I've seen strange loach behavior but one of them has me baffled. Both are very young loaches and one was especially skinny and rather drab in color. The other has been extremely active and full of color. SOME days the skinny one is very active, full of color, eating heartily. The next day it will be hidden and when it comes out it's very light colored to the point you can almost see the pale pink of its inside its body.
Is this normal?
Some fish arrange themselves in a dominant/submissive social structure.
The dominant fish eats first, lives in the best caves (or whatever is appropriate for the species), and gets the girls (if any). In most species the dominant fish is the male, and will show the brightest colors.
The submissive fish usually stays away from the dominant fish, eats the leftovers, and takes on paler colors or (in species where males and females are different colors) will look more like a female.
The usual remedy for this is to keep this sort of fish in a larger social group.
Then the dominant fish will have more fish to boss around, so spends less time harassing any one fish, and the lower ranking fish can hang out together and so might be just a bit bolder, more willing to come out and eat.
Keeping them in a larger tank may help, if the dominant fish is not actively seeking out the submissive fish, but simply is claiming the whole tank. In a larger tank the dominant fish might only claim a small area, and allow the submissive fish to have the other area.
In a smaller tank there is not enough room for the submissive fish to get out of the way of the dominant fish. He cannot go away far enough. The dominant fish thinks the submissive fish is hanging around nearby getting ready to challenge him, so stays in the more dominant/aggressive mood and does not calm down. The submissive fish recognizes this and stays out of his way and takes on the submissive coloring to try to communicate that he is not a threat.
Happy fish keeping!
If you can set up something like that you can then start to target feed each one in his (or her) favorite spot. Perhaps at opposite ends of the tank. Then the submissive one may have a chance to eat a bit more without being bothered by the dominant one.
Happy fish keeping!
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