Which live food/s would be best for kuhlii loaches?

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rebe

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Hi all,
I've been feeding live foods a lot lately, since I've been having a surprising amount of success in growing/raising them.

Background information on my live foods
Moina macropa and Lumbriculus variegatus (blackworm). I have a plastic tub (maybe ten litres, not sure) with a thin layer of substrate, a small amount of floating plants and an airstone wrapped in a sponge, which is slowly bubbling away. Every couple of days, I mix some pure spiralina powder into the water, and add either some cooked zucchini or dried fishfood. Both species are absolutely thriving in the tub, which is pretty shocking to me, as I never do anything other than add food and take out some of the live foods. The two live foods probably make up around 40% of my fishes' diet, and that's across three tanks.
280L: 9 hengeli rasboras, 19 rosy tetras, 1 bolivian ram cichlid
105L QT: 12 beckfordi pencilfish, 11 black kuhlii loaches,
54L: male betta fish

So I'm pretty impressed with how it's been working. That's live foods for 53 fish, and the maintence cost (food) is easily under €1 per week.

I've been quarantining my loaches and pencilfish for just over a week now, and I don't think they get much if any of the live foods. The moina swim throughout the water column so I don't think the loaches catch any of those. The blackworms if left on the bottom will bury themselves in the substrate with their tails in the air. At any slight disturbance they'll retract into the substrate and hide. The other non-bottom dwelling fish can hunt them just fine, but the loaches can't really hover above the substrate to catch them and they snuffle around for food, which would make any blackworms bury themselves.

So my question is, long story long, what kind of live foods would my kuhliis be able to consistently have? I'm looking for something that will stay on or near the substrate, without being able to hide in the substrate the way my blackworms do. Maybe there isn't a perfect solution but it would be great if there was!

Thanks for taking the time to read all that, any suggestions or experiences would be appreciated 😊
 
So, I figured the best way to answer this question would be to try to find out what they eat in the wild. There are surprisingly very few studies that look into this. The best I got was "insect larvae". I did find a few other papers that talk about similar freshwater loaches (all of the genus Cobitis) with similar ecology and behavior to kuhlis. One mentioned copepods and water fleas, but a couple others bolstered the insect larvae assertion, mentioning caddisfly and midge larvae. The copepods and water fleas would be straightforward, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to culture the insect larvae...
 
So, I figured the best way to answer this question would be to try to find out what they eat in the wild. There are surprisingly very few studies that look into this. The best I got was "insect larvae". I did find a few other papers..
Thank you for looking into that for me! A great idea on how to figure it out too (what they eat in the wild). I think insect larvae would be tricky to culture if I had to look after adult insects, especially if they had wings.
I think my moina are similar to water fleas, I can try feeding some of those at night when the pencil fish aren't as active. The loaches have no chance for moina during the day, the pencilfish are too good at hunting the moina.
Unless anybody else can think of something, I'll probably have to stick to frozen foods for them along with adding moina in the hopes of a few getting to the loaches.
Thanks @Seisage :)
 
Thank you for looking into that for me! A great idea on how to figure it out too (what they eat in the wild). I think insect larvae would be tricky to culture if I had to look after adult insects, especially if they had wings.
I think my moina are similar to water fleas, I can try feeding some of those at night when the pencil fish aren't as active. The loaches have no chance for moina during the day, the pencilfish are too good at hunting the moina.
Unless anybody else can think of something, I'll probably have to stick to frozen foods for them along with adding moina in the hopes of a few getting to the loaches.
Thanks @Seisage :)
I think the frozen foods will be just fine, but nocturnal feedings in general will definitely be the way to go. You can feed out some of the moina/daphnia in the evening after lights out on the tank once the kuhlis have come out, and try to observe any potential feeding behavior. If you have a turkey baster or syringe, you could try putting the daphnia right above the substrate. That might give the kuhlis a better chance of getting them. Otherwise, if you want to try something else, I'm thinking copepods could work. They do swim in the water column, but they also crawl around on surfaces, and could be more accessible to the kuhlis because of that.
 
I think the frozen foods will be just fine, but nocturnal feedings in general will definitely be the way to go.
That's good to hear. I have frozen bloodworm at the moment, nearly finished and I plan to get a variety of frozen foods this time.
When my cycled tanks are empty, significant seed shrimp colonies grow, they'd be perfect for the loaches but I think I'd need a pretty big tank dedicated to culturing them for it to be worth doing.

My loaches are actually really active during the day, especially when feeding. They'll all be out and going crazy, snuffling around for the food. I was surprised at how active they are, as I've heard that kuhlii loaches are very shy during the day.
 

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