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BettaDexter 11-14-2011 10:59 AM

Help me ID my cory + thoughts on current fish load...
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hi guys,
So I've had my tank up and running for about 5 weeks now and after a few bumps in the beginning, it's doing wonderfully.
It's 15 gallons, currently stocked with 6 ember tetras, 4 golden tetras, and 2 cardinals(one died early on, and I purchased two more, all they had in stock, about 2 weeks ago - very tiny, one didn't make it), 2 corys, and a couple shrimp, a blackberry and blueberry. I have a snail but his trap has been shut and he hasn't come out in a few days - a bit worried about him but I'm watching him and checking him to make sure he's still kicking. I hear they do this for extended periods of time sometimes.
I've attached a pic of my current setup. I'm slowly building up the plants, hoping to have it heavily planted within the next few months. I just have the light that came with the tank, nothing fancy, and water sprite are seeming to do great with it so I'm going to continue on with those and possibly get a few shorter ones for the front that don't require much light.
I'm also going to add few more 'hiding' things in the open space in the front.

When I purchased the corys I made the mistake of listening to the pet shop people again...and only bought two, being told they'd be fine as a pair. Now that I do more research again I find they should be in larger groups. So first of all, I've attached a pic of mine - are they julii? I cannot remember but that's what they look like. Apparently they can be confused with other types however, I want to make sure I'm getting the same since it seems they like to be kept in groups of their same kind. How many is the minimum I can get away with? Looks like 3 total will be ok? I love these guys so more would be great but I don't want to overcrowd them.

In regards to the cardinals, adding 2 more is the plan, everyone seems happy and I see no signs of stress with even the two of them, they hang out together and mingle with the others - any cause for concern with just 4? Basically I know I'm getting very close to the max amt of fish I should have in this tank so I don't want to tip it too far and have problems w/ammonia etc. I do want to add a few more ghost shrimp but I know they pretty much do nothing to the levels.

What would you all suggest?

One more thing - I've been buying all my fish at the local fish shop, it's a great place BUT I've had a couple fish from there die(one was my fault b/c I knew nothing about cycling, but the last had no reason on my end that he should have) - I was at Petsmart the other day and was surprised at how great their tanks were kept up and how healthy the fish seemed. I'm considering buying fish in the future there - any thoughts on chain pet shop vs small shop? It's a very nice fish place but they seem to get their fish VERY young and sometimes not yet sturdy enough to survive all the transport.

Byron 11-14-2011 12:34 PM

I don't think I've previously welcomed you to the forum, so...welcome.:-)

The cory is Corydoras trilineatus, it is in our profiles, click the shaded name [profiles are under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page and there are many fish and some plants included]. This is the species almost always sold as "Julii." I would suggest five corys for your 15g, if you want just the one species. If you want a second, then 3 of each (max 6 fish) would work.

I would add to the Ember Tetra too, they are one of the few "dwarf" tetra species and will be better in a larger group. You have 6, so another 3 is fine. They remain very small.

The Golden Tetra is presumably Hemigrammus rodwayi, it is also in our profiles [click the shaded name;-)]. This fish gets a bit larger, just over 2 inches. A couple more is advisable if you really like them.

Cardinal Tetra can be difficult. No mention is made of your water parameters, and these need very soft and acidic water to be at their best. They are also very sensitive in new tanks and if you decide to go with them waiting for your tank to establish biologically would be better. "Cycled" is one thing, but "established" means the tank has cycled and then settled down biologically, and this can take a few weeks after cycling. Once that occurs, and if cardinals are still in the picture, a group of 6-7 is best. I would add them at the same time.

Do you know what the white gravel is? The smaller gravel that is brown would be better for the corys. Plus I am also wondering about the calcareousness of the white gravel; if it is calcareous, it will raise the hardness and pH which is not advisable.

The local fish store is probably a better outlet for fish; if one has a good local store, it is wise to use it and build up a good rapport with the owner and staff; they can be very helpful.

Byron.

BettaDexter 11-14-2011 12:41 PM

Thanks Byron! I'm very new to this place but you all have been a massive help so far, I really appreciate it.

I'd love to add 4 more Corys, a few embers and a couple more goldens. But I'm afriad I'll have too many fish in the tank - that would make for 6 corys, 9 embers, 6 golden, and 2 cardinal - 23 fish in a 15 gallon? Is that ok?
I think I'm going to hold off on the cardinals. My pH remains high - about 7.6 and I can't seem to bring it down. Should I try adding softer bottled water when I do my water changes? My tap water is off the charts so that's the culprit.

For the substrate - the brown stuff is what is sold at the pet store in the bag w/nutients/liquid in it already - I just added the white which was what I had in a 1 gallon bowl with my betta(died in the transfer to the large tank). I can remove it, I had just put it there for color. I'm not sure what it's made of.

