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Strange Fish Behaviour
July 5, 2011
8:39 pm
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Saxodave
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Don't know if this is usual behaviour or not but one of my Vietnamese M-B Loaches has decided to attach itself to the gill/eye area of one of the Harlequins in my tank and stay attached while the the poor Harlequin swims manically, swerving and diving, trying to remove the unwanted hitchhiker! What is going on? There doesn't appear to be any damage to the Harlequin but it must get highly stressed.

July 5, 2011
10:30 pm
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Graham Ramsay
Blairgowrie - UK
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Their specific name means 'tormentor' or something like that. Mine seem peaceful enough mind.

July 6, 2011
6:57 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Very odd. /huh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":huh:" border="0" alt="huh.gif" /> What's the loach? Yunnanilus cruciatus??

Cake or death?
July 6, 2011
7:08 am
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Bully
South Wales
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What do you mean by attach?

Does it swim alongside it very closely, or does it latch on with it's mouth? The behaviour of swimming really closely to another fish is not uncommon with loaches, it is quite often known as "shadowing".

July 6, 2011
7:20 pm
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Saxodave
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Yes Matt they are Yunnanilus cruciatus and in reply to Bully, it would appear that the fish in question is attaching itself to the Harlequin by its gill or eye area. If it is 'shadowing' it is doing an incredibly good job considering the contortions the harlequin performs to try to get away from it.

July 6, 2011
7:57 pm
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Bully
South Wales
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If it's not attaching by biting onto the fish then I can only say that it is shadowing. Loaches are very adept at it, they seriously look as though they are stuck to the fish.

July 6, 2011
9:15 pm
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Saxodave
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Maybe that is what it is doing then. I wonder what it hopes to gain from this behaviour? It's quite distressing to watch.

July 6, 2011
10:35 pm
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Bully
South Wales
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How many of that species of loach do you have?

July 7, 2011
6:53 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Very interesting - I was under the impression that behaviour was restricted to botiids.

Cake or death?
July 7, 2011
7:07 am
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Bully
South Wales
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I know that I have read somewhere else another case of Y. cruciatus shadowing fish, for the life of me I cannot remember (or find) where.

July 7, 2011
7:56 pm
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Saxodave
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I have three Y. cruciatus but it would appear that only one of them is acting in this way.

July 7, 2011
8:20 pm
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Bully
South Wales
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My advice would be to increase the size of the loach group if your tank permits it. These fish are highly social and need larger groups to display natural behaviour. It may not stop that particular loach from exhibiting the behaviour but, I'm willing to bet that it will drastically reduce with a larger group of loaches in the tank.

July 7, 2011
8:51 pm
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Saxodave
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Thanks Bully. I need to assess my stocking level to see if I can add some more fish as soon as possible.

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