The ideal substrate for weather loaches is sand or other loose, easy to dig material. They love to dig in their substrate, and will often bury themselves up to their necks, presenting their owner the view of a group of small heads poking out of the sand. When threatened, weather loaches will disappear into the substrate, and newly purchased fish will often “disappear” for a few days, only to reappear draped across a decoration a few days later.
Weather loaches are social fish, and you should always keep in groups of at least three. If they are kept on their own, they will spend most of their time hiding, and will rarely be active during the day. When they are kept in a group, their behavior completely changes – they will constantly swim around the tank, and will often sit out in the open in a “pile” of weather loaches. The don’t seem to mind piling on top of each other, and this will lead to comical positions where all the loaches are stacked up into a big loach pyramid.
In the wild weather loaches are omnivores, and much of their diet is made up of algae and plant material at the bottom of ponds and shallow streams. They will also opportunistically feed on insects, snails and small invertebrates.
In the home aquarium, this can be mimicked by feeding them a spirulina based pellet or flake, and a high quality flake food. One of the best prepared foods for them is Hikari Sinking Wafers. They should also be fed frozen foods as a treat, with their favorites being tubifex or blackworms, bloodworms and daphnia.
If you don’t have access to a spirulina based food, they can also be fed vegetables on a regular basis. The most readily accepted vegetables are blanched zucchini medallions, shelled peas and cucumber medallions. It doesn’t take long for a few adult weather loaches to devour a whole zucchini medallion, but you should still remove any uneaten vegetables after 24 hours. This helps to prevent it from rotting and fouling the aquarium water.
Since weather loaches are cool water fishes, they require a trigger to start the breeding process. This can be accomplished through keeping the weather loaches in a room that has low temperatures in the winter and spring, and changing the amount of light that they receive in the spring. Lighting in their tank should be reduced in the winter, and slowly increased in the spring until they are getting a minimum of 12 hours of light in the aquarium.
When breeding is triggered in the weather loach, the male will begin to court the female which can last several hours. He will then wrap himself around the female until the eggs are released, and then fertilize the female.
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