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Update on moving horsefaced loaches

Posted By: Mark in Vancouver <markmark@telus.net>
Date: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, at 11:31 p.m.

After Shari's encouraging words, I went back for another try. My partition was in place and I removed all the decor and plants from one side and started digging about. After about ten minutes, I decided to repeat this on the other side.

Exact same thing: I could not find either loach.

The partition idea is not worthy of further research!

I did eventually corner one of the loaches, but by then the water was so cloudy, I couldn't see what I was doing. Three or four times I disturbed him and caused him to do his sudden flash movement - not once into the net, of course.

Suffice to say that the two loaches are still in that tank. I am working on ideas for a kind of trap for them that can be lifted out and placed into the other tank. I feel it will be less stressful for all parties.

But very interesting...
As the sediment in the water settled over about three hours, it formed very long filaments from the surfaces of the replaced plants and decor - very long, sinuey filaments that floated with the current. I've never seen this before, but the only thing I can imagine is that the distressed horsefaced loaches shed their slime coats during the hunt. It was like a slimey mucous substance that caught particles of the sediment. The whole thing dissolved after another few hours. Now it all looks clean as a whistle again.

It seems quite possible to me that these loaches would need very thick quantities of slime coat to steer about in the gravel/sand. It may be that they leave something of a slug's trail that, once disturbed, would cause this sort of phenomenon.

The pair has relaxed again now, and their noses can sometimes be seen above the substrate.

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