do clowns need snails to be happy?

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Duckie

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My clown loaches love to hunt down snails - as most other clowns probably do too. It was a lot of fun to watch, especially when they were small and it took a while for them to finish a snail. Of course they always wanted the same snail and were fighting over it even with others to choose from (they are clowns after all). My bala sharks did not bother the snails at first, but lately aquired a taste for them - they eat them whole, shell and all. Usually when I feed snails 2 or 3 don't even make it to the bottom of the tank - snatched up by balas. If I don't throw them in at once they grab even more.

I am worried about getting sick snails from the store that will make my fish sick. Also not sure if it would be better to stop feeding snails for the balas sake - I never knew they liked snails, eating them whole does not sound right either.

But if I stop feeding the occasional snail snack (about once a month), am I depriving my clowns of a favourite thing to eat? They do love their frozen brine shrimp that they get about 3 times a week - but that takes different skills to eat as they snatch them out of the water. The only other fun food they play with are algae wafers - I am not actually sure if they eat them or just hide them for the algae eaters to have to search for them later. I tried banana and cucumber, but my clowns won't touch them. Regular daily diet is shrimp pellets and possibly flakes (for other fish) that make it to the bottom.

(Mental note to self: let the frozen brine shrimp dissolve in a cup before pouring in tank, otherwise one of the balas will grab the cube as soon as it starts to sink. The one time I seen him do it, there was about 3/4 of the cube still clumped together and disappeared in one gulp. :eek: )
 
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Duckie

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Guess, I am going to answer my own question. The clown loaches are not acting any different than always without getting snails fed to them. The only thing that is weird with mine is their color - the bigger ones are always a bit greyed out. They seem to be happy though. I will try a different brand of shrimp pellets - ordered some api shrimp pellets and see if they become more vibrant.
 
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JackLantern

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clowns are best left in the circus : )

when i kept them, i didn't feed snails and they did fine.
 

fishorama

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Snails are like loach candy, they like them but are not really needed. I liked to grow snails in a separate tank & feed the loaches the "extras". Ramshorns were favorites, pond & MTS less so, but taken. Beware LFS snail freebies, they can harbor diseases.

The gray color may be due to the substrate color (pale/white substrate= paler loaches)...or "graying out" as in territorial disputes (mild fighting, head to tail spinning, no harm done).

You might try bloodworms, several kinds of pellets/wafers, live blackworms, romaine lettuce, zucchini, homemade seafood mix etc...clowns are not fussy feeders, they like variety. If your balas are hogs, feed after lights out. Clowns & many loaches are crepuscular (dawn & dusk active).
 
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Duckie

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The balas unfortunately did not make the move from the 75 gallon tank to the 180 - they were the only casualties. In the morning when I feed, it is feeding and then lights on, at night feeding and lights out (or rather moonlight on). I noticed after using the moonlight for a while that all nocturnal fish, especially the ID sharks, are more active during the moonlight than in complete darkness. Since they can see better at night now, they don't get as confused during the day either or get startled (the passing out thing). The clown loaches are a lot more active at night as well, more than they used to. The only time they settle down and most of them sleep is early to late afternoon.

I am not sure if it is disputes. I thought about that, ut from what I hear they would only grey out during the dispute? One clown loach, which I believe to be the leader, does sometimes really grey out to the point of having the "black" stripes appear lighter than the orange. That I would consider part of disputes, or the leader showing his (or her) dominance.

Time will tell. There is normal clown loaches, and then there is mine.
 

Duckie

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Update: This morning after feeding I got a look at the clowns again, and one of the big ones was really dark. Never seen him this dark that I can remember. I think they may just turn grey every time I look just to annoy me. For anyone interested, here is a group shot of all 8 and some more detail on the dark one:
clown-all.JPGclown-black.JPG
What I didn't know, and what I can almost not see with my naked eye is the white outline around the black stripes - just like marine clown fish.

when i kept them, i didn't feed snails and they did fine.
If you don't mind me asking, but what happened to your clown loaches? They live quite long and get big - did you have to give them up?

clown-all.JPG clown-black.JPG
 
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Duckie

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The gray color may be due to the substrate color (pale/white substrate= paler loaches)...
I heard that before, but the opposite way - dark substrate causes paler loaches, white substrate more vibrant. That was the reason we added 25 lbs of the pure white gravel. Didn't change their color though. I think the substrate depends on the individual circumstances and there will be as many different versions of the story as there is clown loach owners.

Have to admit, originally we got them as nuisance snail remedy - sure they did that alright and amazingly quick too. And was told that the first few years they would be fine in the 75 gallon, but would need to eventually go into a 6 foot tank. They have not reached the recommended 6 inch size for needing a bigger tank, but they really like being in there already, even the 3 baby ones.
 

wesleydnunder

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Loaches (and other fish) change colors for lots of reasons; mood, dominance, subordinance, feeding, spawning, etc. Mine were usually palest in the morning right as the lights came on.

Mark
 

wesleydnunder

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Careful of the cheek spines; they're razor sharp. They will also click and pop loud enough to be heard outside the tank.

Mark
 
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