question on vacuuming the substrate..
I've got a planted tank ,really just vals that are slowly taking over the tank. So I never vacuum the substrate anymore. Well anyways I picked up some corie cats today and reading up on them it says they can develop infections to their barbells if the substrate isn't vacuumed on regular basis. What do I do? It's widely known that a planted tank should not be vacuumed. I have just your basic gravel. I don't want anything to happen to my cories as I have fell in love with their behavior, very fun to watch.
1stly don't over feed, thus reducing the need to vacume (I assume you don't over feed). Then any residual concerns over nitrates will be solved by the plants using them as food/ferteliser.
Also I think it would have to be a VERY polluted tank that affetced the barbles of a cory. I mean yes the barbles are sensative (they can also be worn down by sharp gravel), but they are there to find food and can handle a fair beating.
I have a well planted discus tank, and one bare bottomed, and the corries do well in both. I should point out that in both I do frequent water changes and DO syphon waste off the bottom (nearly) every day. I use a thin pice of tubing for this. Maybe take your gravel cleaner off its hose and use just the hose to syphon. Simply stirr the water as you "hover" the hose over any waste and don't touch the gravel....do this daily if necessary.
I hope this info can help you.
NOW let me tell you a story.....possibly the worst fish advice I've ever given!!
When I was a boy (yes one of those stories) I had a friend who's mother had a few goldfish with the biggest corries I'd ever seen in the tank. However I rarely saw them, because they lived in a 2-4" layer of sh*t. I mean she NEVER cleaned this tank (only ever topped it up), but everything was fine?!?! I was amazed by the size of the corries (and the goldfish and the fact anything survived) which periodically rose from this cloud of muck. Still I tell you (and will testify in court...LOL) that the barbles of the corries were fine, like I said earlier the tank would have to be VERY poluted before this was an issue. Still it will come back to the species, my friends mother had bronze corries and I would not try this with my scleromystax barbatus (corries?).
Which species do you have?
BTW Exellent that the plants are doing so well, sounds like a nice set-up you've got mate.
Got 6 albino cories,most entertaining fish I've ever had, plan on getting 6 more in a few weeks for my 55 gallon. My nitrates are always 5-10 even though I'm fairly stocked
5X bloodfin tetras
5X zebra danios
6X cherry barbs
Don't fear the mulm.
When I was a youngster (another one of those stories ;)) about 50 years ago, my mother had a 5g tank (slate bottom metaframe). Bubble up filter and floating plants. She had a half a dozen fish in that (a bit crowded) tank that always had a good 1/2" or so layer of mulm on the bottom and water changes were rare, if ever. Biggest, healthiest fish I've ever seen!
You can do a lot to minimize waste in the substrate, beginning, as fishy wrote, with proper feeding. If you're concerned about mulm, just use the gravel siphon to hover or swirl over, just above the substrate when you do water changes - you should be fine.
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