Which loaches stay small and non-aggressive?
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:55 AM   #1
Complexity
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Which loaches stay small and non-aggressive?


I need to add loaches to my 75g for snail control.

Here are the qualities I'm interested in:

1. Small adult size
2. Peaceful, good for community tank
3. Colorful, if possible

I already have 9 Dwarf Chain Loaches (Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki) in my 20Long tank, and while I really like them, I'd like something different for my 75g just for variety.

I won't mind having to special order them from a LFS or get them from mail order. I'll have them for a long time so I don't want to just get whatever I can find just to have something eating snails. I want loaches that I can really enjoy.

Any ideas of which loaches I should consider?
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:00 AM   #2
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Zebra loaches (botia striata) would fit the bill. They are my favorite loach by far. They get about 4" as adults, are very social and great in community tanks.

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Old 06-12-2008, 03:20 AM   #3
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My fav is the Burmese Border loach, Botia kubotai. These also grow to about 4", but they grow slowly. They like caves and hiding places, but will come frequently if they don't feel threatened. I had 2 to start with and noticed they came out a lot more often after I added 3 more.
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
Zebra loaches (botia striata)...
I was looking at these. Good to hear from someone who has personal experience with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cah925 View Post
My fav is the Burmese Border loach, Botia kubotai.
One of my favorite LFS had these in stock and suggested them to me, but I hadn't done my homework so I decided to wait. I like these, but their markings are a little too much like my Chain Loaches. I'm thinking I want something a little more different just so I can have a variety from my other ones.

Actually, if there were more loaches like my dwarf chain loaches, but with different coloring/markings, I'd be in love. I really like my dwarf chain loaches' personalities! They are a riot at feeding time! I have thought of getting something like 20 of them for my 75g since they're so much fun in large groups. but I'm afraid that would be too much activity for the dwarf cichlids I'm wanting to add.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:18 AM   #5
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Here's a link you may want to look at. I found it very helpful as to which loaches do in fact love snails and other care/breed info.
http://www.loaches.com/species-index/species-index
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:31 AM   #6
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I love my botia histrionica -s
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:02 AM   #7
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Kuhli's and hillstreams shouldn't be forgotten, although I suspect you're after the body of a clown type.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:49 AM   #8
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I love my botia histrionica -s
Still the black and white markings similar to my dwarf chain loaches, but their description sounds interesting. I especially liked that they are more active during the day. But where do you get them? I couldn't find them online?

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Kuhli's and hillstreams shouldn't be forgotten, although I suspect you're after the body of a clown type.
I don't like hillstream loaches (no offense to those who do; just not my personal taste).

I'm not especially after a clown shape. I just want snail eaters. I didn't think kuhlis ate snails. If they did, they might be on my list given how small they are.

One loach I was interested in, colorwise, is the suma loach (Schistura balteata). Unfortunately, they appear to be aggressive towards each other. The information didn't specify if you're supposed to keep just one or if they prefer to be in groups, but the description that you have to make sure that there are plants and decor to prevent them from seeing each other in order to tame some of the aggression concerns me. If I could have snail control with just one of these, that would be fine. But I wouldn't want to be unkind to them if they need to be in a group, and I don't want aggression problems in my tank, even if it's only between their own. Hoping to have dwarf cichlids in the tank is enough aggression for me.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:50 AM   #9
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Ooops! Double post.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:04 AM   #10
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i have dwarf and zebra in a 25 gallon community tank. They are both very peaceful, though active. My dwarf chain loaches didn't touch my snails. The zebra loaches wnet to town on the MTS! It was like genocide!
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by original kuhli View Post
Kuhli's and hillstreams shouldn't be forgotten, although I suspect you're after the body of a clown type.
As much as I hate the fact loaches are used to eliminate snails, I would like to point out that neither of the two you mentioned will eat snails unless you count the snail eggs. Hillstream loaches need an appropriate tank setup in order to thrive. A planted tank is out of the question because hillies prefer powerful currents and cooler waters so unless you plan to even use CO2 tanks and the fact most plants seem to prefer warmer temperatures, then the hillies are out of the question as much as planning a planted tank for them.

Complexity, the following match your criteria..
1. Botia striata
2. Botia histrionica
3. Botia kubotai
4. Botia rostrata
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Old 06-12-2008, 09:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebell View Post
As much as I hate the fact loaches are used to eliminate snails, I would like to point out that neither of the two you mentioned will eat snails unless you count the snail eggs. Hillstream loaches need an appropriate tank setup in order to thrive. A planted tank is out of the question because hillies prefer powerful currents and cooler waters so unless you plan to even use CO2 tanks and the fact most plants seem to prefer warmer temperatures, then the hillies are out of the question as much as planning a planted tank for them.

Complexity, the following match your criteria..
1. Botia striata
2. Botia histrionica
3. Botia kubotai
4. Botia rostrata
I have to disagree with the assessment of the hillstream loaches. I have 3 four year old reticulated hill stream loaches and 3 three year old chinese hillstream loaches in a community tank that is kept at 78 often reaches 80-82 in the summer. Other than the two filters and the airstone that comes on at night... there isn't anything that would classify a "powerful" current. They are healthy, active, and haven't shown any signs of distress.

