CoryCatastrophe

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Hi all,
New to this forum. I've had a betta for about two years and recently decided to expand into cories. My local tropical fish store is run by hobbyists and has high reviews, so I decided to trust them when I bought two pepper and one albino cory to accompany my betta in my 10 gallon tank. They told me that they're happy in groups of three, and that I could do different variations. Sadly, further research and actual observation has definitely revealed otherwise. The peppered corys settled in very nicely (my betta hasn't shown any animosity toward them!) but the albino did not - After some research, I purchased two more albinos, but a week in to getting them, my heater spontaneously failed. The temperature dipped to 69F leading to the death of one of the new albinos from what appeared to be dropsy. After buying a new heater and digital thermometer, I did two rounds of kanaplex in the tank to cure the remaining new albino of his own dropsy. He recovered, and it seemed like things were getting better. The remaining two albinos were generally active, the betta was fine, but the two peppered cories spent most of their time hiding in one of the caves in my tank. I saw that they would come out to eat once the lights went out and most everyone in the house was in bed, so I decided to give them time. Its been about three weeks since this has all happened, and over the last week the albino cories have begun to join the peppers in the cave. They also stopped their activity unless its time to eat and now spend most of their time on the gravel panting. From what I can tell, they have no visual signs of parasites or wounds and their barbells are in tact, and I've obsessively been checking my water quality and it seems to be good. My pH is a bit high at 7.6, temp fluctuates between 75-79, nitrates/nitrite is 0, GH and KH are at 120 ppm, and I do 25% water changes weekly, conditioning with Prime each time and using a gravel vacuum. I feed them Hikari sinking wafers and every couple days supplement with Bug Bites chichlid formula. I'm very hesitant about getting more fish since these guys aren't doing well, but I also know I should have at least three of each type, so I'm uncertain what to do about that. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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A few pictures - I'm wondering if one of the albinos might be bloated?
 

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Rocky998

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Well I see multiple issues.
In that small of a tank I would not be mixing different species of corydoras. Get maybe 5 small corydoras. The pepper cories were a good choice, just not in the right numbers. Three is on the absolute of the absolute minimum. I usually recommend 6 corydoras but sense your tank is only 10g, I'd just do 5.

Also the substrate... These fish are sifters and like sand to dig around in and to move through their gills to find food (I call it filter feeding even though its not considered filter feeding). Large gravel like that can cause issues to where the barbs get caught or they literally get so badly damaged they fall off. In nature they have really fine sand and silt.

Others can chime in to help with disease and add onto what I have said...
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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Hi Rocky, thanks for your reply. I read about the sand but the people at the local fish store assured me my current gravel was smooth enough. I've never had sand in the tank and I've seen a lot of things about its difficulty cleaning - is there an alternative to sand you would recommend? Or if not, do you have any advice on changing out the substrate to sand?
Also, I'm definitely super worried about adding more fish to the tank, and was misinformed when I got two different types of cories. Now that I have albinos and peppers, do I need to get 5 of each type? and of course then, do I need to just get a bigger tank?
Thanks for the help - the people at my local fish store have been fielding all my questions and putting up with me coming in pretty regularly for advice. I feel like I've been lied to by them :(
 

Rocky998

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Hi Rocky, thanks for your reply. I read about the sand but the people at the local fish store assured me my current gravel was smooth enough. I've never had sand in the tank and I've seen a lot of things about its difficulty cleaning - is there an alternative to sand you would recommend? Or if not, do you have any advice on changing out the substrate to sand?
Also, I'm definitely super worried about adding more fish to the tank, and was misinformed when I got two different types of cories. Now that I have albinos and peppers, do I need to get 5 of each type? and of course then, do I need to just get a bigger tank?
Thanks for the help - the people at my local fish store have been fielding all my questions and putting up with me coming in pretty regularly for advice. I feel like I've been lied to by them :(
Shops are there to make sales. Honest ones will truthfully help. The only piece of advice that was semi good was getting three cories... Even that was a little bad.
Don't get five of each... I would trade in one of the species and get more of the other kind... Upgrading the tank size is always and a great option but only if you have the funds and space.

