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Hillstream Loaches in a 10 gallon


Rosie
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Hello! For months I’ve been watching youtube videos on Hillstream Loaches in relation to Nano fish tanks. So I have a ten gallon tank and thought that would be great for one or two with Betta and CPDs. I’ve been reading now that a 20 gallon is the smallest tank for these loaches. Does anyone have experience with them in 10 gallon or even 5 gallon tanks? 

Thanks!!

Rosie

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Hi! Generally it is not their size that is the limiting factor in their tank size it is the environment they need. These loaches come from swift moving streams, thus their body shape. A 20 long is considered the smallest to allow for strong currents created by a powerhead or fan. 

 

They require high oxygen saturation and lower temperatures, They do extremely well in tanks with white cloud minnows and no heater. 

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I have 3 in my 20gal L. So far I've had them for 5 months, and they've been very hardy and fun. I have a heavily planted tank with moderate current flow and they seem to have no issues. You should be fine with that setup.

The only thing I would worry about is territory. I heard this species was only semi-aggressive towards each other,  and I have seen that firsthand. In the first month I had them, the largest of the 3 was definitely VERY aggressive towards the other two. It would chase them to the ends of the tank non-stop. The smallest one was constantly being chased. I was worried, but I let it play out. By the 2nd month, they all mellowed. The largest one will still assert it's dominance, but it no longer chases them at top speed. More like a lazy, "C'mon bro, get outta here" lol.

For your tank, try to establish two or three 'landmarks' or territories in case one of your loaches is dominant. That might be hard in your 10g, but I would recommend it. Maybe flat rocks on both ends of the tank separated by a plant? That way both have a rock formation to themselves. 

Good luck! Hillstream loaches have quickly become one of my favorite fish that I have kept. They're so active and have personality.

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Thank you Jayci for the encouragement. 

They arrived yesterday and were active and even engaged with each other is a non aggressive way. My Betta checked them out following them around but not being aggressive - no flaring. So all seems well.

I haven’t seen them yet this morning. I do have lots of plants, and my substrate is made up of speckled gravel, so hopefully they are doing fine getting acclimated!!

Thank you again Jayci!

Sending you blessings,
Rosie

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The biggest thing I would worry about with them in a betta tank is temps and preferred conditions.  They prefer cooler, more oxygen rich moving water compared to a betta.  Bettas prefer slower moving warm water, and can tolerate lower oxygen levels because of their labyrinth organ. 

During the big freeze in Texas, my 20 wide got rather cold (~50 F), but the hillstream loaches were seemingly not caring at all.  I'd have worried significantly about a betta getting that cold, but I had no problems in my tank.  I have also kept hillstream loaches in a 10 gallon.  But, in said 10 gallon, a betta would have been miserable.  Far too much flow, and far too cool.

As long as you keep your water quality good and well oxygenated, you should be fine, though.  Just know that lower water quality and oxygenation will probably hit the loaches before the betta/CPDs.

As to what Jayci said, they can definitely be territorial with one another. A dominant one will pop up, and chase off the less dominant ones from the 'preferred' grazing/chilling locations.

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