Sneaky Dwarf Chain Loaches
I have a school of 6 Dwarf Chain Loaches in my 29g SE Asian biotope tank. They're housed along with three Dwarf Gourami and a school of 12 (hopefully 24 eventually) Lambchop Rasboras.
Everything I've read, including the fish profile here, and seen at my LFSs suggest that these guys are active swimmers and have great personalities. Mine like to hide under a big log in the tank. I can see them fine underneath it, they eat, they seem happy and healthy but the don't often venture out. Is there something wrong, or are mine just shy? Would a slightly larger group help? Say eight.
Damn these guys were expensive and I want to see them exhibiting their natural traits.
how long have you had them? i've noticed my fish can take a week or two to become comfortable and exhibit natural behaviour in my tank
also, what other decor and plants are in the tank? are there other dark, secure places for them to hide?
i love dwarf chain loaches by the way!
I've had them probably a month now. Maybe a month and a half. Long enough that I've discounted the adjustment to the tank theory.
I've got a moderately planted tank with three pieces of wood (this being the only one to hide under) and some terra cotta bits that form a cave of their own. It just seems weird.
I currently have these fish and can relate a similar experience.
When originally acquired, my five were placed in the 70g tank which also housed three Botia kubotai (and other upper fish). Both loaches were out and about continually from day one, playing within their respective species and mixed from time to time. They got along fine. They were there for some 8 months. Then I decided to split that tank into two aquascapes to accommodate more of differing fish. I didn't have many fish in the tank, and setting up a 33g for the sedate gourami (that I wanted to increase) and re-setting the 70g for the loaches and other stream fish from SE Asia seemed sensible. I moved the inhabitants into the new 33g while I worked on the 70g.
All loaches disappeared from day one and I never saw them. Even after 3 weeks in the 33g both species would remain within the various pieces of wood. I ensured they were eating, and if I sat motionless near the tank for some time I would sometimes see a few of them out, but they clearly had changed their behaviour dramatically.
The 70g was finally ready, and I introduced two new B. kubotai, intending to move the older three back in. I did, and instantly the original 3 were charging around as before, with each other and the newbies. Now, after some 4-5 weeks, they are still active as they had been previously.
Meanwhile, the dwarfs in the 33g are still reluctant to come out when I am there. I do see them out scampering about if I sit in a chair nearby. But they are clearly not as "brazen" as they were in the old 70g.
Substrate is identical, water parameters identical, same wood and plants. I am hoping they will become more settled in time. I intend introducing a group of Banded Dwarf loaches into this tank shortly, and depending upon the behaviours after that I may or may not move the chain loaches into the 70g.
One last comment, they must have floating plant cover. All loaches are shy, retiring from the light. I suspect one thing in my old 70g that favoured them was the thick floating plant cover. In the 33g this was reduced and that may also have been an issue at first.
While it may be annoying, having plenty of hiding spots is a very good thing; this at least reduces the stress and your loaches, like mine, are less likely to suffer health problems. A wary fish in a tank with no such hiding spots is highly stressed and prone to disease, so don not remove the wood or things will worsen.
Eventually, floating plants might be in the works. For now, the only surface cover I have are the long leaves that the banana plants put out. Are you also suggesting that they might be happier in a larger tank? If you are I can't do much about it, but good to know.
Mine will also peek themselves out if I sit really still. Strange.
Good to know. I won't worry then. Just be sad they aren't as crazy as I'd seen. :-(
Just to add my recent experience with Dwarf Chains. I bought six as teeny tiny babies (3/4") and put them in a 6gl all alone, with the intent to move to them a larger tank once they were a tad bigger and wouldn't get so "lost" in a bigger tank. The 6gl is ridiculously STUFFED with plants, sand bottom, huge chunk of Malaysian driftwood. I never saw them. Even in a tank that small I could never see them, they would seldom dart out from under cover, and if one did it was only for a split second.
I just moved them three weeks ago to the new 75 gl I set up. The 75 is heavily planted except no overhead floating plants, yet.
The Dwarf Chains immediately high tailed it to the "cave" under the driftwood, but at least I have this hunk of wood situated in a way where I can see them . They hang out there, rarely venturing out, until last Tuesday.
Tuesday I went down to my favorite LFS and purchased 6 Golden Zebra loaches (little guys, only an inch in length) and also a solo dwarf chain that was the last one the store had. Couldn't leave the little guy there with no buddies. Less than 24 hours after I added the new loaches, all loaches are out and about in broad daylight, darting and zooming all over the tank. How odd is that?? :shock:
In a 29g though, burnsbabe, I don't think there is room for another loach species.
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