So I finally found a solution for my desire to have loaches but the problem of a smaller tank. Dwarf Chain Loaches. But then of course, the fun of finding them. Apparently no where online ever ships to Canada (possible exaggeration but it feels like fact). The only LFS I'd discovered up to this point is kind of icky, dimly lit, not clean, total disaster... but even they didn't stock them. The guy at the counter suggested Clown Loaches as "basically the same thing."

After two days of searching online I found a fish store in downtown Vancouver, about an hour and a bit of a drive away. They're called Aquariums West and oh my gosh they are just the most amazing store EVER. It's clean and organized like a big box store, but stocked like a LFS. All the employees are fish tank owners with years of experience and most were customers before becoming employees. Super helpful, friendly and I just adore this store. AAAND, they stock Dwarf Chain Loaches. So last night I drove down and picked up my new fishies. They were even on sale!

The Barbs were a little shocked to discover intruders in their big tank but they quickly learned to share and just leave the Loaches alone now. The Loaches settled very quickly into the new tank, faster than the Barbs did. Took them about an hour and the five of them were shoaling all over the place! Great active little fish, I'm looking forward to watching them grow (but not too much lol)