"Borneo sucker" loaches ID

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fossphur
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"Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:09 am

I ordered some borneo sucker fish this week from an online fish store and they arrived today. I wasn't sure what I'd end up getting, our live import list here in AU only allows psuedogastromyzon myersi and I don't think that's what these are at all!

They look more to me like gastromyzon of some sort, I have 2 spotted ones, 2 banded ones, and one where I'm not sure if it is reticulated or banded.

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https://i.imgur.com/OUtoFBA.mp4

I'm not sure about sexes either, the story is they only had one in stock and delayed my order until more came in. So one of my banded ones is much bigger than the other, and the maybe reticulated one is showing some discolouration which I think is a shipping injury. The smaller "new" ones seem quite skinny so I'm trying to get them eating repashy gel and algae paste, I also put some cooked zucchini and an algae wafer in hoping they'll find and recognise some of it as food soon. The tank they are in is their quarantine tank and there is a lot more algae on the rocks in the tank I want them to live once they clear QT. Anyone got any suggestions as to what the banded ones are? The stripes seem too close together to match any of the banded species I could find pictures of. For the spotted ones, I will be able to see better when they get bigger I think. Any guesses? And any tips for getting them to eat in QT? I have a new life spectrum food which is marketed as a dough, its like the gel foods except it is more of a sticky paste so I've tried mixing some spirulina powder in with that and smearing it on the glass, and also tried doing it plain "community" flavour. So far the fish skirt up to the edge of it, touch against it and then turn their back on it seemingly in disgust.

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ch.koenig
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by ch.koenig » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:50 pm

Hi
Two G. zebrinus (you might lose the second: starvation and damaged muscosa, that's bad) and G. scitulus (male?)
Better pics (head-shape) would help.
Try standard dried food, just a few red worms (frozen) to make them start.
Algae are for "occupation", Spirulina is for nothing (should be Chlorella anyway) as well as cucumber and all other vegetables. Once settled, they may eat all this, but that's not what they need. If you can get tablets with shrimp content (as for carnivorous catfish) that could help to start them.
It's a problem that they come in after a long intermitttent starvation and won't recover. Emaciation is normally not repairable (as with C. macranthus and others as well), digestion apparatus seems to be damaged.
Cheers Charles

NancyD
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by NancyD » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:06 pm

I agree with Charles, starved fish are hard to get feeding in a normal way. Not just loaches but otocinclus too & some other species.

Do the best you can in offering a wide variety of foods they "may" accept; frozen, tablets, everything in small amounts.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on with them.
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fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:25 am

ch.koenig wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:50 pm
Hi
Two G. zebrinus (you might lose the second: starvation and damaged muscosa, that's bad) and G. scitulus (male?)
Better pics (head-shape) would help.
Try standard dried food, just a few red worms (frozen) to make them start.
Algae are for "occupation", Spirulina is for nothing (should be Chlorella anyway) as well as cucumber and all other vegetables. Once settled, they may eat all this, but that's not what they need. If you can get tablets with shrimp content (as for carnivorous catfish) that could help to start them.
It's a problem that they come in after a long intermitttent starvation and won't recover. Emaciation is normally not repairable (as with C. macranthus and others as well), digestion apparatus seems to be damaged.
Cheers Charles
Thanks Charles and Nancy! I have a bag of mixed spirulina/chlorella which I feed my brine shrimp on so I thought that might help, just to add a different flavour to the paste food. They are all still alive today, I saw a couple of them "fighting", one of the scitulus was pushing the injured zebrinus around on the glass. The others are scooting around and seem in good spirits although the largest zebrinus often hides behind the heater (I have the tank at 24C with a hang on back filter for surface agitation, a powered sponge filter with a venturi sucking air and an extra airstone so I hope I have the temperature and oxygenation requirements right). I have had trouble getting pictures of them as they are still settling in and a bit skittish if I get too close with my camera, and the few times I've had a good look at their undersides on the front glass I haven't been able to see which loach is which from the other side. I did see one of them was pooping though which I understand is a good sign.

I have some dried blackworm which I've chopped, rehydrated so it will sink properly, and added to the tank, and I also have live grindal worms which I put in and hopefully they'll sink to the bottom and be found. I keep corys and have microworm and grindal colonies on the go. I did add some microworms hoping they'd fall to the bottom and be found. There are a lot of MTS in the bottom of the tank so they will help with any uneaten food but I'm planning to vacuum out any of the failed food experiments and keep their water clean in hope that the scuffed up fellow recovers.

Freezer has frozen bloodworms and mysis shrimp so I can try those too. Not sure if mysis are too big but I can always smush them a bit with mortar and pestle if it will help. And I do have repashy bottom scratcher gel, the gel I've been trying to feed them is a mix of bottom scratcher and supergreen but I'm not sure if they are recognising it as food. I had some success with otos using a shallow shrimp feeding dish and filling it with a flat shallow layer of gel but so far these gastromyzon have only hidden under the dish!

Thanks again for your help, as always there is conflicting information out there about the needs of these fish, if getting protein into them right now is important I have lots of ways left to try to do it. Might try some sinking catfish tablets next. The algae tablets I've tried were the Northfin ones that have krill in but they were not a success. OH! they're kelp tablets, not algae. Oops!

