Why are my loaches so shy?

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Why are my loaches so shy?

Postby digcolnagos » Mon May 24, 2010 12:53 am

Just getting started in the loach biz and have the following set-up:

125 gallon with a Fluval FX5 and a 1200 GPH powerhead, with sand substrate, plastic plants, some fake driftwood and flat river stones for hiding spots. Water is 80 degrees. Tank mates include a half-dozen black tetras, a half-dozen giant danios, a pleco catfish, an algae eater and a leporinus. The tank, being new, was cycled for three weeks with the danios until nitrates, ammonia and other levels were proper. Loaches have been in for six weeks with various fish added about a week apart since then. I started with five loaches and lost one after one week, but replaced him. We'll see about the leporinus. He and the substitute loach were best friends for about a week until the new loach joined the other four inside one of the pieces of fake driftwood. And by inside, I mean REALLY inside. They've gone so far inside the hollow ornament that I never see them, save for late at night or early in morning, when I might see two or three for less than a minute before they go back into hiding.

How unusual is this? Will they lose their shyness? I have a bluish moon-style light in the aquarium, if this makes any difference.

Also, would like to hear thoughts on the leporinus and its compatibility with loaches.
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Postby glenna » Mon May 24, 2010 9:40 pm

mine did this for WEEKS...I finally moved them to a bigger, less brightly lit tank with lots of hiding places, and now they are out at the front glass, laying there and chasing each other in a delightful way. They pile up, right at the front, and do not mind that I Watch them now. IT is like their shyness completely went away. Who knows all the factors in the move that got them to come out. There were no aggressive fish in the smaller tank (75g versus 125, so they were not in a little, bad space before) .
Your tank is obviously large enough, so maybe LESS light and MORE hiding places so that they feel really comfortable. Are there other more aggressive fish in the tank that could be intimidating them?
Just a few ideas...not sure if they help, or not.
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Postby glenna » Mon May 24, 2010 9:42 pm

sorry for not paying attention. You gave a nice list of the companion fish in your post, which sounds okay to me. Maybe it is just that it is a new tank and it will tank time. I am not fmailiair with the last fish you listed. Is it being aggressive?
gg
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Postby digcolnagos » Wed May 26, 2010 2:14 am

I think there are plenty of hiding places--that seems to be the problem, LOL. Tonight, however, one is venturing out, with the lights on and everything. No problems so far with aggression between species.
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Postby soul-hugger » Thu May 27, 2010 12:46 pm

Maybe I missed this, but what kind of Loaches are they?

Many Loaches will hide at first, until they become comfortable, then there are others which seem to explore the tank at first and then become more sedentary, retreating to hiding places. I found my Kuhli Loaches were like this. Although I have about 9 of them in a 55 Gallon tank, I rarely see them.

I have found that Loaches are out more when they have more hiding places. This may seem backwards, but when they know they can hide whenever they like, they're more likely to venture forth.

Many Loaches are also nocturnal. Try viewing them by night, with your moon lights on.

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Postby digcolnagos » Sat May 29, 2010 5:17 pm

soul-hugger wrote:Maybe I missed this, but what kind of Loaches are they?

Many Loaches will hide at first, until they become comfortable, then there are others which seem to explore the tank at first and then become more sedentary, retreating to hiding places. I found my Kuhli Loaches were like this. Although I have about 9 of them in a 55 Gallon tank, I rarely see them.

I have found that Loaches are out more when they have more hiding places. This may seem backwards, but when they know they can hide whenever they like, they're more likely to venture forth.

Many Loaches are also nocturnal. Try viewing them by night, with your moon lights on.

soul-hugger


They are clown loaches. They are more prone to come out at night, but I rarely see more than two of the five at once. I have four major hiding spots in the tank--a fake hollow log, a fake stump and the aforementioned fake driftwood that is their seemingly constant home.
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Postby millsn » Mon May 31, 2010 11:06 am

Might be worth asking if the hollow ornament is large enough.
I had some bamboo which wasn't big enough inside. Fish would head in, followed by others. If the others didn't want out, the ones inside didn't seem to be able to get out either. Some would have to reverse out and would get trapped in the process. It took me a while of wondering why they weren't coming out to figure out they needed a larger hiding place. I.e. a simpler route in / out in order to see them. I fell embarasssed even mentioning it now.
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Postby chefkeith » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:02 pm

It can take many months to earn the trust of clown loaches.

My 8ft clown loach tank has a 6 foot long cove/cave that they congregate in and out of. They also have a few dozen pvc pipes that they nestle/rest/sleep in.

Like already mentioned, low lighting helps a lot.
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Postby digcolnagos » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:24 am

chefkeith wrote:It can take many months to earn the trust of clown loaches.

My 8ft clown loach tank has a 6 foot long cove/cave that they congregate in and out of. They also have a few dozen pvc pipes that they nestle/rest/sleep in.

Like already mentioned, low lighting helps a lot.


Took awhile, but yes: They have, literally, come out of their shell/hollow log. They're doing EXACTLY what I was told clown loaches do: Swim all crazy-like, up and down and this way and that, sometimes, apparently, confusing the tiger barbs with themselves and forming one big school for an instant. I've caught them schooling with the leporinus, two or three at a time, and when they tire of the game and search for something new, the leporinus swims after them, as if he wants to keep it up.

They still enjoy lying low, but I see them now on a daily basis, and they don't skitter away anymore when a room light is turned on (they're kept in a basement). The wait was definitely worth it.
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