Black kuhli loach tunnel system

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Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Pangiophile » Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:53 pm

Hello all:

I've been lurking for a bit and have found a lot of great advice here, but have now de-lurked to ask for advice. I've got 10 black kuhli loaches (P. oblonga) that have been in quarantine for about a month. They've been doing well, good appetite, no signs of disease, and seem to be growing. They've got a sand substrate and lots of hiding places (leaf litter and caves) but they spend most of their time zooming about or lounging on the sand. Long story short, they seem happy and healthy and ready to move out of quarantine.

Before moving them, I'd like to set up a tunnel system under the sand in their new home. I'm posting this to request any advice on the tunnel design. My basic idea is to use 1 or 1.5 inch diameter PVC pipe in 3 segments. The left and right segments will run along the sides of the tank, and a rear segment will join them via 90 degree elbows. Because the sand is deeper in the rear, the side segments will be partially buried and the 2 entrances will be at the front. The rear will be buried a couple inches deep. Looking down from above it'll look something like this (the "e" represents each entrance):
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    *****************************
    *                         *
    *                         *
    *                         *
    *                         *
    *                         *
    *                         *
    e                         e


I'd like to have a setup that the loaches will like and use without having to experiment since it would be disruptive to dig it all up and change anything later. There are a few questions I've been thinking about:

    Would prefer a large or small diameter pipe? I was planning on 1" or 1.5" diameter PVC but could change that.
    Would they like to have some "dead end" tunnels linked in to the system? That'd be easy to do, there's room under the sand
    Would they like to have a fatter portion of the tunnel for the group to gather? Again, probably easy to add if I can find a PVC adapter.
    Might they like some gentle water flow through the tunnel?
    Will my malaysian trumpet snails move in and take over the space? Any way to discourage that?
    I might slant the tunnel slightly so that debris will tend to move toward the front and out of the entrance, any problem with this?
Any answers, thoughts, experiences, or suggestions would be much appreciated.
Pangiophile
 
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Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Pangiophile » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:02 pm

Absent any feedback I'm about to install the tunnel. One addition is that I've added a riser tube and run in an air hose to try and get some gentle water flow. Sort of like you get with a sponge filter.
One thing I've run into is that I decided to boil the pieces in clean tap water before installing, in order to try and remove any manufacturing residue (plasticizers? free monomers? who knows what's on there). After boiling the parts did not fit together nearly as easily due to slight distortions. Guess I should have seen that coming.
Hopefully it gets used. Even better, I'm hoping to duplicate the aphrodisiac effect of undergravel filters that's been so widely reported for this species, but still have them hanging around above the substrate at least some of the time.
Pangiophile
 
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Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Diana » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:39 pm

I would be VERY concerned about low water flow allowing debris to accumulate in the tunnels. Make sure you include some reasonable water flow all the time through the tunnels, then blast them clean when you do a water change.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
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Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Pangiophile » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:18 pm

Thanks for the advice! I'll have to figure out how to blast water in safely. (Any suggestions?)

At least I don't have to worry anymore about whether MTSs will take over the tunnels (it is going into the tank where the snail massacre happened). I wonder whether the new loaches coming in from quarantine will learn the snail killing technique from the current residents. (The newbies are younger and smaller, the oldsters are new to me but survived months at the chain fish store.)
Pangiophile
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:29 pm

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Diana » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:01 pm

Use some vinyl tubing when you drain the tank for a water change.
Put the tubing into the PVC as far as it will go, vacuuming out the debris. You may have to get several sizes of tubing, see what works bets.
Fine tubing (as small as air tubing) won't remove too much water and will clog with even small debris, but will be more flexible in the tunnels. Larger tubing will just go straight into the legs, won't turn the corner, but you will get much faster water movement. This is good, it will clear the back part of the tunnel, but is bad, it will drain the tank fast.

Alternate idea: Close off one end of the tunnel by connecting large enough tubing (think: gravel vacuum attachment), then use a pump to pump water through the tunnel and out through that tubing.
If it turns out there really is not much debris, then simply blasting it out with a small pump would be OK, though it would just be scattered into the tank. Then you would clean it up with whatever water change/gravel vac you are doing.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
Posts: 4588
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Pangiophile » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:57 pm

Well, I banged the tunnel pieces together tightly with a rubber mallet and have gotten them down into the sand in the tank. As you might guess, it was a bit of a pain to get it in. Whatever end I would shove down, the other side would just pop up. Maybe with a helper things would be easier. It's not in quite as deep as planned, but I felt like I had scared the fish enough for one day. Definitely it would've been much better to have installed the tunnels first and added the sand second.

After a day or two, the 3 original kuhli loaches started using the tunnels regularly. I just added the 7 newbies from quarantine and they followed the others right in. So, it seems like a success so far.

For cleaning, I'm looking to blast water in through one opening and out of the far side. Not too often though, it'll probably scare the loaches and I'd like them to feel safe.

Just curious what people think the water conditions are like in an undergravel filter, which is what I'm sort of trying to mimic. Supposedly this is a kuhli loach paradise, but it seems that the water would be low in oxygen and the space would fill up with loach waste. Surely my tunnels will be better than that. Or maybe low oxygen and dirty water is part of the spawning conditions?
Pangiophile
 
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:29 pm

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Diana » Thu Dec 25, 2014 9:37 am

UGF:

The plates keep the substrate out, so there is space there for small fish.

Using a power head or air bubbler to create the current draws water through the gravel so whatever is in the gravel may end up under the plates. Certainly small, partially decomposed material gets under there. The high oxygen level will keep aerobic decomposers working, and that is good.

Occasionally cleaning out the debris is important. I would stick the vinyl tubing from a gravel vac down the up-tubes and clean out under the plates.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
Posts: 4588
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Geert » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:01 am

Hi Diana

It has been a long time since your last post, and i wonder if you still have this set up with loaches and your tunnensystem.

More than 15 years ago i made a simular system but mine was made with dark see-through hoses, (the one they use for the filter).
My loaches loved it as well! Mine had more entrances/exits all over the tank! Still have some old photo's of that :D

- - - - - - - - - -

Recently after all those years i bought another group of Pangio's, it was a mixed group though, with species as: semicincta, myersi, kuhli and sp.pan03. They are doing well together and my tank is stuffed with leaflitter. They love to play and hide in those leafs.

About your worries of the water quality and the movement of water in the tubes, i wouldn't worry that much, in nature they live in piles of leaflitter, which is blocking the waterflow as well. As long as the parameters of the tank itself is good, that's most important.

Greetings from Belgium
Geert
 
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:59 pm

Re: Black kuhli loach tunnel system

Postby Diana » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:08 pm

The tubing system is not mine. I use rock piles and leaf litter to make hiding places.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
Diana
 
Posts: 4588
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso


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