Heart Broken and Confused

Lily781

New Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
Location
Clifton, NJ
I just got a new 10 gal. aquarium about 3 weeks ago. After reading many blogs I purchase the Master test kit and all the other recommended maintenance items. Well, Thursday I tested my water and saw I had high Ammonia. I did my first water change using the siphon. I was incredibly nervous to suck up or injure a fish. But I managed to do a 25 to 30% change with no issues.

The next day I tested again, and the ammonia only dropped slightly. I then decided I needed to do another water change, this time 50%.

This time around I removed most of the decor so I could really get in there and see what I’m doing. Everything was good, I kept counting my little guys. I then continued to replace the decorations & refill after some time. About an hour later I check in and do my count and one of my Cory’s is missing. I’m in a panic.

I’ve emptied out the tank again, took out the decorations. Checked the hallow ones, nothing! I’ve moved around the gravel, nothing. My fish tank is also covered.. how did he go missing, did I kill or bury the little guys without realizing? I’m truly heart broken and feel so bad!

I don’t understand how there’s no trace!
 

Metalhead88

Fish Addict
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
887
Reaction score
550
Is there any way you may have sucked him up?

How tight does your lid fit? Corydora aren't really known to jump but I guess it isn't impossible.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
2,974
Location
UK
It's unlikely you sucked up a cory unless your syphon is huge and the cory tiny. I don't think you could bury one if you tried either, cories are bottom dwellers who are strong enough to push their way through some gravel, and they play in sand for fun. Check the filter and double and triple check your cory count. Fish are good at hiding and most of us have 'lost' a fish or two, only to spot them hours or even days later. Check behind the heater, filter, airstone, any decor.

If you're nervous about gravel vac-ing, watch this video to learn the techniques, including how to pause the flow of the syphon as you move it from spot to spot. Cory here pauses by crimping the tube, but I find it easier to just hold my thumb over the bucket end of the tube. Aquarium co op is a great and respected resource for learning all sorts of things too.

I have fish fry and tiny baby shrimp that do sometimes take a trip through the tube since they're so tiny and hard to avoid even when you try hard to, but I syphon into white buckets so I can check the water carefully for anything that took a joyride. That might give you peace of mind if you're really worried about sucking one up. Mine have all been netted out of the bucket and back into the tank with no obvious ill effects. :) You can always get a smaller syphon if you feel it goes too fast as well, but it is important to clean the substrate, so don't give up on it! Just need to build your confidence.
 
OP
L

Lily781

New Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
Location
Clifton, NJ
My siphon is teenie, and I checked just in case. Nothing.
New Update: my other Cory is now struggling not to float. My ammonia has barely dropped despite two water changes. What to do? My Corys are my favorite! I’m trying to save them!

PH:7.5
Ammonia: .50
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Temp: 80

they were behaving perfectly fine before I changed the water.
 
Last edited:

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
2,974
Location
UK
too hot for cories, turn the temp down to 76 and let it gradually lower.

Do a 75% water change because that ammonia is way too high. Make sure to use water conditioner, and match the water temp to what the tank is currently. Don't be tempted to use cooler water to cool the tank faster, since a drastic temp change like that can put the fish into shock and kill them. Always best to let temps change gradually.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
2,974
Location
UK
Do that water change first, then please come back and answer these questions so that people can give you better advice :) But water change first!

Tank size:
pH:
ammonia:
nitrite:
nitrate:
kH:
gH:
tank temp:

Fish Symptoms (include full description including lesion, color, location, fish behavior):

Volume and Frequency of water changes:

Chemical Additives or Media in your tank:

Tank inhabitants:

Recent additions to your tank (living or decoration):

Exposure to chemicals:

Digital photo (include if possible):
 

Flushable Pets

Fish Crazy
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
214
Reaction score
532
Location
Ohio
It does not sound like your tank is fully cycled, it usually takes 5-6 weeks. Did you add a bacteria support like Tetra Safe Start ?
That was my first thought, especially after only 3 weeks and their parameters.

Also, you might want to test your local water. I've heard about folks having excess ammonia in their tap water.

What fish do you have in your 10 gallon? You're pretty limited on your stocking options with a 10 gallon and most species of corys are not suitable for a tank that small, especially considering they do best in large groups. Overstocking and not fully cycling their tanks seem to be the two biggest offenses with new keepers.

Edit: is this the column tank you mentioned in your siphon post? What are the footprint dimensions?
 
