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lovemypets 08-15-2008 07:39 PM

Not sure what is wrong....
first of all, here are my tank specs:

40 gal, freshwater, 50% water change done 2 days ago (just a monthly maint change), ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate = 0, ph hasn't been checked, tank temp is about 80', all fake plants.

2 bosamani rainbows
2 madagascar rainbows
4 male guppies
2 clown loaches
(all of these fish are under 3" big at this time)

Ok, here's my issue. One of my clown loaches has been in hiding for about a week now. I know they are noctural in nature but these two have always been out & playing during the day previously. I occassionaly catch a glimpse of her coming out for a quick bite to eat then right back into the fake rock/tree thing we have in there. I'm not sure if the 2nd loach is male or female yet. I've read that clown loaches have never been documented as breeding in captivity, but I can't figure out what is going on. When I have been able to see her, she doesn't appear to have any sores, spots, fin problems, etc. She appears totally healthy. What could be going on? Any suggestions?

onefish2fish 08-15-2008 09:29 PM

how "new" is this tank setup? i dont think your tank fully cycled, because how is it possible to have 0 nitrates?

as for the loaches, they need a shoal of 4-6+
i feel as if you were not fully educated on how big a single clown loach will get. im sorry if that sounds rude, but they can reach up to 18 inches having to have a number of them in a 40gal wouldnt work very long, due to th e size they grow and the "happy,healthy amount" you'd have to keep. as for the 2 you have now, im guessing they're hiding because there freaking out - "wheres my buddies, wheres my buddies???" lol.
its your tank, your rules.. but if you cannot accomadate the loaches requirements, i recomend trying to return them to the store of purchase for a refund or store credit and explain to them why you cannot keep these guys
if your absolutly in love with the loachies - plan on getting a few more, and a 75-100+ gallon tank sometime in your future.

if you think im just crazy, go to and type in clown loach and watch one of those videos, you'll get the picture quick.

lovemypets 08-18-2008 09:44 PM

re: changing clown loach behavior
Thanks for your post....Our tank has been set up for about a year now, so I'm pretty sure it has fully cycled. As for the nitrates reading, it's hard to tell with the liquid test kit - it's between the 0 & 5.0 reading - but the color is much closer to the 0 color on the card so I called it 0. Maybe that is our problem??? But not sure what to do (if anything) about it. You are correct though in that we didn't know at the time we purchased the loaches how big they get, but learned about their enormous size after the purchase through internet research. :shock: (We've learned our lesson....research BEFORE purchase) :) Anyway, we do have plans to get a larger tank to keep the loaches in. Right now, they're only 2 - 3 inches big so should be ok until we can get a new tank set up. (I hope) We've had the loaches for about 4 months & I don't think the LFS will take them back. I guess I'm just not sure if the new behavior is anything to worry about until we can get them into a bigger tank....because, yes, I have fallen in love with this species....they are so much fun to watch!....and we plan to get a couple more. (my dream is to have a clown loach only tank, but need to find the perfect set up for that first, lol!)

iamntbatman 08-18-2008 09:55 PM

If you're only doing 50% water changes monthly, you should definitely have a higher nitrate reading than that even after the water change. Did you shake the test liquid bottle really well before the test? For the nitrate test especially, you really have to follow the instructions to the letter to get an accurate test.

I doubt that the water parameters are the source of any problem though, if you've been doing regular maintenance and the tank's been set up for over a year. I also don't think you've got breeding going on since the fish, as you say, is only 3" long which is far from adult size for a clown loach. I think the hiding might be due to some sort of stress caused by there being too few loaches in the tank. Setting up that loach tank soon and adding more to the school would be helpful. Also, how many hiding places have you got in the tank? Loaches like the security of caves to hide in, but the more caves you provide them, the less stressed they'll be and they'll actually be more likely to be more playful.

lovemypets 08-18-2008 10:03 PM

I guess I should have explained the water changes more - we do a monthly 50% change and do smaller changes 10 - 20% about twice a month, but you said you don't think that is the problem.......I'm going to do another test to see if I get the same results - maybe I need to buy a new kit?? We have a lot of plants (fake) and 3 rock/drift wood hiding places, but they aren't real big. Maybe I'll have to add a couple of larger hideouts and see if that helps. Thanks for all of your help! :)

iamntbatman 08-18-2008 10:45 PM

If you haven't got any live plants, the only way nitrates are getting removed from the tank is by water changes. Sounds like you have a good water change schedule to me, but those nitrates still seem very low. Test kits do get old and go bad after a while, but like I said, the nitrate test in particular is pretty tricky.

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