Well... I am officially traumatized.
Went to get the new loaches. . . when got to the shop, the owner's wife told me that they didn't have any more (meaning that she didn't feel like catching them).
I politely pointed out that I had called before I left my home and had someone check for me, and she reluctantly went to get them. Nice start!
So she's trying to catch them. . . usually, I see Kuhli kept in a bare-bottomed tank with a hide or two thrown in, because Kuhli loaches are notoriously difficult to catch, and can burrow under the substrate. THIS tank had gravel, and they were playing hard to get. I watched as the woman was stabbing the net into the gravel repeatedly, trying to scare them OUT, and net them - and failing miserably.
I HAD to say something! Those might be my fish she was stabbing! So I mumbled something about how I hoped none of them were getting hurt under there. . . she stopped stabbing the gravel, and started taking nets full of gravel OUT and into her little catch-box, and then dumped the water with the loaches into the bag. . . eventually I asked if she wanted me to give it a try - but of course, that isn't allowed. I'm not usually so forward, but GOODNESS!!! It was a terrible experience. She counted the fish - I wanted FOUR - and said "I'm going to go get you an extra one, because I think I squashed one. . ."
When she went off to get the 'extra,' she left the catch-box with the bag inside of it on the counter, and that's when I realized that my new babies were REALLY babies. Tiny, teeny little loachlings. These loaches are SO
small. I don't know how big they're supposed to be before being sold, but I've always seen them for sale pretty close to the 2.5 inch mark - these loaches are between 1 - 1.5 inches - they look like tiny bits of spaghetti noodles! I probably should have refused them, but after everything they had just gone through - I COULDN'T let her put them back into the tank, I had to bring them home and at least give them a fighting chance!
I counted FOUR
loaches in the bag, and ONE underneath the bag, still in the box with a bit of gravel. When she came back, she added the 'extra' loach, and was about to dump the box out - so I shouted!
"WAIT! THERE'S A FISH STILL IN THERE!" So she dumped him into the bag, too. I came home with 6 for the price of 4, but poor Squish didn't make it. He was alive when I got him home, but died within a few hours. . .
Of the five surviving loaches, ONE of them wasn't even a stripey - the 'extra' she got me is a black Kuhli. Guess she didn't feel like bothering to capture the right TYPE of loach, since I wasn't paying for him (because she squished the other one!), so I still have the four that I wanted, plus one black and one dead. But there's no way that I'm going to return him for a stripey one - I am NEVER
setting foot into that shop again. . . unless it's to ask for a full refund when all of these die - which won't surprise me, considering how roughly she pulled them from the tank, and how young they are.
I was going to put them into a bigger tank to QT, but I was so afraid that I'd lose them! I ended up putting them into a fully cycled 3g tank - they have enough room to swim 8-10 body lengths before reaching the other side. No way I could keep an eye on them in a larger tank. It isn't ideal, but hopefully it'll be okay for a month or so - and hopefully they make it through and into the 55, where they will lead full and happy lives. Poor little things!
This shot is pretty close to actual size. . . they're smaller than my chapstick!
See the heater that he's hiding under? And yeah - that's a sandy bottom - not gravel. TINY TINY TINY FISH!!!
It's really tough not to get immediately attached to such adorable tiny little things, so I'm really hoping they're okay. . .
Does anyone know how well Pangio oblonga shoal with Pangio Kuhli? I wouldn't think there would be a problem, but if he needs his own shoal, Pet Smart has the Black Kuhli in stock always, and they're a FAR better shop then the LFS we have here. . . I can put them in the 29g tank, if I have to. *shakes head*