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Injured betta and unhappy Yoyo loach - Tank harmony shattered


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Hi everyone, I've got a sad and frustrating problem on my hands.

The short story is I had a pair of yoyo loaches in my tropical community tanks for over 4 years, and this tank has been running in perfect balance and harmony for over a year. I have a giant male plakat betta, various platies and guppies, synodontis petricola catfish and a few mismatched species that were combined from old community tanks and their schools not replaced (I'm trying to let them die out naturally) such as chili rasboras, hasbrosas pygmy corydoras, and a salt and pepper cory, and of course now only 1 yoyo loach. You can check out the thread here for context on how I got the 2 yoyos and lost the 1, and you can check out my thread here for context on my dilemma with my remaining yoyo loach. 

Moving on to last night, during feeding I noticed my betta's face seemed swollen, and upon further investigation I discovered that the left side of his face had been injured, with a couple of red open wounds and the scales on that side of his face pineconing. I was shocked and so scared, because this tank has been in perfect harmony and everyone has always gotten along. I treated the tank with Melafix, Fritz Indian Almond Leaf extract, and aquarium salt. I then put my betta in a net near the surface of the water in the tank and that was held in place by the lid overnight. I had treated a bad case of dropsy like this before and forcing the betta to rest in the net worked wonders. I fed him fluval bug bites and he ate normally. He was also acting normally so I am hoping he pulls through. I also wanted to put him in the net to protect him possibly from the culprit. Here are the videos I took of the injuries:

I'm 99% sure that it was my remaining yoyo loach that did it, I can't think of any other fish in there that would. I have barely seen my loach since his counterpart died (he's hiding a lot), and his behavior is now very different. I believe that he is upset at being the only loach now, and has either turned semi-aggressive or was trying to interact with my betta because he is now lonely, and got too enthusiastic and ended up hurting him. I am really worried about my community tank, and have committed myself to this loach and really don't want to get rid of him. The only thing that has changed in this tank is that my other yoyo died and now there is only 1.

I will be moving my betta to a spare 5 gallon if he takes a turn for the worse or is injured further.

Does anyone agree with my hunch that he is upset at being the only loach? Do you think adding more loaches would restore balance? I was really leaning towards dwarf chain loaches because I can get more for the size of my tank, but am also open to 2 more yoyos or 2 zebra loaches. Thank you all for any input. 

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I don’t keep loaches but I had to move my OG blue guppy to a CPD tank for a bit by himself. He sulked and glass surfed and tried to interact and do his mating display for the girl CPDs and tried mating. His size turned it into 1of my little girls getting hurt. I witnessed it so I know it was not outright aggression.  I put 2 girls in with him and he then ignored my CPD as if they were not there. I’m not sure fish feel lonely the way humans feel emotion (I like to think they feel emotion I’m sappy) but at least the instinct to mate and socialize may be what occurred for me.  

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2022 at 10:23 AM, Guppysnail said:

I don’t keep loaches but I had to move my OG blue guppy to a CPD tank for a bit by himself. He sulked and glass surfed and tried to interact and do his mating display for the girl CPDs and tried mating. His size turned it into 1of my little girls getting hurt. I witnessed it so I know it was not outright aggression.  I put 2 girls in with him and he then ignored my CPD as if they were not there. I’m not sure fish feel lonely the way humans feel emotion (I like to think they feel emotion I’m sappy) but at least the instinct to mate and socialize may be what occurred for me.  

Poor guy, I'm glad he's got his ladies again. My pair of loaches lived together for over 4 years and I'm pretty sure the deceased one was male and my remaining one female. They chased each other, swam together and were always together for almost their whole lives. I'm almost positive this change is what is causing this. I only wish I knew for certain that getting more loaches would help, and if other species of loaches would suffice. Wish they could talk to us and tell us, you know? 

Edited by Hannah Parker
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On 5/24/2022 at 10:28 AM, Hannah Parker said:

Poor guy, I'm glad he's got his ladies again. My pair of loaches lived together for over 4 years and I'm pretty sure the deceased one was male and my remaining one female. They chased each other, swam together and were always together for almost their whole lives. I'm almost positive this change is what is causing this. I only wish I knew for certain that getting more loaches would help, and if other species would help. Wish they could talk to us and tell us, you know? 

