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Old 11-15-2012, 03:11 AM   #1
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Question New Aquarium Enthusiast; Questions Regarding Trili Cory

Hey there! Hopefully this is the right place to ask things like this; I'm in a new apartment without a computer, and my iPad is hard to thoroughly search the website with. So please, forgive me for any lines I may cross; I'm not doing it on purpose.

My questions are below; I just wanted to give a detailed account of what I'm working with first. This is my first time asking for advice, but I'm constantly searching forums trying to find answers to any questions I have. A lot of dull information follows; the good stuff will be colorful!

First off, my tank.:

* Tank: Generic 10 gallon
* Cover: Glass hinge top
* Light: Aqueon Reflector (full spectrum light)
* Filter: AquaClear Power Filter, 5-20 gallons
- Located on side of tank (tank rests against the wall in the back)
- Set to 20 gallons; strong current on one side of tank
* Heater: Top Fin 10 gallon heater
* Plants:
- 4 large silk
- 3 small plastic
- Water Wisteria (2 tall planted stalks already breaking surface, 3 floating)
- ??? Plant (long stalks from the base --tallest breaks the surface-- wide, flat leaves)
* Substrate
- Gravel/Sand blend
* Other Decorations
- 1 small cave
- 1 Buddha statue (bought at LSF; nonmetal; wood?)

I also have 2 5-gallon buckets (one always partially filled with water for the next water change, so it has time to settle after I add Aqueon Water Conditioner), API Leaf Zone plant food, a 1-gallon QT tank on standby, a small water vacuum and an API Master Freshwater Test Kit.

Water Parameters:
- Unknown hardness (dH)
- 78 Degrees (F)

(by date):
- 11/08/12: pH ~7.6 / Ammonia ~.5 / Nitrite X < .25 / Nitrate X < 5.0
This was the first day I bought my test kit and the day I added my plants. The tank had been cycling for approximately 3 weeks beforehand on its own.
- 11/10/12: pH ~7.6 / Ammonia ~.25 / Nitrite 0 / Nitrate X < 5.0
Added API Leaf Zone
-11/14/12: pH ~7.6 / Ammonia X < .5 / Nitrite 0 / Nitrate X < 5.0
25% water change AFTER test (first time in 1 week), added 3 young False Julii Corydoras

(!!! I know, I know, still too early, but come on: it's like telling a kid not to eat the candy in front of them and then leaving the room! I'm still learning impulse control when it comes to aquariums! !!!)

Also, the "iffy" numbers above are because my unpracticed eye is still learning to read the results off the color chart in the API test kit. "Well, it's definitely not as bright yellow as a result of 0 would be, BUT, it's not as dark as I think a definitive reading of .25 would appear. Erring on the side of caution, I'm going to assume it's at the high end of the range I've set."


So despite 3 weeks of research and preparing a tank for who-knows-what (I wanted to get it cycled first, and in the meantime have been plaguing Petco daily looking at what I might want to get and stalking forums to find what I CAN have) my good sense gave way to love. I was perusing the tanks as usual (and admiring 2 pacu the size of dinner plates the store had gotten in the day before as a "donation") when I noticed a few new residents, and HOLY-****-THEY-WERE-THE-CUTEST-FISH-EVER-I-MUST-HAVE-THEM! I called over my good buddy Fish Guy (see him several times a week, still don't know his name) and pointed to them, "What the hell are those?" Now, Fish Guy knows his fish; new as I am, we can chat for hours, and I bounce the information I find online about certain things and he clarifies them for me. He's retired EMS (I'm just getting into EMS) and loves fish so much he wanted to wanted to help other people with them and rejoined the job market. Right on.

ANYWAY, those cute little buggers turned out to be Trilineatus Cory Catfish, even though the tag said they were Juliis (he clarified this for me, and I reconfirmed it online by comparing pictures). I should have turned around and walked out --my tank is not yet done cycling, it still has maybe 1-2 weeks to go-- but then two of them were playing together at the front of the tank and it was like getting puppy eyes at the pound.

So yeah... I bought them. I am ashamed. But not so ashamed that I would take my new youngsters back. However, because the tank is still cycling, I wanted to get a better idea of what I can expect to see in the following days to better judge how they're adjusting to their new home.

Yay, we've finally gotten to the point!


QUESTIONS:

1. How do I tell between stress and mirroring in Corys? From what I've found, it seems that Cory owners are privy to a behavior called mirroring, in which the fish darts around like it's chasing its reflection (which is super freaking cute). I've owned bettas before (and learned proper care and keeping through trial-and-error, for which my fish paid the price) and so my first impression when I see a fish darting around on the glass is that they're in distress (not so cute).

I ask because of the 3 that I bought, the smallest (1/2" - 3/4") seems to be doing this. As someone who is paranoid about the health of their new fish (stupid, stupid, not done cycling! ) my first thought is, "Oh crap, he's freaking out." However, the other 2 (larger and more placid, though still not adult size) don't join "him". Or when they do, they don't do it for as long. The littlest reminds me of a puppy, off romping and playing on his own, because he was also the first to start exploring his new home and the first to start looking for food. He'll swim with the other 2 for a while, but then he seems to get bored and starts running up and down the glass. Which leads me to my next question...

