06-17-2010, 12:24 AM
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I would not mix the loaches with tiger barbs and shark in that size of a tank, even if the fish are small. First reason is that for an ideal shoal of clown loaches you will need at least 5 of them. That is a lot of territory to be claimed, and shared with an aggressive species of shark.
Tiger barbs can be kept in groups of 3 - 5, the larger the group, the happier/healthier they will all be. The shark, however, is a harder situation. When they are small (under 3 - 4 inches) they prefer to shoal in large groups. Once they reach 3 - 4 inches they become solitary and will fight fiercely, especially if crowded.
What you need to take into account for this now is how large each fish will get and how soon you are planning to upgrade, and how large you have the ability to upgrade to.
Adult clown loaches average 12 - 14 inches each. 5 of them will eventually need over 200 gallons to keep them healthy and peacefully. Red tail sharks will average 6 - 8 inches, and tiger barbs 3 - 4 inches each. Adding even the minimal population of any 2 to your tank would mean an upgrade of at least 75 - 90 gallons within the first 1 - 2 yrs. If you work with the loaches, even though slow growing, this applies to them also, but they would then need to be upgraded every couple of years to a larger tank.
Another thing to consider is life span of each species. Clown loaches can live 30+ yrs, tiger barbs 5 - 7 is the average, but can live up to 10 yrs, and red tail sharks average 7 - 9 yrs, although the one I have is now about 12 yrs old.
If I know how long they would need to stay in the 30 gallon I could offer you some more accurate numbers/ideas. There are also other loach species that could stay in a 30 gallon tank with 3 - 5 tiger barbs and all would be happy long term, but that would eliminate the shark.
06-17-2010, 01:12 AM
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I also wanted to mention, clown loaches are known for stressing easily, not to mention their sensitivity to water quality. Moving them frequently is not something I suggest, you are sure to lose some or all if you do. Also, be sure any tank is fully cycled and stable before adding the loaches. Add all 5 together for the best chance they will get along and shoal nicely, but in that size tank, watch water quality fluctuations carefully when you do. You may need to do small water changes daily until the tank catches up with the amount of waste you have added.
Adding the barbs first, letting the tank stabilize, and waiting another 2 - 3 wks before adding the loaches will give them the best chance of survival.
You are aware of the temp differences between the loaches and barbs for needs, yes? Loaches prefer warmer water, tiger barbs prefer cooler water. The happy medium between the 2 would be 76 - 78 degrees, with very little room for fluctuation in one or the other direction. The loaches would do best around 80, the tiger barbs would do best at about 74 - 76.
Best of luck to you. Can you post a pic of the tank? It would be great to see it, even before it has fish. I am trying to picture your description of your decorating, and if it is what it sounds like, you may need to change a few things before mixing all those fish into it. If the front middle of the tank is pretty much all open territory, you will want to fill that in. What you see as "swimming space" they see as 1 single territory that someone will claim and defend. That brings aggression in fish that are already semi aggressive.
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