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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!
I'm new to this forum, so thanks in advance if you're reading this and willing to help!
I'm starting up a new tank with neon tetras and catfish corydoras, which I've never had before. A friend suggested that I try to get a few corydoras, because they tend to be amazing pets!
I really want to try out a planted aquarium. I'm planning on starting on the easier, hardy ones-- aponogetons, amazon swords, java ferns [and anything else you might suggest]. I've researched and found out that these plants do well in good substrate; I've read fantastic reviews on eco-complete. They say that it helps stabilize the plants, as well as help them grow.
However, the eco-complete substrate may harm the catfish corydoras, which seem to do better in sand [I'm thinking about getting pool filter sand if this is the case].
Any advice on how I should mix the two or just stick with one? Thanks!
 

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corys do best in sand. from what ive learned is tht you dont need that fancy eco-complete. some people will say yeah its awesome an some wont. im setting up a planted tank this weekend and im going with pool filter sand from ace hardware. 11.99 for 50lbs. its better for the cats cuz they dig in it looking for food and its not harsh on their barbels. gravel can cause harm to those and lead to infection and harm their mouths. it can even be bothersome to their bellies.
 

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I agree. I have Flourite in one tank, which is near-identical to Eco-complete, and I had to remove the corys due to damage to their barbels and mouths from the roughness. They went into a sand substrate tank, and recovered wonderfully.

All my tanks are planted, and five of them have playsand for the substrate. Plants will grow very well in sand. You can see photos of some of them under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.

I also agree that the enriched substrates are not as useful with respect to plant growth as one might expect. Having both I can say that the plant growth in my sand tanks is just as good. You will still need to use liquid fertilizer once or twice a week, but that is sufficient.

Corys are fascinating little fish, but they will be best with sand. And in a good-sized group; you didn't mention the tank size, but no less than five. All one species is good, or you can mix species in which case I would try to have no less than 3 of each species. With all corys, the more the better.

And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:wave:

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
corys do best in sand. from what ive learned is tht you dont need that fancy eco-complete. some people will say yeah its awesome an some wont. im setting up a planted tank this weekend and im going with pool filter sand from ace hardware. 11.99 for 50lbs. its better for the cats cuz they dig in it looking for food and its not harsh on their barbels. gravel can cause harm to those and lead to infection and harm their mouths. it can even be bothersome to their bellies.
I just bought pool sand today! It's sooooo much cheaper than the sand they sell at Petsmart. I'm glad that I bought it. I'll have lots of excess so I'll probably keep it around just in case. Thanks for the tip! I want my cories to be happy and healthy.

I agree. I have Flourite in one tank, which is near-identical to Eco-complete, and I had to remove the corys due to damage to their barbels and mouths from the roughness. They went into a sand substrate tank, and recovered wonderfully.

All my tanks are planted, and five of them have playsand for the substrate. Plants will grow very well in sand. You can see photos of some of them under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.

I also agree that the enriched substrates are not as useful with respect to plant growth as one might expect. Having both I can say that the plant growth in my sand tanks is just as good. You will still need to use liquid fertilizer once or twice a week, but that is sufficient.

Corys are fascinating little fish, but they will be best with sand. And in a good-sized group; you didn't mention the tank size, but no less than five. All one species is good, or you can mix species in which case I would try to have no less than 3 of each species. With all corys, the more the better.

And, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:wave:

Byron.
Thanks for your advice as well! I haven't done much yet because I'm still kind of planning what I want to do. I'm starting out small because this is my first serious freshwater tank, so I have a 10G. I'm pretty set on having a school of neon tetras; someone told me I should also get cories. I'm pretty certain that schooling both would be too much for one tank [5-7 neons and 5 cories]. Now I'm thinking about maybe switching to a different combination of fish. Originally, I was going to do 5-7 neons and 3 cories.

Do you have a combination you recommend?

I really do love the cories. I think they're adorable. I'm not sure what species I want yet, but I figure I should stick with them because I already bought pool filter sand and I'd like to put that to good use.

Thanks for your plant advice! Your tanks look glorious. Seriously. I'm planning on starting out easy with plants like java ferns, amazon swords, aponogeton, and maybe wisteria. I'll definitely get fertilizer. I've also begun soaking a large chunk of mopani wood. Do you think those sort of plants would be ok in sand?

Thanks again and I'm happy to be here!
 

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for a 10 gallon tank, you'll definitely want a smaller species. Dwarf or Pygmy cories would be a good option, and as far as I know, you could do 5 or 6, which they'll be much happier with. Panda might also be an option, and i think trilineatus, since i know they're on the smaller side.

you'll certainly want to wait until after your tank is established though. cories are sensitive buggers and don't do well in a cycling tank :)

also i think your plants will do fine in sand :) as long as you have good fertilizers. you will probably want some root tabs for heavy root feeders like the swords!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
for a 10 gallon tank, you'll definitely want a smaller species. Dwarf or Pygmy cories would be a good option, and as far as I know, you could do 5 or 6, which they'll be much happier with. Panda might also be an option, and i think trilineatus, since i know they're on the smaller side.

you'll certainly want to wait until after your tank is established though. cories are sensitive buggers and don't do well in a cycling tank :)

also i think your plants will do fine in sand :) as long as you have good fertilizers. you will probably want some root tabs for heavy root feeders like the swords!
When you say smaller cories, do you mean to have just cories, or cories in addition to other fishies? I don't mind keeping just the cories if it means they'll thrive better that way. Thanks for the tips!

Oh and yes, I'm definitely going to wait on adding any sort of fish until the tank is well established =]
 

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A larger tank would work better for neons, but a 10g can work when planted and with good maintenance, so let's work with that.

