Posted: 2010.06.30(Wed)16:43 Post subject: Fluorite + barbels = bad?
I have given up on my 6-year long algae battle/sad attempt at a planted tank.
What I'd like to do instead is have a 20Long tank, a home for a Betta and some cories.
I have put away the Co2 and ferts for good. But I had been hoping just Fluorite would be enough for just 1 or 2 easy plants. On the other hand, if it would hurt little barbels, then I guess that's out.
So Fluorite is too hard on Cory barbels?
From what I'm hearing, soft sand is best. Can anything grow in it without the Co2/ferts, other than plastic? Where do you get this sand? What exactly is it? Like just plain play sand you'd get at a building supply store? Sorry, dumb questions, I know-be kind.
My opinion is that Flourite is much too hard on cory barbels, but you will hear differing opinions on this topic.
Flourite is fracted clay - that is, broken clay bits. It is excellent for plants and provides a stable, iron-rich environment for them.
However, the particles are too large and much too sharp for digging fish. Barbels are sensory organs. Corydoras use them to find food. Barbels are very delicate and sensitive. They are made to push aside the softest sand, silt and mud, as is found in the natural environment all over South America where these little fish are from.
Using barbels to push aside anything other than soft sand, silt, or mud wears them down and exhausts the fish.
In Colorado you can go to a builder's supply like LOWE's and look at their bagged play sands. The composition of this sand varies across the country so try to find out the base product of the sand in-house. I use play sand from LOWE's for a 75 gallon tank full of corys and I am thrilled with it. I sifted it before use, using a regular household strainer, and removed the larger bits. A 50 pound bag was about $3.00 US.
CaribSea makes a line of aquarium sands which are spectacular. Sunset Gold is a gorgeous golden sand with black flecks and absolutely safe for digging fish. I'm using it in a new 75 gallon all-Asian tank. In the past I've used Marine White and Tahitian Moon Black Sand from CaribSea. CaribSea does not recommend TMBS for corys and neither do I, but the Marine White was perfect.
Specialty sands may seem expensive per bag but you will only need to spread a shallow bed in your tank. About 2 cm for corys is ideal. It is well worth the investment.
As far as plants, some folks grow all kinds of plants in sand. Non-rooted plants, such as Anubias, are perfect for sand set-ups. That is what I grow in my large cory tank. See the first pic in this thread:
The giant roots are excellent for grazing.
Thank you so much for such a good answer. It was very interesting and informative. I guess, much to my chagrin, I never realized that barbels were that sensitive. I figured they were tender, but I'm glad to have learned from you.
I am excited to check into the CaribSea Marine White! It will be such fun to watch those cute little buggers be comfortable in soft sand!
Going from a 75 to a 20-long will sure make it easier to buy bags of pricey goodies.
Again, thank you.
I believe that CaribSea has changed the names on some of their products and the white sand I mentioned is now called Moonlight Sand.
For a sand this fine in texture, about 15 pounds will give you a substrate depth of the desired 2 cm, or about three-quarters of an inch, in a 20 gallon long tank.
I don't have any affiliation with CaribSea except as a satisfied customer. Over the years I have used several of their products and they have been kind enough to send me samples of any sands/gravels that I wanted to try.
I've also used Flourite, and its sister product ONYX, which I believe Seachem now calls Flourite Black Sand. FBS is far too sharp for Corydoras but it is wonderful in a planted tank full of freshwater shrimps!
There is a bit more to keeping corys. In addition to the sand, be sure to lay out at intervals some natural materials such as wood, round rocks, leaves, and plants. This provides checkpoints or "bases" for the corys as they forage. Too much open substrate without breaks makes them skittish. White sand is particularly bright, so breaks and hiding areas are even more important.
I definitely agree with Deb on both the Flourite and the TMBS. I haven't personally used the Moonlight sand but have seen/felt it at the LFS and it's wonderful. I've also had success with Silica Sand and playsand from Menards (Home Depot type store).
I do have a word of caution, however. I do not consider bettas and corydoras compatable for several reasons:
1) Temperature requirements. Most cories do best in temps around 74-75*F. Bettas do best around 80*F.
2) Current. Cories like current, bettas do not.
3) Feeding. Cories are scavangers and take their sweet little time eating. Bettas are food hogs and will gobble up everything in sight, including the cories' shrimp pellets. I've had bettas die of overeating/constipation in corydora tanks.
4) Temperament. Cories are extremely docile, shy little fish. Bettas can be aggressive... even a mildy aggressive betta can stress out the corydoras.
5) Space. Depending on what species of corydora you were planning on, many of them wouldn't do well in a tank as small as 20g. _________________ Dumpster Tank Nano Fish Mbuna
If you check out the gallery, there are a lot of cories listed. Some of the smallest are C. hastatus, C. habrosus, and C. pygmaeus. I have personally kept C. habrosus and positively love them, but they were extremely sensitive to water conditions and stress. It always seemed to me that the smaller the corydora, the more sensitive.
