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Defective Clown Loach?

Posted By: Sandra <s_linkletter@mindspring.com>
Date: Monday, 6 January 2003, at 8:25 p.m.

I have five clown loaches that I bought in mid-to-late November. I put them into a 135-gallon tank with a very severe infestation of MTS. After about one month I noticed that one of them did not seem to have picked up the skill of eating snails and appeared to be starving to death. It was swimming in a haphazard way, mostly near the surface, and although it examined MTS snails and even some red ramhorns egg cases, it did not appear to be eating anything. I moved this one into isolation and treated it with Hex-A-Mit just to be sure that it did not have any internal infections or parasites. During the five days of treatment I attended to it six times daily. I determined that it would eat crushed snails or frozen bloodworm, but nothing else. It showed no interest in a live snail, no matter how tiny, once it had mouthed it over once. It appeared to be defecating normally. When the treatment was complete I put it into a 50-gallon tank along with the smallest of the remaining four from the large tank. I thought that it might learn how to eat snails from the shell by watching its fellow. At this time the two were roughly the same length and height but the sickly one was noticebly less broad. In this tank there are plentiful red ramhorns snails of all sizes, and I have been feeding them frozen bloodworms once a day.

Today I observed that the healthy loach was grabbing the food away from the sickly one every time it picked up a worm. The sickly one still has not put on any wieght, although the healthy one has visibly grown in the vertical direction. The stomach on the sickly one does bulge, but the rest of the body is still sunken in. In comparison with its healthy fellow it reminds me of a withered limb on a person, when compared to the healthy limb. In the meantime the three that remained in the larger tank have been growing steadily, and the two largest have progressed to flakes as well as MTS snails and frozen brine shrimp. I've removed the healthy one in the 50-gallon tank back to the large tank, on the assumption that it is hindering rather than helping, but I wonder if there is any chance of success. When the sickly loach eats, it acts as if it is too exhausted to move again for a while after it has swallowed the food. Can this possibly be something curable, or is this loach a doomed defective?


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