Honestly for the cleaning of sand it is VERY easy... I thought it would be hard but after the first 2-3 times your a boss at it. All it takes is clamping the hose if sand starts to go up the siphon... But sand is actually easier to clean... Most all the build up of rotting stuff just lays on top instead of gravel where it gets lodged in.
And changing out the substrate will be cheap. Just get a bag of playsand. Quikrete sells some that lots of members here use and is what I will be getting as well. You can get 50lbs for under $10.

Going back to the subject of tank size. If you are able, a bigger tank is always better. Offers more territories and the water doesn't get polluted as quick. But if you can't upgrade, just change out the substrate and add plants. Then find other homes for the albino corydoras as it is harder to find a species match to them and they are bigger than the peppered cories. Then get your tank properly cycled to add more fish.
You probably didn't cycle your aquarium by the sound of it. Do you have a test kit? Preferably a liquid one like the API master test kit. That's the most accurate one sold in the U.S. Lasts a long time. If you get readings of ammonia or nitrite over 0, yes 0, you need to do a water change of over 50%.
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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My tank is fully planted right now (all the plants in the picture are real) and when the temperature dropped I had to go through a mini cycle. I've been using test strips to monitor my nitrates/nitrites and bringing my water in to get tested weekly to make sure I'm not missing anything. They've been at zero for a few weeks. Any advice on rehoming the albinos? I'm uncertain the best way to go about that
I read that I should be careful about removing the bacteria if I switch out the substrate.
 

Rocky998

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My tank is fully planted right now (all the plants in the picture are real) and when the temperature dropped I had to go through a mini cycle. I've been using test strips to monitor my nitrates/nitrites and bringing my water in weekly to make sure I'm not missing anything. They've been at zero for a few weeks. Any advice on rehoming the albinos? I'm uncertain the best way to go about that
I read that I should be careful about removing the bacteria if I switch out the substrate.
Could we see a photo of the entire tank? I bet you could still use some more plants in the tank... I know mine does 😅.
Test strips are not that accurate. Again, I recommend the API freshwater master test kit. Its heavily priced upfront but its actually cheaper in the long run if you keep buying strip tests. They're usually sold at a price of $30-$40. But they'll last you a long time.

As for rehoming the corydoras. Talk with your local pet stores that sell fish. They could take them in for store credit or cash. Or maybe they only accept donations... That's the first place I'd go to. Other options include listing them locally but I'm not sure if that's a great idea...

Yes there would be a bit of bacteria loss BUT there is bacteria (of the nitrifying kind) on the plants, on the glass, on rocks, wood, filter media, and any other surface area in the water.

So yoh will probably go through a mini cycle if you upgrade the tank or switch the sand out...
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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For sure! I attached a few different views of the tank. I circled the little cave areas that the fish like to hang out in. The only fake plants are two leaves suction cupped to the wall for my betta to hang out on!
 

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CoryCatastrophe

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I'll talk to my local fish store about rehoming the albinos! I can't afford to completely upgrade the tank size right now, but I will definitely switch out the substrate and get an API freshwater testing kit. Any ideas why the albinos might be looking bloated? I'd hate to put them through the stress of rehoming if they're not feeling well.
 

Rocky998

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So it looks fairly good! I like all the plants in there. But the substrate is the only serious issue I can see by just looking at the tank.
I'll talk to my local fish store about rehoming the albinos! I can't afford to completely upgrade the tank size right now, but I will definitely switch out the substrate and get an API freshwater testing kit. Any ideas why the albinos might be looking bloated? I'd hate to put them through the stress of rehoming if they're not feeling well.
It could be a number of things really... I can't give any firm diagnosis. But their not healthy when their like that, that's for sure.
Sounds good man! I really hope the local pet store accepts them and your tank turns out well. I'm sorry that you've had a hard time with your aquarium... Their supposed to be calming not stressing lol
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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I was going to try feeding them a pea to see if that helps! Should I maybe decrease the food level too? I put four Hikari pellets in at morning and four at night, one for each catfish...
 

Rocky998

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That would be a good idea but put in more than 4 cause they don't know how to share like: "Oh one for each" 😂
 
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CoryCatastrophe

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very true. The guy that’s most swollen is always eating… honestly do you think he could just be overweight?
 

Rocky998

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Or just feed them every other day with their normal food but feed them a skinless boiled pea on the other days
 

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