Judging from the pictures in the stickies, they are kuhli (SP?) loaches. Long, skinnny, snakelike things that hide in the gravel all the time.
Anyways, here's the story. My brother recently moved back home for a short time and had to bring his fish with him. He has two loaches and a plecostamus in his ten gallon tank. He said that he'll probably leave them with me because he doesn't want to deal with moving them and cleaning the tank. The problem is, I only have betta fish (I don't come here often, obviously :p) and I don't know anything about these fish, including the care required. I know that my bettas would be dead the way he keeps his tank. He never cleans it. He didn't even rinse out the gravel and his two decorations when he moved the tank, so when he set it up the tank was super cloudy and the substrate and decorations are absolutely disgusting!
I let him use my API master test kit when he got them home this morning. His tank is cycled... 0 ammonia and nitrites, but the nitrates were completely off the chart! It was a really dark red thats not even on the test. The pH is also 8.2. I also find his fish pretty boring. The loaches are always either hiding in the gravel or the one decoration he has and the pleco is just a pleco and does pleco stuff, lol. It looks like an empty tank.
I need to know how to take care of them because my brother obviously doesn't and I know NOTHING about them. He's had them for five years and he never changes the water. He also had a molly in there not that long ago and it disappeared... He thinks the loaches ate it. This probably contributed to the horribly dirty conditions his tank are in. He thinks they are invincible or something and never need water changes. I don't know how true this is since I obviously don't know anything about them...
It's a 10 gallon tank.
The water parameters are all good now since he changed the water but there's still a whole bunch of nasty crap floating around and growing the the substrate and decor.
I think he leaves the light on for about 10-12 hours a day.
There is an airstone and a filter in the tank.
He has a gravel vacuum for it but he doesn't use it because he says hes scared that if he presses the siphon into the gravel he will cut one of his loaches in half.
Also, he has a heater but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work at all. The temp is 72 degrees and my room is the warmest in the house... I'm not sure of the exact temp but I'm pretty sure my room is at least 72 degrees if not warmer.
This post is kind of all over the place. I guess what I'm asking is what are the proper water conditions for these fish and how the heck do all three survive in these conditions? Ha.