Hillstream Loaches dying

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Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:59 am

Hello, I was just curious what you feed them. I have a 20 gallon set up that was doing amazing for almost 6 months. I feed frozen brine shrimp and algae wafers. They got a fungal infection 2 months ago from bad algae wafers so I cut back the amount. Now my loaches are all starting to die off about 1 a week. No signs of sickness at all now. Still treated with Melafix and Pimafix. No salt ever. I had 22 and now I have 10. 78 Degrees steady around the clock. 2 Hob aquaclear 110 filters 1000 GPH flow rate. Soft rocks all along the base. 35% water changes once a week. I had 9 girls and 13 boys. Now 8 boys 2 girls left. The girls are not eating anymore and they just sit together under the rock cave I made. I think they are starving. Please help.
Water parameter have been consistent for 4 months now. Hillstream Loaches only.
Nitrate Always 10ppm
Nitrite Always 0
Hardness 120
Chlorine 0
Alkalinity 90 Never changes
PH 7 Never changes
Ammonia 0
I check every week sometimes twice.
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Diana » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:45 am

Hillstream Loaches in general come from high oxygen streams. Fairly shallow water, tumbling over stones, constantly in motion, constantly gaining more oxygen. I have seen it suggested that they evolved in such a way that they are not very good at getting oxygen from the water because it is so easily available.
Mostly this water is cooler, coming from highlands. Lower temperature water holds more oxygen.
Mostly these fish eat the algae and other organisms that grow on the rocks. There are not a lot of plants, not many insects or other critters in such a setting. In the algae will be other things, quite small, even microorganisms, and this is a source of protein for these fish.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufwuchs

In an aquarium, these fish are best kept in similar conditions:
Generally cooler water with a lot of water movement. Check about the exact species you are keeping, but the temperature should not be over about 75 degrees F, and in the lower 70s or even upper 60s may be even better.
Water movement ought to be something close to 20x the tank volume in turnover per hour. For example, a filter that runs at 10x and a powerhead that adds another 10x would add up to that much water movement. The water surface should have a pretty serious amount of rippling. Have a look through this article about one possible way to achieve a hillstream sort of set up.
http://www.loaches.com/articles/hillstr ... -fast-lane

Food should be a mixed diet of algae, carnivore pellets or wafers, vegetables or similar. High in vegetable matter, but also offering some protein. Read the label on the algae wafers. Some are actually more fish meal. You might look into a different product line such as some of the gel foods, perhaps the Repashy products, or a DIY recipe. Then you can make sure to feed them a high vegetable content food, and make sure there is enough protein for them without overdoing it.

As for whatever disease is going on, all I can suggest are some ideas.
True fungi are not usually the original infection. True fungi usually move in on already compromised tissues.
Some bacterial infections can look like a fungus infection. For example, Flavobacterium columnare is a very common problem, especially in warmer water with some nitrate. Some nitrate tests are not as accurate as they would like you to believe. When in doubt, do water changes. (of course, the replacement water should have low to no nitrates).
The initial control of any disease is to keep the fish in the appropriate temperature and water chemistry for its species and feed a good blend of foods. Then the immune system of the fish will be strong, and able to fight off disease organisms. Plenty of water changes, especially vacuuming out areas of the tank with poor water flow will help, too, by minimizing the quantity of disease organisms in the tank.
Adding products that slow the growth of bacteria and fungi can help when you see the very beginnings of these problems. Melafix and Pimafix act on disease organisms that are on the outside of the fish, they do not enter the fishes' system to help against internal diseases. Usually, by the time you see external evidence of a disease, the disease organisms are already inside the fish, and external meds may not be very effective.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:40 pm

I have 2 make Beaufortia kweichowensis, 1 reticulated spotted loach and 7 Borneo. 3 Borneo males have cream stripes down their back with blue and orange tale. 2 males have full dots with a blue tail. Will dropping the temp from 78 to 75 be enough? Do you know any reason why they would die without symptoms? If it is internal how do I treat it? Should I soak the shrimp in melafix? Before I was doing a study for school and now I just want to save them. 4 I've had from fry age and I'm attached. The ones that are dying refuse to eat shrimp or algae wafers also. Not a territorial thing either I don't think. I always feed in a specific spot with filters off for 15 minutes. I would like to get more reticulated / spotted Loaches and design a long 40 gallon long for them in March.
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:50 pm

My turnover rate is 50x per hour. I also have established brown algae on all 4 walls. I'm thinking my temp is a big factor here. Thank you for commenting so quick. Looking forward to what I'll figure out on here. How do I post a picture?
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Bas Pels » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:14 pm

Not intending to know better, but a turnover of 50 - which is impressive - is obtainable without much turbulence near the watersurface. That is, such a turnover does not nessessarily reuslt in high oxygen levels.

