Rosy Loach behavior - long

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Rosy Loach behavior - long

Post by wbzorker » Thu May 20, 2010 8:26 pm

About 6 months ago I bought 6 "Burmese Pink" loaches from Frank's for a nano tank. Information on the web, including this source :-), gave me the impression that these were rosy loaches, that they schooled, adored bloodworms and tubifex worms, and had different colors for each sex.

When I kept them in a sparsely decorated 10g, alone, they played in the current, but did not school. Soon after, I added a few pygmy cories and they went into hiding all together under one decoration and only came out to feed. After about 2 months I upsized them to a 20g long tank. They have been there about 2 months and are showing interesting behavior that conflicts with some of what I've read. I was hoping you folks could help me to better understand my little gems:-)

First - at least 4 of the 6 have set up distinct territories. I loaded some pics that will help you to see these territories, but the quality won't let you see the fish well enough to ID them. Look for the orange blurs lol. (I'm working out a way to take a video that should have better resolution.) ... t%20batch/

They have never formed even a loose school, and with the exception of feeding time they never gather. There is a definite pecking order that has stayed constant. The darkest orange loach also has a large belly area and is the top of the chain. He chases everybody, no one chases him. In the pics he is called "Back rock" loach. Second is one of the next darkest males, called "Back tank" in the pics. Third and fourth place go to the next darkest males and I can't tell them apart. Number 5 is the loach called "Front rock" in the pics. It (tentative she) is pale and I find it interesting that her territory is right next to the head honcho. (more on that below) Chasing behavior follows rank. If head honcho chases a pale loach into #2's territory, head honcho breaks off and #2 takes over, chasing it out of his territory, into another's etc. However, if a higher ranking loach is chased into a lower ranking loaches territory it chases out the owner, who immediately returns after the higher ranking loach leaves.

Second - after a large water change, on a day that had a storm coming in, I saw possible courting behavior. Suddenly it was like the territories had dissolved. Everyone was sort of milling in the center of the tank and the lower ranking fish were immune to trespassing charges. Then one of the pale fish, #5 or 6, but I believe it was #5, started swimming with head honcho, just off his "shoulder". He (she?) started quivering and bumping into head honcho while swimming slowly around the middle of the tank. When they got to the boss's territory, #1 laid over almost all the way on his side, #5 darted in and away. #5 immediately went to another male and did the swimming with and quivering thing. This male did not respond, and #5 swam away. When #5 left #1, #1 swam a couple inches to a depression in the gravel, and wallowed in it. Then swam away. I don't know how to interpret this. I looked for eggs but it wasn't close enough to the glass for me to see anything.

Third - considering the above, I'm confused about the sexes. I've read that the darker orange were the males and the pale yellowish were the females. Then I read the record of the breeding posted here and it said that the females were both pale and speckled. I saw the picture of the female on that thread and I can definitely say that my 2 pale fish have no speckles, so are they pale male or females?

Fourth - my fish's favorite food is Hikari algae wafers. When both worms and wafer are served they mob the wafer and ignore the worms. They eat the worms when they are the only food available.

Finally, I bought 12 more of these gems (these were definitely sold as rosy loaches ) this month and am seeing different behavior. I've only had them about 2 weeks and with one exception they are still in the quarantine tank. I also bought 11 sparkle-eyed White Clouds. When I unpacked everybody the new loaches definitely schooled with the White Clouds. I've moved the White Clouds over to the main tank and the resident loaches showed no interest in schooling at all. As soon as I added one new loach to the tank, it schooled with the White Clouds and has done so multiple times when stressed. The new loaches wouldn't eat algae wafers in the q tank but the one I moved to the main tank has learned to do so.

Can anyone shed any light on this behavior? How do your fish act?

Thanks for your time,

Edit: - to add this link which has also confused me - ... _1169.html
Wendy :-)

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