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FAQs on Callichthyid Catfish Compatibility

Related Articles: Callichthyid CatfishesSummer loving: cats in the garden, kittens in the kitchen by Neale Monks,

Related Catfish FAQs:  Callichthyids 1, Callichthyids 2, Callichthyid Identification, Callichthyid Behavior, Callichthyid Selection, Callichthyid Systems, Callichthyid Feeding, Callichthyid Disease, Callichthyid Reproduction, Catfish: Identification, Behavior, Compatibility, Selection, Systems, Feeding, Disease, Reproduction

Can we get along? Predation, feeding and water quality wise?

Discus... compatible, Callichthyids, ditherfish mostly      1/8/13
I would like your input on a discus set up I have in the works.
It is a 72 gallon bow front, filtered with two Fluval 405 canister filters, carbon removed,
<I'd run some carbon... add to, switch out half every month or so>
 bio balls and filter floss added. Temperature is currently 83*F, pH 6.2 and it is a cycled tank housing a pair of spawning Angelfish, Corydoras
<Mmm, what/which species? See Fishbase.org re... many don't "like" warm/too tropical water>
and a German Blue Ram.  Tank has been set up with these filters just over 2 years now.
Sand substrate, driftwood and moderately planted.
I am setting up the Angels in their own tank for continued spawning as they have taken over the 72 gallon,  and I wanted to take the opportunity to jump into the discus world as they have always attracted me (I know I am not alone in this statement!)  I was considering starting up with 5 discus, leaving space for 1 more incase I ever come across "That one that cannot be resisted"!
<Sounds good>
I have been getting mixed reviews on what are "appropriate" dithers and was hoping you could help me with this.   I was drawn to the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and was considering a school of 10-12 as I think once they settle in their and the discus colorations would be complimentary.
<Mmm, well... they too don't really like "hot water"... 82 F. is about tops... Am far more partial to some of the South American Characins for this task, looks>
 I was also going to be trading in my albino Corydoras for sterbai cories or green Brochis - was hoping for your opinion on this also.
<Mmm, the Brochis are warmer water... not Sterba's...>
 I was considering the trade as I know I am already pushing the temperature limits with the albinos and have read the other two handle higher temperatures better.
<See WWM, Fishbase et al. re>
If the dwarf neon rainbows are not recommended, besides cardinals can you recommend other types that I should look into?
<The myriad of small, but large enough Tetras that share the waters with Symphysodon in the wild are my choice... easy and fun for you to search.
Bob Fenner>

Corys + Senegal Bichir   8/4/11
Hello WWM!
Thanks for all your help in the past!
I have a 12 inch female Senegal Bichir alone in a 50 gallon, I have put some fish in with it before and they always end up with their tails gone or bitten in half! Not sure why it's so aggressive, I feed it plenty of frozen bloodworms and earthworms. I have 4 half inch leopard Corys and 2 big 3.5 inch peppered Corys, would they be able to live with the Bichir, or would that be a bad idea. Also I've always wanted a knife fish, would any specie of knifefish coexist with it? Or maybe even another eel such as a peacock eel? I really want something else in this tank.
Thanks, Jesse
<Better than Corydoras would be Brochis species, such as Brochis splendens, which are similar in shape and colour, but stockier and do well with medium-sized tankmates. They also tolerate warm water better than Corydoras, so will thrive at the 25-28C/77-82 F Bichirs prefer; most Corydoras, including the two you mention, do of course need cooler water, 22-25C/72-77 F. You must bear in mind though that these are predatory fish, and while their diet in the wild is primarily insect larvae and worms, they do eat small fish given the chance. So anything Neon or Danio size is likely to end up eaten. Brochis, being armoured, should be okay, but adults, not juveniles. Polypterus senegalus gets along well with one Knifefish species, Xenomystus nigri; the widely sold Apteronotus albifrons needs very different conditions and would be difficult to maintain in the same aquarium, and needs more than 50 gallons anyway. Senegal Bichirs are territorial but will cohabit given space, and you should get away with two females or a male/female duo in a 50-gallon tank. Spiny Eels are difficult to maintain and feed, so research them carefully.
Cheers, Neale.>

