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Jcody

Mysterious death: was this a mob hit?

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We had a death of a clown loach with mysterious timing and hoped the collective knowledge of the group could help.

we have been keeping fish for approx 5 months now and some of the original stocking and equipment decisions were made by the kids prior to understanding some of the intricacies of community tanks...my bad.

we have a 40L planted tanks with 5 (now 4) clown loach and an angel fish. Yes too small for the fish we have, we have a 400L tank but not set up as we are moving soon and I will do it then. The loach were small when purchased and very active, once the angel was added he asserted himself as the dominant fish, bullying the others into hiding.

A new larger tank was set and the angel fish was moved, slowly the loach went back to their old ways but two days later we found one dead, no external injury but a red mark on his forehead that looked like internal bleeding. Tank conditions had been checked only the day prior and were excellent and no other disease in the tank bar some manageable algae.

 

any thoughts?

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Good on you for keeping a group of clown loaches.  Too often I see just a single one in a tank, and they really do much better in a small group.

Having said that, these fish get to be 12-15cm quite quickly, and then continue growing albeit quite slowly.  I have seen one old fellow at about 40cms.  They are also very active fish and fast swimmers.  Even when small, a 40L tank is nowhere near big enough.  You didn't say how big the "new larger tank" is, but for me, the 400L would be about the minimum size for a group of YOUNG clown loaches.

Angels also do much better in a group, and they also can get very large - think 20cms plus from top to bottom (including fins).

Once you get the 400L set up, there should be no problem keeping all these fish together, and adding a few more angels and other things also.  In a few years, the clown loaches will outgrow even this tank, but you should have quite a bit of knowledge and experience by then.

In the meantime, if you're keeping the loaches in a VERY small tank temporarily, be aware that in such a confined space there may well be accidents.  They have nowhere to run and hide.  Provide as many hiding spots as you can - some PVC tubes for example are good as they take up very little room but provide a place for the loaches to "escape" the angel and each other.  The more hiding spots they have, the more likely they are to survive this temporary incarceration.

 

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