Byron 11-14-2011 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BettaDexter (Post 893188)
Thanks Byron! I'm very new to this place but you all have been a massive help so far, I really appreciate it.

I'd love to add 4 more Corys, a few embers and a couple more goldens. But I'm afriad I'll have too many fish in the tank - that would make for 6 corys, 9 embers, 6 golden, and 2 cardinal - 23 fish in a 15 gallon? Is that ok?
I think I'm going to hold off on the cardinals. My pH remains high - about 7.6 and I can't seem to bring it down. Should I try adding softer bottled water when I do my water changes? My tap water is off the charts so that's the culprit.

For the substrate - the brown stuff is what is sold at the pet store in the bag w/nutients/liquid in it already - I just added the white which was what I had in a 1 gallon bowl with my betta(died in the transfer to the large tank). I can remove it, I had just put it there for color. I'm not sure what it's made of.

On the gravel first. White is often calcareous, made of rock such as limestone, dolomite, aragonite. Yours may not be. But if you have no objection to removing it, I would. The white substrate is unsettling to almost all fish. The darker tone of the brown wold be good, and very natural esp with plants. I suspect it is a substrate that can be on its own, not requiring a top "dressing" of gravel?

On the water, what is the hardness and pH out of the tap? You can ascertain this from the water supply folks. I will comment more when I know the numbers.

On the fish, I would still up the corys and Embers. The goldens, maybe leave alone for the present. Might want to trade them later, for more cardinals? Another option.

BettaDexter 11-14-2011 04:11 PM

I tested the tank water - levels reading
ph: 7.0-7.2, hard to tell
ammonia - .25(I can't seem to knock it down to 0)
nitrite - 0
nitrate - 0(shouldn't this naturally be higher?)

the ph has dropped actually, out of tap it is somewhere between 8.2 and 8.4, I think the plants are finally starting to do their job.

I checked the snail again, he was definitely dead, this must have been recent though, there was a huge amount of waste under where he's been hanging out a couple of days. I'm going to vac up this area tonight. One of my corys is acting lazy which is unusual, they're usually both like hyper puppies. A bit worried he messed with the snail before I realized he'd died.

I can't get anyone from the water dept on the phone to find out the hardness. I'll try again tomorrow.

Byron 11-14-2011 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BettaDexter (Post 893382)
I tested the tank water - levels reading
ph: 7.0-7.2, hard to tell
ammonia - .25(I can't seem to knock it down to 0)
nitrite - 0
nitrate - 0(shouldn't this naturally be higher?)

the ph has dropped actually, out of tap it is somewhere between 8.2 and 8.4, I think the plants are finally starting to do their job.

I checked the snail again, he was definitely dead, this must have been recent though, there was a huge amount of waste under where he's been hanging out a couple of days. I'm going to vac up this area tonight. One of my corys is acting lazy which is unusual, they're usually both like hyper puppies. A bit worried he messed with the snail before I realized he'd died.

I can't get anyone from the water dept on the phone to find out the hardness. I'll try again tomorrow.

If the pH is lowering that much, I would expect tap water that is either on the soft side, or at least low in Alkalinity (carbonate hardness or KH). The numbers will tell us for sure. [I assume you are not adding anything to affect pH?] Water suppliers sometimes have a website with water data posted.

Nitrate should be as low as possible, for the fish, so no problem there. In planted tanks nitrate is often low, zero or slightly above; my tanks run < 5 ppm, due to my higher fish load.

Ammonia, any chance this is in the tap water? Tap water should always be tested once for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate just to know. These can change over time, depending upon various factors. But if the water source is the same and stable, probably not.

BettaDexter 11-14-2011 04:38 PM

WOW. I never thought to test the tap. That's definitely it - between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm ammonia straight from the faucet.
What do I do? I kinda feel like I shouldn't be drinking it myself either now lol

I did some googling and couldnt find any reports.
Also no I haven't been adding anything to affect pH

Byron 11-14-2011 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BettaDexter (Post 893401)
WOW. I never thought to test the tap. That's definitely it - between 2.0 and 4.0 ppm ammonia straight from the faucet.
What do I do? I kinda feel like I shouldn't be drinking it myself either now lol

I did some googling and couldnt find any reports.
Also no I haven't been adding anything to affect pH

That is high but not too much to be an issue. I would however recommend you use a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia along with chlorine/chloramine. Not all do, it will say on the label. This will handle the influx of ammonia at a water change, and by the time the conditioner loses effectiveness (24-48 hours) the plants will assimilate it, or the bacteria. It is just the initial influx that might be trouble without detoxifying. Conditioners detoxify ammonia by changing it to the harmless ammonium, which plants and bacteria both take up.

Your numbers show that the plants/bacteria are dealing with most of this ammonia now, since it is only .25 in the tank compared to the tap water. But in basic water it is a sensible precaution to use a conditioner that will detoxify it straight away.

Test kits will read ammonia/ammonium together as ammonia, so don't let that alarm you.


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