Originally Posted by Coryologist
It's a positive in any tank - it's simply not a requirement for happy, healthy Corys, unless you sell driftwood for a living. lol. Additionally, I did not see, "community tank," mentioned anywhere. - Frank
Original poster lists 10 gal tank ,with barbs and afore mentioned corys along with 55 gallon under construction under his/her aquariums.
While perhaps not a requirement, (wood) it is as you say, a positive for many tanks and would provide the fish with some place to retire to if inclined.
If I were a female cory, having witnessed the attention that they receive from numerous males in community type setting during spawning activity, I would welcome the refuge that such decor provides and unless the fish are many generations removed from their often still wild caught cousins,, they would in my view appreciate familiar setting or as near as we can attempt to provide be it sand,plants,gravel,or wood.
This is entirely seperate in my view from breeding tanks.
Have kept for example Discus in bare bottom tanks and they often huddled shoulder to shoulder in one corner of the tank. Placed in a tank with suitable decor,, the fish were much more active and in my view,, comfortable. (although tank was harder to clean)
Air stones, and or powerheads for example, aren't a requirement for keeping perhaps the majority of fishes healthy or happy ,but if one has witnessed the antics of fishes including cory's , loaches,and some other catfishes swimming in and out of the stream of current and or bubbles produced by such devices,, they would in my view,, be hard pressed not to believe the fishes must derive some pleasure from the activity.
While some may view happiness of fishes as being largely subjective, I am not so sure.
All of the above based entirely on my own observations and expieriences. Opinions vary.