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Schistura trouble (troubled Schistura?)

Posted By: markinvan <markmark@telus.net>
Date: Tuesday, 15 July 2003, at 8:11 p.m.

Hello again fish weirdos:
Here's a little story about my unknown Schistura sp.'s. They're sold as "tiger sand loaches" from my lfs, but I think we've got S. mahnerti, judging from the pics on this site alone. Anyway, I got my 20g set up and settled in nicely with some White Clouds, Danios, Oto's, etc... and eventually added my clown loaches. The White Clouds were taken out and added to one 10g to cycle it, and the Zebra Danios were moved to cycle another 10g at a later date.
Hope you're following this. Once nicely planted, cycled and thriving, I added a pair of (let's assume the ARE S. mahnerti) Schisturas to the first 10g. One was clearly the dominant loach, and chased simply everyone around the tank. Most distressing was the fact that the slightly smaller sand loach would eventually give up and lodge himself between the thermometer and the tank wall, just to avoid the other nasty loach. Then the White Clouds' tails started getting shorter - actual bite marks and missing tissue!
For the mental health of the weaker loach (and my own!) we returned him to the lfs - who were quite gracious about it, but they all said they've never heard of an aggressive Schistura. (They have clearly not been to L.O.L.)
Regardless, in the next days I watched the "alpha-male" loach settle in, and began to wonder if the White Clouds hadn't been nipping each other.
Weeks later, with the second 10g cycled and a comfy home for the zebra danios, I added a second pair of Schistura, somewhat determined to make them all settle in together.
Yesterday I noticed that my biggest, fattest zebra is now sporting a very scarred tail. And I have seen the larger of the loaches hassling the danios repeatedly. In this case, he is not being cruel to the other, much smaller Schistura, who largely hangs out on leaf tops and seems quite happy.
Moral of the story - the little buggers are FREQUENTLY aggressive, probably with territorial issues about being in a relatively small tank. And now, consumed as I am with the determination to fulfill the needs of my loaches at the cost of all other fish, if the danios can't keep out of his way, they'll have to get bitten.
Are all the schistura species as rotten to other fish?
My ultimate goal is to one day create a river tank and move all three Schisturas into it. Does this experience jive with your Schistura observations?
Hiya, Chief. Let's chat - why not?
M in V.


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