This is just me and what I would do but I would definitely try and get her a friend. They are social.  I take sulking and hiding more as their way communicating something is making them unhappy. If the only change was her life mate/BFF no longer there it’s a good indication that’s the issue especially if it upset the harmony in the tank.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2022 at 10:32 AM, Guppysnail said:

This is just me and what I would do but I would definitely try and get her a friend. They are social.  I take sulking and hiding more as their way communicating something is making them unhappy. If the only change was her life mate/BFF no longer there it’s a good indication that’s the issue especially if it upset the harmony in the tank.

That's what my gut is telling me. I was going to wait to save up and possibly order some dwarf chain loaches from AquaHuna, but my local Petco has some Golden Zebra Loaches in stock (which is what she was sold to me as). I'm gonna go look at them after work and see if they look like mine did as juveniles. I might only be able to fit 1 or 2 more loaches in this tank, but if I can get the same species I think it might be worth it since she is starting to injure her tankmates. I just want the tank back to normal again

Edited by Hannah Parker
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On 5/24/2022 at 10:37 AM, Hannah Parker said:

That's what my gut is telling me. I was going to wait to save up and possibly order some dwarf chain loaches from AquaHuna, but my local Petco has some Golden Zebra Loaches in stock (which is what she was sold to me as). I'm gonna go look at them after work and see if they look like mine did as juveniles. I might only be able to fit 1 or 2 more loaches in this tank, but if I can get the same species I think it might be worth it since she is starting to injure her tankmates. I just want the tank back to normal again

In this hobby my gut tells me a ton of very useful things. Quarantine you new friends to keep you kids safe. Good luck I hope harmony returns 

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I’m sorry to hear about your betta! I hope he recovers quickly with no lasting issues! 
I’m not saying your loach did it but I have seen them act in unkind ways when stressed. I think adding 2 more loaches will help him be more outgoing and less inclined to look at the other tank inhabitants in general. 
I know you are worried about upsetting the balance of your tank by adding more fish. Currently, how much change occurs to your nitrates between water changes based on your current feeding and stock level? Maybe any increase caused by 2 more fish can be negated by more frequent water changes, if needed.

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend this but taking your betta’s health in consideration, I would get 2 more loaches and then put them and your 1 remaining loach in quarantine together.  It will accomplish a few things at once. First, your betta will be safer if the loach was to blame. Second, the 3 loaches will be put together in a completely neutral environment where no one has the home field advantage that might cause issues. They will be able to bond together and establish their hierarchy without stressing the rest of your established tanks residents. Lastly, it shouldn’t hurt your current loach’s health going through a couple rounds of deworming with the 2 new ones  while they are in QT. 
I’m think this is what I would do if faced with your predicament. Good luck with whatever you end up doing and keep us all posted on how your betta is doing.

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On 5/24/2022 at 8:33 AM, Hannah Parker said:

Hi everyone, I've got a sad and frustrating problem on my hands.

The short story is I had a pair of yoyo loaches in my tropical community tanks for over 4 years, and this tank has been running in perfect balance and harmony for over a year. I have a giant male plakat betta, various platies and guppies, synodontis petricola catfish and a few mismatched species that were combined from old community tanks and their schools not replaced (I'm trying to let them die out naturally) such as chili rasboras, hasbrosas pygmy corydoras, and a salt and pepper cory, and of course now only 1 yoyo loach. You can check out the thread here for context on how I got the 2 yoyos and lost the 1, and you can check out my thread here for context on my dilemma with my remaining yoyo loach. 

Moving on to last night, during feeding I noticed my betta's face seemed swollen, and upon further investigation I discovered that the left side of his face had been injured, with a couple of red open wounds and the scales on that side of his face pineconing. I was shocked and so scared, because this tank has been in perfect harmony and everyone has always gotten along. I treated the tank with Melafix, Fritz Indian Almond Leaf extract, and aquarium salt. I then put my betta in a net near the surface of the water in the tank and that was held in place by the lid overnight. I had treated a bad case of dropsy like this before and forcing the betta to rest in the net worked wonders. I fed him fluval bug bites and he ate normally. He was also acting normally so I am hoping he pulls through. I also wanted to put him in the net to protect him possibly from the culprit. Here are the videos I took of the injuries:

I'm 99% sure that it was my remaining yoyo loach that did it, I can't think of any other fish in there that would. I have barely seen my loach since his counterpart died (he's hiding a lot), and his behavior is now very different. I believe that he is upset at being the only loach now, and has either turned semi-aggressive or was trying to interact with my betta because he is now lonely, and got too enthusiastic and ended up hurting him. I am really worried about my community tank, and have committed myself to this loach and really don't want to get rid of him. The only thing that has changed in this tank is that my other yoyo died and now there is only 1.

