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Retired Viking

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A few weeks ago I add a young albino catfish to my 55 gallon tank to be part of a clean up crew along with two golden mystery snails I already had in the tank. He seemed to be doing a pretty good job cleaning and kept to himself lying quietly on the bottom when not cleaning. I then read a article about catfish getting lonely by themselves. Not sure how you ask a catfish how he is doing;) but I did find out that they are a shoaling fish which I didn't know. So yesterday I bought another one. The two of them are now swimming together and even "dancing" around (may have a male and female) and seem very happy and very active together. :friends:
 
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fish48

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just 2 catfish can be happy living together although it is best to keep corydoras catfish in a group of 5 or more
 

Metalhead88

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And yes. If you have room....the more the merrier.

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Byron

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Agree with above posts. Corydoras are very social fish, almost if not just as much as are loaches, but in somewhat different ways. But the fish "expect" to be in large groups and it is actually unkind to not provide them with several of their own; you cannot see stress from something like this, until it has developed to the degree that the fish clearly show it, and we don't want that. Though with cories (but not loaches, just so no one gets the wrong idea) mixing species doesn't seem to bother them from what ichthyologists can ascertain. But never have fewer than five, and when the tank has the space as a 55g does, a much larger group will improve their health and "happiness." I agree with whomever suggested 12+. I had 50 in my 70g, and now have 40 in my 40g [had to downsize tanks when I moved].

This really is extremely important and crucial for the fish.

Another point concerns food. Cories cannot manage on "leftovers," and they must be fed the sinking foods to ensure their health. Shrimp pellets are particular favourites, but most good quality sinking food intended for bottom feeders will help. I use Omega one Shrimp Pellets, Omega One Veggie rounds (the added veggie matter is important for a healthy digestive system in all fish) and Bug Bites (these readily sink). Frozen bloodworms are relished, but should only be fed once a week as they can cause digestive problems. By "frozen" I mean fresh frozen and you thaw them out before feeding, as opposed to freeze dried which is best avoided.
 
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I will pick some food pellets up next time I go to the pet store, not sure on how many catfish I will buy but I will get a couple more. Right now I have 19 small tetras and two catfish. Trying to have a balanced tank for both fish and plants so I wasn't planning on more then 30 small fish. Currently have a under-gravel filter only, hoping to be able to have a tank where the fish and plants balance out like I read about on the net. Been watching the water quality very closely and so far so good. Didn't have a major ammonia spike due to all the plants and moss balls I started out with before adding fish.
 

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Can't remember what tetras you got but all mine are very (coff) enthusiastic feeders that take food from all levels. My pencilfish are the same - so in addition to the foods @Byron mentions my staple is NLS (new life spectrum) sinking pellets for small fish. These float for around 10-20 seconds and then sink slowly (so do the bug bites). That means everything in the tank gets to eat the same quality food rather than leftovers.

Similarly the characins are more than happy to lend a hand in dealing with the algae and shrimp pellets. I don't even feed flakes in this tank.
 
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I tried some floating pond fish pellets I feed to my turtles last night, The catfish seemed to love it. I was trying to feed my snails which started to go after my plants. The snails also loved it. I soaked the pellets until they are soft and squeeze the water out, that way they sink to the bottom. I will still check out the pet store for your suggestions the next time I go but this seems to cover me until then. Thank you all for the info.
 

Byron

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I will pick some food pellets up next time I go to the pet store, not sure on how many catfish I will buy but I will get a couple more. Right now I have 19 small tetras and two catfish. Trying to have a balanced tank for both fish and plants so I wasn't planning on more then 30 small fish. Currently have a under-gravel filter only, hoping to be able to have a tank where the fish and plants balance out like I read about on the net. Been watching the water quality very closely and so far so good. Didn't have a major ammonia spike due to all the plants and moss balls I started out with before adding fish.
I'm not understanding this balance issue. This is a 55g tank, and a group of 12-20 cories with groups of upper fish like tetras that number say 15 each, with three or four species, is well within the range of a planted tank. There is no point in worrying about balance if the poor fish are not in suitable numbers to be happy (another word for healthy). Fish have expectations and these must be met.
 
