corydoras and gravel/sand

All posts regarding the care and breeding of these catfishes from South America.
P.C. Hasselgreen
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corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by P.C. Hasselgreen »

The discussion about what the Cory need or prefer when it comes to subrate has been full of fire for many years.
Mostly it seems that evrybody agree on fine sand, and that sharper gravel is deadly.
I have often asked myself if the fish really are so stupid that they time after time cut themself in the same tank.
When I post in different fora asking if someone has actually tried different substrates, not just read about it "somewhere", it gets rather quiet.
Here is a nice video I found on the net, and I found it very interesting.
I would not be surprised if the germans who made it are members of this forum. If so I would love to hear more from them about substrates and Corydoras.
Here´s the link. Enjoy.

http://en.aquanet.tv/Video/225-soft-bar ... substrates

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by Supercorygirl »

I'm not one of the Germans but IME yes they are dumb enough to wear off their barbels and even snout by constantly digging in the substrate. When I first got into the hobby I kept albinos, aenus and peppered with many casualitys to them rubbing themselves completely raw on gravel. This was back when I listened to workers (pj pets with no actual experience) who said it was fine to keep them on gravel. The gravel was fairly rounded clown puke colored. This continued till I wised up and joined a fish forum who explained what was really happening and I switched to sand.
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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by 2wheelsx2 »

I have had cories in gravel and in sand. They do better in sand, but in my experience, they do fine in gravel also and only seem to get barbel erosion if the substrate is very dirty. Since I have upped the flow and filtration very significantly in my 125 gallon tank, I have all kinds of cories in there without barbel problems. Having said that though, I do get the odd one which gets injured, so I would say if you had a choice, choose sand.

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by P.C. Hasselgreen »

I too think in general that the advice to give for now is sand or rounded gravel as it seems to perhaps make them less vulnerable to poor water conditions, but I also think that the "horror" of sharper sand seems very overrated, much like the "scary Piranjas" :)
i think I´m going to check different kinds of gravel out.
I think the observations made by ze germans tells me that the fish aren´t as stupid as I look.

More input is welcome, too.

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by CoryfanAad »

Link doesn't work I am afraid.
Can tell Germans are "serious" corykeepers with a lot of expertise. Have a look at www.corydorasforum.de
Keeping Corys on sand and gravel. Indeed noticed they love sand, but doing great on gravel as well. The ones one the (rounded) gravel do have the longest barbels of all hahahaha.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348189.265623.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348154.324342.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348132.303322.jpg

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by CoryfanAad »

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348403.139974.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348307.335380.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1401348262.804337.jpg
Some more gravelpics !!

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by P.C. Hasselgreen »

I am sorry the link didn´t work. The strange thing is that it works on my mac when I click it.

Try to Google : " soft barbels on sharp gravel " and click on Aquanet.tv. Hope that works.

PC

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by CoryfanAad »

P.C. Hasselgreen wrote:I am sorry the link didn´t work. The strange thing is that it works on my mac when I click it.

Try to Google : " soft barbels on sharp gravel " and click on Aquanet.tv. Hope that works.

PC
watching at my Iphone, so that's causing it probably. I'll try later on a PC

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by rmc »

I use a rounded inert (doesn't alter the water parameters significantly) sand in all the Corydoras tanks in my fishroom-which currently is comprised of more than 50 tanks. I find a much lower incidence of disease, better fry survival rate and an overall cleaner tank environment since I switched from gravel to sand.
In addition I think the behavior of digging into the substrate is not stupidity or being "dumb", it is just what they are naturally predisposed to do. The bulk of their diet in nature is "benthic" organisms - or in plain english - critters that live on or inside the substrate of whatever lake or river they come from. They aren't injuring themselves repeatedly because they're stupid, they are just looking for food in the way their ancestors have done since long before any of us was even a glimmer! :)
I was hesitant to switch to sand at first as well because it limited the number of plants I could keep, and I just wasn't used to it, but after watching many of the 60 plus species of Corydoradinae fish in my basement plunge their snouts into the soft clean sand and come up with a wriggling black worm to suck down like a spaghetti noodle, I have to say it was the best choice for me. Best of luck whatever substrate you choose!

