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Posted By: Connie Moore <zayre1@msn.com>
Date: Monday, 21 April 2003, at 11:42 p.m.

I've had four clown loaches for three years, with no problems. I have a 55 gallon tank - also 1 marble angel, 5 bleeding heart tetras, 4 dwarf gouramies (sp?), 2 pictus catfish and 1 Australian rainbow - all of which I've also had for three years. I do regular nitrite and ammonia checks which always test at zero. My Ph is a little high, we have well water and have a pretty good water conditioner. I use an Eheim 2217 filter and a Danner 500 filter.
Last night I noticed the majority of the fish at the top of the tank like they were gasping for air and found a dead bleeding heart tetra. Did a 50% late night water change which seemed to help everyone but again at lunch today, noticed fish at the top, found two more dead bleeding hearts and a pictus cat clearly on its way out. After work I started looking for the pictus cat and found two dead clown loaches wedged in a stump decoration in some state of decay. They were pretty big, about 4 inches long. Did the decay from the dead loaches cause the other fish to die? And what killed the loaches, stuck maybe? The only visible signs I noticed on the other dead fish was that the bleeding heart tetras had some brown coloration along the top of their bodies.
Since I've removed the dead loaches, did another water change, the remaining fish seem fine. Of course, I removed the stump decoration with the two dead loaches, but I have another stump that looks like a mangrove root which the two remaining loaches like to get in. I've always worried about them getting stuck, and even if I decide to remove the decoration, they always dart back in at any movement around the tank. So I'm not sure how to get the decoration out without injuring the loaches. I'm just sick about losing the fish I've had for 3 years, especially the clown loaches. Any help will be greatly appreciated.


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