09-21-2010, 03:09 PM
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I will leave the filter issue to those that are familiar with that particular type, since I am not.
Algae is a plant, and when light is present so will be algae. It feeds off the nutrients that occur in a healthy aquarium; one with live plants rarely has algae because the higher plants use the nutrients and light before algae has the opportunity. But without plants, you will (or should) see algae. If there are no live plants, I would leave the algae to handle things naturally.
The algae-destroying chemicals should not be used in a tank with fish. Any chemical is going to cause some degree of stress on the fish, varying with the species and chemical involved. Corydoras for instance are very highly susceptible to any substance added to the water. In general terms, the less chemical stuff added to tanks the better. We use water conditioners because we need to in order to protect the fish from the harmful effects of chlorine and chloramine in tap water. But that's it.
As someone mentioned, Corydoras are shoaling fish that must be kept in a group; three is the minimum number. If you really like and want this fish, consider acquiring a couple more. I say if you really like and want, because in small tanks each fish is adding significantly to the bio-load, and you don't want to be adding this or that fish unless you really want them. And that brings me to the otos someone mentioned; I would not add these just to handle algae, again they need a group (3 will work) but that is adding to the bio-load too. Algae can be controlled by limiting the light, which is better than adding fish that will cause other issues.
You probably do have low nitrates, which is OK; without live plants it would be almost impossible not to have nitrates although weekly water changes, few fish, minimal feeding will not contribute a lot to nitrate buildup.
Hope this helps a bit. And Suzanne, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you found us. There is a great deal of collective knowledge among our members so you are in good hands.