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tophat665 03-21-2008 07:40 PM

Padding out the Loach Motel.
Well, the loach motel has been running for a year and a half now, and is nice and heavily planted, with two cannisters running (a Magnum 350 and an Eheim 2215). I've got 3 Weather loaches, 5 Angelicus Loaches, A Checkerboard Sand Loach, a Bristlenosed Pleco, and 8 Red Eye tetras. There are a ton of caves in there - 5 flowerpots topped with slate, and some leaning slate, making probably a dozen or more separate places for bottom dwellers to snuggle.

In any case, by my calculations (and my BBA issues) I am understocked here.

The current plan is to bump the Angelicus Shoal to 7 and add another pair of Sand Loaches. However, the Sand Loaches are thin on the ground and hard to come by, and both the Sand and Angelicus stay out of sight quite a bit, and they're both about 10 bucks a fish. So I am thinking some other options.

First option: Up the angelicus shoal to 7, return the sand loach to the LFS, and get another 8 Red Eyes. They do make a nice little school.

Second Option: Leave everything the way it is and add a pair of Kribs.

Third Option: Again lose the Sand Loach, add the Angelicusses, and Add a Shoal of 6 to 8 Dwarf Chain Loaches (and I was whinging about the price of Angelicusses?)

Last Option: Add another 8 Angelicus Loaches and lose the Sand Loach again.

What say?

SeaSerpant 03-21-2008 08:35 PM

maybe get a school of kuhli loaches. i think their redally available.

tophat665 03-21-2008 08:54 PM

Thanks. That'd be good but...

I've got kuhlis and Pangio myersi in other tanks, and Yoyos too. If I were to go for more different loaches, it would either be sidthimunkis or nigrolineatus. Now I have thought about replacing the Pleco with a Panda Garra, but I don't know much about them, so I don't know how well one would do.

Falina 03-21-2008 08:58 PM

I'm no loach expert by any means, but I'm just wondering how the loaches and kribs would do, with them all being bottom dwellers and kribs being quite territorial.

With loaches I knoew it depends a lot on what species, somne are peacful, some are not, but I'd be very vary of the kribs. They're def one of the more peaceful cics, but my pair wreacked havoc on my cories and I had to return them. The loaches would be more inclined to fight back, whereas the cories wouldn't, and I'm not sure if this would be a good thing.

Just a thought...

tophat665 03-21-2008 09:28 PM

Falina, that's a concern alright. The Loach Motel has at least two distinct zones - a sand and pebble bed with some small, low growing crypts and some overhanging stems to the left, and a nice bushy lawn of dwarf sags to the right. In the middle is a raised pebble bed, bounded by four half flowrpots and granite chunks concealed under java moss covered slates, planted with Dwarf Lilies around the edges, Bacopa carolinia in the middle, and some hygro at the back.

The loaches all tend to hang out to the right. The sand loach in the cave at the front, the Angelicuses in the caves at the back, and the weather loaches in the lawn itself or in the back corners of the tank. (on of the weather loaches tends to hang out in the stems in the far left corner of the tank.

The pleco used to hang out under the driftwood at the left, but recently is in the front left cave usually.

Now, this is a 50 gallon, with a 36x18 footprint and an 18" rise, so there's really only an upper and a lower zone - no middle.

The Angelicus Loaches (Botia kubotai, for those keeping track at home) are pretty shy - More like striatas than almorhaes. The Sand loach is a real scrapper. She'd either need friends or to be given away in most of these scenarios. The weather Loaches are just big and pretty active from time to time.

The thought of putting a pair of cave breeding cichlids in the mix is that they would probably gravitate to the left had zone with the sand and pebbles, and would probably chase off the occasional foray in a hurry.

The other bonus from a cichlid tank is fry to feed my Ctenos.

On the other hand, though, the loaches are and are meant to be the star of the tank, and fish that take their eyes out are likely to wind up as catfood.

I could go for some other medium sized midwater fish that wouldn't be pecked to death by the red eyes, but I am not sure what would work i a planted tank (verging on nature aquarium).

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