Hello Crew (RMF, second opinion?), GF, Cory incomp.  -- 02/02/11
I am writing via my iPhone from cold MI, USA. I LOVE your website, I have spent a great deal of time just reading and absorbing such great info. Collectively, your knowledge and experience is so impressive.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Today my question pertains more towards behavior rather than chemistry, thus I feel compelled to write. I have a large (appx. 4-5" not counting tail)
<Actually, not that big. A BIG goldfish would be 30 cm/12 inches, though fantail-type Fancy Goldfish typically max out around the 20 cm/8 inch mark.>
Black Telescope Goldfish in a 30 gal tank with a natural rock substrate and decor, along with some floating live plants. I introduced some Albino Cory Cats to do some cleaning'¦
<Can work.>
And today I returned home to find 0.25" of Cory Cat hanging out of my Big Guy's mouth. Should I remove it, or will the Big Guy be able to digest it?
<For now, see what happens. Trying to pull out the dead fish -- I assume it's dead -- may do more harm than good. Fish have quite delicate jaw bones, and pulling catfish backwards causes their spines to lock, so all that'd happen is you'd be forcing erect spines into the jaw. If, by tomorrow, it's still stuck in the Goldfish's mouth, you may need to do something more hands-on. Or better yet, call a vet used to handling Koi (many are) for their advice and assistance. There's going to be a trick to lowering the fin spins on the Corydoras using a mounted needle or similar, then pulling the corpse out. Or perhaps the whole catfish will be crushed, and then removed. But either way, the pectoral and dorsal fin spines will need to be dealt with.>
The Cory Cat was about 1.5" not counting the tail.
<Not tiny, then.>
I really am at a loss. I guess I should have expected this, knowing that the Big Guy is essentially a Carp and will eat anything, I just assumed that he was peaceful.
<Usually they are. You've been extremely unlucky. Goldfish are mostly herbivorous and their fish-eating skills are minimal. For a start, they don't even have teeth in their mouths! My hunch is that the Goldfish was dead or at least moribund, and the Goldfish simply took advantage of the situation. Normally, Corydoras cohabit quite nicely with Goldfish, given the right water temperature and water quality.>
Well, thank you so much Crew! Any other ideas and/or suggestions I deeply appreciate! Thank you Mr. Fenner et al for the wonderful website!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
<<RMF would catch the goldfish, gently try to extricate (paying attention to the prominent anterior dorsal and leading pectoral fin spines) the catfish. No need for anesthetic, nor tools... just a wet hand to hold the goldfish, the other to "wiggle" the Corydoras and pull it free. IF not easily removed, I would use a small, sharp-tipped scissor to cut the respective stuck fin spines free>>

Ahh, now that I see the pic, you will need to use a tweezers. RMF

Re: Hello Crew (RMF, second opinion?)
Greetings, Neale and Crew,
Many sincere thanks for your speedy reply this afternoon!
<Glad to help.>
Well, I observed my Telescope for about an hour, walked out of the room for just a quick minute, and returned to see the Albino Cory Cat had disappeared from Telescope's mouth. (I erroneously assumed that it had somehow gotten swallowed). Many hours later, I find the Cory Cat hiding out under a rock.
All of his fins appear severely damaged, and of course he does not seem to be having an easy job of navigating around the tank. So I guess I am "cautiously optimistic" with regard to it's future'¦
<Fins will grow back. I'd treat with something mild to prevent Finrot, perhaps Melafix for want of anything else. Otherwise, a standard anti-Finrot medication would be worth using.>
Needless to say, I was *SO* grateful to get your response earlier! The situation was so bizarre and unexpected that had I not seen it with my own eyes & snapped a pic, I probably wouldn't believe it had happened.
<Agreed, very unusual.>
Here you go! Granted, the Big Guy (Telescope) was turned away a bit, and I hope you can see why I was so alarmed.
<Would assume Telescope won't do this ever again!>
Have a splendid evening and many thanks once again!
<Good luck to you all, Neale.>

