Is it advisable to keep zebra loaches with Cory cats and plecos? Is there another loach that likes snails (to eat) that is better? I have been reading mixed reviews. Are zebras more friendly than yo-yo loaches? My LFS says yo-yos are fast and mean….thanks!
The general rule is you shouldn't mix loaches with cory but zebra are very passive. You should of course keep them in a group of 6 or more. The only other loach I can think of would be dwarf chain - they like large groups, 10+, and are hyper active but relatively small. yoyo are a bit unpredictable esp if they are not in a proper group but they are also large and can top out at 6 inches; though they are no where as bulky as a clown loach. Those cute little yoyo you see in the shops will grow up in a year or two to something much larger... I wouldn't call them mean per sey but they are a bit less predictable. I have several large ones with my clown loaches and i have sterbai cory in the same tank. Long term the sterbai will be moved to a different tank with cw123 and the loaches will stay with the angles and some pleco but they have co-existed (along with 10 zebra loaches) for the past couple of years.
In summary if starting from scratch you should not plan on keeping loaches with cory. I highly recommend zebra but they are passive and hide a bit and should be kept in a group of at least 6. They are probably ok with your cory but don't buy them just to eat snails; buy them because you find them an interesting fish to own after all what will do once all your snails are gone?
I think that once you get the Zebra Loaches or YoYo's, they will quickly become your favorites. Botia Loaches are awsome scavengers w/ actual personalities.
YoYo's are active day & night. While Zebras are usually active at night or at feeding time. Zebras likely wouldn't bother the Cory Cats but YoYo's might knock them out of the way when eating.
There is one other loach to consider is golden zebra. I don't know a lot about them other than they like to jump out of my tanks. I had purchased a set of 'golden zebra' at petco and most of them turned out to be yoyo but a a few were golden. One day about a year after i had them all the golden zebra jumped. I think 3 total... i never bothered to replace them and i'm unsure why they all jumped but the 6 or so yoyo(s) didn't follow them.
i should have prefaced this with saying I recently had two clown loaches that came with a tank I got, but the tank was far too small for them so i re-homed them. While I had them I absolutely fell in love with them so I have been looking at loaches ever since then. What tank size should the zebras be in for a shoal?