New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quarantine?

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New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quarantine?

Post by doddmatic » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:49 am

Hi guys

I was wondering if anyone had any advice on this?

I keep fancy goldfish and recently purchased two small golden weather loaches to put in my tank. They have spent the last three weeks in quarantine with
a pear-scale goldfish and were due to be transferred to the main tank this week. Everything was going fine until one developed an illness and died in the past two days. The
remaining loach now appears to be showing the same symptoms (it took about three or four days for the first loach to die after exhibiting these behaviours). The goldfish
seems completely unaffected.

I have all three fish in a 50 Litre uncycled tank with an air stone and several hiding places. I had been treating the tank with Aqua-Prazi as a preventative until earlier this week
and performing regular water changes - 50 % every few days - to avoid ammonia/nitrite build-up (as it is an uncycled quarantine).

The water was being conditioned using seachem prime and I was feeding de-shelled peas and bloodworm - I also dropped in sinking catfish pellets periodically (into small crevices
were the goldfish couldn't eat them up).

Earlier this week the larger loach started exhibiting odd behaviours - lying on its side a little, bobbing its head up and down, keeping its mouth wide open etc. This developed
over the course of a few days to it swimming fitfully, losing its balance and sometimes lying on its back. It died a day or two ago.

Here is a video of it bobbing its head up and down and kind of 'lurching' or 'arching its back' a day or two before it died:

I was certain that it was dead on Saturday but when I tried to lift it out it seemed to have a little life left in it, I left it until yesterday to remove it as they are funny creatures and their behaviour is a little hard for me to decipher at times.

I checked the water parms yesterday and they seemed normal - Ph 7.5, 20 ppm Nitrate, 0 Nitrite, 0.6 ppm Ammonia - which could be attributed to my leaving a dead loach a little too long
in the tank.

In the past day or two the remaining loach has started exhibiting the same behaviours - sluggishness, lurching movements, constantly bobbing its head up and down, and occasionally losing its balance and lying on its back. Here is a video from this morning(you'll see him flop around and lie in his back at around 0:52)

I haven't salted the tank and I am reluctant to put in anything else as I have no idea what's going on with these fish. There was also no warning on the Prazi about loaches and I am
concerned about this being a factor?

I was just curious to know if anybody has ever seen anything like this? And if there is anything that can be done?

I was looking forward to keeping these fish for a long time but losing one and potentially both in quarantine is pretty heartbreaking.


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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by TrebleClef84 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:24 pm

I wouldn't worry about the head bobbing. When my dojos are on a bare surface, they do the same thing. I think it's because they think they see food. The healthy ones will even race around the tank with their head down on the bottom like they're trying to swim through the bottom of the tank.

I wish I could tell you what was making him weak. Do you have any gravel from an established tank? Just a handful will cycle the tank quickly. It seems as though the dojos are particularly delicate when it comes to ammonia.

What is the water temp? One time I adopted a dojo and kept it in a tank at about 60-65ºF, and it lived when every other dojo at the store in that shipment died. I'd like to think it was the colder water (maybe killing off whatever bacteria issue he had? I don't know), because I wasn't using anything else on him.

I've never heard of aqua-prazi; perhaps he's reacting poorly to that? Putting some active carbon in the filter and changing the water will remove the prazi quickly, and you can see if he improves. When I was using my dewormer, it seemed as though the dojos reacted the worst to the medicine, and I have a LOT of small, delicate loach species in the tank.

Anyway, you might want to wait for someone more knowledgeable to reply, like Diana, who is incredible. I've only been keeping loaches for about 6 years or so, so I am experienced, but not an expert.

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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by Diana » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:42 am

I can see why you are using the anti-parasite, these guys do look a bit thin, but I do not see anything that explains why they are dying.

Could be that they cannot handle that medicine, or perhaps to low grade ammonia levels are just enough to stress them that the combination of traces of ammonia + medication is killing them. Then the death of the first one sent the ammonia level even higher, so the 2nd one is affected.

I agree that you should take something from the cycled tank to add more bacteria to the quarantine tank to keep the ammonia under control. Or at least add some zeolite to the tank.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by doddmatic » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:52 am

Thanks guys

I removed the deceased fish yesterday and did an 80 % WC (using sea-chem prime for conditioning), oddly the ammonia
had crept up a little in only 12 hours so I've done an 80 % WC.

The only thing I can seem to attribute it to then is sensitivity to Ammonia? It could be the Prazi but I can't find any information on its
effects on loaches. I was thinking it could be an internal parasite but I don't want to bombard the remaining fish with yet more medication.

I hadn't thought about adding established filter media.

The quarantine is just a tank with an air-stone in it, on which I perform frequent water changes. I don't have a filter for it,
can you put some biological media and zeolite in a net and just hang it on the tank? Or would water need to be flowing through an inlet
of some kind for it to work effectively?

Thank again

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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by Diana » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:52 pm

Hang it in a net as close to the maximum water movement as possible. For example, right in the path of the rising bubbles.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by Loachloach » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:27 am

I am really sorry about your new fish.

I must agree with the above. If the tank is not cycled you'd need two daily 50% water changes to make sure it's a quarantine tank and not a death trap.
Exposure to ammonia even at low levels leads to diseases and death so it defeats the purpose if one quarantines in an uncycled non-established tank. Many fish, especially loaches won't make it in such tanks.
The most important thing when adding fish is to acclimate slowly, then give them the healthiest possible environment and boost their immune system by good quality water and nice food in a tank without stressors such as aggressive fish or lack of hiding spots. They can fight off most of any stuff they may have carried themselves which has the potential to overcome them and develop into a disease.
Gold fish are tough, hence it was unaffected.

The best thing to do is to add properly cycled media in the tank that can handle the amount of fish you are adding. To be honest the loaches didn't look that skinny to me. When I got my kuhli loaches they looked like spaghetti but they fattened up over time. I never treat unless I am certain.

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Re: New to Loach keeping - Weather loaches dying in Quaranti

Post by emi-chan » Fri May 30, 2014 8:10 am

when I first moved my two weather loaches, they were fine for the first day in a new tank and one stated to curl itself up almost tying itself in knots.
I moved it to a tank of its own (these fish had been together in a smaller tank for about a year with two goldfish).

it was really scary to see my once lively little loach writhing on the bottom of its tank.
In the end, it was fine after 3 days on its own.

That was about 5 years ago and to this day i have no idea what the hell was going on!

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