One Death, Flashing Behavior, and Cloudy Water - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
One Death, Flashing Behavior, and Cloudy Water

I've had my panda cories (corys?) for just a little over 24hrs. They are in a quarantine tank with a fine sand substrate and the water tends to look cloudy. Is this because they are stirring up the sand? I have the same sand in two tanks with bettas and the water is clear. Also, after exhibiting flashing behavior, one of my pandas passed away. He swam around the top rim of the tank, around and around like it was a race course, constantly trying to keep his nose up, sometimes falling on his back. A short time later, I found him on the bottom, quite dead. I did a water change this morning but fearing there was still something wrong with the water I have now done another water change. Immediately after though, another panda exhibited some flashing behavior and is flitting around, although not to the extent as the other one.

Some details: they are very tiny, an inch or less long, in a 2.5g tank with no filter. The sponge filter I intended to use did not fit so I plan to change the water once a day, twice if need be. I did ammonia tests three times during the course of the day, one API liquid test, one Mardel strip test, and one Jungle Labs strip test. All came back in the clear. I have a heater set to 79* because I am trying to acclimate them to the same temp my bettas are kept at, as they will hopefully be joining one of my bettas. I believe the cory who passed may not have been well to begin with as four of the cories tended to keep together while the fifth was usually in a corner or under the rock decor. Oh, yes. I also used API Stress Coat as my water conditioner and I made sure the temp was within a few degrees of the tank temp for the water changes.

I thought the 2.5g would be large enough for at least a week or two, seeing how tiny they are. However, if anyone advises me differently, can I put them in a 5g for their quarantine? I'm completely new to cory cats so any and all advice is most welcome. Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 02:01 PM
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Corys usually like big tanks even if they are small fish. They need to have room to explore.

What are the tap water parameters. Ph, hardness?
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
Water supersoft, pH I know is a little higher on the 7.5-7.8 side but I read in a few fish books and magazine articles that they will adjust to pH as long as it's not too acid. I'll rearrange things and see if they can't go in my 5g. Do they NEED substrate while in quarantine?
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 04:48 PM
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Their native habitat is the river bottoms and lakes that are muddy. They are always rooting through my sand for food, so maybe.

For a few days I'd say yes, but I think long term it would be stressful.

I'm not an expert, so I would get a second opinion.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
Thanks. I got them a Marineland Duetto filter, too, and they seem much happier with the water flow and I'm happy because it's keeping the water clean. I'm hoping they'll only be in quarantine for a week or two but they're so small I hesitate to put them in with my betta until they've had a chance to grow. I did leave the sand in with them. It's very cute because I can see little "finprints" in the sand.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 07:48 PM
My corys weren't active happy fish till they got tossed in a 30g tank from a 10g. I've kept them in a 1g tank for an emergency main tank bleaching; they just sat in one place looking terrified, even with very little light, bubbles, and a filter.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-01-2011, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
Even with the filter, the water is quite cloudy so I'm going to assume it's them kicking up sand. But they like the water flow from the filter, it has made them much more active. I was originally going to put them in a 10g but I'm getting a 20g set up so they'll go in there when their quarantine is through.
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-02-2011, 10:42 AM
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The "Flashing" is often associated with parasites, such as ich, which first attacks fish in the gills, hence the flashing. Did you see any sign of spots on any of the fish, on their fins or flanks?

If the above is negative, then it could be water issues. Ammonia and nitrite will also cause flashing, because both are poisons that irritate the gills. Increased respiration (very fast), flashing, erratic swimming are all signs of this. And without any filter, I would suspect this is the possible culprit. Test strip tests can be inaccurate. It only takes a minute level of ammonia or nitrite to irritate and sometimes kill fish.

Also, the panda cory is one of the most sensitive of corys, though any cory is highly sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. Personally, when acquiring corys, I always add them to well established tanks; they will have a better chance of managing.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-02-2011, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
No, I don't see any ich which is good. I did get a filter for their quarantine tank (Marineland Duetto, I highly recommend it!) and the four remaining cories are much happier and more active. I did a liquid ammonia test and two different strip tests and all the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels checked out so maybe they were just settling in. I do think the one who died was already sick to begin with, poor guy. He never really did come out of the corner. And the flashing behavior has since stopped.

As soon as their quarantine is over, I'm adding them to an established tank but I worry about them being so small. How long does it usually take for a cory to grow a bit? These guys are an inch or slightly less than. My betta is about an inch and a half.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-02-2011, 11:40 AM
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I thought I read a few people mention that they grow fast to the 2/3 mark of their final length then go slow.
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