I am having problems with my clown loach tank. The tank is a 125 gal. 6’ long tank. I have low lights but the fish never come out. At night, LED lights come on and still the fish do not come out. I maybe see them once or twice during the week. The tank is set up in the living room. The 10 clowns range for 2” - 4”. and they share the tank with about 25 tiger bards. I have had six clowns for six weeks and four for 8 weeks.
They are fed blood worms, tubi-flex worms, beef heart, shrimp pellets, algae pellets and flake food. I may have seen them eat once or twice. The bards eat everything during the day so the loaches do not get to eat. I have started feed the loaches at night with a tube that goes right in front of their hiding places but the bards still eat everything. I’m thinking of getting rid of the barbs and just having the loaches by themselves, but people tell me they need fish swimming around to feel safe. I honestly do not know how the loaches are still alive.
I would appreciate any help on how and when to feed the clowns. If they continue to act this shy, I will have no choice but to trade or sell them. I honestly have never encountered such a shy and dumb fish before. They are a totally boring and you would never know that there are clown loaches in the tank.
Could you post a photo of your tank so that we can see what the environment is like for your clown loaches? It may be that they do not feel secure enough to venture out very often, so it would be helpful to know what your decor is like.
What size are your tiger barbs? If they are fully grown, and the loaches are still small, then the barbs may be slightly too intimidating for the young clowns at feeding time, particularly in a big group. Established adult clowns are boisterous enough at feeding times and can hold their own, but little ones may feel slightly threatened. It might be worth reconsidering a slightly more easygoing dither fish species. Tiger barbs are notoriously greedy and will pig out on all available food.
You say you have LED lights on at night. I take it this isn't on all night, and there a period when all lights are off?
New clown loaches can take a while to settle in, and placement of the tank can have some bearing on this. If the tank is situated in a busy area where people are walking past it a lot, this can make nervous fish even more skittish.
I would imagine that your clowns probably are feeding, but most likely overnight, and when food morsels are swept into their hiding places by the current.
Tell us some more about your set-up and maybe we can give you some more pointers.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
New fish can also be very stressed and/or have parasites. A quarantine period, with the minimum of 4 weeks, is recommended for all new fish also. Not an easy thing to do for new fish tank owners because you need cycled filter media for the quarantine tank's filters. I'm not sure what your situation is though. Building up a small shoal of clown loaches is a very difficult task even for experienced fish keepers, due to do parasite outbreaks, water chemistry problems, and water quality issues.
Outside of that, you might want to try some large sinking foods that the Barbs can't eat, like Omega One Veggie Rounds and Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets.
It also helps to have a lot of cover such as driftwood, rock work, Pipes, or large caves going from end to end of the tank. Clowns likely won't swim out in the open without a cave being near by. In other words, nearly the entire bottom of the tank should have something that the clowns can swim under.
my loach video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PfQuwY-aps
The tank has been running for a couple years now. It is set up in a corner of the living room with hardly any traffic. I do not have authorization to post photos.
The tiger barbs are medium to full grown and are all very greedy feeders. I am going to act on the suggestion regarding trading them out for rainbows.
The LED lights would go on for three hours after the day lights went off. I'm not using the LED lights anymore. The day lights go on at 10:00 in the morning and go off at 9:00 at night.
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