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How To Treat Skinny Disease In A Clown Loach Quickly!

The clown loach has proven to be a big hit within the fish keeping community over the last couple of years. The popularity of clown loaches constantly increases year on year to a level where they are one of the more commonly kept species within the hobby today.

Thankfully, clown loaches are a relatively hardy fish species that are generally easy to care for and beginner friendly while also having a low price tag and beautiful colors making them an excellent fish to keep.

Unfortunately though, in some cases, your clown loach can get skinny disease causing the fish to lose a ton of weight over a very short time frame often resulting in the clown loach unfortunately dying.

Due to this, we have seen more and more people reaching out to ask about skinny disease in clown loaches due to there being such a lack of information out there.

With skinny disease being such a niche problem that only tends to affect clown loaches, we wanted to publish this article to help as many of our readers as possible who may be having this problem.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skinny Disease In Clown Loaches?

As the name suggests, skinny disease in clown loaches is a condition that causes your clown loach to lose a large amount of weight over a short period of time.

In some cases, skinny disease can happen so quickly that you may not even realize that anything is wrong until it is too late and your clown loach has already passed away.

You really do only have a short timeframe to begin treatment due to the way that the internal parasite that causes skinny disease in clown loaches acts.

Thankfully though, once you begin a suitable treatment for skinny disease in your clown loach, you will commonly find that the parasites are halted in their progress and your clown loach has a decent chance of survival.

If your clown loach does not receive treatment for the condition soon enough then the chances of the fish surviving skinny disease are slim to none and in some cases, you have to start the treatment for the illness within days of the fish getting it to have a good chance of the fish making a recovery.

Is Skinny Disease Normal In Clown Loaches?

In short, no, skinny disease is not something that you should expect to see in your clown loach and if your clown loach does show skinny disease symptoms then there is a big chance that the fish will not make a recovery without treatment.

The parasites that cause skinny disease can easily be added to an aquarium with clown loaches in by accident due to skinny disease being so specific to the clown loach species.

This means that you may have multiple aquarium tanks with different species of fish that are all free from issue.

You then choose to move a plant, rock or decoration from one tank with one species of fish in to another tank that has your clown loaches in and accidentally move the parasite that causes skinny disease at the same time.

What Causes Skinny Disease In Clown Loaches?

We know that skinny disease is definitely caused by internal parasites and/or bacteria but the specific internal parasite that causes the problem is often debated. Most people agree that it is either spironucleus, cryptocaryon irritans or nematodes but few people can agree on the exact one.

In our opinion, it is better to just think of all three parasites being able to cause skinny disease in your clown loach rather than arguing over the specific parasite that causes it.

Thankfully, all three of these parasites all respond very well to the same anti-parasite treatments so in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter what one of the three parasites cause skinny disease in clown loaches as the treatment is the same for all three.

How Is Skinny Disease Treated in Clown Loaches?

There are a number of treatments that can work when treating skinny disease in clown loaches but you really do have to start the treatment as soon as possible to offer your fish the highest survival chance possible.

The four more effective cures for skinny disease in a clown loach are:-

  • API General Cure.
  • Metronidazole.
  • PraziPro.
  • Levamisole.

We will now be taking a more in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of the treatments to help you choose the best option for you.

API General Cure.

Until a couple of years ago, API General Cure would not have been included in this list due to most people having problems with skinny disease in their clown loach thinking that they would need a specialist treatment for the condition.

Thankfully though, people started to test it around 2020 and quickly found out that it is actually the best treatment on the market when looking to treat skinny disease in a clown loach.

Although you still need to start your treatment cycle as soon as possible, API General Cure does seem to be better at halting the progress of the internal parasites in your clown loach and helping the fish recover quickly.

Simply follow the standard dosing instructions on the label for your tank size and use as required.


Another decent treatment for skinny disease in clown loaches is PraziPro but this one can be hit or miss with around a 50% success rate for skinny disease.

If you are looking to use PraziPro then you really do need to start the treatment as soon as possible as the easier you start your treatment cycle, the higher the chances of survival are for your clown loach.

Still, even with a 50/50 success rate, we would still say that PraziPro is the second best treatment out there for skinny disease in a clown loach.


A number of people on social media who have had issues with skinny disease in their clown loach swear by using a Metronidazole based treatment for their fish and this can definitely help.

The issue with a Metronidazole treatment is that it is only effective against the cryptocaryon irritans bacteria that is only one of the suspected causes of skinny disease in a clown loach.

We have seen some people within the community theorize that skinny disease may actually be due to an internal parasite and bacterial infection at the same time and there is some logic in this due to how quickly it can develop.

This could be why so many people report that they have had success with Metronidazole when treating their clown loach with skinny disease. Ideally though, we would recommend either of the two treatments above over Metronidazole.


Levamisole used to be the go to treatment for skinny disease in a clown loach around ten years back but it only has a very low success rate of around 20-30% so we would always recommend either of the first two treatments over levamisole.

Back when levamisole was commonly recommended, the fish keeping community didn’t know any better and due to skinny disease being such a rare and niche problem, the majority of the developments since then are based on guess work rather than science.

Still, levamisole can help with skinny disease in some cases but it definitely does have a low success rate and there are better treatment options out there for most people.