Pygmy Cory: helps keep substrate clean? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Pygmy Cory: helps keep substrate clean?

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), 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.

Any ideas?

edit: also will a cory school eat fry?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Btw I have this substrate

Eco-Complete Planted

The "Planted Black (0.25 - 7mm)" ie. not the finest version.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-02-2013, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Sounds like a gorgeous tank!

I've had pandas in my 20g for a few months now, and I notice a definite improvement in the look of the sand. They're very industrious; if they're awake, they're sifting through the substrate. I still need to vacuum, but it's just fish poo I worry about now, as the cories take care of all the uneaten food. As far as I remember, they're not a heavy bioload, so a school of six (more is better-- I'm currently trying to up my school to nine or ten) shouldn't be a problem, especially if your tank is heavily planted. They've also never bothered my livebearer fry. They're omnivores, but their mouths are teeny tiny and they're not aggressive in the slightest.

My only concern would be the gravel. Cories have sensitive barbels, and anything rough or gritty could damage them. It's hard to tell from the picture on Caribsea's site, but is your substrate rough and chunky, or does it feel rounded and smooth? They're also very sensitive to changes in water parameters and easily stressed, so you'd really need to drip acclimate them, or you're likely to lose half of the fish you add. I know from unhappy experience; I took a couple hours acclimating my first bunch, and it still wasn't slow enough. I'd keep the tank lights off for the first day or so, too.

They are adorable once they get settled, though. I originally got mine to serve as a clean-up crew, and now they've ended up stealing the show from my other fish.
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