Clown Loaches hidden away for too long?
August 31, 2005 11:48 AM   Subscribe

We have a freshwater fish tank community of tetras, catfish, gouramis and loaches. The loaches are the most dynamic and entertaining addition to our tank, but the clown loaches disappeared last weekend! I found them last night all bunched up in the top of a hollow fake rock. They haven't been around much for the past week, and I'm worried that they are depressed or ill! None have died as far as I know, but they don't come out much. Should I evacuate them from their garage, or let them be? If evacuation is the answer, what would be the best way to do so? (From mimi's handsome metafilter-less spouse)
posted by mimi to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you sure you aren't just about to have a whole lot more loaches?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:32 PM on August 31, 2005

My clown loaches spend most of the daylight hours hiding out. They are much more active in the evening hours, especially if the room is dark (motion outside the tank makes them dart off to hide.) They are generally quite skittish. Over time I have learned that they need lots of good hiding places, and if they have lots of places to hide, I see more of them. It seems counterintuitive but it makes them more confident somehow.

Will they come out for food? My loaches particularly like frozen bloodworms and live brine shrimp, so I would worry if they didn't come out to feed on those, but the rest of the time I don't worry that they spend much of their time hiding.

Query: how many loaches do you have? How many other fish are in the tank? How big is the tank?
posted by ambrosia at 1:09 PM on August 31, 2005

Another thing: loaches are schooling fish, and are more comfortable in larger groups. Depending on how many loaches you have, and depending upon the size of your tank, the answer may be to add some more. (
posted by ambrosia at 1:12 PM on August 31, 2005

Response by poster: There are between 7 and 5 clowns in my 20 gallon tank at the moment. I haven't seen them come out for shrimp pellets yet, but I cleared out the nest this afternoon, and I'm still missing a couple of the little strip-ed monsters. They still seem to be a bit skittish, but I'm not as worried as I was.
posted by mimi at 3:04 PM on August 31, 2005

I had a couple of (small) clown loaches wiggle their way into the crevices of a piece of driftwood, so that they were completely invisible. It really worried me for a bit, I search the tank from every side and couldn't find them, and finally reached in and pulled up the driftwood to see if they had wedged underneath, and out they came. (Having the driftwood get picked up while they were in it freaked them out).

5-7 is a good number of loaches to have, but they will do better in a bigger tank. A few of them may do *okay* in a 20 gallon tank, (I've done it myself in the past, out of necessity) but not that many- they won't all survive, and the ones that do won't really thrive, and their growth will be stunted. Clown loaches need a lot of room, and do much better in a tank that is at least 50 gallons in size.

(I learned this one the hard way.)
posted by ambrosia at 3:18 PM on August 31, 2005

Clown loaches get big (but grow slow).
posted by squink at 6:59 PM on August 31, 2005

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