When A Cory Loses Its Barble...

twodoctors

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Some of my cories have lost their barbels, while others have very nice long pointy barbels. My first batch of 6 (bought nearly a year ago) looked fine (I think)but my newer batch (bought about 2 months ago) some are losing their barbels. Their breathing is a bit fast as well. They have been like that for a few weeks however. They are on sand substrate and looked clean enough. They get fed regularly with sinking pellets.

Is this an excuse to buy a hospital tank?! Even then would you just leave them in the hospital tank with no substrate, or add some medicine as well?

Adrian
 

minnnt

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Clear bottom tanks will leave them open to disease if they have damaged barbels as food/waste settles with no where for it to go. :/

Plenty of decent sized water changes should fix them up pretty well mate.
 

Harlequins

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+1 Waterchanges, keep the sand clean and water quality good,they should slowly grow back,has long has there's no redness around the barbel ends/mouth they should be ok :)
 
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twodoctors

twodoctors

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Damm... was hoping to have found an excuse to get a spare tank! :p Was hoping I can put them in there for a few weeks while the barbel grows back.

Water is pristine. Sand fairly clean (as far as I can see). Will do some water change tomorrow.

Adrian
 

CezzaXV

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I could clean my sand on the hour every hour and it would never be clean for more than 5 minutes. This is with only half my planned stocking too.
 

This Old Spouse

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I could clean my sand on the hour every hour and it would never be clean for more than 5 minutes. This is with only half my planned stocking too.

Why don't you get yourself a powerhead? Then you can keep the water current active enough so the filter will pick up the poo. I honestly don't have a poo problem anymore since I did that (and, well, rehomed the pleco poo machine!).
 

This Old Spouse

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I just found this doing some research:

According toskepticalaquarist.com, the erosion could have a bacterial, fungal, diet, or even water chemistry cause.

Unfortunately, that makes it hard to help you pin down what's causing your cories to get injured.

Quote:Barbel erosion. Generally Cories are among the least demanding fishes. One problem with keeping Cories under imperfect conditions, however, is that their barbels may erode. The ineradicable folk tradition has long been that the barbels were being "worn away" by sharp gravel. I think that a fish that was prone to suffer this way could only evolve in habitats with very fine silty bottoms, and that consequently it would have a limited distribution, whereas every stream catchment area throughout wide stretches of theAmazon-Orinoco basin has its own Corydoras species— and often two of them, co-existing side by side. How could any organism evolve so delicately mis-tuned to the varying sands and gravels of its streambed environments and yet be successful over such a wide area? If you think some streambed gravels are rounder than others, keep a 10x loupe by you and check out all the streambed gravels you can find.

Some Cory keepers feel that barbel erosion is more likely due to bacterial/fungal attack, and that it may be reversed when water conditions are improved. One mention of bacterial barbel erosion, in C. concolor, is in an article by Allen James (ofwww.scotcat.com) archived among "Catfish of the Month (April 2000) atwww.planetcatfish.com.

Cathy Quinones posted at rec.aquaria, 3 June 1994, that her C. julii lost their barbels but regained them when their diet was improved (with tubifex); seehttp://www.thekrib.com/Fish/corydorus.html.

Bacterial infections are generally secondary. The primary culprits in barbel erosion may be skin flukes. A report of barbel "detachment" in ictalurid cats being aquacultured, which is ascribed to necrosis from gyrodactylus (fluke) infestation, is mentioned in a Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management white paper. Could these parasitic trematodes be an issue in Corydoras barbel erosion also?
My own experience suggests that barbel erosion might be related to long-term elevatednitrate levels. Some of my C. schwartzi have experienced eroded barbels when nitrates remained about 40 PPM. Is there a connection here?

Almost like an answer to these concerns, RTR posted at AquariaCentral, 30 Aug 2001:

"This particular myth has been around almost as long as I've been keeping fish, and it refuses to die.

