04-08-2013, 01:49 PM
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On the gas pockets, as the other member said, this is not an issue. The same thing can occur with gravel substrates too. Substrate-rooted plants are a big help, as are Malaysian Livebearing Snails. Some anaerobic areas are in fact desirous, they are part of the complete biological system. You can read a bit more on this here: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/
To the issue of sand or gravel with loaches, this depends upon the species. The smaller loach like the Dwarf Loach, Banded Dwarf Loach, etc are best with sand. The medium species such as Botia kubotai can manage with sand or a fine but smooth gravel. The latter is probably best, as these loach do like to tunnel--mine do, anyway; there is a labyrinth of tunnels in my 90g tank.
On the Bala Shark, I agree, this fish needs a large tank. While a 6-foot can suffice, this is crowding them and an 8-foot is preferable. They need a group too, at least 5. Read more in the profile, click the shaded name.