Why are some of my reticulated hillstream loaches more shy than others?

V1K

Member
I have 5 Sewellia lineolata in my tank. 3 are completely carefree, often hang out in the end of the tank that is right next to my desk, don't react to my movements, and are out in the open more than they're hiding. Another two get scared into hiding really easily. One of them is half the size of the others, so maybe his different behaviour can be attributed to that. The other one, however, is the same size as other 3, yet it hides just as much as the little one. It took territory in the opposite end of the tank and rarely leaves it, while others roam all over. It seems active enough when it's out, but not as active as others, including the baby. Interestingly, it also looks very different from the rest of the group, more like SE01 than lineolata, except it does have some squiggly lines on its back that SE01 don't, based on google images.
So the question is, what's the reason of such different behaviour, and do the shy ones get enough food, if they're hiding most of the time, including feeding time as they get scared by my presence and only come out a bit later.
 

BettasAreSuperior

Member
V1K said:
I have 5 Sewellia lineolata in my tank. 3 are completely carefree, often hang out in the end of the tank that is right next to my desk, don't react to my movements, and are out in the open more than they're hiding. Another two get scared into hiding really easily. One of them is half the size of the others, so maybe his different behaviour can be attributed to that. The other one, however, is the same size as other 3, yet it hides just as much as the little one. It took territory in the opposite end of the tank and rarely leaves it, while others roam all over. It seems active enough when it's out, but not as active as others, including the baby. Interestingly, it also looks very different from the rest of the group, more like SE01 than lineolata, except it does have some squiggly lines on its back that SE01 don't, based on google images.
So the question is, what's the reason of such different behaviour, and do the shy ones get enough food, if they're hiding most of the time, including feeding time as they get scared by my presence and only come out a bit later.
Well, lets's start off with the basic questions. Can you fill out the template below by copy and paste?

Tank

What is the water volume of the tank?
How long has the tank been running?
Does it have a filter?
Does it have a heater?
What is the water temperature?
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)

Maintenance
How often do you change the water?
How much of the water do you change?
What do you use to treat your water?
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
What do you use to test the water?
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish?
How much do you feed your fish?
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
 

veggieshark

Member
I am thinking maybe if there was enough places to hide, the others would hide as well. The other two appear to have got the prime estate.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 112 L/30 gal.
How long has the tank been running? 1.5 months
Does it have a filter? Sure
Does it have a heater? Nope
What is the water temperature? 24 C/ 75 F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.). 6 rosy barbs, 5 hillstream loaches, 4 Amano shrimp, 3 mystery snails, >10 ramshorn snails, ~10 cherry shrimp.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 30-40 %
What do you use to treat your water? Nothing, Lithuania has amazing water quality
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I try, but with all the rocks for the loaches and plants, not much of it is open.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? Eheim test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5
pH: 7 right now, which is a bit lower than the last time I checked

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch or two
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Sera pleco tabs (crushed), Sera Goldy flakes (I changed my mind from goldfish to barbs while cycling), Hikari algae wafers.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Dajana freeze dried tubifex.
 

BettasAreSuperior

Member
V1K said:
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 112 L/30 gal.
How long has the tank been running? 1.5 months
Does it have a filter? Sure
Does it have a heater? Nope
What is the water temperature? 24 C/ 75 F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.). 6 rosy barbs, 5 hillstream loaches, 4 Amano shrimp, 3 mystery snails, >10 ramshorn snails, ~10 cherry shrimp.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 30-40 %
What do you use to treat your water? Nothing, Lithuania has amazing water quality
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I try, but with all the rocks for the loaches and plants, not much of it is open.

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? Eheim test strips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5
pH: 7 right now, which is a bit lower than the last time I checked

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? Twice a day
How much do you feed your fish? A pinch or two
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Sera pleco tabs (crushed), Sera Goldy flakes (I changed my mind from goldfish to barbs while cycling), Hikari algae wafers.
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? Dajana freeze dried tubifex.
Hmmm....I feel like you need to just add A BUNCH of live aquatic plants. IMO, more hiding spots should help them feel more secure.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
veggieshark said:
I am thinking maybe if there was enough places to hide, the others would hide as well. The other two appear to have got the prime estate.
There are more places to hide. There are rocks and driftwood scattered all over the tank. And I don't think the baby is in a position to get itself prime estate
 

RandomFishBoi

Member
It may just be the fish's individual personalities, but it might also be an aggression problem. Hillstream loaches may be aggressive to fish with similar habits because that usually means that they compete with them for resources, as I have seen them do to three lined corys. If you have a smaller tank than the other two might be hiding because the other three always chase them away when they come out, which would make sense why the smaller one is one of the ones hiding. If you see any chasing going on then that would confirm this and you would have to take the bullied 2 out or the bullying 3 out.

