You’ve probably heard that clown loaches have the potential to get pretty big. These fish often grow to be 10 inches long in an aquarium setting.
In the wild, clown loaches are known to grow even bigger. The fact that these fish grow large once they reach maturity makes it necessary to buy large aquariums for them.
In fact, you’ll need a 75-gallon aquarium for your clown loaches or something larger. Knowing this, you probably expect your clown loaches to grow pretty fast.
What if some of the clown loaches don’t appear to be growing, though? Is there something that could stunt the growth of clown loaches?
Below, you’ll learn about some things that might be keeping your clown loach from growing. Having a better understanding of this topic should make it easier for you to care for your fish.
1 – The Small Fish Might Not Be Getting Enough Food
The most likely scenario is that the small fish isn’t getting enough food. Clown loaches are usually kept in groups of five to nine in aquarium settings.
These fish like to live in groups and they do best when put in this situation. Sometimes there will be a smaller fish that will have trouble getting what it needs during feeding time, though.
Essentially, the small fish might be getting boxed out by the larger clown loaches. This will prevent it from getting enough food to be able to grow properly.
This is an annoying situation when you want the fish to be able to grow to be a good size. Thankfully, you might be able to solve this issue by giving more attention to the fish.
You can specifically try to feed the small fish food and ensure that it is getting enough food. In extreme cases, it might be easier to separate the small fish and feed it.
Hopefully, everything will be fine and you’ll be able to get the tiny clown loach to start growing again. It just might take a bit of effort.
Of course, there are other things that could be causing this to happen. You’ll want to consider the possibilities below before jumping to conclusions.
2 – Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites could make it so that the fish won’t be able to grow normally. The nutrients that the fish takes in might wind up going to the parasite rather than the fish itself.
Typically, this type of infection is only going to occur when you have issues with water quality. It’d be wise to check the water parameters to see where things are at.
If the water temperature and the pH balance appear to be fine, then perhaps everything is okay. It’s more likely for fish to get infected when the water conditions are poor.
Dirty water can have a negative impact as well. If you aren’t cleaning the tank properly and doing regular water changes, then it can be tough to keep the water clean enough for the fish.
Your fish could easily become stressed, and that stress will make them vulnerable to infections. An intestinal infection can be treated, but you’ll need to get special medication.
If you suspect that your fish has parasites, then talking to an exotic veterinarian will be the most reliable way to confirm your suspicions. They will also be able to ensure that you get the right medicine to solve the problem.
3 – Bullying Issues
Occasionally, bullying issues can cause clown loaches to not get enough food. These fish are popular community tank fish because of how peaceful they are.
Their peaceful nature is going to make them vulnerable to aggressive fish. Some types of large and aggressive fish will bully clown loaches in aquariums.
You might not have done your research when setting up the community fish tank. It’s always best to research the compatibility of all of the fish that you plan to add to the tank.
If you neglected to do so, then you might have put the clown loaches in a tank with fish that will bully them. The clown loaches might feel so threatened that they will hide all the time.
Some fish might not even come out to eat. These fish are the ones that will appear to be smaller than normal.
Solve this issue by separating the clown loaches from the potential bully fish. Moving forward, you’ll want to research compatibility thoroughly before making decisions to add fish to the community aquarium.
4 – Improper Food
Perhaps you aren’t feeding the clown loaches the right food. If you’re feeding the fish food that doesn’t meet their nutritional needs, then it would make sense why they wouldn’t grow.
Clown loaches are omnivores that are generally considered to be easy to feed. They aren’t picky eaters because they will eat most types of fish food.
You do need to ensure that the fish are getting a balanced diet. They need to be fed properly so that they will have the energy to grow.
Examine the foods that you’re giving these fish to see if you’re making mistakes. You might need to adjust what you’re giving them.
Normally, people feed these fish sinking nutritional pellets and algae wafers. They supplement their diet with weekly live feedings as a treat.
You can give the clown loaches pond snails, earthworms, or bloodworms as live food. These fish particularly love chasing down and eating snails.
Think about whether you’re feeding the fish often enough, too. These fish thrive when fed twice per day.
You’re supposed to give them as much food as they can finish in two minutes. Don’t try to feed them too much, but you don’t want to feed them too little either.
Now that you understand why clown loaches might not be growing, it’ll be easier to remedy the situation. It could be as simple as not feeding the fish often enough or not giving them nutritious food.
It’s more likely that the small clown loach is not getting enough food due to having to compete with larger fish. Making more of an effort to feed that individual fish might turn things around.
Intestinal infections have been known to stunt the growth of clown loaches. This is a big problem that you will want to solve as fast as you can.
Keep an eye on your fish and you should be able to determine what is wrong. With enough care, you should be able to help your clown loach to start growing again.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.