Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Shannara 09-20-2007 06:49 PM

Dojo loach mystery...
Hi all,

I am new to your forums and have a reoccurring issue with a dojo loach that is perplexing me. I have the dojo in a 55 gallon tank with water parameters at:

Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm
Nitrates 10 ppm

All other fish in the aquarium are behaving normally. Recently though I noticed that from time to time this dojo would lose his/her ability to swim and will either float on his/her side or back and swim slowly around the tank with apparent difficulty. I know sometimes dojo's can clown around but something is clearly wrong. I isolated this fish thinking maybe a swim bladder issue, withheld food for 5 days, and treated him/her with maracyn. He/She appeared to improve and was quite frisky by the time I reintroduced him/her back in the main tank. This was about a week ago. The dojo has since been appeared fine but tonight is now showing the same symptoms. Externally I noticed his/her "vent" (I think this is the term for where their waste is excreted) is protruding more than the other dojo's and occasionally he/she swims to the top of the tank, gulps some air, and a bunch of bubbles come out of the vent.

I don't know what is going on here and am not sure how to proceed. I have read fish can become constipated and am not sure if this is so in this case. If it is I read you can give Epsom salt baths? I have looked this fish over carefully and cannot find any sign of external parasites or other issues.

Any info would be helpful and I can try and take a picture if this might help anyone.


fish_4_all 09-20-2007 07:04 PM

After doing some searching I was unable to find anything else that explains what you have seen. The oly thing I can think of thta might be causing its strange activity if the fact that loaches prefer to be in groups of 3 or more. Can this cause what you have seen, maybe. The stress of being a single fish that wants company might be causing it but I can not say for certain.

Hopefully someone who has seen this before will post so we can figure out if it is something to treat or just a lonesome issue.

Shannara 09-20-2007 07:09 PM

Oh, this dojo isn't the only one. I have 4 others. Some further info on the tank should be in my signature now.

I have had this fish for almost a year now and I would hate to lose him/her. It's about 5" long now and up to this point has been a very healthy fish.

Thanks for your input though. :)


Shannara 09-20-2007 08:00 PM


I don't know if this fish is male or female but I generally refer to this dojo as male.

He has deteriorated fast like last time...floating on his back. I netted him and as the head broke the water surface more air bubbles came out of the vent again....honestly like he is having some sort of gas problem. I know that sounds silly but it's the best way I can describe it. I now have him isolated in the hospital tank and he is laying on the bottom on his back.

Not sure what to do now....


JouteiMike 09-20-2007 08:10 PM

Is the loach noticeably bloated?

Epsom salt may help expel excess gas and fluid. Have you tried feeding him some deshelled peas? My dojos love to eat peas, and it tends to held with constipation issues.

For dosage I've used 1/8 teaspoon per five gallons of water in the past - seemed to work. Hope he gets better.

Shannara 09-20-2007 08:17 PM

Honestly, I don't think he is bloated. I tried peas the first time around, to see if it might help, and he wouldn't go near them. I will add some epsom salt to the hospital tank if you think it might help. I heard you can give them baths though, for about 15 minutes, in a much higher concentration but I don't want to stress him like that unless that might help the situation.

He has righted himself at this point but I have never seen anything like this. I will try some pea's again and see if I have better luck this time around.

Thanks for the input.


JouteiMike 09-21-2007 03:14 AM

Yes, you can up the dosage of the salt and give him a "bath", but this may indeed stress him out. A mild concentration should suffice until he is acting better.

When you noticed the waste being produced, how did it appear?

Shannara 09-21-2007 07:12 AM

He is so skittish that I have not seen his waste since this all started. Generally he hides himself. For now I will use the epsom salts in a low dose.

Anyone else ever encountered something like this before?


Julie's Julies 09-21-2007 05:38 PM

I've never heard of anything like this either, but I might have a suggestion about the peas. You can try feeding him babyfood peas as long as peas are the only ingredient. It's just a suggestion, but it might appeal to him more than the entire husked pea heart. I have also been told that you can insert an epsom salt crystal into the pea heart to help alleviate constipation and such digestive problems, but if you cannot get the pea down him in the first place, this might not be very helpful.

Shannara 09-21-2007 05:56 PM

I am going to try the peas tonight instead of his regular food. So far he is acting normal again though I do notice he is always wedging himself under something...almost as if it helps him with his buoyancy issues.

Here are some pics of him a few months back. He still looks that way...kinda He has always been the most skittish of my dojo's though.

He has a goldish tint to him...really interesting compared to most dojo's I've seen.


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