Be aware: these friendly looking fish can be quite loutish. Even apple snails of up to 5 cm in diameter are in danger of being bullied to death by these scoundrels. Give them ample space and food to avoid this. Otherwise graceful and peaceful fish.
Clown loaches are such wonderful little creatures. Yes, their little razor blades are a very good defense mechanism. I have 4 and mine have also been prone to get maybe one or two Ich dots on their bodies. You can also turn your temp up about a degree or two and it helps solve the problem. I have also heard that it takes them many years before they reach their full size, if that would even happen being kept in a tank. I heard it takes them approximately 10 years.
We have dedicated one of our tanks just to our clowns, after years of having them in our other tanks, and never getting to see them. And sitting for hours trying to see the 15 cm fish come out at night...it dawned on us, go get a new tank. Now our school of 9 clowns lives happily in their own world. I had to use some PVC piping to create hide outs after my 25 cm giant got stuck in a stump. Talk about having a close call, I watched in a hospital tank for a week before I was sure he was going to heal up. With lots of frozen worms, live brine and all the extra snails from my plant tanks they are happy, visable and ready to come out and show off whenever we walk up to the tank.
The tank is a 170 L with an Eclipse system for filtration and the loaches range in age from 9 years for the 13 cm loach to two to four years on the smaller loaches. The giant was inherited just over a year ago, he was in a collection of a man who died in his late eighties, so I have no idea how old he was, he is still growing thought. I used the 13 cm acrost PVC pipe and bought a "Y" section to allow the loaches a hide out with no chance of getting stuck. I was going to move them to a 415 L, but they seem very happy, and the water quality is wonderful in the tank where they are now. I have allowed it to grow lots of algae and have two large swords the break the surface of the water, I have added a large power head to create current.
After reading many of these posts, I decided to see what the clown loach craze was all about. I now am the proud owner of 5 clown loaches. The tank that they are in is dedicated to the Botia genus. I have 4 zebra loaches and 3 polkadot botia along with my clowns. My favorite part of the day is placing tubifex worm cubes in the tank. My clowns are finally to the point that they will swim around my hand and nip at my fingers thinking it is the food that they smell. By far my favorite fish. I just hope that I can avoid disease as they grow in my tank.
Originally we had 2 clown loaches, but unfortunately one died mysteriously. At the time we did not know how important it was to have a companion for the clown. So, he began to bully our fire eel tirelessly! I did a bit of research and realised it was because he needed a buddy, so I went ahead and got 2 lovely baby clowns and he has practically adopted them! And yes, the poor fire eel has been left alone completely.
My 2 clown loaches definitely contribute to their name. They will swim all over the tank in a goofy manner. They spin and like to chase one of my female swordtails. I think it's because she is orange, but it is pretty funny. When I got these fish, I didn't realize that they would attack a snail over 5 cm large. They ended up killing him because I wasn't able to get the snail out in time. It was a very beautiful orange snail, but the clown loaches were very smart on how they tried to pull him out of his shell. One day I was cleaning ou the tank and I found tons of empty snail shells, I found it kinda funny, but you might not think the same. I definitely recommend these goofy fishes!
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