Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

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THQ created the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Hi all, I have tried to ignore it, but I have an inexplicable and irresistible attraction to owning clown loaches. I want to have a minimum school (5) in my 6x2x2 oscar tank that I am prepping. I just love them so much, almost as much as oscars. I have run the numbers, and my filtration and stocking can cope with them (oscar/sev/heckelii/eb acara/red forest jewel + CLs).

I have done as much research I can, and it appears as long as the CLs are big enough, they are compatible with oscars.

Now, I understand that CLs grow extremely slowly compared to oscars, even slower when they are cramped, although that shouldn't be a problem in my tank. My question is, the biggest ones for sale at my LFS are roughly 4" from tip to tail end. If I buy them first, then a baby 2" oscar after, for them to grow up together, will it be ok? My understanding is that once the CLs hit 6", even fully grown oscars seem to stop considering them as potential meals and just ignore them. What are people's experiences? Will my CLs grow fast enough to not be a meal or will my baby oscar overtake them so hard that he will go from half their size to 2-3x and eat them?

Also, I have read that CLs need pristine water (whatever that means...), which may not be possible with large messy SA cichlids. But even on loach forums they tend to disagree what level of pristinity(?) is mandatory to reduce stunting (apparently they secrete a growth-inhibiting hormone in less than ideal conditions, which may end up being their downfall... death by oscar). eg., crystal clear? water with nitrates < 5? < 10? < 20? < 40?

Thank you.
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OFL replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Yes, you are correct, CL require very clean water. Clown Loach are not bred in captivity, the come from the wild so will not be able to tolerate poor water conditions. They also come from the other side of the world from Oscars. A lot of diehard fish keepers would tell you that you shouldn't keep fish that come from different parts of the world together. In most circumstances I would agree. However, what you have going for you and this case is that both Oscars and clown Loach prefer a low pH. I kept clown Loach with several Oscars for nearly 10 years and didn't encounter any problems. However, it's vitally important that you keep them in groups. Do not keep one or two Loach on their own because they won't like it. Also, try and find ones that have grown a little bit. Small ones could become food. You may find it quite difficult to find large clown notes, they are quite rare. If you do go for small ones them be aware that they are experts at hiding. I have some fake wood in my tank and they managed to squeeze into a tiny hole inside the wood. Even when I took everything out looking for them, they stayed inside and seen perfectly okay.

Clown Loach are delightful fish, some of the best I've ever kept. But you must keep your water in very good condition at all times or you will lose them.

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Rocksor replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Spend the money and get 6"+ clown loaches. If you get the small ones, even with 4" ones, chances are high that the oscar will try to eat them within a year, and the occular spike under its eye will cause it to get stuck in the oscar's throat.

Any nitrate above 20ppm is already to high for most captive bred fish.
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OFL replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Large clown loach are fairly rare and when you do find them expect to pay a premium price. The other thing you should know about these fish as they can live for a very very long time, much longer than Oscars. They are fairly slow-growing fish so that's why it's not a good idea to buy them as babies.

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THQ replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Rocksor wrote: Spend the money and get 6"+ clown loaches. If you get the small ones, even with 4" ones, chances are high that the oscar will try to eat them within a year, and the occular spike under its eye will cause it to get stuck in the oscar's throat.

Any nitrate above 20ppm is already to high for most captive bred fish.



It's not that I don't want to spend the money. It's that I literally can't find any clown loaches for sale in Australia larger than 4", after visiting all the LFS in my city as well as looking online. If I buy baby 2" oscar, how big will it grow within a year under ideal conditions? 8"? I have heard anything up to 1" a month but surely that is not sustained growth month after month? I would predict 4" CL will add 1-2" in that same time. I can delay the oscar buy a few extra months to give the CLs an even bigger head start.

Yeah, I will aim to have nitrates < 20 ppm.
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THQ replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

Thanks for your advice OFL as always. Yes, everything you have said agrees with what I have read. If I get CLs I will get 5 of them.
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Rocksor replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

THQ wrote:

Rocksor wrote: Spend the money and get 6"+ clown loaches. If you get the small ones, even with 4" ones, chances are high that the oscar will try to eat them within a year, and the occular spike under its eye will cause it to get stuck in the oscar's throat.

Any nitrate above 20ppm is already to high for most captive bred fish.



It's not that I don't want to spend the money. It's that I literally can't find any clown loaches for sale in Australia larger than 4", after visiting all the LFS in my city as well as looking online. If I buy baby 2" oscar, how big will it grow within a year under ideal conditions? 8"? I have heard anything up to 1" a month but surely that is not sustained growth month after month? I would predict 4" CL will add 1-2" in that same time. I can delay the oscar buy a few extra months to give the CLs an even bigger head start.

Yeah, I will aim to have nitrates < 20 ppm.


After one year the oscar will be 7-10". I have had a 4" TL oscar eat a 2" TL rosy barb. Grow the CL out for one year before buying the 2" oscar. Just remember that if the oscar decides to bother the loaches, the occular spike from the CLs can cause some damage to an oscar.
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THQ replied the topic: Minimum size clown loaches to start with in baby oscar tank?

OK, that is good advice. Looks like patience is a virtue.
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