C. panda would probably do well in a 40g breeder, as would similar sized corydoras. I also have C. leucomelas, which I like even more than the pandas.
Corydoras technically can be kept in smaller tanks... but there's a debate as far as whether they should. (There's a long thread on here somewhere in the Bottom Dwellers forum called the Minimum Tank Size for Corydoras were a few of us decided to see what a minimum tank size should be for cories). There really is no room for error in smaller tanks, which is why I prefer larger ones. I should note that I do currently have my corydoras (5 C. leucomelas and 1 C. panda) in a 26g long... but it is a temporary arrangement until I set up a larger tank (likely 90g). I will also up my numbers considerably at that time. _________________ Dumpster Tank Nano Fish Mbuna
Corydoras technically can be kept in smaller tanks... but there's a debate as far as whether they should. (There's a long thread on here somewhere in the Bottom Dwellers forum called the Minimum Tank Size for Corydoras were a few of us decided to see what a minimum tank size should be for cories).
Thank you so much. I will read the thread.
As much as I want Cories and love them, I would rather be without than to have them unhappy. Dangit.
Nik's points about Bettas with corys are valid and I agree with most of them. There is no doubt that a male Betta would definitely harrass the corys - males seem to have this urge when another fish is in the tank. I've only kept Bettas singly, always males, and they can get along with no one, in my experience. I've tried them in communities and they always have to be removed for one reason or another. It's because I haven't dealt with any Betta in a while, and also because I figure that a female Betta would act differently, that I didn't immediately note the possible Betta/cory problem but, of course, Nik is right and the problem may rear itself with the combination you suggest.
That said, I wouldn't want to discourage you from trying a set-up with corys and that seems to be what's happened in this exchange. I don't think the 20 long tank is an issue, especially as you were planning a fairly light stocking scheme.
Many medium sized corys could work in a 20 long. I myself kept C. sodalis - one of the prettiest corys around - in this size tank with many tankmates. Maybe too many, but that was to discourage aggression from Florida Flag Fish. Another story, but a reminder that some fish simply cannot resist bothering the mild-mannered, live-and let-live cory. I suspect it's their barbels, presenting as possible food, and their slightly jerky swimming motion. I've been trying to figure it out for years.
Anyway, here is a short list of cory species that stay medium sized (approximately 50-60 cm) and would be fine in a 20 long tank of sand. I've bolded the ones which ought to be readily available in your LFS, even if you have to ask them to order them. The others are those which ought to be readily available from an importer. The corys in blue are those from the list that I've had personal experience with.
C. sodalis C. julii
C. arcuatus C. melanotaenia C. concolor
There are MANY more that I've not listed, and many C-numbers, too (C-number corys are those which have not yet recieved a formal scientific binomial, yet are known to be distinct species); I've left out the "pygmy" types, as Nik has mentioned them already. Listed are those you can get fairly easily, either at your LFS or through a reliable importer. I'm not a big fan of C. panda and, quite honestly, there are so many masked corys you can not be sure you are actually getting C. panda at the typical LFS. They are simply not expert enough, most of them, to know the difference. C. napoensis ("San Juan") is a delightful cory, and one of the most attractive, IMO. It is sometimes confused with C. bilineatus, which is much rarer.
Some Corydoras species can be a bit pricey, as they are hard to collect and export and, so, are not readily available in the hobby. You must decide for yourself the best way to obtain cory species, but by no means is a cory tank off-limits to you with the equipment you have on hand.
Corys appreciate sand, as we've discussed, a long tank, and super-clean water. A 50% bi-weekly water change will probably work better than 20% or 25% weeklies. They like structure in the form of the natural materials discussed above, and areas of privacy. They definitely appreciate some peaceful tankmates swimming above them, such as a school of tetras, and this should be your priority. (A fractious and confrontational Betta would NOT be a good choice.) A sample tank might be nine Loreto tetras and seven C. sodalis in a 20 long.
I can manage a 40 Long tank in my living room. Would a tank with a footprint of 48X13 still be too small?
There is a 40 long (48 X 13 X 16) on my list of aquarium sizes and I suppose this is the one you mean. 122 cm (48 inches) is a perfect length for Corydoras. They ought to be able to zoom from one end to the other, unimpeded, in that size tank. The side-to-side measurement of 33 cm (13 inches) is much less important, as these are small fish. They will be able to turn around with ease.
Please go ahead and set up your cory tank and find a nice six gallon for the Betta! I've had single Bettas live for years in an overplanted, 2.5 gallon rectangular aquarium but I'm willing to admit that six gallons is a better size.
Ask any other questions that you may have. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you on these boards.
you could all so look around for or research betta imbellis aka peacful betta or cresent betta. these are all the same betta species. the only difference between these and slendens are that they have small fins and they are able to have more females and males. in a 4 ft tank you could possibly have 2 trios. _________________ 46 gallon-reef
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