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by Jeff Shafer last modified Jul 12, 2007 08:34 PM

Articles on caring for Loaches, such as feeding, tank decor and other tips.

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Loaches and live food

Posted by Gareth Davies at Jul 02, 2007 08:06 AM
I have been trialing a few new additions for a few weeks now with various live foodstuffs.
I have found that snails both garden and aquatic are an amazing food to make my loaches go absolutley mad! I pick the small garden snails that have not been near any soil that has been treated for anything to add nutrients to the soil. I drop only 2 small snails in the water, (less than 1cm Diam.) and then watch the fights, squabbles and comedy that ensues.
My loach community consists of 2 Yo-yo's Larger is about 10cm who is the alpha loach, a smaller of 8cm, Golden zebra 8cm, and a new addition Clown, who is growing VERY fast at 8cm. I have a kuhli But rarely see him.
When I first dropped one snail in, It caught the Clowns eye straight away, with it swimming straight for it and caught hold of it, cracked the top off the shell and within seconds sucked the snail up and retreated to the 'hide' to eat it. I left the shell in the tank becaus from time to time the clown 'plays' with it!
When I dropped the second snail, All 4 loaches were out and about. The alpha loach would approach it, flick along side it and swim away, then Would just watch it, all the other loaches would not approach the snail, Eventually when the Zebra approached it, the alpha charged at the zebra, picked up the snail via its head and began swimming around the tank voilently tapping the snail on the rocks, glass, filter as if to remove it from its shell, the comical thing was that the 3 other loaches would follow behind in chase, Clicking away.
I find that after the situation has calmed down and there is just the shell left, Remove the shell when you can. Just in case.

I breed my own mosquito larva,
Just an old plastic tank in the back garden, with the net inside, Every so often, I swish the net and get a few larva in it, and just transfer them to the main tank. I reduce the water flow as they are easily sucked in. The fish have leanrnt that a reduced water flow means Dinner Time! After washing the net through the tank to release the larva, you can just watch them feed, but its vital that you fish out the unwanted larva, Or you will have a few 'skeeters around the room, I found that my shubunkin and fighter fish dislike larva but love the young 'skeeters. But its best to fish out the larva thats uneaten.
To 'grow' the larva, just leave a small tank outside (about 20 litres) and let it fill with rain water, throw an algae tablet in for good measure, put a few leaves on top and pretty soon as in a week, your first larvae will appear, leave a net in the water as the larvae have a tendency to drop to the bottom of the tank when disturbed.

Good luck and If anyone else has any live food help let me know!