they prefer cooler water with high oxygen content, but i believe they can adapt to warmer water. they do eat some algae, but they will eat just about anything. they also are social and like the company of their own kind.
i think blue just got some, so you may wish to hit him up for some info
I had to revise what I posted awhile ago. Some were mainly because the other author was asking about filters planned and such.
1. Contrary to other people's belief, hillstream loaches are not delicate. They have been placed in several community tanks without realizing how much these loaches actually prefer the extra oxygenation compared to most other fish which I believe you will easily accomplish seeing as how you stated you'll get two powerheads.
2. These loaches are small. 3 inches is often the maximum size but note that there are more than just a single hillstream loach available in the aquarium trade so sizes will often vary.
3. I find it weird to keep calling for the proper method of catching the hillies but I have already been disappointed to see most of them with graze marks from which I assume they were simply grabbed by their heads or tails. I would recommend bringing with you a credit card and try to push the hillie towards the net positioned forward. If people complain it's weird, then ignore them. After all, the point is reducing the damage done to the fish. Save their stress time for adaptation to your tank, not from being grappled on.
4. Temperature. Hillstream loaches are quite tolerant of high temperatures however note that high temperature often calls for depletion of oxygen so the temperature must be kept at 25 degrees Celsius maximum to ensure adequate supply of oxygen along with the surface agitation done by powerheads and bubblers. The heater must be used only when it calls for emergencies such as ich but the oxygen level must be maximized as well to ensure their survival is not compromised.
5. Sponge filters stuck to powerheads are sufficient enough for the loaches or try to search for a 'river tank' and try to build the kind of setup often suggested.
6. Substrate is up to you. Most prefer sand although I used gravel in my case. They will rarely glide along the bottom and you will find that they glide among rocks most of the time.
7. Smooth rocks are a must. I do not think the hillies will be at ease gliding across rough edges and on top of it, they will be unable to eat the algae growing on rough rocks.
8. Peat. You will need peat to maintain the pH from 6.5-7.5. I maintained from my pH from 6.8-7.0. The oxygen level kept at a maximum rate often shots the pH higher than 7.5. I was surprised when my pH shot at 7.8 and it seems most of my fish are beginning to look unhappy so I had to bite the bullet and get a box of peat. CO2 is not going to help as it will be lifted off easily by surface agitation. Driftwoods, on the other hand, does not leach to much tannins based on my observation. Almond leaves are inadequate for long-term basis unless you can supply boxes of them.
9. Tankmates. Danios and white clouds will be fine. I would be careful with the tankmates for them. Avoid plecs as much as possible. They compete the hillies for green algae and if this happens, the hillies will starve to death. I have however kept SAEs in my tank in my attempt to control the hair algae growth.
10. Food. I had mentioned a few times why they prefer green algae so it is advisable that you culture your own supply of green algae. Try to get smooth rocks and put them in a bucket/tub of old aquarium water(full of nitrates and other trace elements needed) and place the container under direct sunlight. In a few days, you will be able to see rocks coated with green algae. Liquid fertilizers are well worth it. Other foods that you can try are spirulina flakes(make sure they reach the bottom or some fish will eat them instead-I try to grab a pinch and sink them deeper to the bottom for the hillies), sinking pellets and bloodworms(don't feed too much-They do relish bloodworms but they should never be given too much or risk digestive upsets).
By the way, hillies do not eat snails. Only Botias do.
11. Plants. They are not necessary but they do help with the water quality often consuming ammonia and nitrates making the water safe for the hillies to live. Anubias and cryptocorynes are few of the plants that can bear the brunt of the currents created by powerheads.
12. Lighting. I would recommend increasing the intensity to ensure algal growth in your tank.
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