2. Will the traces of ammonia still in the water affect the smallest first? This is another way of me asking if he's in distress or playing. Because of his smaller size, will he be the first to start showing signs of distress? The other 2 have about 1/2" on this guy at least. Or is it possible that he's like, "Yo, new tank? Cool! Let's cruise!" and it's the other 2 who I should be concerned about, who seem to have taken a more cautious approach toward their new home?

3. Should I, as a new aquarium owner, attempt to readjust my pH to more acceptable levels for my Corys? I know mine (7.6) is outside the suggested range for these fish. However, I find conflicting information in the forums about proper pH levels: some people stress keeping it in the middle ranges for whatever fish is being discussed, while others say that the QUALITY is of greater importance, and an inexperienced person attempting to change the levels can kill their fish.

My LFS where I got these guys is 2 blocks away; the water source is the same.

4. How much/often should I be feeding 3 Trili Cory who are less than 1" long, and what food can I buy to ensure they have a well-rounded diet? I currently have Hikari Sinking Pellets and Top Fin blood worms (which I can imagine are hard to try and sink). Having just put them in this afternoon I avoided feeding them too much (2 pinky nail-sized pellets) to see if they would even show interest in them. It took maybe 20 minutes of it dissolving before my trio discovered the pellet, and they've been picking experimentally at it for 1 hour. I know the rule of thumb is to take any uneaten food out after 20 minutes, but I just had to see for myself that they knew it was indeed food.

5. Water current. I have a filter that's rated for 5-20 gallons set to full right now. Will the extra current on one side of the tank disturb my Corys (it hasn't seemed to bother them as they explore their new home, but I would like to err on the side of caution)? I've been reading horror stories on other forums about how an aquarium's bottom-feeders die while the mid-to-top water swimmers were fine because of poor oxygenation and/or "bad" water that settled near the bottom. I've already made it a habit to vacuum the gravel and stir it some when I do 25% water changes; does this seem adequate enough to deter a potentially deadly build-up of toxins?


AND THE BIG QUESTION!!

6. Considering the size of my tank, the filter, and the exploding growth of my wisteria (I hope to be able to remove the fake plants in 2 months and have a densely planted tank instead, with a bunch of wisteria protecting my Corys from too much bright light), how many Corys can I expect to be able to keep without overstocking? Obviously I won't add any new fish now (not until my Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates are at 0, indefinitely) but in the future..? I don't want to push the tank too far, either: 90% is good enough for me. Or will 3 full-grown Corys be the maximum my tank can handle?








Sorry for the length! Sorry, sorry! I just want to be sure I'm doing this right and taking care of these cute little buggers! You don't have to answer everything; I would be grateful for even a litte feedback!
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josie View Post
Sorry for the length! Sorry, sorry! I just want to be sure I'm doing this right and taking care of these cute little buggers! You don't have to answer everything; I would be grateful for even a litte feedback!
Yeah that was a huge post. Maybe could have shortened it a touch.

What were you cycling your tank with?
If your worried about your water readings you can always post a pic of the test tubes on top on the white area of the card and someone will help you out.

Now that your fish are in you need to be doing a lot of water changes to keep up.
You really seem like you are getting it right though if your keeping ammonia bellow 0.25ppm. Are you reading any nitrites now?

Heres a hint for reading the charts just take some tap water from that bucket you are keeping and compare it with the reading from the tank. If its reading the same then either your tap water has ammonia or your just being overly pedantic about the tests.

You seem like you are doing all the right things though. Stress less :P
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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I sent you a thanks, but I'll respond here too. There's no excuse really for not being able to boil my post down, but I'm one of those detail-oriented people with a gift for writing. Putting those two together is like dosing a water wisteria with CO2; it just explodes out of proportion.

I was cycling my tank with some gravel "borrowed" from the LFS. Not from the tank you buy fish from; my Petco is unique in that they have 2 expert aquarists on hand (I know; I might be new, but I do my research, and I drilled these guys with questions for a week to see if they'd crumble) and a 50-gallon display tank to show new hobbyists what they can look forward to if they put in the time and effort.

In addition to the gravel, I've also been leaving just a few flakes of food in there (without fish; food breaks down, bacteria get yums yums). Until I got the test kit I was flying blind, but hopefully I'm doing right by it now.

Nitrites are the one test I can definitively say, "Yeah, that matches PERFECTLY." 0. Definitely 0.

And thanks for the advice about comparing the tests! I'll do that next time for sure. I would post pictures but I don't have a computer. It crashed and burned (literally: I said, "**** you computer," and took it out to the desert for a roast... not really).
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:06 PM   #4
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Sorry for the mound of text. If it makes it easier can someone please answer the question I have in bold (1-6)? I want to be certain I'm providing the best possible enviornment for my new Corys and that they're thriving in their new home. They seem happy --the 3 of them are always playing and searching for food together-- but I want to get ahead of any issues they might have now and in the future.

