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Can you mix Hillstream Variaties?


Blaha
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On 10/24/2021 at 12:42 PM, Flumpweesel said:

I might be wrong so the more informed may be correcting me later but I think they are just different names for the same fish 

Hillstream loach, butterfly loach, Hong Kong pleco,  are some of the names I've seen over the years. 

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure there are different species with the same body type and many are very similar size, but some differences in markings.  Some have spots, some very fine lines, some have more squiggly lines (I know, very scientific), some broader lines, etc.  As far as I know, they should be all right together, but hopefully someone with more knowledge/experience with the species will chime in for you, @Blaha.


Wow!  Just googled (Hello, rabbit!) and there are 202 species according to wikipedia!  17 genera listed from a couple families on wiki, 32 genera listed on planetcatfish.com (no mention there of a number on the total species since many are apparently as yet undescribed).  Planetcatfish.com is an excellent source of information on nearly any species of catfish for anyone interested, by the way.

Most live in well oxygenated water and many have the modified ventral fins for clinging to rocks in fast flowing water.  The species that live in the most highly oxygenated waters have changes in their hemoglobin structures that makes it better at releasing oxygen into the cells.  But this won’t work in a low oxygen environment because this structure means it doesn’t pick up oxygen as well so these species MUST be in a higher oxygen content - faster moving, more agitation/turbulence.

The article on planetcatfish.com had a couple pics of mixed species but did mention some minor, non-harmful, territorial stuff between males of the same species.

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On 10/25/2021 at 5:26 AM, Blaha said:

Thank you all. 
I'll have to check out that Planetcatfish because sometimes googling a rather specific question can be a struggle.
This is good to hear because I love them, and I have a lot of algae right now. I'm adjusting my lighting to try and fix that a little but there is more than a feast for 3 of them.

The article does talk about deliberately growing algae on pebbles outdoors and trading them out intermittently so there are always pebbles covered with algae for the loaches.  They even suggest using very high light levels to grow more algae since they are a high light species.  So don’t make your tank too clean!  😉 😃 

The article even includes a diagram on how to make a current for them using PVC pipe, prefilters, and powerheads.  Let me see if I can link it.  They also make a point of mentioning using a lower tank temp, too, with no heat needed except that added by the large power heads.

Interesting, I found the article at www.loaches.com this time instead of planetcatfish.com but it’s definitely the same article and I think it must have been a link on planetcatfish.com because it’s formatted a bit better on loaches.com.

https://www.loaches.com/articles/hillstream-loaches-the-specialists-at-life-in-the-fast-lane

Edited by Odd Duck
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I specifically want more loaches because my tank is going nuts with green diatome an hair algae. It's just everywhere. It started about 10 days ago and was slow at first but in the past few days it's daily cleaning of the glass and grabbing out hair with tweezers.
My plants are also booming right now which is cool, but yeah. I haven't really had any algae grow in a tank for a few years, and I was nervous to even get the first loach because I wasn't sure I could figure out how to get enough for it.
I did change from t-5 to a fluval about a month ago and I think that is a factor. I've been slowly dropping light but don't want to go too low for the sake of my plants. 
Everything else is fine. Good Kh, hard-ish Gh
~7.0ph, 0 Ammonia, chlorine, nitrites
50-100 nitrates. This isn't great and a struggle, but that alone can't cause this, right?
I do have a powerhead but it almost seemed too powerful so I turned it off. Could low flow contribute to a bloom? My tetras didn't seem to like the flow that much, they got skittish
Thank you for the article. I will be giving this a good reading because I love loaches

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Higher flow can help limit algae, but won’t eliminate it.  High nitrates can certainly encourage algae.  I would do some bigger water changes to get that down to less than 40. I would also recommend using the powerhead again.  You might need to baffle it a little in that size tank, but sometimes just aiming it at the front glass at an angle might be enough, so give that a try.

Algae blooms can be aggravating but usually work themselves out as you figure out the best balance in the tank.  We’ve all been there, done that.  Keep pushing through, you’ll get there.

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On 10/27/2021 at 3:30 PM, Blaha said:

I do have a powerhead but it almost seemed too powerful so I turned it off. Could low flow contribute to a bloom?

Yes, every time my pump is approaching the 6 month mark and needs cleaning, the hair algae comes back with a vengeance. 

It's a learning curve, and each tank offers us new lessons. 

The hillstream loaches are generally happiest in water that is a bit cooler than tetras appreciate. Plus, they love more flow than the tetras appreciate. 

If you go slow, and find another shoaling fish that appreciates hillstream parameters (provided you have enough space, forgive me for not scrolling all the way back), the tetras may get less skittish and can probably acclimate to the lower temps if you go slow enough. 

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Harlequin rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha AKA Rasboras heteromorpha) are tolerant of fairly cool temps and are known to like a current (as long as they have an area of quieter water available.  While not a tetra, they have similar behavior and body type, nice color, very harmless, and would likely be a good dither fish for hillstreams.

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Rasboras are cool but I don't have an LFS within an hour. just pet supplies plus and pet smart. I've never seen rasboras at the chains. I was amazed to see some zebra danios the other day.
As far as that goes though Idk what to do. I only have the one tank so I can't do much about replacing the tetras or moving them. The water is hard no matter what.
The tetras were the first thing readded after redoing my tank because I changed everything I knew. New lights, filtration, food, 1st planted tank, everything. I was nervous on how well it was set up so I didn't want to get something crazy and kill it. When it worked I added the Kuhli and hillstream loaches and Corys. It's an ever evolving system. Like now the green algae is becoming brown algae but generally reducing, and the hair is calming down and manageable again

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On 10/31/2021 at 12:08 PM, Blaha said:

Rasboras are cool but I don't have an LFS within an hour. just pet supplies plus and pet smart. I've never seen rasboras at the chains. I was amazed to see some zebra danios the other day.
As far as that goes though Idk what to do. I only have the one tank so I can't do much about replacing the tetras or moving them. The water is hard no matter what.
The tetras were the first thing readded after redoing my tank because I changed everything I knew. New lights, filtration, food, 1st planted tank, everything. I was nervous on how well it was set up so I didn't want to get something crazy and kill it. When it worked I added the Kuhli and hillstream loaches and Corys. It's an ever evolving system. Like now the green algae is becoming brown algae but generally reducing, and the hair is calming down and manageable again

My zebra danios only get a heater when I am breeding or growing out fry (76° - 78° F, can't do the Celsius math atm). By 16 weeks of age, they are down to 72° F, and by 6 months they are room temp (68° to 72°).

As long as you let them float from the box store, and the temps aren't too far off, the zebra danios should work. 

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