Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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AyalaCookiejar 01-01-2013 09:51 PM

My brothers loaches...
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.


FishyFishy89 01-01-2013 10:52 PM

Well for one, these loaches obviously need sand substrate. They do not have scales, so the gravel may feel very uncomfortable to them.
If you have sand in your betta tanks, they would be of extreme benefit for you. They would agitate the sand for you. To feed him, you can stuff frozen brine shrimp or blood worms in your substrate.

AyalaCookiejar 01-01-2013 11:33 PM


Originally Posted by FishyFishy89 (Post 1373822)
Well for one, these loaches obviously need sand substrate. They do not have scales, so the gravel may feel very uncomfortable to them.
If you have sand in your betta tanks, they would be of extreme benefit for you. They would agitate the sand for you. To feed him, you can stuff frozen brine shrimp or blood worms in your substrate.

Thanks. I don't have sand in my Betta tanks... I'd actually be scared to put the loaches in with any of my bettas because my brother thinks they ate his Molly... And some other fish he's had in there except the pleco.

I'm pretty sure he feeds them all flakes and they have never had frozen or live food besides my brothers other fish that disappeared. How would they live 5 years in these conditions?
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FishyFishy89 01-01-2013 11:44 PM

his mollies probly died and the loaches just did their job, cleaned the tank xD

They're apparently very hardy fish. My brother's Kuhli is still alive. He's going on 15 years now.

AyalaCookiejar 01-01-2013 11:58 PM

So you think the tank conditions killed the Molly and not the loaches? If I have to keep the tank I'd like to get a fish that is interesting to look at, lol. The loaches are kind of cool but I can never see them and the pleco doesn't do anything interesting. His tank is cycled but the nitrates were ridiculously high. He says he doesn't have luck with any of his fish except those two loaches and the pleco which he's had since he got the tank 5 years ago (I'm guessing since he never does water changes...) I still don't want to house any of my bettas with them... I have two five gallon Betta tanks each with one male Betta and am cycling a ten gallon and a four gallon for more bettas, but I guess I'm also stuck with my brothers ten gallon and his three fish.
I don't have a problem doing the weekly water changes but I think it probably needs a new heater and a really good cleaning. The rocks are disgusting. What kind of sand would I use? And can I feed them anything other than frozen foods?
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jentralala 01-02-2013 12:08 AM

It's a shame you don't live closer or I'd take them off your hands. I have 4, and I'm looking to get more. I love my loaches, I have them in with Harlequin Rasboras and Pearl Gourami. They aren't aggressive at all, but they are opportunistic. If another fish died, they're going to eat it. They scavenge food.
And sometimes fish can survive horrible conditions, but it doesn't mean that they are without harm. They've probably got quite a few problems.

And my loaches hide, yes, but they come out for feeding and don't bury themselves anymore, because they have plenty of hiding spaces. If you give them a good, proper home they can be very active and adorable fish.

I have mine on black flourite, but I've heard of them being successfully kept on Tahitian Moon sand and plain old well rinsed play sand. Mine will eat absolutely anything. They do well enough on leftover flakes/sinking granules, but a shrimp pellets are also good for them.

Have you kept live plants before? They like shade, and sometimes to hang out on the leaves of broad plants.

I think a good setup would be a sand substrate, driftwood with a 'cave' (a space where it doesn't touch the ground for them to hide under), and oak leaves on the substrate. Plant the tank if you're comfortable with that, it can be very beneficial :)

jentralala 01-02-2013 12:09 AM

I forgot to mention, loaches are also more active if there are more of them. It's actually recommended to keep them in groups of at the minimum 5, but preferably 10 or more. As you can see I'm a bit below the mark, unfortunately, but they're rare to find here :(

rexpepper651 01-02-2013 12:11 AM

i have medium sized smooth gravel in my tank with the same loaches. they are cool lil dudes one of mine is about 4 inches long now i got them when they were really small on sale at petsmart for 99 cents. they hide alot around the base of my plants an in my driftwood. they get whatever i feed my other fish. flake food, shrimp pellets, blood woorms, for a while there i thought they died i didnt see them for 3 months till one day i was cleaning an out they came!

FishyFishy89 01-02-2013 11:51 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if the tank conditions killed the molly(s). 10 gallon tank, pleco, 2 kuhlis. plecos have a high bio-load as it is.

AyalaCookiejar 01-02-2013 08:51 PM

The filter seems to be doing a good job handling everything. Is there any other fish they can add to it that's more interesting to look at and will do well with the water flow from the filter and the bubbler?

I think my brother is going to keep the tank, now. However I told him to try sand, which I think he will do. His girlfriend also thinks the tank is boring since it looks like its always empty, but I told them they'd have to keep up with water changes if they didn't want another one to die.. And probably get a new heater.
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