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Common Clown Loach Diseases and Illnesses

Common Clown Loach Diseases and Illnesses

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Keeping clown loaches in your fish tank will be very satisfying. These are overall very pretty fish, and taking care of them won’t be too rough even if you’re a beginner.

That doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong, though. There are many different types of diseases and illnesses that can impact your clown loaches.

Keep reading to learn about the different clown loach diseases and illnesses that you need to know about. This will ensure that you’re ready to help your fish if they start showing signs of being sick.

It might also help you to avoid encountering problems with disease and illness. For the sake of your fish, it’s best to have the most knowledge that you can.

Gill Flukes

Sometimes clown loaches might have to deal with gill flukes. This shouldn’t be a common issue, but it is a problem to be aware of.

There are actually different types of flukes that impact different parts of the fish. Gill flukes are parasites that attack the gills and skin flukes more often go after the body of the fish.

One of the biggest problems with this condition is that it can be difficult to see the flukes. Even veterinarians generally have to take a sample and do a biopsy to diagnose this condition.

Flukes thrive in fish tanks that have less than optimal water conditions. Overcrowded aquariums can make the water dirty due to too much fish poop being present.

You might notice the fish scratching themselves against plants or rocks in the tank. They might have gills that appear to be swollen as well.

The fish could even have a cloudy appearance due to excessive mucus production. At this point, you’re going to want to treat the fish soon.

To treat this issue, you can buy medicated tablets to drop into the aquarium. These tablets are gentle, but they should be able to take care of the flukes with ease.

Sometimes fish with gill flukes or skin flukes will get secondary infections. You might have to treat the infection after getting rid of the flukes.


Snakeskin Barb With Ich or White Spot Disease
Snakeskin Barb With Ich or White Spot Disease

Ich is one of the most common types of diseases that clown loaches will need to worry about. You might have heard about clown loaches being referred to as “scaleless” fish.

This isn’t technically correct since clown loaches possess tiny scales embedded in their skin. Since they don’t have normal scales, they’re going to be more susceptible to getting ich.

Ich is a condition that causes fish to have white spots appear all over their bodies. Sometimes the white spots will also get on the gills.

Technically, ich is a parasitic disease. An external parasite causes the white spots to appear on the fish.

You’ll want to look out for signs of ich so that you can treat the fish. Small white spots on the body will be the most obvious sign, but you’ll also want to look out for fish trying to rub against objects in the tank.

Fish sometimes do this when they have ich in an effort to remove the parasites or to provide themselves with relief. Fish with ich might become lethargic and have trouble breathing as well.

Generally, ich occurs in fish when they’re kept in poor water conditions. You should be able to prevent this from happening by monitoring the water parameters, keeping the fish tank clean, and doing regular water changes.

If your fish gets sick, you’ll want to place them in a quarantine tank and give them medicine. An exotic veterinarian can recommend appropriate medication.

You’ll likely be giving the fish some type of antibiotic treatment. If all goes well, then your clown loaches should make a full recovery.

Fin Rot

Fin rot is something that can happen to clown loaches. It’s more of a symptom than an actual standalone disease, but it can be hugely problematic.

A fish might get a bacterial infection that will cause rot. First, you might notice that the edges of the fin will become discolored.

Eventually, pieces of the fin will begin to rot, and parts of the fin might even wind up falling off. It’s hard to notice the symptoms until the condition has advanced and caused true rot.

This issue is most often caused by poor water quality. If you’re monitoring water parameters and keeping the tank clean, then it’s unlikely that your clown loaches will have to deal with fin rot.

If your fish do encounter these issues, then you can treat the fish using antibiotic medications. A vet should be able to get you the right antibiotics to treat your fish.

Waiting too long to treat the fish might result in the fish dying. You want to treat fin rot as soon as you notice the issue.

Velvet Disease

Emperor Angelfish With Gold Velvet Disease
Emperor Angelfish With Gold Velvet Disease

Velvet disease is another common disease, but this one has the potential to kill every fish in your aquarium. Sometimes this disease is referred to as rust disease.

It’s caused by a parasite and there are many potential symptoms. Fish with velvet disease might appear to be lethargic and they will stop eating.

You’ll likely notice that the fish are losing weight if they have velvet disease. The breathing of the fish will be difficult and you’ll be able to see the fish gasping sometimes.

There will be parasites on the body of the fish. Your fish will try to rub up against objects to dislodge the parasites, but this will be to no avail.

There will also be a fine rust-colored or yellow film on the fish. When the disease advances, the skin might start peeling off of the fish.

This condition needs to be treated immediately if you want your clown loaches to survive. Treatment will involve raising the water temperature and lowering the lights for several days.

You’re supposed to add aquarium salt to the fish tank and then go through with a 10-day copper sulfate treatment schedule. This can help the fish to get back to normal and survive this very serious condition.

Raising the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit can interrupt the life cycle of the parasites that cause velvet disease. If you catch things fast enough, your clown loaches will live.

Skinny Disease

Skinny disease is also known as knifeback in some circles. It’s a condition that will cause fish to lose a lot of weight.

Clown loaches commonly get this disease. It’s caused by an intestinal parasite known as spironucleus. When fish get skinny disease, they often don’t show any signs that something is wrong.

Your clown loaches might act perfectly normal, but they’ll wind up losing a lot of weight. If this is happening, then there’s a good chance that the fish has skinny disease.

Thankfully, this condition is very treatable. You’ll be able to get your fish back to normal by giving it medication.

Medications such as Spirohexol, Sterazin, and Flagyl have been known to work to treat this disease. You might want to consult with an exotic veterinarian to get what you need to help your fish.

Why Is My Clown Loach Swimming Upside Down?

Clown Loach Swimming Vertical

If you notice that your clown loach is swimming upside down, then you’re going to be worried. This doesn’t seem like normal behavior, but it actually can be.

Clown loaches often act strange and do funny things. Many clown loach enthusiasts have noted that their fish sometimes swim sideways or upside down.

Therefore, it’s possible that seeing your fish upside down is normal. It probably shouldn’t be doing this all the time, though.

Does the clown loach appear to be able to get around normally? Does it swim in a normal orientation more often than not?

If so, then the clown loach might be just fine. However, there is a chance that something could be wrong.

Swim bladder infections can keep fish from being able to get around normally. The swim bladder is an organ that helps fish to control buoyancy and get around.

You might need to treat the infection so that the fish can get back to normal. Another possibility is that the swim bladder could have been injured in some way.

Not acclimating fish to the tank will cause them to act funny as well. If your clown loaches are new, then you might not have taken the time to drip acclimate them.

If you’re worried about swim bladder issues, then you should monitor the fish. Seek the advice of an exotic veterinarian if you need help.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned about many of the most common diseases and illnesses that clown loaches have to deal with. Now that you know more, you should be able to have an easier time treating your fish.

Some of these conditions have the potential to kill clown loaches. Others are not quite so problematic.

Regardless, you need to try to prevent diseases from happening. Usually, you’re able to protect the fish by keeping the water parameters in check and cleaning the fish tank.

Do your best to feed your fish well, too. Fish that aren’t eating as well might be more susceptible to getting sick.

Any source of stress can cause fish to develop compromised immune systems. Keep your fish happy and safe so that they will be less likely to get sick.

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june ann allart

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

I have a clown loach that is a bout 10 years old which suddenly appears to have got a swim bladder problem, I have no other tank to seperate him, is there any medication that will help him. thanks.