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Old 03-21-2008, 01:56 PM   #1
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Clown loaches are all dieing.

I just got three of them on 3/9 so they're fairly new. For a long while they hid in this piece of coral that had tubes, and would rarely come out. I'd only ever see one or maybe two at a time, so I know they weren't getting much food in there.

Last night the first died, it's gills were red an inflamed, and it's body was bent badly to the side. Also the other loaches looked very thin and lethargic.

Today another loach is bent and sort of "float/swimming." I've recently changed my substrate if that matters. Here are my tank params as of last night:

kH: 25 mg/L (needs buffed?) Buffering refers to this right?
GH: 280 ppm (very very hard)
Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite 0
pH: 7.2
Nitrate 7ppm

Any Idea what it might be. About 2 weeks ago it looked like they had ich so I've been doing the high temp treatment for a while now.

All the other fish seem fine, (though my one female krib seems lazy). Any ideas?
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:07 AM   #2
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No thoughts? What do you make of my tank params. I euthanized the second C. Loach today, the third is still hanging on.
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:04 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to hear that. I've never had loaches but some fish are more sensitive than others. I wouldn't think it was the actual substrate change, but the small ammonia rise that accompanied it may have been too much for the loaches to handle, especially if they were already stressed from ich. Are you still doing the high temperature treatment? Hopefully the female krib will perk up when the temps return to normal. Is she gasping at the surface?

Yes, buffering refers to the KH and yours looks very low. You probably will need to buffer for your CO2 to work well.
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Old 03-22-2008, 01:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for answering An t-iasg. Is there any accurate diagnosis for a bent spine and the red inflamed gills?

I fed this morning and the female krib did not budge. Not a good sign. Again every other fish (besides the one remaining loach of course) eats like a pig.

Very sad, I feel that my switching over to planted is what killed them and feel some guilt. Like I said though, the loaches were lethargic before I even started the change.
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:14 PM   #5
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I have read (but have no experience) that a bent spine is fish tuberculosis. You can do a google search; there are plenty of articles. But - before you get all nervous about it - I have read that fish TB seems to hit a certain species of tetra the most, and I'm sure other explanations can be found for a bent spine. Maybe the loach got stuck in your tubes before. Also, from what I've read, fish TB kills slowly, not overnight like you described. I think the red gills were the most telltale sign. This inflammation of the gills could have certainly been from the ich.

Do a few water changes until your slight ammonia reading disappears. That may be the cause of the lethargy in the krib. She appears to be sensitive to the changes you've made recently, so putting her in a QT at this point, unless you see an obvious wound that needs medication, would not be something that I would do.

Don't beat yourself up about the tank changes you've made and their effect on the fish. I would guess that the fish affected by the changes were somehow stressed to begin with. When I moved my healthy betta from a 5 gallon to a 10 gallon, he lost most of his blue and red color and turned gray. That was a little scary. I had him in a bucket overnight, with a heater, so I could get all the new 10 gallons of water up to temperature first before putting him in. Of course he was stressed in the bucket and lost color. After I put him back in the tank, he colored up within an hour or so. I hope your krib bounces back too.
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:08 PM   #6
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I would agree that it could very well be the ammonia. Loaches are more sensitive fish. I doubt it was TB, more likely ammonia poisioning.

Another thing to consider is that you got loaches that were sick or weak from the lfs. Many loaches I see at lfs's are weak and sickly. I would not blame yourself.
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:42 PM   #7
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How big were the loaches? Clown loaches are being sold very small these days and the smaller ones are really sensitive to water quality. Even if they weren't small, I still think the ammonia killed them (could have been higher before). The smallest amount could have killed younger loaches though.

Sorry for your losses.
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:49 AM   #8
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I recently heard about something called Wasting Disease (or something like that) from a loach geek friend of mine. She said that it caused a sunken belly and can deform the fish, usually a quick killer too.

Also, the ammonia readings are deadly to most fish over a period of time, Clowns are just more sensitive because they don't have any scales to protect them from the stuff.

How big is the tank and what else is in it? Did you treat it with anything in the past 2 weeks or so?
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Old 03-23-2008, 04:06 AM   #9
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The tank is a 55 gal w/ a 20 gal sump. Recently I changed out my gravel substrate and put in SoilMaster Select. I also took out all my coral and put in tons of plants within the past 2 weeks.

new results:
pH: 6.9
Ammonia: .25 mg/L
Nitrate: 15 ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
GH: 300
KH: around 10 mg/L



I just started CO2 last night but don't seem to be able to get my bubble count above 1 per 10 seconds.

Ammonia is from fish waste right? Would the new substrate or CO2 cause it to rise? When I put in my substrate I used plastic wrap and rubber bands to close off the ends to keep the fish out. I also siliconed (aquarium safe) two peices of pvc to put under the substrate, but it cured for a day and a half before I put it in. I took off the end covers after I put it in. would any of this be the source?

Perhaps its just that I took out so much of my bio filter that I am in a sort of mini cycle. Are my tank params indicitave of that? I wouln't think so since nitrite is at 0.
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:02 PM   #10
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It could be a mini cycle, just keep doing water changes and keep an eye on things. I still think it is a good possibility that the loaches weren't in the best of health when you got them and the ammonia got to them when maybe it wouldn't have if they were very healthy.
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:41 PM   #11
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Zagz, the loaches were pretty small. Maybe about 3-4" inches.

I found my female krib wrapped around my filter intake too. She wasn't eating for a few days and I sort of thought it might happen. Can I make anything of the long white looking poop trailing from her?

Still though every other fish looks fine so hopefully this (and hte last loach which is..still...not eating) will be the last of my losses. I got the three loaches 3/9. I suspect they never really settled in before I started these drastic changes.

I don't know what to think about the female krib though. I've had her for years and they never bred. She had a conch that was all her own before the changes, so perhaps it hit her harder than some other fish.
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:00 PM   #12
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Long whitish stringy poop could be an internal parasite. Try feeding some medicated food as a precaution. The other fish may not have any parasites but it certainly can't hurt. So sorry for your losses thus far.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:28 PM   #13
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Thanks zagz, I care about all my fish, but not equally (that's horrible isn't it?).

The female krib I've had since I really don't remember. A long time, 2 years at least. I feel bad for my male krib. I can't say he left his home b/c I rearranged my tank recently, but he definitely doesn't own "under the DW" anymore.

I do have to admit that I tried to save a few bucks by buying younger loaches.
The first loach that died lasted around 20 days though. My LFS has a great return policy (full credit w/ a receipt and good water sample). But it is only for the first 2 weeks. I'm glad they made it that long, but ever since I first got them, I knew they weren't getting any food because there was almost always one or two of them hiding in the tubes of a fake piece of blue coral (I'd only ever see one or two at a time).

A few times, I even took the piece of blue coral out and tapped em out b/c I was worried about them and wanted to find them, every single time (only did it 2 or three times) the one or two I couldn't was in there. I even dropped alge wafer bits at night. One loach is still hanging in but I havent seen him eat in a while and his head is now much bigger than his skinny body.

Bright side: every other fish seems hungry, colorful, ich-less, and ready to inhabit a beautiful new planted tank with a new substrate.
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Old 03-25-2008, 12:48 AM   #14
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I know what you mean, some fish just mean more to us than others. That is normal. Glad to hear that the other tankmates are doing well.
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