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How to make a tank better for a hillstream loach

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Beastije

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So, my attempts at keeping hillstream loaches (sewellia lineolata) failed. I waited three months after a quick setup and made a lot of algae growth before adding my first batch of 5 hillstreams. I lost two in 5 months, simply stopped seeing them, never found bodies. Bought two more in June, lost one visibly - found a body.
I played in the tank, did some moss rearranges, uprooted some plants that had root tabs under them (which could have been the cause for some deaths, we had other keepers here losing sewellia once they messed in a fertilized substrate). Since then I only have one. No bodies, no nothing, I did a full rearrange and found zero evidence, not even a bone.
Either I failed in the food provision or the oxygenation requirement. Most of the year the tank sits at 21C. The filter, atman 201 sponge filter, is at 75% flow capacity, creating heavy flow. During summer I had 25-25C for few weeks, during which I pointed the filter output at the surface to provide better agitation.

Options I have now: exchange my atman for eheim 2213 extrnal filter for more flow and maybe more oxygenation. Buy an airpump and aircurtain/airstone. Obtain some pipes and hide them on the right side of the tank, maybe a shrimp pipe tower of some sorts. Try a different loach species than sewellia lineolata. Try a different species of fish.

Tank parameters - 110x40x45cm, pH 7, soft water. 7x garra flavatra (panda garra), 35x white cloud minnow, one remaining female sewellia loach. Multiple caves, nooks, hidey holes, including whole back of the tank which is covered in 15 cm large moss wall. Regarding the food I feed mostly frozen, bbs, cyclops, daphnia, bloodworms no more than once a week, mosquito larvae, live bbs, microworms. Fluval bugbites, dennerle shrimp king. I have algae pellets and recently bought repashy super green. I also will provide a vegetable once a week like zuchinni, pea, green beans,...

Thank you for any advice. I love the loaches, but dont want to risk them in case they wont pan out again. It is not fair to them. When I had the loaches they would mostly sit on the front of the glass, next to the garras, on some stones, grazing. Mostly not hiding at all, very outgoing. Not one of them spent any time on or near the filter or its output either.
 

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Are you sure they died and aren't just hiding under the pile of rocks

Are the panda garras fighting with them at night
Normally it's best to only have 1 species of loach per tank. Having 2 species that inhabit the same area could be causing issues after dark.

Is there an air pump to create bubbles in the tank
If not, perhaps get an air pump, air line and an airstone just to make sure there is plenty of oxygen. I doubt it's a problem due to the tank size and fish size but it might be something to look at.

I would remove most of the rocks in the middle so you can see everything in the tank and so there is nowhere for gunk to hide.

If a fish dies in that tank, it could rot under the rocks or be eaten by the other fish.
 
The tank has been running for 11 months, quick cycled with other tank gunk and the sponge, plants from other tanks, mixed substrate. I waited a month before adding minnows, two more months before adding sewellia.
There is no chance that the hillstream are hiding, i checked the tank few times during the night and nothing. Garras are not aggressive and hillstream are their recommended tank mates on many sites though. During the night they don't even sleep in the stones but sort of everywhere. I use a gravel vac to suck the gunk between the stones to prevent buildup.
Initial idea was that the stones would create hidey holes for sewellia fry and the gunk would be food course. Ofcourse this is unlikely now.

The filter has no airstones or airhose, it has the option to add but only on max flow and it is super noisy. Will consider it in the summer next year if i decide to add sewellia.

At this point i think i will be happy with the stocking. I am going to reach capacity soon, i am breeding the minnows in other tank, from my first attempt i have four fry, now i have nine that will join the parents in a month and i want to try to breed the normal colored ones cause i have few males that have stunning orange fins. I have 40 minnows including the new fry so not going to be adding anything else.
I will consider lowering the middle pile, as no sewellia, no babies, no use now
 
The tank has been running for 11 months, quick cycled with other tank gunk and the sponge, plants from other tanks, mixed substrate. I waited a month before adding minnows, two more months before adding sewellia.
There is no chance that the hillstream are hiding, i checked the tank few times during the night and nothing. Garras are not aggressive and hillstream are their recommended tank mates on many sites though. During the night they don't even sleep in the stones but sort of everywhere. I use a gravel vac to suck the gunk between the stones to prevent buildup.
Initial idea was that the stones would create hidey holes for sewellia fry and the gunk would be food course. Ofcourse this is unlikely now.

The filter has no airstones or airhose, it has the option to add but only on max flow and it is super noisy. Will consider it in the summer next year if i decide to add sewellia.

At this point i think i will be happy with the stocking. I am going to reach capacity soon, i am breeding the minnows in other tank, from my first attempt i have four fry, now i have nine that will join the parents in a month and i want to try to breed the normal colored ones cause i have few males that have stunning orange fins. I have 40 minnows including the new fry so not going to be adding anything else.
I will consider lowering the middle pile, as no sewellia, no babies, no use now
Do you by chance have photos of the loaches, were the loaches showing any strange behaviour before the deaths ?
 
I bought an airstone, just in case, and two more sewellia lineolata. The one I have remaining is a female, the two new one seem like males. They are not hiding since being added on sunday, which I consider a good sign.
I fed unmade repashy ( powder to the tank directly) today and all three are very active, scouting whatever particles, so hoping all is going to be well

How often do you feed sewellia directly? I have algae ofcourse, but I will supplement.
 

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I've had a couple going on 3 years...they eat whatever leftovers from zebra plecos
tds 100 pH 7.05
Temp 26-29 Celsius
Only bought the 2
I've had them on tap before the zebras at around 300-450 tds and 7.3 pH temp around 26
As I've had them both in hard and soft water
The only main difference from my tank to yours is temperature as I've never had them under 26c ever
So a heater would be helpful in your case
 

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