"One of my favorite test tanks used crushed glass substrate (not kiln-softened) and a school of C. arcuatus corys (personal favorites) with fractured glass slab "rockwork". A part of the same shipment of corys went into a nearby planted tank with which I had been having problems with a high-organic substrate. After just a few months, guess which tank had barbel erosion? And a few weeks after unifying the schools, guess who started recoving their injured barbels while living over crushed glass? I had in the past experienced occasional barbel problems in corys (and Brochis-- they are more sensitive IME), and always had credited it to maintenance, and was able to clear it with good tank upkeep. That fact and loss of dwarf cichlids kept in organic-substrate tanks cured me of ever having a high organic substrate again. That problem tank was the last, and I'll never have such again.

"I don't use the crushed glass any more either. I really just set it for a temp tank for the test. In the year+ it operated, I had no problems with it, except that it grew algae. I do have some crushed black glass substrate, but it has been kiln-softened to round the sharp edges.

"Corys in the wild live over a wide variety of sustrates, from silt/mud to rocks, and they are adapted to substrate digging. You would expect some abrasion of the barbels over anything but fibrous peat (as used for killies), but if the substrate is clean, they will not suffer the secondary infections they will over polluted substrates. The secondary infections are what erode the barbels, just like fin rot does for the unpaired fins of free-swimming fish.

"They do prefer more sandy substrates, and will dig more freely in soft sand than in gravel by a wide margin. But they can be kept over either without damage, so long as it is clean, and they can suffer erosion over either if they are not."

 

CezzaXV

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I could clean my sand on the hour every hour and it would never be clean for more than 5 minutes. This is with only half my planned stocking too.

Why don't you get yourself a powerhead? Then you can keep the water current active enough so the filter will pick up the poo. I honestly don't have a poo problem anymore since I did that (and, well, rehomed the pleco poo machine!).

At the moment I've actually got my filter turned down as some of my fish seemed to be struggling to get to the far side of the tank where the filter output was aiming, though maybe that was my imagination. My eventual plan is to have a betta in this tank, which I know don't do well with fast-moving waters.

I've got a triangle scape going on, so one side of the tank is quite densely planted but the other side is just sand. The intake is amongst the plants which hopefully keeps a bit of flow going where it might otherwise be a bit dead, but there are some coconut caves which kinda block off the entrance to the planty bit (the fish have to swim over them to get in there), which would probably be blocking of poo flow.

Obviously it's not great to have poop lying around, but as long as the ammonia is dealt with (which it is), is it really a big problem apart from being unsightly? Either way, it's festering either on my sand or in my filter.

I've not got around to sorting out a "maintenance schedule" yet, but I'm thinking twice weekly 10L water changes (my final stocking plan is a teeny bit on the overstocked side), and will suck up as much poop as I can from the open area while I'm doing this.
 

This Old Spouse

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That should work, so long as you're willing to do all that. One thing I used to do when I had my pleco poo machine was to take a turkey baster every day and suck up the poo. I'd hang an old net over the water so I wouldn't be losing any water while still removing the massive amounts of poo that pleco would produce. It seemed to help quite a bit.

Can you update your signature so we can see what all you have?
 

CezzaXV

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It is done :)

Good idea about the turkey baster, I hadn't thought of that. 10L is the size of one bucket, so it's a pretty manageable water change to do. As much as I'd love a big tank, I'm not sure I'd have the patience to do the water changes - even a "small" one would be too much for me!

Here's a clicky picture for you TOS, I'm pretty sure now my cories are trilineatus, but maybe you can shed your expert cory light on it :p

 
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twodoctors

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I do have some poo on the sand. I'm not sure whether it's the poo or the water quality as not all my cories have short barbels. In fact most have long and sharp barbels, and only maybe 2-3 out of 8 have short barbels/stubble. They have been in the tank for a fair while and nothing much as changed.

An interesting letter appeared in either this or last months Practical Fishkeeping. Someone asked how one is supposed to vacuum a heavily planted tank. The answer was you don't, the poo acts like a fertiliser for the plants and one only need to clean up the bits one can see. Maybe cories are not suited in a planted tank?

My filter is mature, water parameters are fine. No nitrate because of all the plants. I guess I'll just have to "tell" my wife that I need to buy a hospital tank to save those fishes!

Adrian
 
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twodoctors

twodoctors

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BTW thanks to TOS for the articles. My "healthy" cories have barbels long like the ones in your pic. My "poorly" ones have barbels about 1/3 the lenght however.

Adrian
 

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