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Clown Loach - Shyness

Posted By: Wight <Wight@mindspring.com>
Date: Tuesday, 10 August 1999, at 12:47 p.m.

A Clown Loach is a shy fish, I grant this. They're also my favorite, and so this irks me. I wanna dive on in and give 'em big hugs and stuff, but even walking out of my room (and thus by my tank) to get a soda I spook them into their favored hiding place. I'd like advice on changing this; in short, how does one become "loach-friendly"? I've read on this site about someone feeding them by hand! How jealous that makes me.

I have a 10 gallon aquarium, 1 1.5" "Algae Eater" (wish I knew a better name), 1 1.5" female Betta splenden, 1 2.5" Black Kuhli Loach, 3 2.5" Clown Loaches, 3 2" Glass Catfish, 2 3" Pictus Catfish, and 4 1" White Cloud Mtn. Minnows. Yes, I KNOW my tank is mildly "overstocked". I'm getting a 50-55 gallon tank (either 48"x13"x19" or 48.5"x13"x21")with my next paycheck, a matter of days, or I'd not have added the fish I did so recently. My tank is quite warm (mentioned in a prior question) and my water is presently undergoing daily changes to offset the slight toxicity I find if I don't change it as often. With it, I intend to improve quantity of space/water conditions, plantlife (both quantity and quantity of living plants (from zero to *some*)), substrate (I had no sand, if soft-edged gravel), and more hiding spaces. With added room I intend to get a few more fish -- I want to leave some "room" for extra fish unfilled, but feel confident with 5-5.5 times more space (40-45 more gallons!) I could fit a few more 2-3" clowns. :)

Anywho, as stated, my loaches shy from me. Granting I'm about six feet tall and they're not even 3 inches long, perhaps this isn't too shocking. Still, I try to be unthreatening, I try to take relations as fast as they allow ("Waiting is" I grok) -- if I move somewhat near the tank, they won't run, they'll watch me, I wave and such, and keep my distance. No matter what I do though, changing water, feeding, or even going by the tank out the room to get a soda, the fish will all dart back behind a piece of wood they seem to like. To my credit, when I have my soda poured and return, they usually are darting *back* behind the wood -- were I percieved as a true threat I think they'd not be back out so fast. The "dither fish" don't run from me very often, I'm sure that's a plus. Eitherhow, I'd like to be on better terms with my favored fishies, at least to be able to drop food in and not have them run from me and scurry back later; if it's possible to hand feed loaches, what might I be doing wrong regarding removing fear of my person (I'm not after hand-feeding as much as simply not spooking them)? Or will it just take a while, perhaps larger loaches, etc? Just pokin' for any insights you more-experienced folks might have...

Btw, since I didn't write this in anything prior, I'm a Loach-nut (Loach=Clown Loach, yes, I'm "racist" like that - but I wuvvie my Black Kuhli too), I greet ya all, damn fine site, all that rot. Many hugs, and thanks for any assistance on this or anything else, stated or not...

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