Having had them in there for a few days with no obvious issues (I did a 25% water change last night), I would like to see if they would get along with 1-2 more fish. But my big question --what sort of load I'm putting on my tank now and how many more fish it can handle-- remained unanswered. Well, all my questions remained unanswered, but it would be rude of me to start splitting hairs. Obedey's advice about the water test kit was killer; I'm going to try it later this morning when I test the water.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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1. I really don't have any answers for this. If the fish are foragin' on the bottom for food and otherwise behavin' normal, I doubt that the smallest one's behavior is due to the ammonia. However, see the next answer...

2. Larger fish will better handle toxicity in any form. That said, the difference in size in your cories is likely irrelevant for this issue. I would do daily partial water changes until your cycle is complete. I can not stress enough how toxic both ammonia and nitrites are. This is big, which I realize ya already know from yer post. However, it's big enough I am still goin' to harp on it a tad bit.

3. If yer fish are doin' well, no. IME, stable water parameters are more important than acheiving an exact, predetermined number. Hardness and high pH usually go hand in hand, so I would expect yer water is a bit on the hard side. Yer fish will do fine, but if ya ever decide to try to breed them ya may have some problems. Hard water can cause issues with egg-laying in species accustomed to softer water.

4. Some cories I've had like algae wafers as well, ya may consider adding them to the diet and see if the cories eat 'em. Other than that, I see nothin' wrong with yer feeding regimen.

5. I ignore the ratings on filters. IMO, "rated for 10 gallons" or "rated for 75 gallons" is useless. I know nothin' 'bout that particular filter. What is important is the gallons per hour (gph) flow rate, so figure what that is. I'd target 5 to 10 times the volume of the tank in gph. More isn't necessarily bad. Remember also, that most cories live in streams and rivers and don't mind a bit of current.

6. I'd consider 5 or 6 trilis in a 10, with no other tankmates, to be reasonable. A lotta folks rant and rave 'bout 10 gallons bein' inappropriate for anything but a single betta, and I'll cry "foul" on that. 10 gallons can be used for more, within reason. A while back there was a cool article on species tanks in TFH which showcased a 10 gallon tank with a small school of Corydoras sterbai.

Trilis are one of my favorite cories. Most people don't realize that most julliis offerd on the market are actually trilis, and that the true C. julii is not nearly as common. Kudos for learnin' the difference.

WYite
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyomingite
1. I really don't have any answers for this. If the fish are foragin' on the bottom for food and otherwise behavin' normal, I doubt that the smallest one's behavior is due to the ammonia. However, see the next answer...

2. Larger fish will better handle toxicity in any form. That said, the difference in size in your cories is likely irrelevant for this issue. I would do daily partial water changes until your cycle is complete. I can not stress enough how toxic both ammonia and nitrites are. This is big, which I realize ya already know from yer post. However, it's big enough I am still goin' to harp on it a tad bit.

3. If yer fish are doin' well, no. IME, stable water parameters are more important than acheiving an exact, predetermined number. Hardness and high pH usually go hand in hand, so I would expect yer water is a bit on the hard side. Yer fish will do fine, but if ya ever decide to try to breed them ya may have some problems. Hard water can cause issues with egg-laying in species accustomed to softer water.

4. Some cories I've had like algae wafers as well, ya may consider adding them to the diet and see if the cories eat 'em. Other than that, I see nothin' wrong with yer feeding regimen.

5. I ignore the ratings on filters. IMO, "rated for 10 gallons" or "rated for 75 gallons" is useless. I know nothin' 'bout that particular filter. What is important is the gallons per hour (gph) flow rate, so figure what that is. I'd target 5 to 10 times the volume of the tank in gph. More isn't necessarily bad. Remember also, that most cories live in streams and rivers and don't mind a bit of current.

6. I'd consider 5 or 6 trilis in a 10, with no other tankmates, to be reasonable. A lotta folks rant and rave 'bout 10 gallons bein' inappropriate for anything but a single betta, and I'll cry "foul" on that. 10 gallons can be used for more, within reason. A while back there was a cool article on species tanks in TFH which showcased a 10 gallon tank with a small school of Corydoras sterbai.

Trilis are one of my favorite cories. Most people don't realize that most julliis offerd on the market are actually trilis, and that the true C. julii is not nearly as common. Kudos for learnin' the difference.

WYite
Thanks a lot! Yeah: it's a pain doing the daily water changes to make up for putting them in too early, but you reap what you sow. Let me get the manual for the filter (I keep all documentation)... ah! I have the Model 20 AquaClear Power Filter (instead of cartidges it has 3 separate filterr components that you change at different times, so there's never a complete loss in whatever bacteria are inhabiting the filter). The manual says it pumps 100 gallons/hour at maximum (33 at minimum).

I would like to get some fish to fill the negative space at the top and in the middle of the tank, but my Corys happiness should be of greater concern. I think you've convinced me to get more Corys. They're so cute anyway, and maybe they'll do more free swimming if they have more friends.
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