Thanks for clicking on my introduction thread. Warning: I talk a LOT.
First, about me. I'm 21 and a non-drinker, non-smoker. I was in the Navy for 2 years and got out early to pursue my REAL goal: to become a paramedic. I'm currently enrolled at San Diego's EMSTA College, a specialized, highly-recognized training facility for emergency healthcare professionals. Right now I'm just there for my EMT-Basic; I fully intend to return for my Paramedic licensing. After that I'm debating moving to another state, because while I love California I find myself beckoned by the colder Northern climates (I know; crazy, giving up 365-Summer for snow). I have family in Minnesota; maybe I'll go there and become a flight medic. A girl can dream.
Onward, to my fishies!
You can find my tank's stats in my profile (and in another thread I posted asking questions about Corys; got ahead of myself before even making an introduction), but I'll do a quick rundown here too.
So I've got your standard 10-gallon with a filter rated for 5-20 gallons (set at maximum; fish don't seem to mind the extra current on one side of the tank) and a Top Fin vertical heater set to 78 degrees (tape thermometer on glass confirms this is what it's at). I've got a sand-gravel mix as I transition towards pure sand. Half my tank is silk plants and half is live plants (eventually no silk; I want the live plants to pretty much overrun the tank) with a small rock cave in the middle towards the back. pH is 7.6 with unknown hardness, ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are <.25/0/<5.
I have 3 juvenile Trili Corys. 2 are approximately 1-1/4" long and the third is 3/4" long. The smallest is paler (more like pale sand than the others' warmer brown) with dark irises compared to the golden irises of the other 2. So far they seem happy --they play all day long when they're not vacuuming for food-- but I want to be sure I'm doing right by them. Hence joining Aquarium Advice.
These are the first community fish I've ever owned; I used to keep a smaller setup (6-gallon Fluval Chi) for my betta. But my betta passed and I decided to upgrade just a little, getting my feet wet before I take the plunge into bigger tanks.
1. My fish are not at adult size yet (I don't think; I thought they were supposed to reach 2 - 2 1/2"), and I'd assume I should not be feeding these 3 like they are. Adjusted for their size, how many Hikari Bottom Feeder wafers should I be feeding them daily? The wafers I have are about as large as my pinky nail dry, but they swell up and break down quickly in the water. Right now I break them up into smaller pieces and feed 2 wafers in the morning and 2 at night, always in the same spot in the tank (I got rid of all the gravel right here so it's just sand when they feed).
2. 20 minutes. 20 minutes is the suggested amount of time the wafers should remain in the water, according to the packet they come in. However, it takes 20 minutes of searching the bottom of the tank for my Corys to stumble across them, and then they still don't gobble them up. Instead they pick at the wafer pieces for 10-15 seconds and then go, "Oh, I'm good." and go back to searching for food elsewhere. Do they not like the wafers? What other foods should I try that will sink easily? Should I remain true to the 20 minutes and take the food out after, even if they haven't found it yet?
3. Other fish. Adjusting for their adult size and the setup, can I keep more (small) fish and not overstock the tank? I would like a strong mid- to top-water swimmer that wouldn't mind a moderately strong current. I'd almost prefer one fish that got to 2-3", but 3-6 little guys would probably be better. They would have to be peaceful and unlikely to stress my little Corys out. If 3 Trili Corys are the most I can keep in a 10-gallon I'll understand: I'd rather they be happy and healthy than make them sick for my own amusement.
4. The differences between my Corys. While two are so similar they could pass for twins, the third (and smallest) easily stands out. I described "him" (not sure on the gender; it's just easier to refer to it that way) above. Do Corys experience sexual dimorphism, and is the smaller, paler one a male? Or is it because he's younger, and will bulk and and grow darker with age? I don't think he's another species that was put into the wrong tank: his markings are the same, that reticulated dot pattern you would expect to see in Trilis versus Juliis.
THANKS A MILLION!!