08-31-2013, 12:11 PM
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Hello, I am new to this forum, by no means an expert, but not brand new either. I have dirted planted tanks, (miracle organic potting soil) capped with inert gavel. I never syphon the bottom. I let the inverts do the cleaning for me. Shrimp and snails. Your borellis, beautiful awesome fish, I am jealous, would devour shrimp, so if you go with this, prepare to buy a lot, and lose a few to 'live borelli food'. But they are great for eating up the dead plant matter, detruis, and even diatoms/algae. If your tank is heavily planted with lots of small leaved plants or hardscape for them to hide in, they could keep breeding easily and survive the voracious hunters. Shrimp are the bottom of the food chain, and their instinct is to hide for survival. There are also amano shrimp, which get pretty big, but will not breed in your freshwater tank. These shrimp are awesome cleaners, and will even clean green thread algae.
For w/c s, I just add in a small (diameter wise) tube into the tank with a sponge on the end not to suck up any fry or inverts, start a siphon, and let it drain. I do not suck up anything because it provides fertilizer for the plants.
About your cories, never had pygmies, but small corys like pandas, in my experience would never prey on fry, unless they were dead, they are scavengers. But I think your borellis would try to eat these too, not sure, but I know the cories would not reproduce as quickly as shrimp. Corys and borellis are a lot for bottom strata fish in 25g, you are right, but there are other factors to take into consideration, like how many plant territories, hiding spots there are, and also a heavily planted tank can handle more of a bioload. This would all have to be tested for your individual tank.
I'm not sure what it is that you want to remove from the front glass by syphoning. If it is uneaten food, which is mostly what the corys will eat, you are overfeeding. You should try not to disturb the roots of your plants by digging your syphon into the substrate, maybe I am misinterpreting? What is it you wish to remove?