susceptible to ich, but are hard to treat
because of the fact that their scale-less
bodies are vulnerable to any medications.
If that is the case, how should the ich be
treated in this species?
In my experience, clown loaches
don’t get ich any easier than
other fish species, it just seems
like that is the case because it is
so difficult to treat it with them. If your tank
becomes infected with ich (and, of course, you
want to prevent that by careful quarantine of
any new fish or plants), it is best to transfer
the other fish to a hospital tank, where they
can have the ich treated with medications. In
the meantime, slowly raise the temperature
in the tank with the loaches until it stands at
95°F. This is truly a high temperature, so you
should supply the tank with lots of aeration
during the treatment time.
To make life even a little more difficult for
the ich parasites, add a teaspoon of rock salt
or sea salt for each gallon of water capacity
of the tank. Maintain the temperature at the
high rate for about two weeks. The fish should
be clear of all parasites by that time. As you
begin to lower the water temperature, this is
a good time to make partial changes of water.
Although clown loaches can tolerate salt in
the water, it is not an optimum condition
for them, so the partial changes will begin
restoring the water back to normal.
Naturally, you want to make sure that the
water is back to normal before returning
the fish to the original tank. But also be
certain that all of them have been clear
of the ich infestation for well over a week.
You don’t want to have to go through all of
I have two Corydoras catfish
with a pregnant sailfin molly
in a heavily planted 20-gallon tank. Will the
catfish eat the babies? Do adult Corydoras
eat baby guppies?
Generally speaking, Corydoras
catfish tend to root along the
bottom, and I have never heard
of them eating baby guppies
or mollies. I’d hate to make any guarantees
in that respect, though. Nevertheless, I think
that the babies would be in more danger from
their mother than from the catfish; however,
your heavily planted tank will help give them
safety even in that respect.
I have an oscar, approximately
5 inches in length, in a 20-
gallon tank. I just acquired a
75-gallon tank, which I seeded with gravel
from my 20 to get the beneficial bacteria
going. Now I would like to get another
oscar to have a pair, as I would really like to
breed them. How should I do that?
Actually, you would be way
ahead of the game to get six
juvenile oscars for your new
tank and let them pair up
naturally. One reason for that is that oscars
are a cichlid species in which it is difficult to
differentiate the sexes. So the first problem is
deciding the sex of the one you have. You can
actually determine the sex by netting the fish
and holding it upside down in the wet net. In
the vent area, the male spawning tube is more
pointed and points toward the rear, while the
female spawning tube is thicker and points
straight down. This sounds easy, but it takes
a little practice to make the distinction, and,
of course, the fish won’t like being netted out
and being held upside down!
Next, you have to determine the sex of a
potential partner. That is pretty much the same
deal, and not all fish store clerks or owners
know how to do this procedure—or they may
be unwilling, even if they do. Finally, there is
the problem of the fish getting along. I would
suggest that you place the smallest fish in the
tank first. After placing in the second fish,
put some food in the tank so that the animals
will at least feed together and be somewhat
distracted from any hostilities.
The fact is that your fish is still a juvenile
at 5 inches. For that reason, it may be
perfectly happy with its companion and then,
later on, hostilities could break out as the fish
begin to mature.
I should also point out that a 75-gallon
tank is just barely large enough for a pair of
full-grown oscars. Good filtration and lots
of partial water changing will be required to
keep the fish in good shape and good health.
I’m not trying to be discouraging here, but I
wanted you to understand some of the pitfalls
you may encounter on your route to becoming
an oscar breeder.
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