Sad looking corydoras - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

 
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-02-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Sad looking corydoras

We have two corys in our small tank (20 litres) with 2 loaches, 5 glowlights and 4 cardinals. All the fish seem fine expect for one of the corys he has been very listless for 2 days. we carried out a partial water change tonight (20%) and treated with 5% General Tonic. We tested the water and it showed a very high Nitrate level of 500.

What can we do to improve the nitrate level? We are worried about cleaning the gravel without disturbing the tank, as we have plants and various places for the fish to hide in. We have got a syphon but it seems rather big for the tank. Any tips on how we can successfully clean the gravel? Can we buy a small vacuum pump?
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-02-2011, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by David Layton View Post
We have two corys in our small tank (20 litres) with 2 loaches, 5 glowlights and 4 cardinals. All the fish seem fine expect for one of the corys he has been very listless for 2 days. we carried out a partial water change tonight (20%) and treated with 5% General Tonic. We tested the water and it showed a very high Nitrate level of 500.

What can we do to improve the nitrate level? We are worried about cleaning the gravel without disturbing the tank, as we have plants and various places for the fish to hide in. We have got a syphon but it seems rather big for the tank. Any tips on how we can successfully clean the gravel? Can we buy a small vacuum pump?
hey there wlecome to the forums!

thats wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to many fish for a 20 liter tank. you have problems but your biggest problem is having that many fish in such a small tank. you need atleast a 30 gallon tank to house all those fish David

as for the water quality the smaller the tank the more unstable. you need to be doing atleast 50% water changes daily if you dont want your fish to suficate with those huge toxic parameters. your going to loose fish if you dont do something about that asap.

I would go and return those fish and and begin to cyle a 30 gallon aquarium. Thats just what I would do because if I wanted that many fish I would house them in a proper size home, you know? I just dont want you to go through any heartaches of loosing any fish my friend

try to get your hands of a dechlorinator called Prime, by Seachem. That will help a bit with those toxic amount of nitrates. How do you measure your water parameters?

please watch and share with friends and family.

Last edited by leogtr; 03-02-2011 at 04:27 PM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-04-2011, 08:44 AM
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Leogtr is quite correct, a 20 litre (5 gallon) tank is much, much too small for all those fish. But you're in good company, most of us went through this. My first aquarium was a 5g and I shudder to think of all the fish i had. No wonder they didn't live long.

Nitrates at 500 is very serious. No fish in nature is exposed to nitrates at all (unless through an environmental disaster or something), so while it can be said that nitrates are generally not toxic (as are ammonia and nitrite), high levels must take its toll on the fish's metabolism and physiology. Nitrate should always be below 20ppm.

Please consider re-homing most of the fish, or acquiring a larger tank [this is always fun and exciting]. The largest you can manage in terms of space and cost. No matter what tank we buy, it is usually too small for all we want in it. And as leogtr said, water stability is much easier and reliable the larger the volume.

In the meantime, frequent partial water changes of 50% of the tank 2 or 3 times a week will help; I would suggest daily, but you don't want to suddenly shift the parameters too drastically. Lucky you have live plants, they do an incredible job in water quality, but they have a limit.

The best effective way to clean gravel is with a water changer siphon. Clean the areas you can see; leave the areas where the plants are. Use a good water conditioner.

What is this "general tonic?" These products are usually more harm than good, in spite of what the manufacturer may claim. Anything that messes with the natural biological processes in an aquarium are risky. I may have more when I know what it is.

Good luck. And if you have further questions (your probably will), ask away. Everyone here is very eager to help fellow aquarists.

And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Byron.

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 #4 of 6 Old 03-05-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Byron Hope this will reach you this time. Sorry I posted my message on your profile. Our tank is 28 litres Not 20l I made a mistake. Last night I syphoned the gravel and did a partial water change. Today the water is looking very clear and the nitrate level has gone down to 100. What size tank do you suggest we get for our number of fish? We only have a small house so it can't be too big.

David
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-05-2011, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by David Layton View Post
Hi Byron Hope this will reach you this time. Sorry I posted my message on your profile. Our tank is 28 litres Not 20l I made a mistake. Last night I syphoned the gravel and did a partial water change. Today the water is looking very clear and the nitrate level has gone down to 100. What size tank do you suggest we get for our number of fish? We only have a small house so it can't be too big.

David
David, I will need to know the loach species to answer this. Loaches, like corys (and like tetra too) are shoaling fish, which means they should be in a group. For loaches and corys, 5 is considered minimum, for tetra 6. But where possible, more than these numbers will be better for the fish.

To explain why. Shoaling fish need a group to reduce/eliminate stress (security in numbers as they say), but many species also have a social structure within the group (loaches do) and/or interactive roles among the fish in the group. In smaller numbers, fish are stressed which brings on health issues and frequently increased aggression. A few weeks back I posted a link to a scientific study that has now proven that shoaling fish in groups less than 5 have heightened aggression to themselves and other fish species, and usually shorter life spans.

Your 6 glowlights are fine; 4 cardinals is pushing it, I would certainly get a couple more. The corys may not last, so I would await that before thinking of more corys--depending upon the loach species and what tank you decide to get, more corys may be unadvisable.

Byron.

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 #6 of 6 Old 03-06-2011, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Byron for your quick and helpful reply. We just want to get the balance right in this 28 litre tank before we get a bigger tank set up. We are not sure which species the loaches are but will identify them and let you know.

David
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