View Full Version : Help my choose my loaches....

11-05-2006, 03:49 AM
Hi all,

I have a 30 gallon tank that currently holds 1 german blue ram, 3 diamond tetras, and 6 harlequin rasboras.

I'd like to get some loaches to be tank cleaners....

Today I went to my local fish stores too see what fish they had.....here are my options....

sidthimonki botias (chain loach)
yoyo loaches
dogo loaches
tiger loaches

Any thoughts on which of these I should stay away from or should be particularly interested in? Can I mix fish (f.e. yoyos and tigers?). How many should I get? (someone told me at least 6, but that seems like a lot for only a 30 gallon tank).

I also think that I ought to get some algae eating fish....
My LFS is getting clown plecos in on Tuesday, what do you all think....good idea?

11-05-2006, 10:50 AM
A clown plec would probably be a good choice size wise...do some more research on compatibility and juvenile to adult differences. Some fish are great at algae clean up while young and not so great as adults. Plus a clown plec would be a beautiful addition in my opinion. (of course, lately I have been partial to small plecs, loaches and cories ). I don't know if "tiger loach" refers to the botia striata or not, although I am thinking it does....one down side to common names. If it is striata I did some research on these guys awhile back and would love to have some....great community additions, great snail eaters, stay small around 3". As I mentioned in another post...my experience with my kuhlis is you won't see them in gravel. You should be fine adding 1 clown, and 3-4 striatas....once tank is settled you can watch your water parameters and see if the bioload is still okay for your filter if you wish to add to the striatas. The clown will poo alot so that is a consideration. I love my plecs, but boy can they poo!

11-05-2006, 02:07 PM
What filtration do you have? In general all tetras should have a school of 6 or more, and the harlequin rasboras should have a school of 10-12 to truly thrive and look their best. If you are overfiltering (as in your filters should be rated fot at least "up to" 60 gallons since your tank is 30 gallons) and you are doing big frequent water changes like is best for the fish, your tank should be able to handle the full load of the full schools that you have already started, plus a proper full school of whichever loach you pick. My yoyo is out all the time on gravel, he will be getting a full school when he is in the 40 gallon soon. A 'school' of three isnt bad, but it won't be the best for them. I was at a LFS recently when I saw a tank of about 20-30 striata loaches, and that really showed me why 'schools' of 3 or 4 just don't cut it. It is a beautifual sight when a true school actually moves around as a school, which you will get to see if you have those schools full.

11-05-2006, 02:17 PM
My personal choice is the dojo loach. But that is most likely because it is what I have and I have not had experience with the others. I can say that my guy is the life of the tank. I am getting him some company soon and can't wait to see how he interacts. That being said I would listen to Kimmers and Retileguy because they haev more experience.

11-05-2006, 03:03 PM
Dojos get too big for a 30 gallon.

11-05-2006, 04:57 PM
I've been hearing a lot of conflicting opinions on water changes.

Some people say....do big changes very often

Others say....do as few as you can manage because it allows the natural ecosystem to thrive and doesn't disturb your good bacteria

I've even heard different suggestions on gravel cleaning- some say dig right down there and get all the crap out of the gravel....others tell me to just skim the surface of the gravel so as not to disturb it too much.....

What is healthier? I'm happy to do frequent water changes...I don't want to do anything that will cause any more stress or tank fluctuations than necessary.

11-06-2006, 01:57 AM
When vacuuming the gravel, I have never thrown off a tank by cleaning out the gravel completely, going all the way down to the glass. So unless you do a complete gravel cleaning and clean your filters within a coupel days (in whcih case you have just removed almost all your nitrifying bacteria) you should not have issues with your biological filtration.

I used to buy into the mindset that big water changes will screw things up, like your biological or the pH, stuff like that. But in fact they help and are now one indispensable aspect of my fish care. Water changes wonít affect your biological colonies. The good bacteria live ON surfaces in the water, not IN the water column itself. The only thing they use the water column itself for is to spread (as in: from the gravel bed, to the tank wall, to the biological filter, to the surface of the plants, etc). So you could (and I have) do 100% water changes and have absolutely no ill effect to your biological filtration. And as for pH, Thatís only a concern if your tap isnít good for your fish. Over time different things build up in the water that will change the pH. For example nitrates form nitric acid and therefore lower your pH over time. So big frequent water changes help keep the pH closer to your tap water's, so when the water changes are done there is little or no difference in tank and tap pH, whereas if you do smaller and/or less frequent water changes the pH in the tank may shift and therefore it will be a bigger change in pH when you do the water change. But that just explains why itís not bad. Itís good for many reasons. The main reason is that big frequent water changes help dilute problematic chemicals. Nitrates are a big issue with fish. You may hear not to let them go over 40ppm or something to that effect, but that just means at MOST. But really the lower the better. As an analogy: sometimes there are limits to certain chemicals in the air for humans. So if it is bad to go outside if chemical X is over 20 ppm, it still isnít good for you if they are just below that, the lower the better. So the lower you can keep the nitrates, the better for the fish. Nitrates slowly stress fish over time and can lead to decreased growth, health, and general ability to thrive. So the lower you can keep them the better. There are other dissolved organic compounds that also affect fish in the same way. The other chemicals that are of concern are growth-inhibiting hormones that inhibit the growth of the same or sometimes similar species. In nature this is good because it gives the big individuals more time to breed and produce more young before other individuals are big enough to compete with them for that right. So big frequent water changes keeps these growth inhibiting hormones to a minimum. In nature when the dry season hits, the volumes of water drop, concentrating all these chemicals even more, reducing growth, and the bigger the fish the more waste, so in nature no one needs to be growing in the dry season and therefore producing even more waste in these ever decreasing bodies of water. So it makes it ever so slightly more likely that more fish make it through the dry season. So, the bigger and more frequent water changes, the less like the dry season. I tried this new water change schedule and what I thought was thriving before, was pretty good, but it was not thriving. I saw greatly improved growth rate, max size, coloration, fewer health problems at all, and a general increased ability to thrive. The other thing is that in order to breed, the fish have to be thriving, and many if not most breeders rely on water changes to help keep their fish in the absolute best condition possible. I am on well water so my tap can go straight into the tanks. It is easy to bring pH up, but it is very hard to bring it down. For my African cichlid tank I add the proper lake salts and buffer right when I start to fill the tank again so that they are dissolved as it is filled. If you need it down from your tap, you need to have it ready before the water change. This is why I carry out and highly recommend big frequent water changes at or about the rate of 50-75% weekly.

