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mikw 04-07-2009 11:48 PM

Clown Loach with possible Ich
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Hi, I've recently acquired from a friend a 50 gallon established planted freshwater aquarium and two weeks after the move I'm concerned one of the clown loaches has Ich or something similar in appearance. All the fish appear to be very happy, eating and swimming just fine (including the smallest clown loach which is the one I'm concerned about), but in the past week or so I've noticed one white spot on the clown's side getting larger plus some white discoloration on his tail increasing, and a couple of other spots starting. His coloration is also much less bright than his tankmates. I assume the move was fairly traumatic so I've been keeping a close eye on the fish.

I went to the LFS and they sold me Aquarium Solution's PraziPro to fix this, however after some research I'm concerned this is not really the right meds (seems to be for flukes and internal parasites). Here's the relevant information, if someone could let me know if this indeed is ich and what the best course of action for these fish would be that would be great. The LFS guys seemed to be very concerned about the loaches and other meds, however I've read online successful use of other ich meds like Ich Attack or Rid-Ich+ with clown loaches in particular.

Thanks for any help or suggestions,


1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons)
50 Gallon

2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water?

3. How long the aquarium has been set up?
~5 years in previous location, 2 weeks current.

4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know)
3x Clown Loaches
2x Chinese Algae Eater
5x Rummynose Tetra
2x Plecostomus
1x Roseline Shark
1x Boesemani Rainbow

5. Are there live plants in the aquarium?
Yes, only one species at the moment, I believe Cryptocoryne undulata
6. What temperature is the tank water currently?

7. What make/model filter are you using?
Fluval 305 with bio cylinders and activated charcoal
8. Are you using a CO2 unit?
No, but the last week I've been dosing with Flourish Excel (5ml / day)

9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day?

10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed?
Two days ago, 30%

11. How often do you perform water changes?
Every 2 weeks (only one change since move)

12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish?
Once a day, flakes and algae tablets (the clowns go nuts over them)

13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on?
2x CF (not sure of wattage), 3 hours in the morning then 5 hours at night

14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time?
Possible Ich on clown loach
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
pH - 7.3 (might be a bit high?), ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 20ppm
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips?
Liquid test kit, Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Inc. freshwater master test kit.

17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank?
No new fish added since the move, no new fish have been added for ~1 year

1077 04-08-2009 03:36 AM

Were it me,(and it aint) I would hold off on medicating as many clown loaches are sensitive to medications. The photo was helpful and doesn't appear to be serious at this point(my opinion) I would perform twice weekly water changes of no more than 20 percent for a while (3 weeks) and see if condition did not improve. You do not indicate at what temp the fish are kept at but Maybe it is lower than that which they were previously kept at. I would slowly raise the temp over a couple days to 80 or perhaps 82 degrees.
Lastly,, I would rehome the chinese algae eater which I will assume(always a bad thing),, Is rather large at five years.They aren't at all very good at eating algae,and become beligerent and territorial as they mature. Some have been reported to harass tank mates and attach themselves to larger fish in effort to remove the slimecoat on fish which they find tastier than many foods or algae. They just aren't a good community fish.
It's also possible that tank has been rearranged and the clown loach in question has been on the receiving end of territorial dispute due to different arrangement of decor. Again,, The chinese algae eater would be my first suspect.
It is also possible that clown loach has been injured by something sharp in the tank as they appear to enjoy wedging themselves into tight places.
In any event,, I would try the twice weekly water changes along with SLOWLY raising the temp and observe the fish. If the condition becomes worse then medicating may be necessary. I would also provide some caves and some more places for the clown loaches to rest or hide at. I might also dim the lighting or place some artificial floating plants on the surface to help relieve any stress the fish may be expieriencing due to new surroundings and or decor. Hope some of this helps the fish.

1077 04-08-2009 03:54 AM

Ammendment to previous post.. You indicated that the tank has been running for five years and two weeks at present location. Tank's biological capabilties have been maintained with the recent move? no new substrate? Filter material was kept wet in tank water during the move? I ask this because sometimes tanks can go through brief ammonia or nitrite spikes if biological capabilities have been reduced suddenly although your water parameters sound good.

mikw 04-08-2009 09:50 AM

Temp is currently at 78F, and has been lowered a little from the previous tank location, I'll bump it up to 80-82 over the next while and try the water changes. The move was pretty smooth, the filter was kept wet and I didn't change anything other than the location.
The larger of the CAEs does appear to be pretty ornery, he'll chase the other fish around a fair bit. I haven't ever seen him latch on to another fish but it sounds like they might need to be relocated shortly.

Thanks for the response, having someone else with more experience take a look is great for my peace of mind...

aunt kymmie 04-08-2009 11:32 AM

I agree with 1077's advice. If you do end up having to treat with meds I recommend Kordon's Rid Ich at half the required dose. I keep clowns and it's the med I used to successfully treat my tank.

mikw 04-14-2009 09:43 PM

I just wanted to give an update and to say thanks for both 1077's and aunt kymmie's advice.

As of today everything appears to be cleared up, my clown loach is back in full color with no white spots at all, and is back to cruising around the tank with the rest of the gang like they own the place. No other fish have been affected, in fact I think the tank is looking the best it has since I got it.

The best part is this all happened without adding any meds, although I did pick up some Rid Ich and was very close to using it after a few days as things were getting worse and the loach's breathing started to get heavy.

For anyone else that is reading this, here's exactly what I did - over a period of 6 days I increased the temp from 78F to 84.5F, did daily 30% water changes (making sure to match the current tank temp exactly with the replacement water), added a few more bushy plants and rearranged the tank logs to give more hiding places, and turned off the light. Things were getting worse until day 4 when he started to stabilize, then day 5 he was significantly better looking.

I'm actually a bit hesitant to drop the temp again, is there any reason against keeping it around 84F? Everyone in the tank seems to be very happy at the moment. I do have live plants, would the high temps affect them?

Thanks again, it's so nice to see happy healthy fish!

1077 04-15-2009 03:24 AM

Glad the clown loach has improved. Water changes in my view, are sometimes underestimated for healing capabilities.I might leave the temp where it is and watch to see how plants do.;-)

aunt kymmie 04-15-2009 10:40 AM

I'm so glad your clown is doing better! During my treatment for ich I had the temp up high also but my plants began to suffer and looked quite pitiful. I dropped the temp back to 81 where it now stays. I'd do as 1077 suggests, leave it and if your plants start doing poorly slowly drop it back down.

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