We are huge fans of the clown loach and it’s great to see that the popularity of the species is slowly starting to increase again with more and more fish keepers adding clown loaches to their aquariums.
Although clown loaches are easy going, beginner friendly fish for the most part, we have noticed a number of people reaching out with a range of different questions about their clown loach being sick recently.
Due to this, we have decided to publish this article going over the most common reasons that your clown loach may be sick to try and help you work out what the problem may be.
Thankfully, the majority of these problems are usually very easy to fix in most situations and we would expect the majority of our readers to be able to quickly, easily, and cheaply correct the problem with their clown loach to get it back to full health very quickly.
Why Your Clown Loach Is Sick!
Here is our list of the most common reasons why your clown loach is sick:-
- The Ammonia Cycle!
- Poor Water Parameters!
- Your Tank Size!
- Stress And Anxiety!
- Infection In The Fish!
- Aggressive Tank Mates!
- Poor Food Choices!
- A Lack Of Oxygen!
- A Rapid Change Of Water Parameters!
- A Lack Of Cleaning!
- Disease In The Fish!
- Natural Causes!
Many people’s aquarium setups may have a number of these problems in them rather than just one.
It can be common for people to try and investigate a single specific issue with their fish only to end up realizing that they have wasted time on treating a secondary issue so try to make sure that you treat all potential problems in your clown loach.
The Ammonia Cycle!
One of the most common issues that can cause your clown loach to become sick is when people are starting up a new aquarium and they do not fully understand the ammonia cycle.
The ammonia cycle is an essential process in all fish tanks which helps to keep your fish healthy by filtering out dangerous toxins from the water.
If you do not allow your aquarium to go through the full ammonia cycle then your clown loach will become sick and may even die.
Infection In The Fish!
Another common reason that your clown loach may be sick is due to an infection in the fish.
Infections in clown loaches are most commonly caused by bacteria or parasites which can enter the fish through open wounds or through their gills.
If you think that your clown loach may have an infection then you should look for symptoms such as cloudy eyes, redness in the fins or body, frayed fins, lethargy, or a loss of appetite.
Cheap treatments such as Melafix and Pimafix can often treat many of these issues in fish but ich infections can be a little more tricky but our article going over treating ich in clown loaches will be able to help with that.
Disease In The Fish!
There are some relatively common diseases that clown loaches are susceptible to that can make the fish be sick.
One of the more common, clown loach specific ones is skinny disease that can be a pain to deal with and as the name suggests, causes your clown loach to lose lots of weight quickly.
We have a dedicated article going over treating skinny disease in a clown loach though that should be helpful to you.
Poor Water Parameters!
Another common reason that your clown loach may be sick is due to poor water parameters in your aquarium.
Water parameters are the key chemical and physical properties of your aquarium water which need to be kept within a certain range in order to ensure the health of your fish.
The most important water parameters for clown loaches are pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
If any of these parameters are outside of the ideal range for clown loaches then it is likely that your fish will become sick.
Your Tank Size!
The tank size that you keep your clown loaches in is also very important for their health.
Clown loaches are a schooling fish which means that they need to be kept in groups of at least 3 fish in order to feel comfortable and safe.
If you do not have enough clown loaches in your aquarium then it is likely that they will become stressed and anxious which can lead to them becoming sick.
This can commonly result in people accidentally keeping their clown loaches in tanks that are far too small for them due to much of the tank size advice out there being for one single clown loach.
If you are keeping three in your tank then you should be looking to keep a tank that is at least 55 gallons but most people would recommend a 75 gallon tank minimum.
Stress And Anxiety!
As we mentioned above, stress and anxiety are two of the most common reasons that clown loaches become sick.
Clown loaches are very sensitive fish and they can easily become stressed by a number of different factors such as poor water quality, aggression from tank mates, or a lack of hiding places in the aquarium.
When clown loaches become stressed they release a hormone known as cortisol into their bloodstream which suppresses their immune system and makes them much more likely to become sick.
Another common reason that clown loaches become sick is due to a bad diet.
Clown loaches are omnivorous which means that they need a diet that consists of both meaty and plant-based foods.
A lot of the commercially available fish food out there is very high in protein which can lead to health problems in clown loaches if they are not getting enough plant-based foods in their diet.
A good diet for clown loaches should consist of around 50% plant-based foods and 50% meaty foods such as earthworms, brine shrimp, or bloodworms but with clown loaches being able to forage lots of plant-based foods from their tank, you may have to tweak this in the food that you supply them.
Aggressive Tank Mates!
Clown loaches are a very peaceful fish but they can often become the target of aggression from other fish in the aquarium.
This is usually due to their relatively slow swimming speed and their small size which makes them an easy target for larger and more aggressive fish.
If your clown loaches are being bullied by other fish in the aquarium then it is likely that they will become stressed and anxious which can lead to them becoming sick.
It is important to choose tank mates for clown loaches carefully and to avoid any fish that are known to be aggressive or territorial.
A Lack Of Oxygen!
Another common reason that clown loaches become sick is due to a lack of oxygen in the water.
Clown loaches are a very active fish and they need a lot of oxygen in the water in order to stay healthy.
If the levels of dissolved oxygen in your aquarium are low then it is likely that your clown loaches will become stressed and anxious which can lead to them becoming sick.
It is important to make sure that your aquarium has good levels of dissolved oxygen by using an air pump and stone diffuser or by simply ensuring that there is a strong water flow in the aquarium.
Live plants can be an excellent way to improve the amount of oxygen in your aquarium’s water too.
A Rapid Change Of Water Parameters!
Another common reason that clown loaches become sick is due to a rapid change of water parameters.
Clown loaches are very sensitive to changes in water quality and they can easily become stressed if the levels of ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in the water rise too high.
It is important to make sure that you do regular, partial water changes and to test the water regularly to make sure that the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all within safe limits.
If you do need to make a large change to your aquarium’s water then it is important to do it slowly over the course of a few days in order to give your clown loaches time to adjust.