We recently set up a tank and we decided to get 5 assorted Platy and a couple of bottom dwelling loaches (1 chain and 1 'algae eater'). Are these truly ok to keep together? I have discovered it is recommended that Platy have salt and we've always understood that loaches should not.
The Platy seem to be a bit plagued with assorted illness. One seems to have tail rot and they all had intestinal parasites. The treating of which seems to have been successful... Although I've come to believe our Mickey Mouse my be 'large with fry,' which will be a whole different issue if I'm right.
The two different types of loach appear to be the best of friends - both are very little right now but have great color and seem healthy.
Yes, we have been tracking the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and ph (initially) levels in the tank. The ammonia has re-spiked a bit, which I'm watching closely, plus the initial clouding seems to have returned - which i believe has to do with having to treat a full tank for parasites. Other than that, all levels are good (I've been testing daily since the ammonia went up, it is on it's way down now and the n's remain at zero.) I also added a 'bacteria' supplement to help get things back in line...
We have not found a good aquarium store here and resorted to the pet store chain - where they clearly lacked expertise; saying things I know are myth and even insisting that the little Red Tiger Platy my little girl picked was a baby Mollie.
A little background...
In the past we had 29gal in which we (through a number of years and moves in which we gave fish away to good homes rather than transporting them) had an assortment of Ciclids, other tropical (aggressive) fish and always a couple of Algae Eaters aka sucker-mouth loaches. We never really had any difficulties - no real illness problems, difficulty with cycling, etc
This is a smaller tank and we mean it to be a good way to get the children used to what it actually takes to care for fish right - the very young loaches will eventually be too big for this setup, I know that. We will either find good homes or get a larger setup when they have grown. (I always like having them in my tanks - they really are a favorite for me.)
Platys seem much harder than any of our past fish. I must admit I'm surprised because we were always told our past fish were harder, but they always seemed easy to care for and all lived long healthy lives (though we did have a couple disappear once - but like I said - we had aggressive types).
Thanks for any advice you have to offer about the salt, and compatibility!