I bought these two Clown Loaches in June '05. At the time they were about 1.5" and now are closer to 3". They never had ich nor any other illness, that I can tell. I have witnessed what appears to be typical behavior (sparring with each other off an on, sleep together, hide/rest in very small spaces, laying on the side, 'hovering' side by side mid tank & generally being real busy bodies) as well as swimming frantically back and forth when the barometric pressure drops, which happened before a summer thunderstorm.
During the summer they would come out of their hidey hole and be busy all day long. They ate anything that wasn't nailed down. They would 'go to bed' before sundown...which at the time coincided with the tank lights (8 PM). As Fall approached and the days became shorter, I noticed they would go to bed earlier and earlier; always before sundown. That meant they were in bed before 4:30 PM. Then they started not coming out much at all. I rarely see them now. The other comes out more often than the other. This has been going on for about 6-8 weeks now. They are not as chubby as they once were, but are not emaciated, so they are eating and they do not appear ill, but this behavior has me concerned. I am even more concerned now with their coloring and some discoloration I noticed about 3-4 weeks ago.
When they come out of hiding their color (body and dorsal fin) is quite washed out. Their other fins remain quite bright. Sometimes they brighten up a bit if they are out swimming for a while, but all too often they are back in their hole before that happens. There also seems to be more black on their noses and I've noticed black spots (pin-head shape and size) on their body. The spots are few, numbering 3-5 per fish and are not clustered but random on the body. So if the spot is on a black stripe the spot is a darker black. If on an orange stripe it appears more dark brown. These spots haven't grown, spread or multiplied. They do not appear raised nor is there any other reddness, fuzziness or discoloration. So between their reclusive behavior and these 'spots' I am concerned.
OK, now for the tank info.
Size: 55 gal (48"X12"X22") mature tank (running non stop for 2 yrs).
Filtration: 2 Marineland 400's (each filter contain a carbon cartridge and a phosphate absorbing pad) Bio-wheels are 6 years old, 1 eheim 2236 (new as of 4 weeks).
Tank equipment: CO2 via fermentation (new as of 6 weeks), UV Sterilizer (new as of 1 week), heater, bubbler, 2-Quantum 15 Watt 11K Ultra Daylight T6 Lamps (new)
Furnishing: plain gravel and Laterite substrate, plants (rooted in peat blocks), terra cotta pots, slate, driftwood, 1 resin ornament.
Water parameters: Temp 79, Ammonia & Nitrite 0, Nitrates < 20ppm, pH 6.8, Water is moderately soft (~ 70 ppm) thanks to driftwood, CO2, peat and water conditioners, otherwise the tap water is closer 100-110ppm. I strive to maintain these values (including temp) without fluctuations even during water changes.
Water conditioners: Kordon's Amquel-Plus and NovAqua Plus, Instant Amazon, Kent Marine's Freshwater Zoe (Plant Vit's). I was using iron for plants but quit that when the spots appeared on the loaches.
I do a 15% water change every 3-4 days, to rid the tank of pleco poo.
Tank occupants (no new fish...last new fish were the Loaches):
1-10-11" common pleco, 1 dwarf gourami (there was 3...I lost 2 yesterday to what appeared to be an accident or pre-spawning aggression issue), 4 White Cloud Mt. Minnows and of course the 2 Clown Loaches.
Food (variety is rotated during the week): Zucchini, Organic spinach and lettuce, Wardley's Algae wafers, Tetra's Feeze-dried bloodworms, Hikari's sinking carnivore wafers, Marinelands Tropical Bio-Blend, TetraMin Tropical Crisps. I had Hikari's Tubifx worms, but nobody liked them.
There are no snails in the tank. I treat all new plants in a separate bucket, with potassium permangenate before adding to the tank.
I recently had a bout with black algae possibly due to old tank lamps...lamps replaced. Plants taken out of the tank, trimmed and treated with H2O2 solution (in a separate bucket) than 2 days later taken out again and treated with potassium permangenate. Still have some, but will trim and treat again. Hopefully the UV light will help.
I have noticed something that looks like these spots on pictures of these fish on the net. According the the pic captions these fish are healthy and no mention is ever made to these spots. So after all this if you tell me that Clown Loaches have 'freckles' and that they hibernate I'll calm down and quit fretting...otherwise I am at a loss as to what these spots and 'sleepy/lazy' behavior is all about. Thanks a lot for reading all this. I look forward to your help.
My clowns had a long terrible bout with a black spot outbreak that started back in February 2005 and lasted until September. What my fish had was not the same as the black spot disease which needs a snail and a bird to complete its life cycle. It was a different disease and there was no info about what my fish had and there still isn’t. Whatever it was or is, it seems like it might be becoming more widespread. Over the past few months several people have been reporting black spots.
Here are some pics of my fish-
More pics here - http://photobucket.com/albums/c49/chefk ... ck%20spot/
For bad cases like this, a wide spectrum med and antibiotic helped clear it up. I used Parasite Clear by Jungle Labs and Triple Sulfa for about 3 weeks. I also changed my substrate from sand to gravel in a few of my tanks.
For less severe cases, I think salt would help. Use about 2 teaspoons of salt per gallon of water for about 3 weeks.
There hasn't been any re-occurring outbreaks of the black spots since I stopped doing large water changes, removed some leaching rocks, and stopped adding fertilizers to the water.
I don't advise adding salt. It may help clean the black spots temporarily, but when the salt is removed, you might get the black spots back if the water changes were done too fast.
I now do 24/7 continuous drip water changes that are done automatically. It is basically a hose that drips water into the tank, and an overflow where the excess water goes from a hose to a floor drain. Building a drip system can be fairly simple or very complex. The 1st drip system I built for free out of spare aquarium parts. I have some past threads here about the drip systems.
There may be a "black spot " Disease.
But there are Black spots.
bloodworms for thought!!!
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