Pygmy Cory: helps keep substrate clean?
Sorry I apparently posted this to a wrong forum, here we go...
I have a 25 gallon tank with apistogramma borellii (1+2) harem and 6 dwarf pencilfish.
I love my fish and the tank, but it's quite a heavily planted one, with lots of young plants (mauritiania front lawn project, now propagated it with some stargrass since it's growing like crazy in the middle of the tank), so....it is very hard for me to clean the front side gravel of the tank with suction since whenever I try to do that during a water change (I just use a hose), the young plants get sucked in. I'd like a way to get rid of the plant debris and uneaten food (not much of that around now), but how?
Is there a gravel cleaner which won't suck my plants in? Or what about a natural one, will pygmy corys help in this matter? I'm worried that the tank becomes too stocked if I add a third species, especially if some of them get the idea to reproduce.
Pygmy corys because it seems to be the smallest fish that can help me out somehow.
edit: also will a cory school eat fry?
Btw I have this substrate
The "Planted Black (0.25 - 7mm)" ie. not the finest version.
Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/o...#ixzz2d8eWQ4x4
Borellis get pretty large for a dwarf cichlid - I think your trio is plenty for the bottom of the tank. Too, if I am not mistaken the pygmy corys are more mid level swimmers.
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?
Eco complete isn't a good substrate for cories. It's too rough and will erode their barbs.
You could also just cap the ecocomplete with sand -- I've since done that and it looks really nice.
To put this in perspective, there are plenty of people out there, myself included, that have kept corys on gravel (back when I used gravel) and had no issues whatsoever. I have also seen people have barbel erosion with pool filter sand. I think there's much more to it than just the substrate.
The cleanliness of the gravel substrate makes a big difference. Yes rough gravel is not great for them but dirty gravel can cause the barbs to become infected more easily. Sand is the best for them but if its filthy it is can be a problem just like the dirty gravel.
I think shrimp and snails would be your best option, corys are more bottom-feeders than cleaners.
And pygmies can't really dig through the gravel anyway because they're so small.
Plus there is the issue that gravel isn't their preferred substrate (lots of people say they're fine on gravel, but I still believe from my own experience that they're much happier on sand).
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