Is it possible to put a rock - or a large stone - in the main outlet, in order to get this turbulence? It would not hurt if the stone would reacht out of the water
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:24 pm

I agree which is why I added a bubble wall to create a rolling effect with the water. I am positive ever bit of water is disrupted, moved from the bottom and pushed to the surface to bond. No possible dead spots in my tank and substrate is minimal so no pockets.
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby gulogulo » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:59 pm

High temp is definitely a factor but 22 fish in a 20 gallon tank is way too many. Over stocking is probably your biggest problem. The hillstream tank I have set up is a 40 breeder and I have 7 fish in it. I can probably add a few to mine but I wouldn't put more that 15 of 20 in a tank twice the size of yours. While all your test parameters came back OK it still seems like too many fish and with medications alot of the beneficial bacteria will die as well which can lead to nitrogen spikes, intensified by overstocking. Hopefully now that your number of fish is lower your deaths will taper off.

My hillstreams eat Repashy gel foods with gusto, I have used super green, soilent green, and bottom scratcher. I have also fed algae wafers and bottom scraper pellets and occasionally frozen bloodworms. Currently I only have Gastros in the tank.
Current loach residents- 14 Pangio semicincta, 2 P. doriae, 4 P. myersi, 1 P. shelfordi, 5 P. anguilaris, 6 P. oblonga, 8 P. cuneovirgata 5 Chromobotia macracantha, 3 Gastromyzon ctenocephalus, 3 Gastromyzon species unknown
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:25 pm

As I do agree with you that I was over stocking before now I am not. These are not full grown yet. Before 16 of them were young about 6 months old and less than 3/4 off an inch. Now I have 3 adults and 7 young about an inch. Could weekly water changes and cleaning the substrate too much be a problem. I vacuum from corner to corner because with the current the algae wafers get blown all around and grow fungus after a few days. I am designing a 40 gallon breeder but it won't be ready for another 6 weeks. I will be moving to a high powered light to force algae growth so I won't have to do tablets. Any suggestions on coral reef lights?
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Diana » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:02 pm

Coral reef lights tend to be too high in the blue range, not enough red wavelengths. Look into lighting intended for freshwater planted tanks.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:04 pm

Great tip thank you :)
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby gulogulo » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:07 am

Josiahandsye wrote:As I do agree with you that I was over stocking before now I am not. These are not full grown yet. Before 16 of them were young about 6 months old and less than 3/4 off an inch. Now I have 3 adults and 7 young about an inch. Could weekly water changes and cleaning the substrate too much be a problem. I vacuum from corner to corner because with the current the algae wafers get blown all around and grow fungus after a few days. I am designing a 40 gallon breeder but it won't be ready for another 6 weeks. I will be moving to a high powered light to force algae growth so I won't have to do tablets. Any suggestions on coral reef lights?


If your algae wafers are not being eaten within a day and are fungusing you are either feeding too much or the fish aren't eating them. I would try a different food if the fish aren't eating.
Current loach residents- 14 Pangio semicincta, 2 P. doriae, 4 P. myersi, 1 P. shelfordi, 5 P. anguilaris, 6 P. oblonga, 8 P. cuneovirgata 5 Chromobotia macracantha, 3 Gastromyzon ctenocephalus, 3 Gastromyzon species unknown
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:40 am

Thank you. I feed about a tenth of a tablet right now. Only 3 are relying on the wafers otherwise I would have stopped. That's why I am going to boost my lights. I have a separate tank for green algae with algae growing on the stones. I'm about a week from being able to just set those in there.
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Diana » Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Have you tried feeding vegetables?
Softests, such as cucumber, and most leaf (lettuce, spinach) slice thin and serve raw.
Almost as soft, such as zucchini, firm leaves like kale, and most frozen vegetables, you can serve raw or cook just a little bit.
Firmer vegetables such as the inner stem of broccoli or green beans can be steamed just a bit longer, though I have also fed these raw. The fish eat the tender inside part of the bean pod, so slice it open to expose this part. They will also eat the immature beans.
Hard vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin and butternut squash can be baked until they are almost soft, but do not overcook (they will fall apart in the tank)
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Josiahandsye » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:11 pm

That's incredible I didn't know they would eat those things. How long do you leave them in the tank before you take them out? Will this mess with the biological system at all?
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Re: Hillstream Loaches dying

Postby Diana » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:04 pm

Most vegetables are very low protein, so there is little ammonia when they break down. They can grow fungi, though, if they are not eaten. Peas and beans are higher protein than most vegies, but still lower than most meat/fish/insect based foods.
Raw, they can stay in the tank for a couple of days. Cooked, probably just one day. Try feeding some of these, maybe one kind at a time, and see which the fish like. The fish seem to dig into cooked foods faster, but do not overcook any of these. Better to slightly under cook so they will stay good longer.
If the vegetables will not sink, then try sticking a spoon through it. Some people will add a string so they can pull the spoon out without sticking their hand into the water.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!
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