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The loach is a fish that is often found in aquariums. It is a nice, useful animal with a very distinctive character and interesting herd behavior. If you want to find out about the types of loaches, where the loaches occur naturally, with which fish they “get along” best, and what aquarium conditions should be provided for them – read the text below.
Magnificent loach occurrence
In nature, loaches are found mainly in Asia and the Middle East. Depending on the species, they inhabit the areas of Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Pakistan. Loaches are particularly good at reservoirs with a lot of silt at the bottom, where visibility is somewhat limited.
Characteristics of loaches
Loons are quite easy to recognize. They have an elongated body, a large head and a mouth with four pairs of whiskers. There are spikes under the loaf’s skin, under its eyes, which become visible when the fish feels threatened.
The most famous loaf is the orange-white or orange-red loaf with three black stripes. Other types are gray or yellowish in color and have spots instead of stripes. Fish sometimes grow up to 40 cm, although those kept in aquariums are usually much smaller. The appearance and size of the loaches will vary depending on the species.
Sexual dimorphism of loaches
The distinction between females and males is not an easy task as the differences between the sexes are not very pronounced. Typically females are rounder and larger than males. Some people point out that males have a characteristic caudal fin, rounded along the outer edges and indented – but this is an unsubstantiated assumption.
The disposition and behavior of loaf fish
Loaches are group fish. They feel best in groups of fish of the same species, but they will also find themselves in the company of other creatures.
Some say loaches tend to be aggressive. However, this is not entirely true. Indeed, these fish are dominant, but their behavior is not malicious or hostile. Nevertheless, it is worth bearing in mind that in the loaf group there are quite frequent fights for position in the hierarchy. The female is usually the leader of the herd, usually the largest one.
Loaches are nocturnal fish and also stick to the bottom. After a certain time spent in the aquarium, however, they should also be active during the day.
Interesting facts about loaches
Interesting species behavior is the so-called loaf dance – during feeding or after water change, the fish become restless and swim all over the tank without stopping.
They show quite strong emotions also in another way, namely by making specific “clicking” sounds. They are probably formed by rubbing the throat teeth. It happens that the fish spend them when the hierarchy in the herd changes.
Quite characteristic and peculiar behavior of loaches is the way they sleep – on their side or on their backs. People who do not know about this fact are frightening to see the fish, because the fish then seem to be dead. However, keep in mind that this is normal loaf behavior and should not be alarmed at.
Loaf – types
As we have already mentioned, the most famous loach is the magnificent loaf, which is often kept in aquariums, also in Poland. In addition, there are such types of loaches as:
- Indochina loaches;
- dwarf loaf;
- tiger loaf (aquarium tiger fish);
- Kubotai loaf;
- Siamese loaf;
- brindle stork;
- reticulated loaf;
- gray loaf – modesta.
Loaf – fish feeding
A specific diet is associated with bots – loaches are eager to eat snails. Many people buy them with the idea of getting the mollusks out of the aquarium. However, snails are not the only food of these fish. In nature, loaches eat both animal and vegetable food. At home, they can be fed:
- good quality pellets for fish;
- shredded vegetables (e.g. zucchini);
Food for these fish can be fresh or frozen.
Magnificent loaches – breeding and breeding fish
In the wild, the loach moves upstream or into smaller tributaries to spawn. This usually happens in late September or early October.
However, reproduction of most species of loaches in captivity is almost impossible. In a small tank, fish cannot migrate. Moreover, it is difficult to distinguish male and female from each other – if you buy two fish, you can never be sure that they will be of different sex.
Most of the loaches purchased for aquariums are harvested.
Great loaf – price
The price of loaches depends on the type you choose. The cost of the great loaf, the most popular variety, is about PLN 15 per fish. Of course, if you want to have a healthy animal that will live in the aquarium for a long time, you should carefully look for a place that cares for fish and breeding conditions.
An aquarium for loaches
Conditions for loaches – tank size, pH and water temperature
The length of the aquarium wall for a flock of loaches should be from 120 to 200 cm. Also, make sure that the pH of the water is between 6 and 8 and the temperature is 25–26 ° C. It is also worth taking care of the concentration of nitrates in the water, because loaches are extremely sensitive to them.
Lighting, filtration and substrate of loaches aquarium
Loaches are demersal fish. This should be borne in mind especially when choosing a substrate for the aquarium. Too sharp stones or gravel can injure the loaf’s body. It is also good to remember about hiding places where the fish can hide. For example, coconut shells, roots or stone pits are used.
Although loaches mostly swim near the bottom, the lighting in their aquarium should not be too bright. Excessively bright light can possibly be diffused by plants. However, proper filtration is more important – an efficient filter with a pump and its regular cleaning will be necessary for the well-being of the loaches.
The loach is magnificent – what kind of fish can it live with?
Usually, it is recommended that loaches live in large herds, but in a group of five or ten individuals they should feel comfortable. Some varieties of loaches can be very dominant, although not aggressive. It is worth keeping this in mind, especially when introducing fish of other species into the tank. Equally strong, dominant creatures will be the right choice. For example, discus fish are recommended. If you care about loaches that will be more peaceful, it is worth choosing the wonderful loaches, which are the mildest variety of this species.
Loons are graceful creatures that will surely be a wonderful decoration of your home. However, remember to carefully check how to care for this species of fish and what behaviors are characteristic for them before buying.