Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

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MandaMunky
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Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:22 pm

Hi there,

Well, we have had ultimate success with moving everyone over to the new tank & we figured since the old tank is already cycled & fantastic & ready to go, why not use it to QT a couple new loaches?! So, we were looking at the LFS & OMG, heartbroken over the SUPER TEENY TINY baby clowns they had there - so, we bought all 5. One looked kind of skinny & had almost a hunchback & died 20 minutes after bringing them home. =(

The other 4 are doing okay so far, but they're so pale & SO TINY! From tip of the nose to the tail one of them could only be 1" max! The others are probably a WHOPPING 1.5". I plan on doing the typical parasite/antibiotic treatment cycle, starting tomorrow, but I'm really concerned about how & what to feed these little suckers. I assume like any other babies that they need to eat more often, but how often? What should I feed them? For my bigger loaches I have sinking algae wafers, sinking bottom feeder pellets, frozen spirulina/brine shrimp, frozen blood worms, & we also blanch organic spinach & peas for them.

Same for the little guys? Also, any other advice?

Anything that anyone has to suggest would be very helpful & much appreciated, as always! =) I want to do my best to ensure the success of these little tiny baby boogens! Once they settle I'll try to get some photos, but I don't want to stress them any further than necessary until they're used to the tank.

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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:00 am

So, at this point, 3 of the little loaches seem to have settled in quite nicely, they're schooling together & dancing up & down the side of the tank. The 4th is sort of MIA. I'm pretty sure he's hiding in a pirate skull cave that I provided for them, but I was kind of bummed not to see him/her schooling about with the others.

I cut up a block of frozen bloodworms & let them soak with tank water & garlic last night (they didn't seem popular) & then this morning I tried more blood worms, they look interested, but I can't say that they're actually eating them.

I may try a crushed up algae pellet later. I feel like they should be eating by now & I'm starting to worry, but I'm also trying to keep in mind that my fish are older & VERY HEALTHY EATERS! So, being less than 24 hours old with us I guess I should expect so much.

They really seem to have a great weight to them - no knife back - you can't see their lateral spines at all. I really should have left them at the store so they're not encouraged to purchase & sell more teeny tiny ones, but I really just couldn't help myself. When I asked the girl what they feed them she said, "Oh, flake food like the rest!" Also, there wasn't anywhere to hide, large pea sized gravel in the bottom of the tank, water temp was 74F. Just sad. I tried to suggest reading the LOL care sheet & she said she'd think about it. It's definitely the dark side of the pet trade. Really sad.

Should I buy fry food? I was also thinking about getting a moss ball for them so they can maybe munch on it?

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The Skinny Chef
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by The Skinny Chef » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:40 am

have you tried the blanched squash or zuccini? maybe blanch spinach or something else. that usually works.

i wouldn't be worried that they are not eating yet, they are young and just had a very tramatic experience. just keep giving them what they need and they will come around. i'm not a clown loach expert, but maybe pick some pvc to make a few more caves for them.
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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:11 pm

I definitely think that adding a few more hiding places is always a good thing, too! There are at least 7 in there now, but for such young, shy fish I think you're right. I actually already have some PVC that I can cut, sand, wash & throw in there. I'll do that today!

I've started my regular QT deworming med cycle in hopes that maybe something in that combo will boost their immune systems & appetites. I may also try some B12?

Water parameters are all perfect & seem to be holding strong. The group of tetras I bought to keep these guys company is doing exceptionally well, so I still have faith at this point!

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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:16 pm

Lost another one this morning. The tiniest one. =(

Feeling discouraged, but going to keep at it. The others seem vibrant, but I'm learning not to take this for granted, because the two that died went from healthy looking & active & even eating to dead in a few short minutes. I really am doing everything "right" so I guess these little guys just might be too hard to recover.

Sad. Never again will I make a pity purchase like this. I just thought maybe they'd be better with an experienced loach owner vs some random store employee or ignorant buyer. However, I realize that making the purchase supports the demand, so I will only purchase larger, "sturdier" loaches in the future & force emotions aside.

Discouraging.

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redshark1
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by redshark1 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:14 am

Yes, a chastening experience and I agree with your supply and demand conclusions.

I had a similar situation but four of my five teeny emaciated Clown Loaches had the run of my mature 6 foot aquarium to themselves at 80F and did well on frozen bloodworm.

The fifth I really could have lost as it had whitespot and was shockingly bony but I brought it back from the brink by keeping it in a small floating plastic margarine tub for over a month in the main tank, changing its water many times each day. I had to gradually triple the whitespot cure dose before there was any effect.

