Clown Loaches not eating

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Tay690

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Original poster
Feb 5, 2009
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Hi,
I have 2 clown loaches that are refusing food for an entire week. I don't know what to do / what the problem is.

I have a 55g tank with 2 clown loaches in it. 3 decent pieces of mopani driftwood and no plants (tried some Val's and Kylie absolutely ripped it to pieces for some odd reason)

Up until about a week ago, Kylie (who is about 6-7 inches) was always out and about. Swimming, laying on the sand, sifting around. Typical clown behaviour. She would eat readily 3 times a day (loves the pond sticks for koi and omega one veggie rounds mainly).

About a week ago, I added another clown loach (King) and this is what has happened. King is about 3 inches or so.

Upon adding King, Kylie was quite territorial. She had been solo in that tank for a few years (maybe 3 or 4 years) so that was to be expected.

Next morning the 2 of them are swimming around outside before the lights went on. They begin swirling around eachother and kind touching their bodies while spinning in tight circles.

They both have been hiding in this one piece of driftwood that is hollowed out for about 6 days now... barely coming out at all. If they do, they do a 180 and dart back into the driftwood.

They refuse any food I have put into the tank (although Kylie did eat frozen blood worms the next day after King was added... but the next day, I vacuum'd up an entire blood worm cube as they both refused it).

I am not sure what is going on or what to do about it.

0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 - 7.5 nitrate. Water is 115 ppm and ph is 6.0 (or lower, can't tell with the test kit)

Again, Kylie has been in this low ph water for years and has always looked happy and healthy.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated as I have had Kylie for about 7 or 8 years now and I would love to see both of them happy and healthy.
 

OrionGirl

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Aug 14, 2001
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Be sure to check for ich--loaches can be stressed easily and are incredibly susceptible to ich. If you didn't quarantine, the main tank could be infected.

Part of the issue is that clown loaches are social animals. They want to be in a big pack with lots of friends to talk to and cuddle. You had one alone, and it got USED to being alone...but now has a friend and I expect the friend realizes that it should be in a big group. Lacking a big group to be comfortable, it's hiding and it's new and only friend is hiding too.

Basically, they are lonely.

The problem here is that these are fish that can easily hit 10 inches, and a 55 just isn't suitable long term. And I know, people say clowns grow slowly...but they only grow slowly in small tanks. In big tanks, they grow at the same pace as other big fish. So, you don't really want to add more to the 55. I don't know how feasible it is for your to upgrade to a much bigger tank in order to add 2-3 more clowns, but that's really my best advice.
 
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Tay690

Addicted to Loaches
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Feb 5, 2009
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No ich. Dealt with that before and know what to look for.

So, the bigger / older fish (who is definitely in charge after the territorial scuffle I watched) that was happy and swimming around is sad because the new fish feels lonely?

I have a 120g I bought a couple of months ago. Filled it up and began to cycle it, then I saw bubbles between the silicone. Tore it down and am in the process of re-sealing it. I have kept many clown loaches throughout the years and know quite a bit about the care, tank size and habits of these amazing fish.

If I had seen this behaviour, I wouldn't have asked the question. Need some more advanced insight if anyone can provide it?

Also, she has been in that tank for about 7 years and despite what you may have heard, she is not stunted in the slightest. I don't know where this mentality came from, but we need to squash it. You put a clown loach in a beta bowl, you'll see stunting. You put it in a 55g (take note of the dimensions) and they will be fine. They like long tanks with space to run and the 55g provides exactly that.

Thanks for trying to help. Going on 15 or 16 days now without me seeing them eat. Have also added MTS and Red ramshorn snails that they haven't touched. Tried carnivore pellets, brine shrimp, veggie rounds, shrimp pellets, blood worms and live snails.
 

Tay690

Addicted to Loaches
Original poster
Feb 5, 2009
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I also saw Kylie the other day for a few seconds and she seems a lot more slim.(the front of her belly up near her gills was FULL prior to this happening... so full you could see it when she turned sideways)

2 days ago I saw a lot of shed skin (transparent fish looking pieces floating around the tank. Looked like sheddings of their tail fins) and the next day, they had broken a good sized chunk off the driftwood. A big enough piece that I was shocked they could actually break it.
 
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