The LFS employee really struggled to get them out of the tank. It took at least 5 minutes and, for the second of the two, the involvement of the shop owner to get them out. It wasn't that they couldn't be tracked down...they just couldn't get the fish off of the glass. There was a lot of use of fingers involved, which as a general rule concerns me with fish handling though maybe I'm overprotective. It even looked like the employee at least was trying to use his fingernails to get underneath the loach, but I can't be 100% sure since it was hard to see. They were transferred to a specimen container to be bagged afterwards. As it turns out, it took another ~5 minutes to get them from the specimen container to the bag while I waited at the front.
They are now the sole fish occupants of my 20 gallon long (30" x 12" x 12") tank, which has an Aquaclear 50 at the end as well as an additional small powerhead. There are also some filter-feeding shrimp. The tank has been set up for a long time and has a nice covering of green algae; it had been occupied with mystery snails for over a year when I was breeding them for sale. Water is 70-72 F, about 7 dGH, 3 dKH, 6.7 pH, no trace of ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates, the latter certainly due to the few plants or other inhabitants in the tank and frequent water changes.
The two loaches had spent almost all their time on the front glass in the first couple days, so I've struggled to get a decent look at them (other than their mouths/stomachs, of course). As they are starting to explore a bit more, I've been able to get a closer look. Finally, the shyer one showed itself most clearly and when it turned its body in the right way, it revealed an unsightly injury that I'm surprised I didn't see sooner and I think has to have happened at the fish shop. On one side of its head, it's missing a lot of skin and the skin that is there is fairly tattered looking. The fact it is one just one side seems to be consistent with it occurring from a human trying to scrape it off the glass.
My main concern is what, if anything, I should do/look for going forward given this injury. Will it heal? If so, should I expect it to look like a large scar rather than the old skin? And what can I do to try to keep the fish from getting an infection/are there signs to pick up on that it already has?
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