Clown Loach tankmates - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 11-15-2011, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Clown Loach tankmates

I have a 55 gallon planted tank full of driftwood and river rocks. I currently have 3 mollies, 3 tiger barbs, 1 albino pleco, and I added 1 clown loach a week ago. I have done some reading since then and apparently clown loaches do not do good alone(without other clown loaches)? Mine seems to be doing fine and he is very active and swims around with the other fish, I see him all the time and he seems very happy. I was wondering if a cloan loach will be ok as the only of his type in the tank as long as he has other types of fish to swim with, or if I need to get another loach.

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post #2 of 2 Old 11-15-2011, 01:31 PM
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All loach are highly social fish. They absolutely need a group. The activity you are seeing between the lone loach and other fish is undoubtedly an attempt by the clown loach to "have some fun." But in my view, without other clowns, it will eventually suffer. Shoaling fish are inherently programmed by nature and evolution to live in groups for specific reasons; this cannot be denied them.

In a 55g you have space for 3-4 more, provided you realize than they will need a much larger tank in time. A group of clowns should be in a 5-6 foot tank so they can properly grow as nature intends. In too small a space, stunting can occur; and at the least, stress which weakens the immune system and leads to other health issues that woudl otherwise not occur.

A group of 5 is the minimum, although in a pinch a group of 4 might suffice. The interactive relationship of fish in loach species is very strong.

If a larger tank within a year or so is not likely, I would return the clown loach and consider another species that remain smaller. A 55g is ideal for several of them, check those in our profiles.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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