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by FerocactusLatispinus »

I house many catfish species in my one tank, Corydoras cats making up the majority of the diversity. I used to have rounded gravel, but it was terribly hard on my few initial corys' barbels; after a while, they didn't have any left. The gravel creates tons of pockets where detritus can gather and fester, and since corys naturally dig and sift through the substrate for food, the occurrence of scarring and possible infections increase dramatically.

I switched to sand about a year ago, and my new corys are as healthy as can be! Right before switching to sand, I was quite worried about the grains being sharp or jagged (since I use quartz sand), and how this would likely hurt my corys' barbels; I've found no alternative but to use pool filter sand, and since I can't trust trying to clean used, round-grain sand, I used only new sand. My corys and banjo cats have not exhibited any signs of wear and tear, despite the grains being rough; only rarely do I see a cory stop and wait till it dislodges one that got stuck in its gills/gill rakers, and then moves on to feed like nothing happened. My pleco will scoot across it, sifting through it and "gnawing" on it as he goes (that's why I call him Scooter).

I am very pleased with quartz (silica) sand as a substrate: it is much more attractive, is far easier to clean and keep clean, and is absolutely adored by my bristlenose pleco, banjo cats, corys and black kuhli loach. Once the gravel was removed, the moment I started adding the washed sand to the aquarium, the corys swam right to it and sifted as much as they could! The pleco and loach love to excavate caves to hide in: I also have a slab of slate I lay flat on the surface of the sand, and the loach always excavates and hides under there (the pleco always makes nice home expansions for the both of them)! :-BD

I say sand is the best choice of substrate for most fish that sift through the substrate for food. A lot of Auchenoglanis and other mud/silt loving catfish prefer that over sand, as they ingest it with whatever food is mixed in with it. Oddly, these catfish tend to have a higher amount of body fat than other catfish, but that's because they specialize in this in the wild (they certainly don't have much competition among other fish at eating this stuff :)) ).

When housing callichthyids, sand is the way to go!
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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by P.C. Hasselgreen »

Thanks for the input. I also think that sand is smart in the long run in the aquarium, but seeing the video where it shows them on sharp gravel in the wild made very curious.

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by CorydoraCat »

I've heard sand is preferable as well, though I keep mine in an aquarium with larger round pebbles and they seem to be doing well. Everyone has long barbels and are quite healthy.
There's a smooth flat stone in there that they all like to group up and hang out on, but they need to root through the gravel for food, and seem to be doing okay so far. :)

I've been contemplating switching to sand recently, simply because it seems to be the preferred substrate for cats, and I love the look, but I'm still a little worried about cleaning it...

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by corywink »

if you keep the sand depth at ~1cm, you don't really need to clean it, the corys sifting will keep the sand healthy.

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by FerocactusLatispinus »

CorydoraCat wrote:I've been contemplating switching to sand recently, simply because it seems to be the preferred substrate for cats, and I love the look, but I'm still a little worried about cleaning it...
I had that same concern before I switched to sand, but I've found that using a simple rubber hose (the hose that comes with those gravel vacuums) does the trick: it lifts off the detritus if you keep it hole-down at about 1/4" from the surface; my sand's depth varies from 1/2" to 3", and the grain size is pretty small (from extremely fine grain to something half the size of a grain of rice). Some sand always gets sucked up, but I just rinse this out with appropriately-warmed tap water until the detritus is gone, and I then scoop it from the bucket back into the tank. Oh, and once every month I really churn up the sand bed to get compaction out of the way, and any detritus stuck in it. It's also a great time to rearrange the furniture of the tank!

The one big thing I can't stress enough, is to be completely aware of the corys' locations in the tank. Never point the hose in a place you can't see! Corys in the vicinity of the end of the hose can sometimes get stuck right on the end; all that suction pressure acts on the body of the fish; tragically, several months ago, my healthy albino C. aeneus had gotten stuck posterior-first; I had stopped the other end of the hose within seconds of realizing this, but it was too late, as I found the last half of his body was immediately badly inflamed, and he died the next day. My black kuhli loach has been siphoned out several times in the past, but doesn't seem to learn or even care about the presence of a hose and swims right around it... he's really quick! He is always healthy and I'm quite surprised at that- it's always alarming to me when he gets sucked into the 5-gallon bucket, but he seems to view the hose like some sort of amusement ride. I've thought about modifying the hose to have some sort of mesh on one end to lessen the chance of these incidents, but I haven't come up with anything yet...