Amazingly, the fish continued to feed on live bloodworm only and therefore eventually turned the corner. I have him today, he will be 20 years old in January.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:39 pm

That gives me some hope, redshark! Thanks.

Food wise: I'm doing a mix of frozen blood worms, baby brine with spriulina, & some "immune boosting" flake food. I just put a tiny bit of each into a little medicine cup with tank water until it's thawed/waterlogged then dump it in. The tetras are usually all over it, but I feel like plenty makes it to the bottom for them to rummage around for & they are doing it. Two, of the three are very vibrant looking & the third seems to be fading. The third one is starting to have that "hunchback" look again, but I think it's actually because he's so hollow in his belly. Ugh. Going to keep trying.

I like the margarine container idea. I'm trying to figure out exactly what you mean though? Did you anchor it to the side near the top of the aquarium? Did you add a bubbler or anything? Did you dump his water then give him tank water?

BTW... my tank is a fully cycled (1.75 year old) 29 gallon. We recently upgraded to a 75gallon & So, I feel like the one they're in is a great little QT tank because it's cycled (it never had a break from the fish) & since they're so tiny they don't have to swim so far to rummage for food.
Last edited by MandaMunky on Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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redshark1
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by redshark1 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:38 am

Yes my margarine tub was a small container to which I added some plants. It floated in one corner of the aquarium and did not need to be anchored there. I just tipped most of the water to waste through a net and put in more tank water several times a day. I was careful and did not appear to stress the fish during this operation. Perhaps he (gender became apparent years later) liked his new water.

My aquarium was a mature established system so the water was good.

The reason for the isolation was due to infectious whitespot and allowed me to target medication which I had found successful in the past. Medicating a whole 90 uk gallon tank is wasteful (and was unnecessary for the other Clowns who didn't have whitespot) and in this low volume I could observe the fish closely.

I do not recommend tripling the dose of medications but this was a desperate measure attempted for a fish that was nearly lost. Regarding feeding, live bloodworm do not add as significantly to the pollution of the water if not eaten compared to non-living foods. The movement of the living worms appeared necessary to stimulate feeding in this instance.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:22 pm

So, I had an entire tank with Ich once & it was terrible I ended up losing all of them (introduced it with a moss ball - didn't realize they had some fish in the tank - let alone fish with Ich). The fish I lost were goldfish - cold water & despite aggressive treatment it just got worse & worse & it was just so sad. So, because of that experience I thought I knew what Ich looked like (lots of little white salt/sugar granules). Well, it appears as if one of these little babes *MIGHT* have it, but I'm just not sure?

It's VERY active & has been eating the most, it swims well, with intent, focus, speed & agility - no flashing, no rapid breathing, far from listless, BUT she had 2 (yes, only two) little spots on her 3 days ago (one on the back & one on the dorsal fin). In response to this I increased the temp from 81*F to 84-85*F & slowly began to add salt (it's a 30 gallon tank, so the first day I added 3 tsp, second day, added 4 tsp, then today I'll add 5 tsp, which will make it 4tsp per 10 gallons). I know this isn't a strong dose, but I was already in the middle of parasite treatment (API General Cure - Metronidazole & Praziquantel) & didn't want to just stop that cold based on two little, ity-bity questionable spots.

So, the two spots are gone now, you can't see anything on her fin at all & the one on her back is slightly visible, but more of a little grey spec that looks like it could be an injury trying to heal. HOWEVER, this morning I noticed another spot on her tail. It's VERY SMALL you can barely see it with the naked eye, & at first I wasn't sure if it was a spot or some shimmer from her orangey color, but upon further study I do feel like it's another white spot.

The fish have been in the tank since Friday, 12/20 (4 days) & I've looked & looked & looked at all of the other fish & they appear to be completely healthy (the tetras & other loaches). None of them are flashing, nor do any of they others have any spots on them. So, I'm confused. if it was Ich it seems like they'd all start to have some white sprinkles on them, be flashing, sitting in the corner, caves, listless, not eating, etc., but each day they seem to be improving. So, I'm just confused over all.

I do have some Rid-Ich+ on hand, but my plan at this time is to continue to API General Cure, maintain the higher temps (they seem to like it anyway) & watch closely for strange behavior & any more spots.

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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by redshark1 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:23 am

I always check for whitespot (ich) when adding any new fish to my Clown Loach aquarium.

Whitespot is the only disease I have encountered since purchasing my Clown Loaches.

When my Clown Loaches were originally purchased or whenever I added new fish to the aquarium in the first few years it popped up reliably.

No Clown Loaches or other fish have actually died of whitespot in my aquarium.

Now I am better at maintaining good water conditions I do not see it.

I have not ever needed to treat for other parasites.