Lady Hobbs
11-06-2006, 03:59 AM
I probably change out 50% a week myself. I clean the gravel completely every week as well. The only time I set a tank back was when I did a total gravel cleaning when it had only been set up about 3 weeks. Got the white water effect for a couple days but it cleared back up OK.

11-06-2006, 05:12 AM
My tank has only been running for about a month (I used BioSpira)...how should that affect water changes?

11-06-2006, 02:21 PM
Are you monitoring the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels? If so once the ammonia and nitrite have both spiked and gone back to 0, the tank is cycled and ready for the proper water changes, remember that the water changes themselves will not disrupt the biological filtration, it is gravel vacuuming and filter changes on or about the same day that will screw things up. If it is that new there should not be any debris in the gravel, so you could skip out on the gravel vacuuming for a couple weeks to make sure you do not throw things off. And remember to ease in to the big water change schedule. Do 25% one week, 50% the next, then the 75% water change. It seems to work better if the system is eased into the more aggressive water change schedule.

Lady Hobbs
11-06-2006, 04:09 PM
I bought 8 clowns in my excitement to even find them in the town where I live. When I finally found them, I told the salesperson I wanted them ALL and 8 is what they had. One died early on but the 7 remaining I've had for several months.

When all together, they are very comical and do a sort of "waltz" thru-out the tank. All in a line they go up and down, turn this way and that and are so graceful for such a clumsy looking fish. They tumble in the air bubbles over and over again and I've spent hours just watching them.

I ended up putting 3 in one tank with the remaining 4 in another tank and I see they no longer do this. Apparently they were happier all together.

Problem with clowns is I can't seem to get the growth size when adults. One site will tell you they can get very large and the next site claims in captivity they will get to about 5 inches. They do have a long life but they are also slow growers. In six months, I can't see as mine have grown hardly at all.
One thing for sure.......they are mighty fast and hard as heck to catch.

11-06-2006, 04:20 PM
fishbase.org usually lists the record length ever recorded, and they list them at 30cm (about one foot). So that means that they can get that big. If they are not getting that big in captivity, than we (aquarists and the hobby as a whole) are not doing something right because captivity should allow species to get AT LEAST as big and a lifespan AT LEAST as long as they would get in the wild. So do the best you can and expect and hope for at least 6" as that is about the biggest I think I have seen in captivity.

Lady Hobbs
11-06-2006, 05:01 PM
If not, you will see a new thread here stating "Loaches For Sale."

11-06-2006, 06:36 PM
I do check the levels regularly.....I used bio spira when I first added my fish, so I think that it reduced the usually high ammonia spike. About a week and a half ago, I had an ammonia spike of about .25, maybe a touch higher, but definitely not all the way up to .5.....The nitrite also had a similar small spike....Both are now at 0.

Does this mean I'm fully cycled?

In the last week my white rocks have also developed dark brown stains on their topsides. I think it's algae. My LFS told me that an algae bloom in common in new tanks. Is that true? Will it hurt my fish? Should I take all the rocks out and clean them (someone told me to bleach them, but that makes me nervous).



Lady Hobbs
11-06-2006, 07:03 PM
Scrub with water and a brush. No bleach. I agree that algae can worsen during the cycling. Higher nitrates can bring on more algae but once tank is settled, algae will be far less.

11-06-2006, 07:51 PM
Ok.....I didn't think bleach sounded like a good idea.

Should I do a water change? Will that throw me back in my cycle?

11-11-2006, 02:03 PM
Yoyo loaches are totally cool. I now have 4 of them in my tank. As for cleaning your tank. Do weekly water changes and vacuum your gravel. When cleaning your filters, rinse your filter media regularly. Rinsing the filter media does not disturb the good bacteria. It just gets rid of the lose crud, The bacteria adheres to the surface of the filter media and will be just fine. You can rinse all your filter medai at the same time with no problems.

Lady Hobbs
11-11-2006, 02:07 PM
Retileguy.......when will we see pictures of your fish? I'd love to see the quaker parrot especially.

11-12-2006, 01:32 AM
But the quaker is not a fish.

I tried posting the other day but the pics were too big.