I really enjoy sand more than gravel, and I know every one of my catfish do too!
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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by NCE12940 »

You can get one of those mesh bath scrubbers (or whatever they're called; you can find them at Wal-Mart), cut some off and rubber band it over the end of the siphon hose. Any sort of fabric mesh really. Easy to put on, take off and clean, and won't suck up fish.

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by FerocactusLatispinus »

Hey, thanks!!

I think I was just thinking of some kind of fitted hard cap, but that is pretty improbable, unless it's a plastic bottle cap, who knows? But really, I think that your idea of a mesh is really great! I'm going to try and implement that ASAP! Actually, a smaller area for water to pass through should make for better suction, so I'll probably be able to hold the hose a little farther away from the sand, and I'll definitely get fewer large grains of sand inadvertently sucked up!

Thanks a ton! I really appreciate it!!
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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by NCE12940 »

You're welcome :d I've got this on the airline tubing I use for minor cleaning. I couldn't find a good black filter sponge to put over the intake on my HOB Penguin 350 so cut up a black mesh bag a skirt came in and tied it on the intake - voila! Don't have to worry about baby Bristlenoses getting sucked up :-D

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by FerocactusLatispinus »

That's great! I've recently thought about switching my Aqueon 55 Powerflow external filter's disposable filters for sponges or reusable floss pouches; I haven't got around to that quite yet, but would that be a good idea to try and put to use?

So baby Bristlenoses, you breed them? I've got a male A. cirrhosus cf. cirrhosus that is a little over 3" SL, but hasn't got his bristles at all really. I once had another male in there with him, but a ways back I traded him back to the LFS, since they didn't get along, and he had become rather stunted in his growth (I assume because he wasn't the dominant male; I also see that in two of my four Synodontis nigriventris, but they don't hurt each other, just occasionally chase each other off). Have you noticed this phenomenon when raising your Bristlenoses? I ask, because it's been well over 2 years since I separated the two, and he's pretty much the boss of the tank, but he hasn't really grown any larger or developed bristles. I'm confident they are both males, since they both have disproportionately large pelvic fins, a prominent ridge down the median of the snout, have slimy snouts as opposed to rough ones, and always bickered and fought when they encountered each other. Also, I haven't fed him any less than I had before. Have any ideas as to why he's stopped growing??

Thank you!

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by NCE12940 »

I've used different filter foam pads that I've cut to fit. I have Seachem Matrix in all my filters so I don't worry too much about the foam being a home for beneficial bacteria. I look at it more as a filtering agent, though I also use Seachem Purigen in all my filters. I even have Matrix in the Penguin 350 (it has bio-wheels for holding beneficial bacteria). The filter foam's also good for pre-filtering intakes, except the Penguin as it's quite large. Easier just to cut mesh and tie it on. (The intake's black as is the back panel of my tank so, being fussy, don't want a big white thing on the intake.)

This is my first spawning of Bristlenoses so I'm far from an expert but I'd think photos would really be needed to make sure of the sex of yours. I have seen *dwarf* Bristlenoses advertised on Aquabid but I honestly don't know if that's something someone is breeding for or it's a hybrid or a fluke. My adult female is easily 4+" and if she wasn't so fat around the middle, you could add some bristles and she'd pass for a male :-p

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Re: corydoras and gravel/sand

Post by FerocactusLatispinus »

Hmm, that's something I hadn't thought of: pre-filtering right at the intake. That would definitely take care of stray sand grains, and that sure would extend the life of the external filter cartridges! I can't imagine that foam would deteriorate like aquarium floss does, so that's a huge plus. I think I'll check out this mesh technique and gradually work in some kind of foam and floss combination that I can add in my own carbon to. I've never seriously considered foam before, but I'll give it a shot! Pre-filtering is also something I'll try out. Thank you for sharing these great ideas!

About Scooter, my BNP, I've got one image of him on my My Cats page; I think it's funny how he loves to rest on his back, and I suppose it makes breathing a whole lot easier for him! I'll be sure to post some new photos tomorrow, and hopefully Scooter will be willing to rest somewhere in the open. Yup, the little guy is a tad wide around the middle too! :d I've always thought their unarmored bellies look a lot like an uncooked bratwurst. :))
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