I have never needed to treat whitespot with salt, which some say is tolerated poorly by Clown Loaches.

To treat whitespot I have always used an inexpensive treatment based on malachite green and formalin in addition to raised temperatures.

Some say that elevated temperatures prolonged for a few weeks are all that is needed to cure whitespot.

I do not expect to encounter whitespot again after 20 years of being free of it but if I do I will probably use the same treatment that worked for me before.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:25 am

It's definitely icky ICH!

Only a few more spots, but we did a big water change (30%) & a massive gravel vacuum. I didn't wan't to change too much of the water because of the salt we were trying (added slowly & want to remove slowly as well). We also very slowly (over a period of 3 hours) added the Rid Ich (by Kordon- Formalin & Malachite Green), which is supposed to be half dose already & safe for loaches & tetras, so we dosed according to the bottle (5mL/10gallons).

The fish seem to be tolerating it well so far... they even ate some dinner, but one of the little loaches displayed a couple of flashes across the bottom for the first time. So, I have a feeling it's going to get a little worse before it gets better.

On the bright side: they're in QT so my existing fish are all safe, we're maintaining strict isolation & not sharing any equipment between tanks, the little boogers in QT have actually been improving each day, they're swimming around normally, they're active, playful & they're turning into voracious little eaters (they like blood worms, brine shrimp, immune boosting flake & they really go wild when I add garlic to any of it!). The temperature in the tank has been up to 86*F for a few days now already, & they don't seem to be completely INUNDATED with white spots. One of them had a grand total of 5-7 spots today. So, I'm HOPEFUL that I'm catching it early & doing all of the right things to cure them of this.

I know i'm putting the cart before the horse a little but, holy-moly... I"m probably never going to want to put them into my big tank. =( One step at a time I guess, but really, how will I KNOW or be truly CERTAIN that it'll safe to integrate them? I'm thinking they need to stay in quarantine for like 6 months!

PS - I checked water parameters again tonight, we're still A-Okay with Ammonia at 0, Nitrites at 0, & Nitrates are between 10-15.

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MandaMunky
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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:10 pm

I have two big questions:

1. Can I use API Stress Coat Dechlorinator with Rid Ich? I know you're not supposed to use Amquel or products that specifically remove dyes, but is API Stress Coat okay? Stress Coat doesn't say anything about removing dyes, but it is a dechlor & heavy metal neutralizer.

2. I'm dosing according to the Rid Ich bottle (1 tsp/10 gallons) every 24 hours (with a 25-35% water change). The fish seem fine & are still eating, active & swimming, but the loaches all have a spot or two each now. So, should I stick with that dose or do I have to half this specific product?

Thank you <3

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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by redshark1 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:57 am

I would have thought that if your Clown Loaches have not had any spots for a few weeks it means that the ich parasite has been wiped out. It will only return if reintroduced from external sources. Therefore there should be no need to be nervous of moving them to the larger quarters.

If the instructions on your meds don't preclude it then its up to you whether to use dechlorinator or not. I don't think its a big deal. If your fish are used to it then why not? Better than adding chlorine/chloramine perhaps?

I'd keep dosing the ich cure at a consistent level and not let the ich off the hook. Don't forget the spots that are appearing on the fish now are from parasites that attached to your fish several days ago before treatment started. The treatment is most effective on the free-living ich in the water so spots should stop appearing soon. I think its important to keep treating after the last of the spots is gone to clear up any ich left in the tank. Instructions are usually with the bottle.

You are doing the right thing by monitoring the situation carefully and being consistent with your treatment.
6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-six years of age on 01.01.20, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 110 US gal.

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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:09 pm

This is so frustrating... today they're flashing & acting very unhappy BUT I can't see any spots? If there are spots I guess they're just too small for me to see? Could they be flashing because their skin is irritated from the chemical treatment (Rid Ich)? I feel like it's a catch 22... Ich will kill them, but apparently so will the treatment, but I have to get it (Ich) out of there.

I can't even see one of the baby clowns at all, actually. She was swimming funny last night after the water change & I have a bad feeling she may have perished in her cave. I'm going to feed them a tiny bit & if I don't see her in a couple hours I'll probably pick up the cave & check for her. =/

Thanks for your support, it truly means a lot to be able to hear that this has worked for some & that I'm doing the right thing. I'm still just so sad for them, but I'm keeping at it. I truly hope that some make it through.

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Re: Caring for 5 SUPER TINY Clowns - HELP!

Post by MandaMunky » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:47 pm

The third baby clown that was in question *IS* still alive. She looks just okay... end of her tail fin where the spots were looks kind of shredded up & she seems stressed, but is alive.

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