So by now I imagine that most of you are pretty well aware of the fact that I love fish. All fish, but most especially MY
fish. . . the tank, the plants - I love the whole caboodle, but it's all about the fish - cuz' they're the greatest! I'm like a momma proudly showing off a pocketful of pictures - and like any self-respecting mom, I take WAY
more pictures than anyone ever wants to look at.
. . . well I *GUESS*
this would be the right place to post a few. . .
I'm gonna devote this post to my lovely little Loachlings. . . they're such cool critters, I really hope that I can find a few more to add to their shoal, not that they seem to mind that there are so few of them, but because they're so much fun!
More of a good thing is always
better! I have five right now: Winkin, Blinkin', Nod, Flotsam, and Jetsam. Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod are the first 3 I got. Even when there were ONLY three, they never hid, and have always been active. I started with three because I'd read that the type of sand I use could be an issue, and I wanted to be sure. It hasn't been, but now I can't FIND
them anywhere! I can tell my babies apart easily on sight, but also by their very distinct personalities - they're definitely individuals...
In the image above are Flotsam and Nod - they really love those floaters beyond all belief. It's so cute to watch them intentionally tangling themselves up just so - when they find a comfy spot, they just hang out. Sometimes they manage to hold still up there for some time, but usually this is not the case. It *might* be that the current or their weight shifts and the plants don't hold them for long, but I suspect the problem is with the loaches themselves. Loaches are like toddlers - they CAN NOT
hold still for very long - way too squirmy, gotta go go go! They're forever poking those little barbels into every nook and cranny in search of one last bite left behind. . .
It's been a lot of fun watching them in this new tank. Not that they weren't fun in the 29g, but I definitely had them in mind when I placed the rocks and the plants. They seem to be appreciating my effort, and over the last month, Loachville has really developed into it's own environment at the bottom of the 55. . .
Above is a picture of Winkin' and below is Nod. These are two of my most personable loaches - Nod most especially. That's saying a lot for the Loachlings - as a rule they ignore my existence entirely. . . Nod is my favorite. He was less than 2 inches long when I got him way back whenever it was. He's grown since then, but I think he'll always be my little guy. . . (or girl?) Isn't he CUTE!!?
It's tough to get good snaps of them, for one because they're always on the move, but also because they're at the bottom, behind and between and beneath everything and anything they can be. It isn't that they're hiding. . . not that at all - it's just the way their world is. I like to rest my head on the table and really see things as they do - the tank looks entirely different from their point of view.
. . .to a loach, the smallest rocks are mountains, and even the tiniest plants tower above. It's neat to see the underside of things, and notice how they move about. It isn't random - there are little loachy highways - paths that run from here to there around the tank floor (often through plants) that they favor. They know EXACTLY
where the food falls, and WILL
find every last bit if it takes them all night! Above is a picture of Nod underneath my surprise baby Lotus. It's only got 5 tiny leaves, and is *slightly* over an inch high - but to Nod? That's a pretty big plant! Because of the way they view the world, and how their amazing bodies are shaped - they don't go AROUND
things - they go THROUGH
them. While a 'normal' fish would cruise above or beside a cluster of grasses, the loaches see the spaces in between the blades - and slide right through without missing a beat. They're small enough not to cause harm, and they really seem to enjoy getting all twizzled up in the middle of a nice plant. And they frikkin' FROLIC
. I swear they do!
. . . of course, they ALSO
like their little caves - those are new, and I deliberately designed them into the rock-work in this tank for them. They seem to appreciate them, but not as much as the plants. I love it when they all pile into one spot and I can't tell head from tail and one from another. The writhe for a moment or three, then go about their silly loachy business - whatever that may be. It's nice to be a loach, I suspect. . . no matter what's going on at the top of the tank, the bottom more or less remains the same. If I prune leaves, the Rams get mad, the Tetra might feel shy - but the bases of the plants are still there - not that it matters. These guys are not territorial in the slightest bit, and I get the distinct feeling that they ENJOY
having things rearranged from time to time - keeps them entertained. And if a leaf falls to the floor, it's like Christmas! The messier the ground is, the happier they seem to be. They really loved it when I had Hornwort in my tank - that stuff was constantly dropping leaf litter all over the place - creating a loachy paradise. Now that it's autumn, I'm seriously considering tossing a fistful of dried oak leaves in for them - I just know they'll love it!
I feel like Kuhli don't really deserve their reputation - everything I read about these guys seems to imply that they're shy, and since they're nocturnal, you really won't see them much unless you have a scad and a bunch of them. But this has been the exact opposite of my experience with these fish since the day I brought them home. Even when there were only three, they've always been very visible, prowling around even during daylight hours. I honestly don't know when
they sleep - if they're also up all night, then they might not! Maybe it's because I've always had so many fun plants for them to play in - they really can't seem to resist a good tumble in some greenery. . . Silly little loachlings. . . I love them - and I'm really glad that they seem so happy with me!