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joelbenben
07-17-2008, 04:39 AM
I'm in the process of stocking a 29g planted tank (my first), but I took a detour and I think I'm in trouble. Or at least my loach is.

The tank has been running for more than two months, but it wasn't fully cycled and I didn't start adding fish until three weeks ago. I started with 6 balloon-bodied pristellas (x-ray tetras), then added 6 more 2 1/2 weeks later. That was this past Sunday. The plan was to then add more fish every two weeks: 6 julii cories, then 4 otos, and finally 1 pearl gourami.

But when I got the second group of pristellas, I told the guy at the LFS I had pond snails. He suggested a burmese border (polka dot) loach. Only after I got it home did I discover they need to be in schools of at least 3 or 5, my pH is probbly too high (7.8-8.0) and it might not be the best match for a planted tank.

For the first day, the loach was extremely active, curious and downright funny. By the second day, it was doing this wild loop-de-loop circle over and over from bottom to top, there seemed to be fewer snails, and the brown algae on the filter and rocks was mostly gone. But by day 3, it had moved into a tiki hut decoration and has hardly come out since -- whether the lights are on or off. I know they love caves, but I can't tell if it's eating or if there are any signs of sickness or injury.

Except for the pH issue, my water quality is good -- 0/0/10 -- and I'm running two Penguin filters, a 200 and a 100, so there's plenty of filtration and water flow. For the first couple of days, I was only feeding standard flakes to all the fish. Then I tried some "super green flakes" (extra spirulina and greens), then some sinking shrimp pellets after lights out. I have freeze-dried bloodworms, but I have used them yet because I can't tell if the loach is taking any of the food.

So what can I do now for the loach? And, if I get past this problem, can I follow my original stocking plan, or should I be changing the number and/or kind of fish I get?

toddnbecka
07-17-2008, 05:01 AM
A 29 isn't really a suitable size tank for a group of loaches that will grow (slowly) to 5". The pH is less of an issue, most fish will adapt well enough as long as it's stable. I'd be happy to take the loach, I have a group of 6 it would fit right in with. You'd likely be best to return it for credit toward more suitable fish. As for the loach eating, as long as there are snails in the tank you don't need to worry about it starving to death.
I'd forget the sinking shrimp pellets unless you have a school of cory cats to clean them up. They'll be more snail food than anything else with your current stock.

Lady Hobbs
07-17-2008, 12:50 PM
Loaches are weird and do weird things. Sleep on their back, dance in the water bubbles and act pretty silly. He may be just playing but really, he does need some friends.

joelbenben
07-17-2008, 01:59 PM
Got it that he needs friends. But it sounds like this tank isn't the place for them because it's too small. Do I have that right?

abaigael04
07-17-2008, 02:41 PM
yep - I would return him unless you really fell in love and can commit to a larger tank ... oK I went to loaches . com and found a burmese loach
(B. histrionica - 5") and polka dot loach (b. Kubotai - 5") The histrionica says min. 60 gallons or larger for more activity. My clowns LOVE frozen blood worms if you are very worried about him eating... it says Histrionica will come out during the day - my guess is he needs friends. The loop-de-loop is loach dancing!! LOL!