But once again, it could just be that the 2 have more shy personalities while the other 3 have more active and outgoing personalities.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
BettasAreSuperior said:
Hmmm....I feel like you need to just add A BUNCH of live aquatic plants. IMO, more hiding spots should help them feel more secure.
That is a goal. The plants are already there, but at the moment they're still small, and they're having a rough start for some reason. My main suspect is insufficient light, should get an additional one delivered on friday.
RandomFishBoi said:
It may just be the fish's individual personalities, but it might also be an aggression problem.
The smaller one does get chased away when it tries to approach others, but they don't chase it around, they're just like "you're not cool enough to hang with us, get lost". The small-dotted one isn't chased away, it chases away others when if they get to its rock while it's out. I don't have anything big enough for them to feel comfortable and it wouldn't be much use as the big shy one chases away the small shy one just like the rest of them
 

mimo91088

Member
Do you have a picture? If you do indeed have SW01, my experience keeping them thus far is that they're much more reclusive than lineolata. I rarely see them out unless it's feeding time (at which time they seemingly lose all fear and become quite bold lol).
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
Do you have a picture? If you do indeed have SW01, my experience keeping them thus far is that they're much more reclusive than lineolata. I rarely see them out unless it's feeding time (at which time they seemingly lose all fear and become quite bold lol).
It's the one I posted in your thread, it has spots small enough to look just like SE01 from the side, but when viewed from above it has a somewhat reticulated back, sort of in-between.
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
It's the one I posted in your thread, it has spots small enough to look just like SE01 from the side, but when viewed from above it has a somewhat reticulated back, sort of in-between.
Hahaha you're right! I forgot we already had this conversation . But it does look like an SW01 to me. I'll see if I can get a good picture of mine when I get home, but the pattern does change on their backs. I think this guy might not be lineolata.
 

RandomFishBoi

Member
V1K said:
The smaller one does get chased away when it tries to approach others, but they don't chase it around, they're just like "you're not cool enough to hang with us, get lost". The small-dotted one isn't chased away, it chases away others when if they get to its rock while it's out. I don't have anything big enough for them to feel comfortable and it wouldn't be much use as the big shy one chases away the small shy one just like the rest of them
So I believe the big one that is hiding is the dominant loach, and he has claimed some of the hiding spots to himself so the other loaches can only mostly hang out in the open. And the smaller one is being bullied so he hangs out in the hiding spots that the other one hasn't claimed. Where exactly are they hiding? If the big one hangs out in the better and larger hiding places in the tank and the small one only stays in the outskirts or only goes in the bigger hiding places when the other one currently can't see them at that moment then I think that is the problem. If it is than removing the large one should fix it, but its also possible that one of the other ones will just take his place.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
RandomFishBoi said:
So I believe the big one that is hiding is the dominant loach, and he has claimed some of the hiding spots to himself so the other loaches can only mostly hang out in the open. And the smaller one is being bullied so he hangs out in the hiding spots that the other one hasn't claimed. Where exactly are they hiding? If the big one hangs out in the better and larger hiding places in the tank and the small one only stays in the outskirts or only goes in the bigger hiding places when the other one currently can't see them at that moment then I think that is the problem. If it is than removing the large one should fix it, but its also possible that one of the other ones will just take his place.
The baby is shunned equally by everybody, so taking the small-spot one (Dax) wouldn't change much for it. It seems to hide around the same area as Dax. IMO nobody is being too rough with it. Also I think there are plenty hiding spots. I'll take a picture of the tank tomorrow, now the light is out and I'm off to sleep.
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
The baby is shunned equally by everybody, so taking the small-spot one (Dax) wouldn't change much for it. It seems to hide around the same area as Dax. IMO nobody is being too rough with it. Also I think there are plenty hiding spots. I'll take a picture of the tank tomorrow, now the light is out and I'm off to sleep.
The baby and adults behave differently in both lineolata and the spotted. Baby lineolata are very shy while the adults are more outgoing. Baby spotteds are outgoing while the adults are reclusive.
 

