Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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watts300 05-03-2009 01:31 PM

Large species, small water.

Originally Posted by Byron
This fish can grow to 12 inches, although in aquaria it often reaches 6-7 inches only, due to being in too small a space (I won't go into the internal problems this causes a fish).

(That was a part of Byron's reply to another member in a different section. I was going to PM this to him, but it perhaps might be beneficial to others.)

Can you show me a link on this? I'd like to read about it.

I'm interested because I, too, also have a pair of clown loaches in a 20L. I'm aware of the adult size of these fish, but I'd like to learn more about the growth of fish.

It is difficult to find information on the specifics I'm interested it -- when I need to rehome the clowns. I seriously doubt that others have done experiments to find out the maximum size a fish will grow in any given size of aquarium, that's an absurd undertaking. But I'm trying to figure out around what length my clowns will "stop" growing in their current home. I recognize I would want to move them just before that happens.

In MY aquarium, I would imagine they wouldn't be welcome any more first because of the number of tank mates and over-crowding... well before they reach (for example) 5 inches each and simply cannot fit any more (even if they were the only two fish). Perhaps that would be when I should move them...?

I'm not trying to take a cheap way out trying to save money on fish and/or justify the $10 I spent on each clown. I'm a grown man, I can afford a couple more fish as replacements. ;) I DO however, want to be able to enjoy the fish and watch them grow and then give them new homes when the appropriate time comes.

For reference, the larger of the two is no bigger than my marble molly. (as seen in my YouTube video in my signature.)

Byron 05-03-2009 02:41 PM

Glad to respond, although understand this is advice/information I have gleaned from others. I'm not a biologist so like many things in this hobby (and like most of us) I have to rely on the wisdom of others who are experienced and/or have scientific knowledge.

On the size of the clown loach, all the writings I've seen say they grow to 12 inches but rarely more than 6-7 in an aquarium. For instance, Baensch/Riehl [Aquarium Atlas, I, p. 370] give the size as "11 and 3/4 inches (seldom longer that 6 and 1/2 inches in a home aquarium)." Several "beginner" aquarists have started threads on this forum in the past couple of months and whenever clown loaches were indicated as fish for tanks under about 40g almost every one had one or more posts from others saying the tank was too small for a fish that grows to the size it will. I certainly won't question the knowledge of any of these who say the fish gets 12 inches or 6-7 in the aquarium, and the under-40g tank is too small for such fish.

As for the second part of my earlier comment, I recently read an article somewhere about stunted fish growth. I believe it was on another forum (I belong to several and while not as active on most as here, I do try to read the messages). As best I can remember, the point was that the fact that any fish doesn't grow in size in an aquarium doesn't solve the problem of keeping "large" fish in small quarters. The author maintained that the internal organs in fish grow as they mature, and if the external body of the fish can't grow due to the environment the fish will in time experience internal problems that will severely affect its wellbeing if not outright kill it. I remember specific reference to issues with the fish's immune system, not developing properly in stunted fish, with the result that the fish continually experience health problems that would not occur if it had not been stunted. I also recollect an analogy to premature human babies that do not develop properly.

I also have the article "Fish Growth vs. Tank Size" in the then-regular TFH column "The Skeptical Fishkeeper" by Laura Muha. This was in the December 2006 issue of TFH, and those who have read some of my other posts know that I frequently cite from this article because it is very scientific; Ms. Muha contacted ichthyologists and animal scientists and veterinarians in several US universities and institutions. To cite one paragraph:

"All the experts I consulted pretty much do agree that there's a grain of truth to the conventional wisdom that keeping a potentially large fish in a small tank often does somewhat negatively affect its growth. But, they say--and this is a real important "but"--it's not a benign process that results in the creation of a perfect minature version of the species in question. Rather, they describe it as "stunting," with all of the negative implications for the fish's health that go along with that. Dr. Julius Tepper, a Long Island veterinarian who specializes in koi, says that in his clinical practice he's observed that koi housed in small ponds (which he defines as a stocking density of more that three adult koi per 1000 gallons of water) are often abnormally small, and they tend to have health problems as well." Ms. Muha goes on to discuss the fact that it is the water quality in the small tank and not the size itself that causes the problems. Experiments by many including Jack Whattley (discus) show that of the fry kept in identical size tanks, those in the tank that received a 90% water change eight times a day were at the end of one month double the size of those in the other tank that received only a 40% water change once a day. I suspect few of us have the inclination to change 90% of our tank water 8 times each and every day just so we can maintain "large" fish that shouldn't otherwise be in the tank.

I take the view that if I follow the advice of those who understand all this better than I can, the result will be healthier fish in my aquarium, and that means they will be happier and more likely to exhibit their natural behaviours that are such an enjoyable part of this hobby.


1077 05-04-2009 05:53 AM

I recently aquired three juvenile clown loaches (approx two and one half in.) in march of this year. I researched all the info I could find on them. It is said that they grow rather quickly to five inches and then somewhat slower after that. Also was stated that the majority of these fish are wild caught and as such, they prefer oxygen rich water with considerable current that simulates the waters that they are collected from. One of the websites showed a photo of a group of these fish in a large tank and the largest clown loach,was nearly seventeen inches. I have been observing a group of four in a 125 gal with eight Discus for over a year. When the lady placed the clown loaches with the discus they were approx. four inches. They are now nearly eight inches. My own three juveniles (2 1/2 inches when puchased) are nearly three and one half inches to four inches. They are housed in 75 gal with two emperor 400 's for filtration along with two large sponge filters. Tankmates are four gold rams,one four inch Kribensis,four khuli loaches,and one white spot pleco. If I could afford to ,and had the space, I would place the clown loaches in the biggest tank I could. I am in hopes of getting a larger tank for the three I have ,but have been told that I can always house them in dealers 225 gal when needed .

watts300 05-04-2009 06:16 AM

Unfortunately I don't have the means or space for a large aquarium. I think I'll give these two fellas another two inches with me then put up a craigslist ad. I will be very critical with new homes. Short of actually watching a prospective owner care for their current setup, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a background and of course size of the tank. Maybe even asking for a water sample would be a good idea. ;) I suppose of the person would think it reasonable and responsible if they really want them.

I would like to be able to replace them with kuhlis, but those appear to need parameters I cannot supply.

1077 05-04-2009 07:01 AM

The tank that houses the Kuhlis and others I mentioned, Runs at 82 degrees for benefit of the rams whose colors begin to wash below this temp. Ph =7.4 medium hardness,ammonia and nitrites are zero with nitrAtes at 20ppm. I have had the kuhli's for nearly five months and they appear to be doing well as they continue to get fatter. Some info suggests cooler water for these fish and I belive the temp I am keeping them at to be at their limit. Other info, (found on different websites )say that they prefer soft acidic water, while others say they will be fine with ph values up to 8.0. They are relatively inexpensive fish, perhaps you could try them. I think so long as they weren't too small mollys wouldn't trouble them ,but don't hold me to that.

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