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ch.koenig
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by ch.koenig » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:23 am

Hi
Good approach.
By the way: temperature 20-22° helps. If you go higher they may be stressed because that accelerates matabolic processes untill the system breaks down over 24°. They can't keep pace in a tank where the food-offer is not constant high all day. And another point: the bacterial overflow kills the week ones as power of resitance is broken. That's why I never bought"damaged" specimen after some efforts to bring them through. This was mainly with Pseudogasstromyzon and Beaufortia which came in from China in a bad shape for long time. Chinese exporters have improved much in the last years, using a professionel approach. Not freely but the feed-back from importers in Europe and USA was disastrous., mainly because high priced species as R. zhoui and Y. pachychilus were criticized.
A last word to mysis: it is critical for many freshwater-species (salty), good for some cichlids. Not so Artemia (hypotonic regulation-isotonic, not salty) which are a benefit in a tank with blank bottom where they can be eaten easily. And the smell of decapsulated Artemia makes many species go wild, but is in most parts swimming, so for hillies just a push on to eat.
A good list (German)
http://www.heimbiotop.de/futter.html
Cheers Charles
Last edited by ch.koenig on Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

NancyD
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by NancyD » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:49 pm

Wow, Charles, I've never seen a reason for the fresh vs salty shrimp before. It makes sense if I understand correctly.

I also agree that trying every kind of food is a good idea with new fish...in small amounts. Let your fish decide what they like & give it to them!
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fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:38 am

Chopped up dried blackworms seems to have been popular, and grindal worms too. I've tried some sinking crumble food which has also disappeared. They didn't particularly like the sinking catfish discs. I will turn the heater off I think, its starting to warm up here and this time of year I don't heat my tanks. But they don't seem to be listless or struggling, I have now seen that the spot behind the heater sometimes contains a zebrinus and sometimes the large scitulus, it probably hasn't been the same fish all along. The injured fish has much better colour now, and I think is recovering. I have been using the same treatment as I did for the scuffed up kuhlie loach I got in last week, esha 2000 at half dose. It's not optimal but I am stuck ordering fish online and receiving them by mail; so I didn't get to choose species or specimens.

I think I can provide them with lots of little food items without fear of overfeeding, I am quarantining some rasbora in the same tank (from same supplier) so they are picking at some of the food, I added more river pebbles so now there are more pockets where food collects and I have seen loaches popping in and out of these places. And there is an invert clean up crew that will get anything that falls out of reach.

I am pleased that they are looking to be improving! Hope I can keep them cool enough with the coming summer.

fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:47 am

Just wanted to say it's really rewarding seeing these guys pouncing on the grindal worms I've fed them, they seem to have gotten the hang of it now, each of them has an area they hang around in and pockets that they check for food. Some of them have even worked out the feeding dish I've been using. Most of them end up underneath it though :lol:

fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:35 am

I've had these guys for just over a month now! They seem to be eating well, pretty much anything that I put in their tank they find and eat but their favourite still seems to be live worms and I can't get over how comical they are pouncing on the food as they see it. I have had no trouble with them, the discoloured one seems all normal and healed now, not a trace of the scratch that was on his back. I decided it was time to catch them from the quarantine tank and move to the display that I wanted to put them in - I really want to break the quarantine tank down, wash it out, rinse the substrate and remove excess snails, repaint the back black instead of blue, and set it up as a planted display for some rasboras and kuhlie loaches.

There's only one problem - I don't seem to have any hope in netting these guys out! They're very rarely on the glass so I can't do the credit card trick, they hide under their rocks as soon as the net enters the tank. I feel like I am going to have to remove all the rocks to have any chance of catching them.

In short I'm worried that I could hurt them or stress them during the process of removing stones but I guess really there's no other way to get them out :?

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ch.koenig
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by ch.koenig » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:29 pm

Hi
That is good to hear.
Catching: easiest way is netting them by raising the bolders. It is less stressing but to chase them with a net through the tank - for fish and fisherman. Worst way is the credit card trick. Could dammage the tiny structures at the periphery of the paired fins - the gecko-like structures which make them cling to every surface (they dont't really "suck"). When the bolders are out I replace them or chase the resting specimen gently with a net to the front- glass and cover them with a transparent jug. Moving gently to and fro makes them dive towards the bottom. No air contact and easy done.
Cheers Charles

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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by NancyD » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:28 pm

I almost always end up having removing all décor to catch any loaches. I like Charles's hard container idea. Fortunately I haven't had to try to catch hillies yet. Go slow, patience & good luck!
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fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:59 am

Thanks Charles! I really like that hard container idea, I've done the same for delicate fry before so not entirely sure why I forgot it as an option for these guys. My usual net technique is to hold the net still and let the fish choose it as a safe place to swim while chasing gently with something else - this doesn't work at all for sucker fish so I was pretty stumped. It'll be interesting to see if I can get it to work since the tank I used is a bowfront, so there could be a gap for flat fish to escape through! I'm not rushing into it though, they are healthy and happy where they are right now so I will be very careful and make sure I set aside a lot of time to do it right!

fossphur
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by fossphur » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:34 pm

I managed to do it! The first loach was on the glass and I brought the net near him and he swam into it! I used it to hold him in position in the water while I got a container and then transported him to the new tank in water. The second loach, I had left the net sitting in the bottom of the tank and one chose to hide in it of his own accord. The remaining three I was able to pick up the pebble they were on and move it to the transport container and again keep them all underwater. They seem okay in the new tank, and are exploring the sides. I moved their feeding dish to the new tank and put a wafer in it for them so maybe they will recognise it and eat from there? I am glad they don't have to compete with snails for food now! The other tank has masses of them under every rock. It is good to see them scooting around on the glass, they've gone from a 15g tank to a 45g tank and I hope they like the extra room.

NancyD
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Re: "Borneo sucker" loaches ID

Post by NancyD » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:12 pm

Cool! It sounds like they all had a gentle capture & relocation.

We'd love to see new pics!
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