Clown loach substrate?

Backfromthedead

Redtail Catfish
Original poster
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Jul 12, 2017
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I'd like to hear experiences, testimonials, recommendations on a preferred substrate in a clown loach tank.

Reason i ask is im planning a tank build that will most likely be my loaches final upgrade and wanted a shove in the right direction. I want to make it a bare bottom, maybe with a panel of stone or slate covering the bottom. I've seen them do well in many types of tanks but would like to know if bare bottom would be an issue.

I currently have 8 loaches ranging from 2-4" in a somewhat planted tank with floramax substrate, which they seem to enjoy.

20190809_223157.jpg
 

RD.

Crazy Canuck
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May 9, 2007
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Over the years I have had loaches in sand, gravel, and partial bare bottom. IMO as long as the bottom is smooth, as in no sharp edges that could injure their barbels, the loaches won't care one way or the other.
 

Uglyknob

Exodon
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Aug 17, 2019
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I have no 1st hand experience with full-sized clown loaches, but there is an LFS about an hour from here that has two large tanks dedicated to massive Clowns. One is gravel and one is bare-bottom. Both tanks had bigger Clowns than I've ever seen in person, from 8" up to a foot or more. They were all super happy and hilarious. There was one, named Linus, that had a stick he would carry around. He would set it down and wait for another fish to approach, and then grab it and take off.

I will say that the clowns I have had and do have, love sand. The edges of the sand against the glass always have little divets from where they've come along and rooted around in it. However, the larger ones I saw were far less active... well, less spastic maybe. You could always do a fine/soft substrate until they get much bigger (which will take years) and then switch it out later. You'll get sick of looking at it one way anyway.
 
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RD.

Crazy Canuck
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The largest clown loaches that I have ever seen in person, a trio approx. 14" or more, were grown out with a Chili Red Asian aro, in a bare bottom tank of a LFS that is now closed down. The owner got them wild caught, imported at 10", and had owned them for 15 yrs before he sold them. I used to supply his store, wish I had taken pics back then.
 

Backfromthedead

Redtail Catfish
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Jul 12, 2017
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The largest clown loaches that I have ever seen in person, a trio approx. 14" or more, were grown out with a Chili Red Asian aro, in a bare bottom tank of a LFS that is now closed down. The owner got them wild caught, imported at 10", and had owned them for 15 yrs before he sold them. I used to supply his store, wish I had taken pics back then.
I have all faith that my walmart loaches will rival them.
 

Backfromthedead

Redtail Catfish
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Jul 12, 2017
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Fredericksburg va
Hey loachkeepers another quick question for youse:

Its well known that CL like lots of flow. But should i be trying to create a laminar, one direction flow or a random sort of turbulence like in a reef tank? Im setting up these loaches new tank and wondering where or if i should drill, use of powerheads, etc...
 

esoxlucius

Redtail Catfish
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Dec 30, 2015
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In my 180 I have two sources of flow. One at the surface facing diagonally down from my return pump, and another underwater from a powerhead. The flow from both is from left to right as you look at the tank, so all my flow in the tank is from left to right.

My clowns like to face the current from both the powerhead and my return. They wriggle around in the current for a few seconds at a time before resting in the calm water again.

So i'd say they certainly like the single flow, which when you think about it would mimic the slow flowing rivers where they live in the wild.

Heavy multi directional flow, as per reef type, I can't really comment on that.
 

Backfromthedead

Redtail Catfish
Original poster
MFK Member
Jul 12, 2017
2,104
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Fredericksburg va
In my 180 I have two sources of flow. One at the surface facing diagonally down from my return pump, and another underwater from a powerhead. The flow from both is from left to right as you look at the tank, so all my flow in the tank is from left to right.

My clowns like to face the current from both the powerhead and my return. They wriggle around in the current for a few seconds at a time before resting in the calm water again.

So i'd say they certainly like the single flow, which when you think about it would mimic the slow flowing rivers where they live in the wild.

Heavy multi directional flow, as per reef type, I can't really comment on that.
Yes ive noticed mine dipping and dodging in the stream of my powerhead as well.

Is your drain on the right side of your tank then? My current decision is to either drill and sump the tank with overflow on the right side panel and returns on left side panel. Or leaving it undrilled, using air powered sponges on the right and powerheads on the left
 
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