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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #336

>I am thinking of adding a few clown loaches to my tank, as a means of
>controlling the unwanted snails, and also because I have become quite
>intrigued by these cute guys (the loaches, not the snails!).  But I have a
>couple of concerns.  Firstly, would they wreak havoc with my plants?  Also,
>I have read so much about their susceptibility to ich (ick?).

Hi Gitte,

I posted a full-blown essay on clowns and plants recently on the APD--I'll
forward a copy to you.  I have large loaches (4-6") which have proven to be
plant harassers.  However, I've found that feeding them at night or bribing
them with zucchini slices and algae wafers seems to distract them from the
plants.  My loaches don't seem to bother Crypt. petchii, anubias, or java
fern.  Others have told me that their clowns also ignore crypts and
anubias, but someone told me their clowns liked java fern.  IME the broad
leaves of an echinodorus and the small leaves of Hygrophila polysperma
appeal to them.  They will devour your snails--someone else will have to
tell you whether they tend to dig out and eat your MTS as well.  You could
also query the loach forum--sorry I don't have the address here. Smaller
clowns may pose less of a threat to the plants while still consuming snails.

As for ich, in five years my loaches have never had it (I have soft acidic
water and do weekly water changes).  So maybe their "susceptibility" is a
water quality issue afterall...?


Carmen C. Robinett
Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-3202
(510) 642-5971