Last edited:
OP
L

Lily781

New Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
Location
Clifton, NJ
Hello all, yes this is my column tank.

I thought my tank was cycled, but now I tend to agree that perhaps it wasn't.

@AdoraBelle Dearheart , thank you for checking in.

Last night, I lowered the temperature, did another water change, bought and added API Quick Start and Ammo lock. After originally lying on his back, My second cory seemed to come back to life. Unfortunately he went back to in and out. My other fish today seemed extra active but the Corys, not so much. He's still hanging on though..
I performed tonight another water change. The ammonia dropped a bit, but i still have a bit to go.

To @Flushable Pets , to answer your question about the fish, I have the 3 corys (now 2), 3 harlequins, 3 Neons, & Betta.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
2,974
Location
UK
Hello all, yes this is my column tank.

I thought my tank was cycled, but now I tend to agree that perhaps it wasn't.

@AdoraBelle Dearheart , thank you for checking in.

Last night, I lowered the temperature, did another water change, bought and added API Quick Start and Ammo lock. After originally lying on his back, My second cory seemed to come back to life. Unfortunately he went back to in and out. My other fish today seemed extra active but the Corys, not so much. He's still hanging on though..
I performed tonight another water change. The ammonia dropped a bit, but i still have a bit to go.

To @Flushable Pets , to answer your question about the fish, I have the 3 corys (now 2), 3 harlequins, 3 Neons, & Betta.
I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but your tank isn't suitable for any of these fish. I'm imagining you were given advice about cycling and what fish to put in your tank by a fish store? If so, it's not your fault. The first hard lesson many people learn in this hobby is not to take the advice from the fish store that's trying to sell you fish, unfortunately. You really need to do your own research into what care requirements are for the fish you want to keep before buying them.

Keep on top of the water changes while it finishes cycling, but then please, please do some research on what tank requirements are for the species you have.

In fishkeeping, we talk about the volume of a tank a lot, and it is important. But even more important in most cases - especially in bottom dwelling species like cories and schooling species like harlequins and neons - is footprint. Meaning how large the base of the tank is, how much space they have to move around. 10 gallons is already on the small side for most cory and schooling species, but when most of that space is vertical, it's useless to them. Most fish need the horizontal swimming space. There's a good reason the rectangular shaped tanks are still the standard across the hobby - it's because it's the shape that works best for most species of fish we want to keep. Column and hex tanks look cool, but when you find out how few fish would really feel happy and thrive in them, most of us stick with the normal square or rectangle shapes.

The betta fish (and cories to some extent, but not as much) uses an organ to breathe air from the surface sometimes, as well as taking in oxygen from the water. But bettas also tend to rest a lot, often on the bottom if there are no large leaved plants near the surface for them to rest on. Getting from the bottom to the top in a column tank is a lot of work for a betta, thanks to the big fins we bred them to have, so very tall tanks really don't work for them. Bettas are also fiercely territorial and live alone in the wild, they really should be kept alone and not with other fish.

Then there's the fact that harlequins, neons and cories are schooling species, which means they need a group of the same species living with them, and the minimum amount for each species is six of them, for them to form a little school. More is obviously better. Since they swim in huge schools in the thousands in the wild, keeping them in twos or threes doesn't seem right, you know? They feel safer when they're in a group, so a neon on it's own or just three of them will feel unsafe and tend to try to hide away more, and not show the schooling behaviour we love them for.

But if you bump up the school numbers so you have six cories, six neons and six rasboras, you'd be overstocked in even a normal ten gallon tank, let alone a column. What species of cory do you have? Some get much larger than others, and would have different minimum tank size requirements. If you're not sure, you can upload a photo of the cories and people here can ID them.

But the bad news is that with this tank, even once it's fully cycled, you're still going to have problems with the stocking you have. And the betta already has fin rot? I'd highly recommend you search online second hand trade places for a decently sized rectangular tank, you can get some bargains if you look carefully, and with your current stock, I'd say no less than 20 gallons so you can give them proper schools, depending on the cory species.

If you really don't want to/can't get a different tank, then sadly, you need to consider returning or rehoming the fish you have now, and researching what fish could work in the column tank. There are a few oddball species like pencilfish that could work, and @Byron is very knowledgeable about species that could work, but a ten gallon column tank does limit you a great deal. But the welfare of the fish has to come first, I'm sure you agree, can tell how much you love the cories already, and know you'd want the best for them. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and that you were given such bad advice. :(
 

trending

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Top