I will be moving my betta to a spare 5 gallon if he takes a turn for the worse or is injured further.

Does anyone agree with my hunch that he is upset at being the only loach? Do you think adding more loaches would restore balance? I was really leaning towards dwarf chain loaches because I can get more for the size of my tank, but am also open to 2 more yoyos or 2 zebra loaches. Thank you all for any input. 

I had a yo-yo loach, until he started “playing” with my angels.  Then he found a new home.  
 

from what I’ve gleaned, they like safety in numbers.  But they also like picking on other fish.

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On 5/24/2022 at 2:10 PM, Lots Of Loaches said:

I’m sorry to hear about your betta! I hope he recovers quickly with no lasting issues! 
I’m not saying your loach did it but I have seen them act in unkind ways when stressed. I think adding 2 more loaches will help him be more outgoing and less inclined to look at the other tank inhabitants in general. 
I know you are worried about upsetting the balance of your tank by adding more fish. Currently, how much change occurs to your nitrates between water changes based on your current feeding and stock level? Maybe any increase caused by 2 more fish can be negated by more frequent water changes, if needed.

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend this but taking your betta’s health in consideration, I would get 2 more loaches and then put them and your 1 remaining loach in quarantine together.  It will accomplish a few things at once. First, your betta will be safer if the loach was to blame. Second, the 3 loaches will be put together in a completely neutral environment where no one has the home field advantage that might cause issues. They will be able to bond together and establish their hierarchy without stressing the rest of your established tanks residents. Lastly, it shouldn’t hurt your current loach’s health going through a couple rounds of deworming with the 2 new ones  while they are in QT. 
I’m think this is what I would do if faced with your predicament. Good luck with whatever you end up doing and keep us all posted on how your betta is doing.

It usually goes from 40ppm to 10ppm, I do weekly water changes. I've always been able to keep it heavily stocked because I fed less, which hopefully I can get back to. This is a fantastic suggestion and it makes so much sense. I plan on picking up 2 more loaches tonight at petco. Would they all do okay in a heated 5 gal with decor and a sponge filter? I would love to be extra safe with these additions, but the 5gal isn't up and running all the time and probably isn't cycled. This has never been an issue for me because the last quarantine I had to do was my betta and I keep it for separation emergencies, but I didn't know how loaches would do in an uncycled tank. I would be dosing daily with prime of course, but I don't want to make them sick by putting them in there. 

On 5/24/2022 at 2:11 PM, Ken Burke said:

I had a yo-yo loach, until he started “playing” with my angels.  Then he found a new home.  
 

from what I’ve gleaned, they like safety in numbers.  But they also like picking on other fish.

She was definitely a lot happier when she had her counterpart. She has never injured anyone before in over 4 years, so I'm hoping I can get her temperament back to normal 💔 

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They should be fine in the 5 gallon during QT. Can you add some caves and maybe some items from your cycled tank (plastic plants or rocks)? This will help with cycling the 5 gallon as well as providing hiding spots for the loaches. Watch your water in the QT tank (water changes as needed) and everything should go fine. I really hope this works for you. Having loaches in your tank is one of my greatest enjoyments as they are so funny and do a great job cleaning up all the uneaten food. Best of luck and keep us posted on how thing go.

 

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On 5/25/2022 at 1:13 AM, Lots Of Loaches said:

They should be fine in the 5 gallon during QT. Can you add some caves and maybe some items from your cycled tank (plastic plants or rocks)? This will help with cycling the 5 gallon as well as providing hiding spots for the loaches. Watch your water in the QT tank (water changes as needed) and everything should go fine. I really hope this works for you. Having loaches in your tank is one of my greatest enjoyments as they are so funny and do a great job cleaning up all the uneaten food. Best of luck and keep us posted on how thing go.

 

I can and did add plenty of decor for them 🙂 they are the tiniest babies! My adult loach was immediately interested ❤️ 

However, this morning before work I noticed my betta took a turn for the worse. On the biggest wound the scales are falling off, his face is still swollen and he is hiding constantly, and didn't come out to eat last night. It's risky, but the baby loaches seem healthy and I only have 1 spare tank so I will be putting all the loaches back in the tank and moving the betta to the 5gal for individual attention and treatment. I'm picking up some indian almond leaves at my LFS after work and then getting to work. Because it's wounds and not disease, I'm considering just treating the 5gal with boiled almond leaf extract, salt, having the temp at 84 (the community tank is usually 80-82) and daily water changes and monitoring. Does anyone recommend I add medication as well, or would that be too hard on him and not worth it? I'm also going to feed him strictly frozen brine shrimp if he will eat it for me; if not, his usual pellets. 

