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Discussion Starter #1
I love bottom feeders, I think they tend to have more personality. I was wondering about a possible setup. What if you did a sort of upside down planted look: only floating plants, and sand on the bottom. Probably a piece of driftwood to, but other than that just open, sandy bottom. The reason I'm wondering is because I want a planted tank with kuhlis, cories, and some other bottom fish, but I know I'll never see them. So, I'm wondering, If most of the hiding space was from the middle up, would it encourage them to hang out there, and perch in the plants? I'm imagining kuhlis and cories laying on big leaves and hiding among the tangles of hornwort. They could still be on the bottom, but I wouldn't loose them and they'd spread out to the other levels. So, just wondering. What do you think?
 

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They probably wouldn't venture up to perch on the plants. You could create forward facing caves, hollows, etc, so that they would have their cover on the bottom and still be visible.
 

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I was imagining a really big bunch of plants like anacharis or hornwort, that would start only 4 or 5 inches from the ground. Not just at the very surface, so it wouldn't be terribly far to swim. I hear kuhlis like to hang from plants, and cories like to lay on them.
 

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Kuhlies will lay on plants in the midwater and driftwood, too. Even in a decently planted tank you'd still see these guys pretty often provided they feel safe. I've noticed mine are more active now that I have some midwater fish in the tank. I'm not saying they need dither fish, but it has helped mine be more visible. But they still spend the majority of their time on the bottom, even with ample hiding spots in the midwater and above.

Personally, I'd still say put some plants on the bottom. Maybe some low-light small plants like Anubias nana or some of the smaller crypts. My kuhlies don't so much bury themselves as wrap themselves around things on the substrate like rocks and plants. The crypts are their favorite plant to play in.
 

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Corys occur in a natural habitat with a sand substrate that is littered with branches, sunken logs and leaves. This can vary depending upon the species' stream, but it is generally the case. Very few occur in planted water courses, meaning streams with aquatic plants; marginal and overhanging vegetation is more common.

Not providing the fish with what they are programmed to need is going to cause them stress, and that leads to health problems. Corys are by nature somewhat skittish; they have a basic fear response that normally begins with becoming "frozen," and then rapidly scurrying away for cover. If you want the fish to be relaxed and healthy, make sure they have what they expect.:)

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Corys occur in a natural habitat with a sand substrate that is littered with branches, sunken logs and leaves. This can vary depending upon the species' stream, but it is generally the case. Very few occur in planted water courses, meaning streams with aquatic plants; marginal and overhanging vegetation is more common.
Byron.
So, wouldn't the suggested setup actually be ideal for them? Overhanging/floating plants and driftwood on the bottom.

Thanks!
 

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I would say yes. Plenty of hiding spots like the driftwood and ledges and caves on the bottom are the most important things.
 

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So, wouldn't the suggested setup actually be ideal for them? Overhanging/floating plants and driftwood on the bottom.

Thanks!
In your initial post, you mentioned open sand with one piece of driftwood. Having several chunks of wood, each having tunnels, crevices, overhangs, etc, is fine, with the open area perhaps in the front half of the tank. In other words, about half the substrate is littered with chunks of wood. And the floating plants to reduce the light, as many species are fearful of overhead light.

In my 115g Amazon riverscape (pictured below), I have over 30 corys of differing species. I rarely see all of them, except at feeding time when they are all out at the front (the feeding area). Some species I will see most of the time, others only at feeding. But this is fine; I know this arrangement makes them more settled, and that makes me happy, even if I see them less often. And the proof is that several species have spawned, I see a fry now and then, so they are obviously "happy.":-D

The photo shows this tank shortly after it was set up; in this early photo the chunks of wood are more visible [plants have grown around them now] so it illustrates the point better. I would estimate about 1/3 of the substrate is covered with wood.

Byron.
 

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So, wouldn't the suggested setup actually be ideal for them? Overhanging/floating plants and driftwood on the bottom.

Thanks!
I agree with Byron. In your original statement you made it sound like there would be one or two pieces of wood and the rest open sandy bottom. That would not be a healthy environment for loaches IMO.

What Byron and I were trying to get at is that they need a LOT of structures/hiding places on the bottom because that is what they evolved for and that is what they expect. I know some substrate fishes have a greatly reduced swim bladder because they just don't use it (for neutral buoyancy); they don't swim in the water column long enough for it to be useful.

So if you were to stuff the bottom with driftwood and rocks and caves and then have a thick canopy cover I think it would be a fine tank.
 
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