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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Loaches

Loaches

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Traits & behavior

Omnivores
This means they will eat both plants and tiny, living creatures.

Communal
These fish do best when they are kept in small groups containing 3-6 loaches.

Bottom dwellers
You will see your loaches swimming near the bottom of your aquarium. To create a beautiful aquarium environment, be sure to add some middle and top swimmers as well. Ask a PetSmart associate to help you choose.

Non-aggressive
Loaches are extremely peaceful and live best in a community aquarium with fish of the same disposition.

Scaleless
Loaches either lack or have very tiny scales, which means they have almost no protection from toxic materials dissolved in the aquarium. Avoid adding medications to the aquarium unless they are specifically recommended for "scaleless" fish.
 

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information..
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Choose a tropical flake or sinking pellet fish food. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.

Specialty foods
Vary their diet by including frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms and other small worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia. Always remember to thaw frozen foods before feeding.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your loaches as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a specialty food.

Health

Signs your loaches are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and actively swimming together in the bottom of the aquarium
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.
 

Environment

Aquarium
Minimum aquarium size for smaller species of loaches is 10 gallons, but species that get over 4" long need an aquarium that?s larger. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

Décor
Loaches do best in aquariums that have lots of hiding places in the form of roots, driftwood and rockwork. In addition, place lots of hardy plants, such as vallisneria and java fern throughout.

Fish compatibility
Loaches can share their aquarium with other non-aggressive, tropical community fish.

Lighting
Floating plants are excellent for providing the subdued lighting loaches prefer.

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
Water temperature should range between 65-80° F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water temperature.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

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