mimo91088

Member
Ok so here is a picture of my SW01. The back is indeed more reticulated than the rest of the body as you described. But also pay attention to the sides of the body. Where lineolata typically have a more solid form of horizontal stripes, you'll notice the stripes on the SW01 are more like rows of spots than solid stripes. The overall coloration is slightly darker on SW01 as well.


20201117_175017.jpg


I'm pretty confident this fish isn't behaving like a normal S. Lineolata due to the fact that it isn't one.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
I'm pretty confident this fish isn't behaving like a normal S. Lineolata due to the fact that it isn't one.
Poor Dax, must be lonely, all alone with those lineolatas... Do you think it's bad for it and I should try to return it (no idea how I could catch it without tearing my whole tank apart), or can it stay and just do its thing?

Added the photo to show the hiding places. Dax hides around and hangs out on that bright white stone, though currently baby Tal is sitting on it, while Dax is the only one nowhere to be seen. Another loach that has a preference for a territory is Sec, who mostly grazes on the big wood; it doesn't mind company joining it there, except during feeding time (that's when most of the chasing and shunning is happening, the rest of the time they're all just chilling). Bai and Hei graze all over the place and seem to have no preferences.
 

mimo91088

Member
First off, your tank looks great! But yea, catching him out of there looks like it would be a nightmare. I think he's fine in there.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
First off, your tank looks great! But yea, catching him out of there looks like it would be a nightmare. I think he's fine in there.
Thanks, should look even better when plants get established

While at it, can someone explain a certain behaviour of S. lineolata ones? Sometimes they'll be grazing on the glass, and all of the sudden they slide across the glass with great speed, wiggling intensely, and then just settle down and graze as if nothing happened. Reminds me of cat zoomies. I hope it's not flashing? Happens only once a day or so.
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
Thanks, should look even better when plants get established

While at it, can someone explain a certain behaviour of S. lineolata ones? Sometimes they'll be grazing on the glass, and all of the sudden they slide across the glass with great speed, wiggling intensely, and then just settle down and graze as if nothing happened. Reminds me of cat zoomies. I hope it's not flashing? Happens only once a day or so.
They seem to "bluff charge" each other over territory sometimes. Is it possible they're interacting with another one you can't see?
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
They seem to "bluff charge" each other over territory sometimes. Is it possible they're interacting with another one you can't see?
Could be. I don't usually see how it starts, only the action itself when the sudden movement catches my attention. Also tends to happen during the lighting siesta when I can only see the ones on the glass clearly.
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
In the last few days both of the shy loaches became WAY more outgoing . At this point they rarely react to my movement and they spend much more time out in the open
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
In the last few days both of the shy loaches became WAY more outgoing . At this point they rarely react to my movement and they spend much more time out in the open
Awesome! Mine are starting explore more too. My own rock pile is a recent addition but it seems to have helped them to feel more secure. How long have you had yours? It almost seems like they just take a longer time to settle in.
 
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V1K

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RandomFishBoi

Member
V1K said:
In the last few days both of the shy loaches became WAY more outgoing . At this point they rarely react to my movement and they spend much more time out in the open
I think they were just getting used to you and their tank.
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
Oh cool so we've had them about the same time. It'll be cool to have someone else on the forum keeping them to share info with as time goes on. I'm really getting interested in this species!
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
Oh cool so we've had them about the same time. It'll be cool to have someone else on the forum keeping them to share info with as time goes on. I'm really getting interested in this species!
Indeed, your thread about getting them was started on the same day I've got mine. BTW, you've mentioned you've lost one, how are the rest doing? Did you get a new one instead of the one who died?
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
Indeed, your thread about getting them was started on the same day I've got mine. BTW, you've mentioned you've lost one, how are the rest doing? Did you get a new one instead of the one who died?
No issues after the first one died thankfully. I still haven't replaced it yet, but I think I might end up buying a couple more soon.
 
