Reticulated Hillstream Loaches

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Vince Bassist

Aquarium Advice Newbie
Dec 31, 2023
Southern California
Hello. I am new to this website/forum, and I am fairly early in my launch of two aquariums. However, I have been moving slowly, and my focus thus far has been exclusively on (1) Reticulated Hillstream Loaches, (2) sustaining (over 2 months) some robust plants (easy, by definition), and (3) a small but lively population of snails. (I don't mind the snails, and they are not out of control yet, but I have a couple of assassin snails on order to help with that factor, in the long run).

My two (reticulated) hillstream loaches have been good teachers. Here are a few notes (thus far):

1. In a 30-gallon tank, they do not molest eachother. Sometimes they hang out together, and might dance a little bit, but mostly, they stay to themselves.

2. They do not seem like like a lot of white sand as the substrate. All that "white" in the tank kind of freaked them out, and one loach in particular. He went into stressed camouflage mode as much as he possibly could, and was not eating well.

3. I have added larger ornamental stones, and some 1/2" river gravel in varied colors, and now that there is a lot more darker color in the tank, they seem to love that!!! They are both out in the open much, much more, and the specific loach that tried to make himself as pale as possible has gone back into his default color (dark, dark brown with lots of white specks). And the patches of light coloration have gone entirely away.

4. Sometimes, each loach love (loves!!!) to sit in a robust "stream" of quick moving water. I put my two airstones off in one corner, down at the bottom, and the bubble stream creates a very strong current, but only limited to that corner of the tank. Both loaches will sometimes anchor themselves in the that robust current of all those bubbles for half an hour. They really seem to love this, but they only do it once in awhile.

5. They seem to do very well at temps in the low 70F degree range (low 21C degree range). Thus, i was less inclined to add German Rams to this tank, because RAMs seem to thrive in low 80F range instead (low 27C range).

6. Have not yet decided whether I will put my sailfin mollies in this tank, but I would eagerly put small fish fry or small shrimp in this loach tank.

7. I thought one loach was going to die, a few weeks back. "He" went as pale as he could, he seemed to lose his ability to grasp the side of the tank and hold his position (a surefire warning sign, in my take), and he eventually started drifting at the bottom of the tank, belly up. I thought for sure he was a goner. But i brought him back. I changed about 25% of the water, and left small amounts of food of three types in the tank). Within 3 days, he was acting normal again. Then see item 2 and 3 above (changing the dominant colorations within the tank).

8. What do they eat? I've seen both attack (voraciously) simple sinking algae wafers. On rare occasion, they eat off those small shrimp-based pellets that sink. In ratio, they likely eat algae/shrimp pellets at 7:1 (mostly preferring algae).

9. One fatality - a third loach of mine (from my starting set of 3) died, because he literally crawled out of the tank, through one of my water filters, onto the top of my aquarium cover, and dried out (died) because he could not get back in. This was an unexpected "trauma" because I literally attempted to prevent something like this from happening. Ugh.

I will have more notes soon. I have some bamboo shrimp coming, along with 2+ more loaches for this tank. Peace.
Is the loach shown in this pic a reticulated hillstream loach, a polka dot hillstream loach, or a general hillstream loach? Thank you. (I believe it is a polka dot hillstream loach).

I'm watching that white spot in the dorsal area to determine whether or not it is a tiny fungal infection, and will treat accordingly if so. My two loaches (heavily documented in my original post) have both been prone to changing their colors rather dynamically, but this pic shows the darkest coloration i've seen.
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