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Old 04-16-2006, 10:11 PM   #1
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Territorial Clown Loach?

Ok, here is the deal. In the last five days, there have been four fish deaths: 1 harlequin rasbora, 1 white mickey mouse platy, 1 lemon tetra, and 1 neon tetra.

other tank inhabitants: 3 clown loaches, all less than 3 inches long, 3 ottos, 10 zebra danios, now 9 neon tetras, now 3 harlequin rasboras, now 6 platies, now 4 lemon tetras, 5 silver hatchetfish, and 6 black neons.

water parameters: .25 ammonia (has risen up from 0 since two days ago, maybe from the rotting bodies in the tank spread over the past few days?), .25 nitrites (also has risen up from 0), 15 nitrates, 7.0 PH, and 80* water temp.

It is a 55 gallon tank that has been set up for three months now. All the inhabitants have been slowly added since the end of february.

I think my random deaths may be due to one of my clown loaches. He is the largest of the three, very territorial, he will not let anyone into his cave, not even the other loaches, and he will not let anyone eat his food, not even the other loaches. Is it possible that he is the one killing all my fish, or could it be some other cause? My tank has so far been disease free, except one ich bout. I haven't had any other diseases in my tank. My tank has been cycled for at least two months now, and I keep a very close eye on all my parameters, I test the water as often as every other day.

Any advice or thoughts would be great, I think the loach may be going back in the morning...I don't want all of my fish dying because of this.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:01 PM   #2
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Do the fish that died exhibit any signs of having been attacked? Torn fins, wounds etc? I have several clown loaches and not one of them has ever been so aggressive that I worried about the tankmates.

Sorry for all your losses.
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Old 04-16-2006, 11:49 PM   #3
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yes actually. The neon was torn to bits, nothing left of it except the head and parts of the body (only reason I could tell it was a neon was because my school of ten was now nine, and the body had a little red stripe on it). The lemon's fins were completly missing, the mickey mouse's fins had been nipped prior to its death, the only fish that did not show any signs of being attacked before or after death was the rasbora, then again, i may not have looked close enough. It was almost completly white, i could just barely see the black triangle on its side.

the only reason i think it is the largest clown loach is because of his behavior during feeding time, and his agression towards the other loaches. It seems like he is the only fish large enough to keep picking off other fish as large as a platy.

I never thought my loaches would be like this either because of their peacful nature, but to me it is the only thing that makes sence.

If anyone has any thoughs, or if you have any other thoughts, please let me know. I don't want to take him back, but I think i might have to if he keeps killing my other fish.
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Old 04-17-2006, 12:31 AM   #4
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i would probably set up a moonlight like some people have with the blue led lights( i have a bright 40 watt black light).. at night you might see it in action with this dark type of light because they hide more in the day... i definitely see a difference in nocturnal behavior from day time behavior..
and maybe set up some video.
i have been told that lemon tetras are capable of shredding fins as well (from a pet smart employee though)..
i'm beginning to believe some fish are probably just plain phsyco

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Old 04-17-2006, 12:49 AM   #5
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This sounds very odd for a Clown Loach . . .even a territorial one, but the fact that he doesn't allow the other clown loaches to be with him concerns me . . . .I've never seen a clown loach turn away another clown loach except while playing, no matter the size or age.

Question . . . .have you always been showing ammonia and nitrites? I know you said you had 0 ammonia a couple days ago, but the fact that you are showing both ammonia AND nitrites raises an eyebrow here. I fully admit to being overstocked and do the maintenance necessary to counteract it, but I still NEVER show ammonia or nitrites.
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Old 04-17-2006, 01:05 PM   #6
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I test the water every other day when any of the fish are acting strangly. When the first fish died, i immediatly tested the water to see if a level had spiked, and I was not aware of it to see if that was the cause of death. The only spike has been in the last day. My tank is fully cycled and established, I have never had any changes in the parameters except for temeperature when I was treating ich since the end of february. I was thinking that the small spike was from dead bodies rottin in there for a few hours. I noticed the lemon tetra missing before I found the body, it took me three days to find the body. The rest of them, i found the body before I noticed them missing, so I am assuming that they had only been dead for a few hours.

so to turn a long answer short, no i have not always been showing nitrites or ammonia. To have both randomly appear in my tank is very odd. I am very good at keeping up with the maintenence required to keep everything under control in my tank. Thankfully, my schedule allows frequent water changes
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Old 04-17-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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I still find it hard to believe the loach is the culprit. I would try turning out the lights and watching for a bit to see if the clown goes after anyone else in the tank.

I would have to guess as you did that the deaths increased the ammonia and nitrite in the tank.
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Old 04-17-2006, 08:19 PM   #8
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who else would you believe to be the culprit based on the current tankmates? any ideas? The only reason i believe it is him is because he is the only fish that constantly is showing aggressive/territorial behavior.

I will try the lights when it is time to turn them out tonight, and see what happens. He was still going after anyone that came close to his food this morning, including the other loaches. we will see how he acts tonight.
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:03 AM   #9
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I have a Zebra Loach. He is very aggressive. More so at first. I have lost half my neon population ( 3 ). The 3 I have left have no tail fin.
They are starting to grow back. I think either the loach is becoming acclimated (he comes out during the day much more now) or the neons are getting smarter.
Time will tell, though.
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