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V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
No issues after the first one died thankfully. I still haven't replaced it yet, but I think I might end up buying a couple more soon.
By the way, did you make a full-on hillstream setup with directional flow for them, or just a standard tank with decent oxigenation? What else lives with them?
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
By the way, did you make a full-on hillstream setup with directional flow for them, or just a standard tank with decent oxigenation? What else lives with them?
No I didn't do that. It's a pretty cool concept but from what I could tell in the research stage, it's not really necessary. I just have an oversized HOB along with a sponge filter for extra oxygen and grazing area. My tank is planted too, with a rock pile on one side. I see them on the lily and Madagascar lace plants almost as often as they're on the rocks so they don't seem to mind. They live with some pygmy and skunk cories at the moment. Debating rehoming the skunk cories as I'm worried they might eat eggs if I manage to get them to spawn.

I see you've got a pretty similar setup. Do you have anything adding directional flow on yours?
 
  • Thread Starter

V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
No I didn't do that. It's a pretty cool concept but from what I could tell in the research stage, it's not really necessary. I just have an oversized HOB along with a sponge filter for extra oxygen and grazing area. My tank is planted too, with a rock pile on one side. I see them on the lily and Madagascar lace plants almost as often as they're on the rocks so they don't seem to mind. They live with some pygmy and skunk cories at the moment. Debating rehoming the skunk cories as I'm worried they might eat eggs if I manage to get them to spawn.

I see you've got a pretty similar setup. Do you have anything adding directional flow on yours?
No, I don't have directional flow either, I only have a lot of turbulence. I have an internal filter that isn't oversized (I didn't know what fish I'd choose when I bought the tank), so when I decided on the loaches I got an additional compressor hooked to a long airstone, which creates a lot of surface agitation, it's bubbly all over. Currently the filter's air intake is removed, as the compressor seems to be doing a sufficient job with less noise, but when summer comes and water turns warmer, I'll put it back on. When both the filter and the compressor are pumping air, the water turns into bubble soup, so I think with that much aeration they should do fine even if it gets a bit hot.

Yeah, I didn't even know they graze on plants before I got them, because traditional hillstream setups don't usually have much of those. It's especially adorable when they try to graze on something too small to land with their whole weight, and they just hover like hummingbirds!
 

mimo91088

Member
V1K said:
No, I don't have directional flow either, I only have a lot of turbulence. I have an internal filter that isn't oversized (I didn't know what fish I'd choose when I bought the tank), so when I decided on the loaches I got an additional compressor hooked to a long airstone, which creates a lot of surface agitation, it's bubbly all over. Currently the filter's air intake is removed, as the compressor seems to be doing a sufficient job with less noise, but when summer comes and water turns warmer, I'll put it back on. When both the filter and the compressor are pumping air, the water turns into bubble soup, so I think with that much aeration they should do fine even if it gets a bit hot.

Yeah, I didn't even know they graze on plants before I got them, because traditional hillstream setups don't usually have much of those. It's especially adorable when they try to graze on something too small to land with their whole weight, and they just hover like hummingbirds!
What have you been feeding yours? I'm finding they go nuts for frozen daphnia and frozen BBS. I was surprised how readily they eat it. My closest fish I have experience with is otocinclus, and those guys took forever to get on frozen food.
 
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V1K

Member
mimo91088 said:
What have you been feeding yours? I'm finding they go nuts for frozen daphnia and frozen BBS. I was surprised how readily they eat it. My closest fish I have experience with is otocinclus, and those guys took forever to get on frozen food.
I have some flakes (meant for goldfish, because that was my initial idea; I make sure some reach the bottom by splashing my hand through the surface after I drop them), pleco tabs (I drop them crumbled, because otherwise barbs will surround it and the loaches won't dare to join), algae wafers (though I'm not sure if barbs leave any for them), freeze-dried bloodworms (not sure if they're eating them), and Repashy Soilent Green (again barbs eat most of it, but they're messy enough to scatter bits all over the place, so the loaches get their share too). I haven't gotten around to buying any frozen food. Could have gotten some when I went to buy a bamboo shrimp yesterday, but forgot... I might be slightly overfeeding the barbs to get enough food past them, but so far they're doing fine and the water quality doesn't seem to be affected by that, so I guess it's ok.
 

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