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New Cory problems

This is a discussion on New Cory problems within the Catfish forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> This is a hobby in which there are differing opinions on many issues. In many cases, there may be some degree of truth in ...

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Old 06-30-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
 
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This is a hobby in which there are differing opinions on many issues. In many cases, there may be some degree of truth in the opinion. And in many cases the various methods/practices seem to work. Many times in threads here I have read "well, I do this or that and my fish are OK, so there's no issue." But the problem is, how do you know that the fish are OK? External appearance is sometimes but not always indicative, and behaviours the same.

As a simple example, I often use the cardinal tetra. This fish occurs in water that is so soft the hardness cannot even be measured, and is very acidic (pH between 4 and 5). Many maintain this fish in water that is medium hard with a basic pH. The fish "appears" normal, it swims around, eats, and lives for 2 or 3 years. So why all the fuss over water parameters? Well, the scientific truth is, that this fish is not "OK" in such water. When maintained in very soft acidic water, it will live for more than 10 years. This is simply not possible in harder water, because of the affect of the hardness and pH on the fish's physiology. Among other things, it is prone to calcium blockage of the kidneys, and that kills it with no external signs. The calcium comes from the hard water, and the fish cannot handle it because nature did not design nor intend for this species to be in such water.

This is a scientific hobby. Fish are living creatures made the way nature made them. Science is only now discovering more about how they live. Many of the formerly-held "myths" are being exploded, but there are many who still hang on to those myths. The fact that there is sometimes no clear "right" and "wrong" means one has to take the macro as opposed to micro approach. By this I mean that we consider all aspects together, not individual issues in isolation, to get a better picture of what this or that may do. When we consider all the science, we are in a better position to see the individual effects. It is something like medications; medication A may cure "X" and medication B may cure "Y" but when combined at the same time medications A and B may kill the fish. Salt can cure certain parasites, and helps with nitrite to some extent. But continued long-term, it can kill the soft water fish.

A quick comment on stores. Some, sadly, are in the business of making money, and some staff are there to have a job. I was very fortunate when I started out in this hobby to have had a store owned by an aquarist who hired aquarists for his staff, and they all had experience in maintaining fish; that was a true blessing back in the days before the internet and forums like this one.

Just some ramblings that I hope may help somehow.

Byron.
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genewitch (06-30-2011)
Old 06-30-2011, 12:16 PM   #12
 
Well, thanks. Since i've nearly officially threadjacked this; i suppose i should ask. The corydoras we've had for almost a year have leveled off in size. I'm wondering if I should move them to their own tank with a sandy bottom (we have a 10 Gallon that is empty right now, and there's a sale on glass aquariums at several places right now.) My girlfriend wanted to know if shrimp and the corys can cohabitate, or if that would require an additional tank.

I'll start digging through the forums here to see what else i am doing wrong (i feel bad for my fish now...) and go find a good testing kit to ensure that the water hardness is where it needs to be within the next month.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:08 PM   #13
 
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I Currently have 2 Freshwater tanks running, and found out the hardway about cycling when I started out. As long as I was dosing it with the "Tank Cyle" stuff my readings were always fine, it was when I stopped that about 2-3 weeks after stopping it my tank actually did a cycle and started to slowly kill my fish so just be careful. Most people will tell you that you need fish to get your tank cycling started and then it's about 4-6 weeks before it's complete. I'm not saying the "Tank Cycle" stuff they sell in stores doesn't help but I have found it doesn't produce enough bacterial to maintain the cycle once you start adding fish. Just a suggestion to watch you water for the next few weeks and I wouldn't start spending a ton on fish until you are a good 2-3 months into have a stable tank all the time. Cory cats are pretty hardy and can typically handle things, but be careful with more fragile fish until you are sure.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genewitch View Post
Well, thanks. Since i've nearly officially threadjacked this; i suppose i should ask. The corydoras we've had for almost a year have leveled off in size. I'm wondering if I should move them to their own tank with a sandy bottom (we have a 10 Gallon that is empty right now, and there's a sale on glass aquariums at several places right now.) My girlfriend wanted to know if shrimp and the corys can cohabitate, or if that would require an additional tank.

I'll start digging through the forums here to see what else i am doing wrong (i feel bad for my fish now...) and go find a good testing kit to ensure that the water hardness is where it needs to be within the next month.
Corys in general will do well over sand or fine gravel, provided in either case it is smooth and not rough or sharp-edged (sand and gravel can be, depending upon the product). I have found that the dwarf species do better over sand. But the others I have maintained for 20 years over fine gravel. That's not to say sand wouldn't be better. But you may want fine gravel instead for other reasons I won't get into now, and the point is that either will work. Eco-complete is not a good substrate for corys and loaches because it is sharp.

Corys are also better with other fish above them and around them. Otherwise, they might be more skittish. And always in groups, they are highly social shoaling fish; if tank size permits, five is a good minimum size. If more than one species, it is best to have 3 of each individual species, though some species do not seem to mind this as much as others.

Corys should be fine with shrimp that are not small. Crustaceans are a normal food item for almost all tropical fish, which is why brine shrimp is so useful. I have Corydoras habrosus in with shrimp, but of course they are a very small Cory. When I used to occasionally feed live brine shrimp, the corys had a field day chasing it and they ate as much as they could catch.

On the water hardness, all you need to know is what comes out of the tap (unless you intend to adjust it) as hardness does not alter unless it is targeted by something. And this you can find out from your water supply folks; many have a website with data posted. Find the GH and KH or alkalinity.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 06-30-2011 at 01:46 PM..
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:11 PM   #15
 
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Agree on the salt, a quick salt bath is one thing but continually adding it to a freshwater tank isn't good
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:10 PM   #16
 
First water change complete without salt. I bought an ammonia in-tank detector, and it's been saying <0.02 (safe) since i put it in. I also got a 5 in 1 strip test thing, and it said my water was hard (150 range), ph of between 7.5 and 8.0 and the alkalinity was around 120. The nitrite and nitrate readings weren't colors on the chart so i have no idea what that means. They were closer to whitish grey than the pinks on the chart, and white is the 0 level. there wasn't any pink whatsoever, so i am going to guess that means that either my fish are dead or everything is fine.

The sand at the pet store looked sharp, and the guy said he didn't sale anything that he knew for sure wasn't sharp, as all their substrate was provided by one company. The "sand" substrate was synthetic, too. I read something about home improvement stores having a good sand so we're going to check that out soon.

thanks again, my corydoras will thank you in pictures when i get the new tank set up.
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:31 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genewitch View Post
First water change complete without salt. I bought an ammonia in-tank detector, and it's been saying <0.02 (safe) since i put it in. I also got a 5 in 1 strip test thing, and it said my water was hard (150 range), ph of between 7.5 and 8.0 and the alkalinity was around 120. The nitrite and nitrate readings weren't colors on the chart so i have no idea what that means. They were closer to whitish grey than the pinks on the chart, and white is the 0 level. there wasn't any pink whatsoever, so i am going to guess that means that either my fish are dead or everything is fine.

The sand at the pet store looked sharp, and the guy said he didn't sale anything that he knew for sure wasn't sharp, as all their substrate was provided by one company. The "sand" substrate was synthetic, too. I read something about home improvement stores having a good sand so we're going to check that out soon.

thanks again, my corydoras will thank you in pictures when i get the new tank set up.
If you want sand, playsand from stores like Home Depot or Lowe's is inexpensive and very good. I have it in two tanks now. It is dark gray, although I believe they call it "tan" and it does sort of look beige in the store. Anyway, it is fine for corys.
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