||Neutral pH very important for coloration and temperament (will be very shy in suboptimal water). Change water frequently.
||Very unlikely in hobbyist tank. Only in perfect water conditions with lots of space and plants.
||Wonderful, colorful (vivid orange and black stripes which
fade somewhat as the fish grows), sociable fish, full of
energy and personality, as long as they're kept in groups.
Lone loaches will be VERY unhappy; their growth will be
stunted, they'll be less colorful, and they'll die young.
Feed them a mixture of food; they're naturally
bottom-feeders but they'll happily take frozen bloodworms
out of the water column, sometimes even from the surface.
They like algae wafers and sinking pellets sometimes, but
generally only after the lights are out. If you're having
trouble getting your loaches to come out where you can see
them, first check to see if your water quality is good, then
try adding a group of tiger barbs or similarly colored, less
shy fish to make the loaches feel safe. Important note:
they are scaleless fishes, so if they get sick (primarily
with ich, but sometimes with parasites, velvet or fin rot),
DO NOT treat them with normal copper- or dye-based
medicines; they will react to the irritants by producing
extra mucus and they will suffocate in it. Instead, try
raising the temperature to 90-92 degrees F for a few days
and dosing with antibiotics. Your loaches will recover in
no time and your aquarium's silicone seals won't turn blue.
Of course, this is no substitute for frequent water changes
which must continue while you're treating the fish; if they
got sick in the first place, more small, regular water
changes are often the answer.