I read your post and had to turn on the lights in this tank to take the picture. This tank is actually going through a rescape... but here is the tank...



and here is one of the loaches... he just happened to be on the front glass when the lights went on... go figure!

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Old 06-12-2008, 10:18 AM   #13
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It can work, Medred, however I don't find it appropriate to keep them long-term in warm temperatures nor is it proper to keep them where there is no strong currents. Tell me your idea of "powerful currents" if you didn't see anything classified as such.

How long have they been living in your tank? Perhaps you should read the articles in www.loaches.com most especially this article. It doesn't make sense that the idea of them to "keep still" is being where there is no currents. Their body structure is designed that they can cling on rocks where powerful currents are most prominent. If you spend a few hours time to look into the forum of Loaches Online, you will understand better what exactly is this fish's idea of "keeping still". Just because it worked for you doesn't mean you have to tell everyone to apply the same thing you employed.

If you take a look at their pictures further, do you see anywhere else where water is basically stagnant yet the hillies supposedly thriving? Not many people were able to keep them alive for long because of inappropriate tank setups which is why I choose not to suggest them where CO2 injections and setups where currents are not a must is concerned.
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Old 06-12-2008, 02:53 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone! I think I'm going to try to get some Zebra loaches (Botia striata). I had already been considering them, and the information received here confirms that they would be a good choice for my tank. I also like their markings. Hopefully, I can find someone locally to special order some for me (along with a number of other fish in hopes of getting the price down).

Bluebell, I understand your reservations of having loaches for the purpose of eating snails, but after having given it considerable thought, I have concluded that most fish we buy are bought for a specific purpose of some sort, be it to add a flash of color (cardinal tetras), to enjoy their breeding colors (dwarf cichlids), or just because we like them (guppies!). They each serve a particular purpose for us all. So why not buy fish for the purpose of keeping the snail population in check?

As long as each fish selected is given proper care in a healthy environment, I don't think it really matters why we buy them. I find that getting fish for a certain purpose actually helps to widen my enjoyment of fish that I might not otherwise get, such as my dwarf chain loaches. I know I would never have gotten them had I not wanted them to help control my snails, but after getting them, they opened my world to their adorable personalities. Now they are a favorite in my tank! I would have never found that enjoyment had I not wanted them for the snails. Now I not only have fish that help with snail control, but fish that I have learned to enjoy and appreciate for themselves and of themselves. The snail control is just a bonus.

And speaking of dwarf chain loaches controlling MTS snails, I have found them to be helpful. They will not eat the larger snails, but they do a good job on the smaller ones which serves to not eradicate the snails, but to help keep their numbers in check. It's the level of control I had wanted (I added the MTS in that tank intentionally).

Now I'm fighting not only ramshead snails, but pond snails from an unsuccessful trade. Those snails have managed to populate all of my tanks, thanks to the use of my python (the only way I can figure out how they've moved into tanks otherwise free of them and without the addition of new plants). The MTS snails don't harm my plants, hide during the day, and help to keep the substrate stirred up. But the ramshorn and pond snails are just unsightly to me. They are on the glass and plants 24/7.

I learned from my MTS that manual control is an exercise of futility. They can reproduce faster than I can catch them.

And for those who think that control is achieved by not overfeeding, I beg to differ as I ran an experiment that proved, at least to me, that snails will not only survive, but reproduce, even when it appears there is no food available for months. I put MTS snails in a bucket with driftwood and a second bucket with nothing but rocks. The driftwood and rocks had both undergone extensive cleaning including long term, high dose bleaching, followed by long term exposure to high dose of vinegar. (Long term = 2 weeks or more; high dose = 25% concentration or more). In fact, I used the snails to see if the driftwood and rocks were lethal after having undergone such extensive sterilization.

What I found surprised even me. The snails in the driftwood bucket not only survived, but thrived. They grew and multiplied! It appeared they actually ate the wood. NO food was ever put in the bucket! In addition, when I ran the experiment with the rocks, I was again surprised to find that the snails survived and even multiplied! Again no food was ever given. The snails with the rocks did not multiply as fast as the ones with the driftwood, but not a single one died. I ran the experiment for over 3 months before I gave up.

I cannot say whether ramshorn or pond snails could have survived or even multiplied under the same conditions, but I know for certain that MTS snails cannot be controlled nor eradicated by controlling the amount of food placed in a tank. The fish would die long before the MTS snails.

Sooooo... now it's just a matter of finding some Zebra loaches. I'm thinking 5-7 would be a good number since they do prefer to be in groups. I have found that fish that prefer to be in groups not only do better when in a group, but their personalities come out more which only adds to my enjoyment of them.

Thanks to everyone for their help! I'm looking forward to finding and adding zebra loaches to my 75g tank!
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Old 06-12-2008, 03:32 PM   #15
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Ooops, missed the fact you're after snail eaters, nope, kuhli's and hillstreams aren't going to do you much good...
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