Clown loach mistake... :( - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Clown loach mistake... :(

So... purchasing a clown loach for my 20g was a mistake (in so many ways). My impulse purchase ending up costing me a beautiful full grown amano shrimp as well as a gorgeous aquascape. After only being in the tank for one night, the loach decided that it was VERY hungry and went to town on my most prized Amano shrimp. I figured he would prefer the 8000 snails I have in there, or the algae wafer, or even the zucchini, but I was sorely mistaken. She totally shredded the poor full grown Amano to bits. Promptly after I noticed shredded shrimp bits everywhere, which definitely had black eyes unlike shrimp moult which has white eyes, I attempted to remove her.

Needless to say, after a half hour of wrestling the 3"-4" clown loach out of my tank, COMPLETELY messing up my scape and rearranging everything, I finally got a hold of her and returned her to the store. I ended up exchanging her for two Siamese Algae Eaters and 2 Otos.

I loved the clown loach, she was gorgeous as can be, with strong black bands and orange body (definitely the alpha female of the store tank), I just knew that I couldn't accommodate her needs for space and expensive snacking habits.

Anyway, that's my story. I am loving the Siamese Algae Eaters, the three of them are about 2-2.5" long and always swim together picking at anything edible. The two baby otos i picked up were EXTREMELY grayed out by the time they made it home, but are starting to shoal with my other 4 otos and are coloring up nicely. Hope that this story was educational to prospective clown loach buyers. Clown loaches are amazing, pretty, and entertaining in every way possible, even when it comes to brutally eviscerating a full grown shrimp!


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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I am going on a nearly two week long vacation and will have an auto feeder setup to feed my fish a small portion of flake food twice a day.

How should I accommodate the otos and SAEs with a vacation feeder? I am worried that my algae levels are too low, and that they could potentially starve. I have been giving them one slice of zucchini per week when I am around, but will be unable to do so this time around. Shall I break up algae wafers and throw in the vacation feeder? I am worried that it could clog the mechanism and end up starving the whole tank.

Any recommendations?

PS: I am sure this could have warranted a new thread... but a little self-bump never hurt anyone


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 03:42 PM
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Always do research before you guy any fish. A fully grown clown loach is 12". It would have been a tight situation in your 20G. And they love shrimps, you found out the hard way.
Your SAEs might munch on a shrimp once in a while too (not sure about that).

Put sinking algae wafers in you auto feeder. You might need to break up the wafers up a bit to make them fit.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 03:51 PM
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Clown loaches love company. Should be kept in groups of 4 minimum anyway.

For your algae eating fish for vacation . . . increase your photoperiod. No ferts, lots of light, they will have plenty of algae to eat.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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I knew about this clown loach info, and also knew that I would eventually upgrade to a larger tank (within a year, when i purchased a house). I figured one clown loach would by fine in my tank, staying under 5 inches for a long while (though they do grow quickly to this size, but slow down considerably there after), but didn't consider that they are somewhat of a shoaling fish.

I had nightmares that same night about my clown loach getting Ich because she was stressed being all alone. Waking up to a dead shrimp just reassured me that I was not ready for a clown loach at this point in time, especially not multiple clown loaches. I do love the fish, great personality and fantastic colors, but in reality, it DOESN'T belong in a 20g, and not even a 55g. Eventually everyone learns from a mistake...

How about some praises for me at least having returned her??

Thank you for reassuring me that broken up wafers won't clog my auto-feeder. I didn't think of increasing my photo period, but that obviously makes perfect sense. I feel more comfortable leaving my fish alone now.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:36 PM
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I don't think you should have the automatic feeder twice a day for two weeks. Maybe once every couple days. In reality fish do fine for two weeks without being fed, they find stuff. I would be more worried about overfeeding the fish.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:38 PM
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Siamese algae eaters also grow to a much bigger size, and become more aggressive as they get bigger. Eventually they will become much too big for the tank. Otos are the best choice for algae eaters for smaller tanks. Yoyo loaches are another possible choice, since they don't get very big. And, there are others.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Good point. I will cut it down to one tiny feeding every day. I currently feed twice a day but only a VERY TINY pinch of flakes each time. I am usually very careful about over feeding. Also, the fish do get a small brine shrimp/blood worm treat twice a week as well.

I am always changing 25% of the water weekly and run filtration that is good for a tank 3-4 times the size of mine. My levels are zero'ed out with nitrates being less then 20 ppm by the end of the week. Everything is super healthy in the tank. The gourami had a fungal infection when i first bought him, and a severed pectoral fin. The infection has cured and the fin is nearly completely grown back. (Zero medications used, and no Ich outbreak to this date)

Haha, sorry about my spam... but just wanted to make clear that i am in fact careful about feeding and would setup my auto feeder correspondingly


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Siamese algae eaters also grow to a much bigger size, and become more aggressive as they get bigger. Eventually they will become much too big for the tank. Otos are the best choice for algae eaters for smaller tanks. Yoyo loaches are another possible choice, since they don't get very big. And, there are others.
Except the Yoyo would munch on my shrimp as well, and if not the Amanos, then the cherry red shrimp i am getting in two weeks. Yes the Siamese algae eaters will eventually be too large, but they grow rather slowly (from what i have read and been told) and live up to 10 years. Within a year all my larger fish will be transplanted into a 75g. I love otos!!! My favorite fish of all time. i only wish mine would breed someday.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 05:18 PM
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I'm glad you returned the clown loach : )
You're right, they're awesome fish. I've always wanted them, but I don't have a large enough tank. Instead, I've substituted Clown Killies (for stripes) and Zebra Loaches (for loach-y behavior)
My Zebras don't eat shrimp and they don't do any damage to plants, other than occasionally uprooting newly planted stems. YMMV

Here's a cellphone pic I just took of a Zebra coming to investigate a Tiger Shrimp (shrimp is on rock)
She swam away a few seconds later, no harm done.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Great tank and picture!

Very nice loach indeed, but i am truly surprised you haven't found shrimp bits everywhere. Especially since those shrimp are even smaller than my Amanos. My shrimp that got eaten was a solid 2.5 inches, with a dark blue hue, very very healthy... but somehow my 3 inch loach was quicker than the Amano, and chewed him up really fast. I am guessing the loach tired him out over an hour or so, and eventually the shrimp had no energy left to strafe-dance and got munched.

I do miss the loach... absolutely fantastic color contrast against my very bright green tank.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 07:24 PM
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I agree that the SAE's are gonna get too big - mine are (were - I just rehomed them) 4-5 inches long.

And they will be happy to eat flake so I wouldn't worry about them starving. The otos are a bit pickier tho.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Would you say that an odd number like 3 SAEs is suboptimal? should i only have a pair? or more than 5? granted its a 20 gallon, i just don't want undue stress on the fish. Within a year they will all go in a 75g.


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caall99 View Post
Would you say that an odd number like 3 SAEs is suboptimal? should i only have a pair? or more than 5? granted its a 20 gallon, i just don't want undue stress on the fish. Within a year they will all go in a 75g.
Two is fine for what you have. They will polish a 20g.

My SSEs grew from 1" cuties to 6+" big boys in 3 years. They ate cherry shrimp like they were at a cocktail party. Once they learned they could eat them, it was all over (despite very bushy java fern hiding places for the shrimp). It took about 6 weeks to find and eat about 15 cherries.

I've stuck to Ottos ever since.

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