Clown Loach Ideas
Been into aquariums and fish for a while. Had Freshwater for over 6years now with a reef aquarium and recently moved. I am planning on setting up my 55gallon with a 30 gallon overflow in my house and really wanted to get away from reef stuff and back into freshwater. I was thinking of course of everyones favorite fish as the centerpiece on the tank and that is the Clown Loach :-)
Just wanted to hear some advice on how to make a natural environment for these guys. I want a planted tank but did hear that Clown Loaches prefer low light levels. Would light really matter for these guys if there were many hiding spots for them and since they normally come out during night and in the morning?(from my experience)
Since I am new to freshwater plants, I really want to be cautious about the substrate I put in there. What is the best combo for the loaches and for growing plants?
I would appreciate any help on this subject or pointing me in the right direction on where to go.
loaches like to dig in sand, however plants and sand are not a best possible choice... you need a bigger grain than sand for water flow.
However, if you see my DIY article on making a sand pit you can use sand in specific areas for them to play, while the rest of the tank has w/e substrate you pick.
I have no problems growing plants in pool filter sand. As you can see from my aquarium profile, they're thriving. Pool filter sand has the advantage of having the smaller particles of sand removed so it compacts less and allows some water flow through it. My only comment re: clown loaches is that they are likely to show their coulours best with a dark substrate - there's some commercially available dark sands such as Tahitian Moon Black Sand, which would be great if you can afford it. My bottom dwellers are all healthy (corys lay eggs regularly) but thier colours are a little washed out - i think because they're blending with the light coloured sand
There are plenty of plants that will do fine with low light levels that clowns prefer inlcuding crypts, anubias, hygrophilla, pennywort
Sorry I was refering to play sand in my post. Personally I'd go with Tahitian Moon Black Sand if you can get it... I've always want it with clown loaches but can't get it anytime soon.
I believe the first issue is the tank size; a 55g is not suitable for clown loach. If you have a look at the profile of this fish (click on the shaded name to see the profile) it mentions they must be in a group (5-6 or more), and as they attain 8 inches minimum but may reach 12 inches, a tank of 5-6 feet is required. If such a large tank is possible, then they could manage temporarily in a 4-foot, but loaches like all fish grow constantly, developing internally as they do, and they need that space early on or they can be "stunted" or deformed internally. The group is mandatory because of their high social interaction.
If you really want loaches, there are several species suitable for a 4-foot (55g) tank, they are in the profiles (general profile link is the second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the screen).
The profiles also mention natural habitats of the particular fish species, and in many cases aquascape suggestions in the general discussion are also included especially where these are significant to the fish's well being. Sand can work, I would use (as I do for my loaches) small-grain gravel, it is excellent medium for plants and substrate fish do fine with it.
A last comment on light; loaches may be "shy" in brightly lit tanks; dim light (sufficient for the plants but no more) plus a canopy of floating plants achieves an ideal light level for almost all forest fish.
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