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Old 02-28-2018, 10:54 PM   #1
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Clown loach problem

PLEASE HELP! Clown loaches dying!!

Saturday 02/24/18 noticed one of my clown loaches (we have 5) being very lethargic and laying in the bottom corner of my tank. When you put your hand in though heíd swim away.

Sunday 02/25/18 clown loach #1 still laying on his side in bottom corner but now he doesnít really try to swim away when you stick your hand in. Also notice he is breathing hard so we changed our filter media and vacuumed the sand. Unfortunately didnít take a water test at this point.

Monday 02/26/18 clown loach #1 no longer in corner thought everything was back to normal

Tuesday 02/27/18 notice different clown loach #2 swimming vertically in same spot breathing hard but swims away when hand goes in tank only to end up going back to spot when hand is out. Just thought it was doing what clown loaches do. Tried to feed them frozen blood worms but he didnít seem interested. Nor did we see clown loach #1 come out to eat but other 3 did.

Wednesday 02/28/18 clown loach #2 struggling to swim vertically and looks a little bloated decided to test water parameters and got the following

125 gal tank established for 2.5 years
Tank mates
3 clown other loaches (5 total between 3-4yrs old weíve had them from the get- go and battled all the other problems)
3 Kubutia loaches (also around 3 years old)
4 angelfish (1 year old)
1 common pleco (4 years old)
2 silver tip tetras
1 platy

Ammonia 0 ppm
pH 8.0 (but it always runs high we have well water)
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrates 60 ppm know thatís a little high so went to do another %15 water change and vacuum sand bottom.
Use a fluval fx6

In the course of suction-ing sand lifted a piece of driftwood and clown loach #1 came floating out. He looked dead, bloated and pale in color with some new fin damage, however he is still alive!!

Iím so stressed cuz I feel helpless. I have given them a small 5 min aquarium salt bath in a gal tub. I did 1tsp/1gal with both clown loach #1 and #2 at the same time. I finished my 15% water change and added new water.

I then put them in a make shift breeder net at the top of the tank so they can stop struggling to swim. They both look bloated. #1 more so than #2 and #1 will occasionally go vertical and stick his mouth out of water. Other than bloated I canít see any other signs of disease/sickness. And other loaches are acting normal.

Should I keep doing the salt baths? Am I dosing the salt baths correctly? Should I treat them for anything? Bacterial treatment of some sort? Should I quarantine them from the rest of the tank? Worse case and I really donít want to but, do I put them out of their misery?

WHAT IS GOING ON?!? WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:39 AM   #2
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Nitrates are on the high end. Now the question is how long has your fish been exposed to high nitrates.....15% water change will do little to lower the nitrates. You maybe dropped it down to 50 ppm. Still high. You should do a 50% water change.....1/2 of 60 is 30....then you'll be at 30 ppm. The next day you should do another 50% water change.....15 ppm? Then test your nitrates about every other day so you can gauge accumulation of nitrates in your tank by the day on average. Nitrates are generally accumulated through waste from overfeeding and fish poo as you probably already know. May just be the case that you need to vac more during water change and change a higher percentage of your water every week.....say 30-35%?

As for the possible condition your loaches are facing I'm not 100% sure but I'm guessing the source is from high nitrates as most fish ailments are from water quality. A member named CoralBandit raises several clowns and probably has more insight.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:01 AM   #3
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IMO, probably not a good idea to use salt with Loaches or Botias. They are also very sensitive to meds. Usually better to just squeeze out or rinse the old bio media rather than replace. Replacing temporarily sets back the BB.
As for euthanizing the Loaches, that's a judgement call. You have to weigh the risk between the likelihood of recovery against the health of the other tankmates.
As noted above, upping the water maintenence will likely prevent further problems. Hope things level out soon.
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Old 03-01-2018, 07:33 AM   #4
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Up your water changes ..
15 % ? so 85 % of the crap left over in the water is ok?
I would ask what your regular water change schedule is but if 15% was for an emergency I don't I need to know...
CHANGE MORE WATER. More more often...
Our test kits only see what we know to look for . I personally believe there is a lot more to our waters chemistry then our simple test tell..
Not everyone needs it but a good general rule is 50% water changes weekly.. You are still leaving 50% of crap behind so IMO this is ok if you re set [huge water change by most] monthly or so.
The clowns ,angels and pleco are fish that can create a lot of waste..
If you have been light on maintenance then IMO it is likely you are seeing the beginning of 'Old Tank Syndrome'..
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Old 03-01-2018, 08:06 AM   #5
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You should let a fish die on their own if it comes to that i would treat it with meds to be safe
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice but they both passed away.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:42 AM   #7
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Sorry you lost your clowns .
Are you upping your water changes?
You do still have 3 clowns left ?
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:48 AM   #8
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Yes we are
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:19 PM   #9
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33% water change...1/3 of tank... every week is a good standard especially for fish that are sensitive to poor water conditions.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:24 PM   #10
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Clown loach problem

Thank you. We know that. Unfortunately when we started the tank we had well water without a water softener and now we have a softener so we canít use warm water out of the faucet because of the softener salt so we have to use this spicket that is cold water only that is before the water softener. So during water changes we have to limit the amount of cold water we add so it doesnít shock them that way.
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:17 PM   #11
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Is there a reason you are wanting soft water or that your well water is insufficient? Just curious as you already seemed to fix this problem now.

Side note... purchase a digital thermometer...the kind you use for BBQing meat...put it in the container you use for water changes. As you add water you can watch the temp change and gauge the amount of cold or hot water you need as you are adding it to the container. Just an anal thing I do but thought I'd throw it out there.
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:26 PM   #12
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Clown loach problem

We never had a problem with the well water for the fish tank but our house is pretty old and we have been doing remodeling with new plumbing and the hard water was ruining our new fixtures like sink, faucet, shower/tub and such so we decided to get a water softener and accidentally we didnít realize how it would affect our tank. From everything we read and researched it says donít use softened water for freshwater tanks. We also have wood stove so most of the time we put the buckets in front of the fire to warm them up ahead of time but for emergency water changes sometimes you donít have time to warm the water first
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:55 PM   #13
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Does your softener system have a bypass valve so you can fill with the well water?

Generally, softener systems replace calcium with sodium. Calcium being a mineral fish need and sodium being something they don't need. If you have the money you could switch to potassium chloride rather than sodium chloride...which sodium is probably what is in your system. Potassium chloride should be next to your sodium chloride in the store. Potassium isn't as hard on fish as sodium and live plants in your aquarium absorb it. Fun fact.... potassium chloride is better for us humans than sodium chloride as we consume too much sodium in our diets. Good for fish and good for you. Lol.

General hardness (GH), from what I've read, can change osmotic pressure on the fish's body which can effect the fish's metabolism and overall health. IMO, anything that removes vital minerals from water will have an effect on fish health......that's my 2 cents 😀
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