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I read about how to creating a balanced aquatic ecosystem. I am not going to do a totally closed system. Just trying to have the right number of plants and fish so I don't have to add chemicals for the plants to grow or have to do constant water changes for the fish. Just a heater, lights, air pump, under gravel filter and a backup filter if needed. But the way things are going I may just end up going back to a standard tank setup. Yes, I am concerned about the fish that is why I am trying to go slow. My goal is to have a basic low maintenance and to a degree self sustaining ecosystem. There are plenty of articles on-line if you are interested in finding out more.
 
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Byron

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I read about how to creating a balanced aquatic ecosystem. I am not going to do a totally closed system. Just trying to have the right number of plants and fish so I don't have to add chemicals for the plants to grow or have to do constant water changes for the fish. Just a heater, lights, air pump, under gravel filter and a backup filter if needed. But the way things are going I may just end up going back to a standard tank setup. Yes, I am concerned about the fish that is why I am trying to go slow. My goal is to have a basic low maintenance and to a degree self sustaining ecosystem. There are plenty of articles on-line if you are interested in finding out more.
Yes, I have gone into this myself. My confusion was in your not being willing to acquire a better sized group of a species that absolutely needs it. And in a 55g tank, putting 12 cories in with 45 upper fish is not going to even come close to trouble. And the fish will be healthier, which is the goal.

Self-sustaining ecosystem...you are already over the mark for this. I read some time back an article that referenced a well-planted 55g tank, being able to support six black neon tetras. No water changes; the plants can handle this.

Partial water changes are the primary maintenance; once weekly changes of at least half the tank, preferably 60-70%, and the fish will indeed thank you!
 
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Looking on line I find water changes of 20-30 % weekly seems to be the average from sites like Aquatics and Practical fishkeeping for a well stocked tank. Most sites state fewer fish means less water needs to be changed and not as often. Also the size of the tank makes a difference. Currently I do a 15-20 % weekly water change with 21 small fish. Several sites stated that every two weeks is fine with a planted tank depending on the number of fish and size of tank. Others talk about small daily changes and one talked about 90% weekly change. Some sites caution that changing too much water can cause shock or injury to fish. I had looked at maybe 20 sites or more before sitting up my tank. Don't get me wrong I appreciate your input, it just that there is a lot of info on-line saying different things.
 

Metalhead88

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Big water changes are absolutely the way to go. I do a little over 75% and that brings the water line down to some fishes back.

Doing larger water changes removes the most nitrates and other contaminants as possible.

It was common practice back in the day to do less than 25% because it was thought that it would alter the water and ph too much and shock the fish. This however is not true. If you are following a water change schedule and fill the tank with the same tap water, your water will remain the same.

I highly recommend doing 50% at the bare minimum. Your tank will look better and your fish will be healthier.

Theres a lot of old myths about fish keeping.....like 1 inch per fish. You'd never put a 55 inch fish in a 55 gallon.... Or 2 fish of 22.5 inches each....

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Of course should I increase the number of fish I will increase the % of water changed weekly. Having 57 fish by your count is more than I was thinking about. I started out buying 5 red eye then 5 ember and later 3 neon (wanted 6 but that is all the pet store had. Only bought the catfish and snails because I read about having a cleaning crew for a planted tank. I bought 5 ghost shrimp and had plan on more. Added 6 more neon and another cat to make them feel better and maybe I will add a couple more cats and red eye and embers so they feel good in the future. Back in the day when I had 6 aquariums going I worried about feeding and water care and the health of the fish not fish feelings. To be honest I don't think people thought of fish like they feel about dogs and cats as pets. I did have several fish I got attached to back then.
 

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