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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! I’m new to this forum. I recently started a 29 gallon tank with 5 coolie loaches (one of the five I’ve had for a little over a year and was transferred into the new tank) and 6 black phantom tetras. I just found the smallest of the loaches dead in the gravel. It appears as if he tried to dig down into the gravel but got stuck. I know that loaches like to dig but I read that as long as they have plenty of hiding spots (which I’ve provided plenty) they will be fine with a gravel substrate. Now I’m worried that the gravel is going to be dangerous to have. I want to make sure these little guys are healthy. Should I change over to a sand substrate or maybe just incorporate some sand? I’m worried about doing a complete change of substrate since the tank has only been cycling for about three weeks and I don’t want to stress the fish out! Help! 😞
 

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I have about the same substrate in with my coolies. I'd be a bit surprised if that was the cause. Any chance it could have been stunted or not getting enough food?
 

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They are being fed regularly so I don’t think it would be from that. When I found him, his body was sticking up straight out of the gravel, head down. It seems like a lot of my loaches try to dig for the food pellets that fall in between the gravel. Maybe I should try feeding something different that doesn’t sink as easily?
 

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Some people put petri(glass) dishes on top of the substrate to feed bottom feeders. Keeps it cleaner.
 
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