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Join the conversation: Red Tail Zebra Loach
Pet Information: Red Tail Zebra Loach
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"Hello..., About a year ago, I purchased two pale little loaches that came in as contaminants in a shipment of other fish. Being a loach enthusiast, I recognized them as something different, but was not able to ID them right away. By the following day, after placing them in QT, they had coloured up so much I scarcely recognized them, displaying many dark stripes and a red tail. This became especially apparent when I dropped food in the tank, and was then able to identify them as Schistura Mahnerti. They ate ravenously at first, and "caught" their food in a lively and entertaining way. None of the food reached the bottom of the tank. As the food was floating down, they would jump into the mid water column and do loop-de-loops to catch it. For the first while, these two fish were very social with eachother and could be seen playing and resting together. They are now adults, and have reached a size of about 2.5" each. Their colouration is spectacular with their dark stripes and red tails, though one has become significantly darker than the other. Even though I have them in a 4-ft, 55 Gallon tank, there are occasional territorial squabbles, the latest resulting in a 2mm wound in the side of the lighter-coloured fish. However, the two Schistura are very friendly towards the other fish and loaches, sharing their underlog territories with kuhli, pepper, and weather loaches. Each fish has claimed a log on opposite sides of the tank, spending most of the day resting there and darting out occasionally to look around or to eat. I would not classify this as a social fish with those of its own kind, though it can be tolerant and even friendly with other species. If another injury results, I will have to consider splitting them up. Other than that, this fish has been an interesting and entertaining addition to my loach community. I would reccommend it to those who can provide clean water with reasonable flow. At least 4ft. of space, and even more I would recommend for more than one individual. I am planning on upgrading to a 75 Gallon, and will see if the increase in width of the tank will make a difference in their territorial skirmishes, though I have a feeling it is the length that makes the difference. Be sure to provide a secluded territory for each fish."

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