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Re: Clown Loaches Fighting

> Hello, I have three clown loaches in an 87 gal heavily planted tank and
 > was peacefull until today.

> Now two of the loaches are fighting or mating (don't know which).  Fins
> the black colour is more greyish (used to be dark black), they swim side
> side making clicking noises, occasion fighting with them locking mouths
> together.
> The third keeps out of the way.

> Anyone have ideas what's happening?

> Thanks
> Peter.


I got my first clown when I was 8 years old and he/she's still going strong
some 23 years later.  I picked up 4 more over the years and I've never lost
one yet, I'm starting to think they're immortal!  Anyway, I've seen the
behaviour you describe many times and I think its more to do with disputes
over the group's internal pecking order than spawning.  It seems to be at
its peak while the fish are young and still growing quickly, when you
rearrange the tank decor,  or whenever you introduce a new fish to the
group.  I also see an outbreak of it after a water change sometimes, I cant
really account for this, maybe it is spawning related too, see below.

I read an article a few years ago from a guy who managed to spawn them here
in the UK and you might be surprised to hear what your loveable little
clowns get up to when they're feeling frisky.  The guy was keeping 6 or so
large clowns in a tank together with some smaller fish, I think they were
giant danios. During a hot spell he returned to his tank to find theclowns
had turned predator and scoffed his school of danios alive!  The clowns were
very active but were refusing their normal food so he offered them some
frozen whitebait - they were in such a frenzy they snatched it from his
fingers dolphin style.  He disconnected his tank from his centralized filter
system (he must have had an idea what was going on) and fed the clowns
heavily on fish until they fattened up (a period of a few days I think),
during which time nitrates went off the measurable scale.  He then
reconnected the tank to the filtration system and fed the fresh water into
the tank through a shower head to simulate rain.  He awoke the following
morning to find golden eggs stuck to the glass and pipework in the tank.
The eggs were moved to a rearing tank where they hatched and were
successfully reared and sold (I'm sure he said he ended up with a few
hundred young).

His rationale was that he simulated the period before the rainy season where
water quality deteriorates and the clowns pig out on the resulting
casualties.  He then simulated the onset of the rains with the intoduction
of high quality water through the showerhead.  The initial trigger seems to
have been the rising of his tank temperature outside its usual range
together with the availabilty of those tasty danios.

If I could only keep one species of fish it would be clowns, I dont think
anything else touches them for character.   Good luck with yours.


I'd better mention plants. In my experience clowns DEFINITELY DO EAT PLANTS.
However, mine tend to leave tough varieties like java fern and feathery
varieties like cabomba well alone.  I've found they'll especially go to town
on any plants which aren't doing well and probably finish them off.  Big
clowns are also quite destructive in terms of digging up as yet unrooted
cuttings  and disturbing established plants by charging through them.  But
big clowns are also the best snail eaters in the business - only the very
biggest MTS can survive the jaws of a 7" plus fish - it makes me wince when
I hear that C-R-A-C-K from downstairs in the middle of the night :)