycle, by adding the 5 loaches I need all at once.

I'm not stupid enough to break QT and throw a possibly infectious fish into my main tank. I bought him with the intent to add him to that tank after QT. A 10G tank is a perfectly fine QT for a small (2") loach before moving on to a large permanent home.

I also don't chill my cw tanks; many people don't. My apartment is usually around 68F, normal in this region.

I keep mine with pool filter sand and they do great. Honestly mine were healthy when I bought them but I didnt see them eat for about two months. After two weeks I would drop shrimp pellets in with the lights out and hope for the best. I keep mine at about 73-74 degrees.
 

wisecrackerz

I broke down, and went back to the LFS. I picked up 3 more loaches (1 was so chewed up from the silver tipped sharks that were in there, I don't expect it to pull through, but we'll see) yesterday. After 20 minutes of loach-snuffling, I got brave and threw in a shrimp pellet. All the new ones rushed it, and a couple minutes later, the reluctant eater was right there, seeing what all the fuss was about. He's eating and snuffling and loaching with the rest of them. It set my QT time table back by a couple weeks, but it's worth it to see him eat. Now if I could just get some weight on that skinny thing!
 

APColorado

I'm glad yout reluctant loach is eating
 

wisecrackerz

Update; the sick loach seems to be recovering; scars healing up nicely, good apatite. The reluctant loach is still... reluctant. He seems a little intimidated by the new loaches, which are larger, and more active and personable, and he backs off from food when they come to investigate. He's the least loachy loach I've ever seen; if I weren't so positive he were a weather loach from the way he looks, I'd wonder, since his behavior is so different.
 

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