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On 5/25/2022 at 9:11 AM, Hannah Parker said:

Does anyone recommend I add medication as well, or would that be too hard on him and not worth it?

A bit of Stress Coat could help. Perhaps some aquarium salt at level 1 and monitor progress.  

I think your net idea was clever. Instant breeding or emergency isolating area at no cost. 🙂 

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On 5/25/2022 at 9:31 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

A bit of Stress Coat could help. Perhaps some aquarium salt at level 1 and monitor progress.  

I think your net idea was clever. Instant breeding or emergency isolating area at no cost. 🙂 

I can't believe I forgot about Stress Coat, thank you I will definitely pick that up too. And thank you! It worked wonders with my female betta with dropsy in the past, but it seems to have stressed this one out. I'm hoping the 5gal to himself will help him to be calm and heal. 

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On 5/25/2022 at 9:45 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

I think he will like that.  And try to keep the light off as much as you can so he can rest.

When I turned the tank light on this morning he freaked out and bolted for cover, which is very unusual for him, so I won't have a light on the 5gal at all. Dimness and isolation should help him a lot, and hopefully he will get back to normal and be able to keep up with the liveliness of the community tank again! 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2022 at 9:48 AM, Hannah Parker said:

I won't have a light on the 5gal at all

I use one of those touch lights for my quarantine tank.  It was $5 and it looks like a hockey puck. It's pretty dim, but allows me to see what the situation is, and the fish don't seem to notice it when shining it from above. ( If I hold it against the side of the tank it will spook them. ) I only use it when I would like to check symptoms and monitor what is going on. This is the one I have. I don't attach it to anything, I just hold it and move it around where I need to see.

Edited by Chick-In-Of-TheSea
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On 5/25/2022 at 9:55 AM, Chick-In-Of-TheSea said:

I use one of those touch lights for my quarantine tank.  It was $5 and it looks like a hockey puck. It's pretty dim, but allows me to see what the situation is, and the fish don't seem to notice it when shining it from above. ( If I hold it against the side of the tank it will spook them. ) I only use it when I would like to check symptoms and monitor what is going on. This is the one I have. I don't attach it to anything, I just hold it and move it around where I need to see.

Awesome, thank you so much! 

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Here is a picture I was able to snag of one of the new 3 babies. They are barely an inch! 

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And here is the adult loach out of hiding and colored up 🙂 I am definitely seeing her more. I don't think they are swimming together or hanging out a ton yet because the babies are just so small, but I hope as they get bigger and older they will start to interact more! I think seeing them and being in their presence is helping a little at least for now.

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Here is the 5gal quarantine tank I put my betta in. Lots of almond leaf extract, and I used Seachem Stress Guard. He really enjoyed all the resting places, but is still hiding a ton and reluctantly ate only 2 frozen bloodworms for me last night. He isn't out of the woods yet at all 💔 

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Posted (edited)

Darn, the pictures didn't come through, but it sounds like everyone is on the right track and doing well. Yay!

I'm glad the betta ate something. That's a good sign. It's like when we get sick and we start to feel a little better and eat light foods like crackers and toast.  🙂

Edited by Chick-In-Of-TheSea
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On 5/31/2022 at 8:23 PM, Bev C said:

 I am so sorry of your loss of your fish baby hopefully the loaches will bond and hopefully you will have a peaceful tank again 

I am so sorry about your betta.

I have a few betas and have heard good and bad things about mela and beta fox. I have heard it messes with their Labyrinth organ to breath and others say no and use it.

I bought it and never used it and returned it after researching and opted for antibiotics instead.

I have an injured betta as we speak bc he’s going blind and banged his self up. I’ve been doing kanaplex in his food.

im sorry for your boy. Have a good day

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On 6/1/2022 at 6:34 AM, JessLynne7 said:

I have a few betas and have heard good and bad things about mela and beta fox. I have heard it messes with their Labyrinth organ to breath and others say no and use it.

I have heard that melafix is hard on them. I only dosed the tank initially and didn't treat it for the whole 7 days as the instructions say, I think it can give them a little boost but is hard on them (you can even tell by how strong it smells). I think Seachem Stress Guard, aquarium salt and boiled IAL extract was the best treatment. 

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