Shoaling fish must have groups; they are "programmed" by nature to live in large groups of their own species and there are several aspects of their behaviour that can be centered around this. Without getting into all that here, suffice it to say that they must have several in order to be healthy. The number varies a bit with species.

Most tetra need 6 minimum, but again the more there are the better for the fish. With neon tetra I wold say 7-8 for your 10g. Check their profile [click the shaded name] for more info.

The pygmy cory is not that easy a fish, but still worth considering. Here you want more than 6, no less than 8-9. Check their profile. One of the larger species is also possible, a group of 5 can work in a 10g for those that remain under 2 inches.

We haven't discussed water parameters, and this is important for these fish which are soft water fish. What is your tap water GH (hardness) and pH?

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
A larger tank would work better for neons, but a 10g can work when planted and with good maintenance, so let's work with that.

Shoaling fish must have groups; they are "programmed" by nature to live in large groups of their own species and there are several aspects of their behaviour that can be centered around this. Without getting into all that here, suffice it to say that they must have several in order to be healthy. The number varies a bit with species.

Most tetra need 6 minimum, but again the more there are the better for the fish. With neon tetra I wold say 7-8 for your 10g. Check their profile [click the shaded name] for more info.

The pygmy cory is not that easy a fish, but still worth considering. Here you want more than 6, no less than 8-9. Check their profile. One of the larger species is also possible, a group of 5 can work in a 10g for those that remain under 2 inches.

We haven't discussed water parameters, and this is important for these fish which are soft water fish. What is your tap water GH (hardness) and pH?

Byron.
Pygmy cories seem to a little more complicated than I'm brave enough to take on-- they're so adorable though! I'm just worried that they may die if I do one tiny misstep. I've read that panda cories can stay relatively small too; would this be an ok substitute?

I actually don't know what my water hardness/PH level is. I haven't bought a test kit, as I am still setting up the tank. I also have a large piece of mopani wood [I'm soaking it right now to release the excess tannins, though I know that tetras and cories enjoy them] and I read that the wood actually lowers the PH and softens the water.

Thanks for your help!
 

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Pygmy cories seem to a little more complicated than I'm brave enough to take on-- they're so adorable though! I'm just worried that they may die if I do one tiny misstep. I've read that panda cories can stay relatively small too; would this be an ok substitute?

I actually don't know what my water hardness/PH level is. I haven't bought a test kit, as I am still setting up the tank. I also have a large piece of mopani wood [I'm soaking it right now to release the excess tannins, though I know that tetras and cories enjoy them] and I read that the wood actually lowers the PH and softens the water.

Thanks for your help!
Yes, panda corys tend to remain relatively small, and there are several similar species. Ironically, pandas are not that easy either, as it mentions in our profile, Corydoras panda.

You can ascertain the water GH and pH from your water supply folks, they probably have a website. If you can't make anything of their data, post the link and I will have a look. This is very important, as it is much easier, safer and more successful to select fish that manage in the source water than attempting to adjust the water chemistry to accommodate sensitive fish.

Wood does soften the water and simultaneously lower the pH but this is usually minimal. It all depends upon the initial GH and KH of the water, plus the amount of wood and the type of wood. And yes, tannins are harmless and actually beneficial, though most of us don't relish the stained water. But it is harmless.

When you come to a test kit, most of us here recommend the API liquid Master Combo. Test strips are less reliable, so a liquid test kit is better. And the API Master contains tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which is all you need. The Combo will be less expensive than buying individual kits for these things.

Byron.
 

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Yes, panda corys tend to remain relatively small, and there are several similar species. Ironically, pandas are not that easy either, as it mentions in our profile, Corydoras panda.

You can ascertain the water GH and pH from your water supply folks, they probably have a website. If you can't make anything of their data, post the link and I will have a look. This is very important, as it is much easier, safer and more successful to select fish that manage in the source water than attempting to adjust the water chemistry to accommodate sensitive fish.

Wood does soften the water and simultaneously lower the pH but this is usually minimal. It all depends upon the initial GH and KH of the water, plus the amount of wood and the type of wood. And yes, tannins are harmless and actually beneficial, though most of us don't relish the stained water. But it is harmless.

When you come to a test kit, most of us here recommend the API liquid Master Combo. Test strips are less reliable, so a liquid test kit is better. And the API Master contains tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate which is all you need. The Combo will be less expensive than buying individual kits for these things.

Byron.
Ok, so I need to do some more research, but I found out that my city has pretty hard water:

"Typically, drinking water averages about 15.4 grains per gallon (gr/gal), or 263 parts per million (ppm); and, depending upon water demand and the area of the City you live, can range from 13.4 to 19.0 gr/gal, or 229 to 325 ppm."

But I also have a pretty strong filtration system in my house; I'll leave the link here. I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but the site claims that it softens water.

I'm trying to find the pH, but I might just have to test to see what the pH is of our running tap water.

Thanks!
 

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Ok, so I need to do some more research, but I found out that my city has pretty hard water:

"Typically, drinking water averages about 15.4 grains per gallon (gr/gal), or 263 parts per million (ppm); and, depending upon water demand and the area of the City you live, can range from 13.4 to 19.0 gr/gal, or 229 to 325 ppm."

But I also have a pretty strong filtration system in my house; I'll leave the link here. I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but the site claims that it softens water.

I'm trying to find the pH, but I might just have to test to see what the pH is of our running tap water.

Thanks!
The link system seems pretty good. It would be worth it to have the water (after running through this) tested for GH. If you have a reliable fish store, they will often do tests for you. Just make sure to get the number, not "it's OK" or "hard" which tells us very little. Let the store test the pH too while they're at it. I wouldn't waste money on a GH test kit, you may only use it the once.
 
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