Re: More re: Hello Crew... Cory eating GF   2/4/11
In the past, I have successfully used the wet washcloth holding method to hold the Telescope, so I was planning to employ that same technique along with tweezers to remove the Cory Cat. The Cory Cat was really in there! Now I know what to do should such a situation ever present itself again. After reading Neale's response, I am glad that I waited to act, and more so now that by some unknown miracle the Cory Cat came out by itself'¦alive!
<Certainly an excellent result.>
I'm thinking of Jonah and the Whale, although I think we were more like three hours as opposed to three days. Forevermore, the Cory shall be known as Jonah. The Force is strong with him. ;) There does not appear to be any damage to Telescope's jaws, and I hopeful that the Big Guy will return to a peaceful lifestyle.
I am snowed under at the moment, so at my earliest opportunity I plan to look for Neale's suggested Melafix- which I have never used before.
<We don't widely recommend Melafix because it's a most unreliable cure. But as a preventative it has some merit, being relatively mild, inexpensive, and provided the fish is basically healthy and strong, does seem to work.>
I am glad you were able to see from the iPhone's pic, it certainly wasn't the best photo ever! If you don't mind, I will pick your brain, what do you think about the gold on the underside of my Telescope? That is fairly recent, within the past 4 months or so. Could it be a seasonal change or just normal maturation?
<Just normal colour changes, common on non-pedigree Goldfish.>
Your Crew and website are really awesome, I can't stress enough how many questions I've had answered from your site. And deep, sincere thanks for the personal emails!
<Standard practise!>
I think I saw on your site somewhere that you were associated with Marine Aquarists in Lansing, MI?
<Hmm'¦ we're not associated with anyone specifically, but companies advertise on the banners, and Bob F. does his bit to promote aquarium clubs, reputable retailers and wholesalers, and other folks who do good works in the hobby.>
I live in a rural area near Lansing, and no Koi vets appeared locally when I Googled. Anyway, something for me to think about. Thank you for honoring grammar,
<Both Bob and I feel strongly about "good English" being essential to clear, polite conversation, though I certainly don't hold myself up as a paragon of either clarity or politeness!>
and again, many thanks for getting me thru the drama, you all are fabulous! Have a splendid day!
<And you too, Holly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More re: Hello Crew
Hi Neale,
I'm starting to feel like we are old friends!
<Oh my!>
You are smart, and you've really gotten me, the basic beginner hobbyist, really thinking. (I am an English Major, hence my fondness for standard grammar).
<I see'¦>
Your comment re: pedigreed goldfish-- Very interesting. I wasn't even aware of such a thing.
<Oh yes, is very true. Most Goldfish tend to change colour with age, sometimes uniformly becoming paler, other times becoming darker in patches; it varies considerably.>
That in turn has gotten me thinking. Do you have any good pictures of nasal bouquets?
<Not to hand. But look at the varieties called Pom-Poms. In normal Goldfish, the nostrils are more or less inside the skull except that each has a small flap, called a lobe, that sticks out. On Pom-Poms these are wildly developed into cauliflower-like growths. Those are the bouquets.>
My Telescope (which has flat eyes), does have what I would consider to be prominent tear drop shaped nares, along with bumpy skin texture on the head. Possibly it was a throwback from an attempt to breed another variety, like a Pom Pom.
<Could well be. To some degree, many Goldfish will show features you're characterise belonging to different breeds than their own. For example a standard Goldfish might have a slightly chunkier body, like that of a Fantail. Or a Fantail might have slightly bulgy-out eyes like a Moor. And so, and so forth. What has happened over the centuries is that these traits were selectively bred to become more and more exaggerated along particular breeding lines, and ultimately, new varieties were created.>
Well, I imagine it really doesn't much matter, but as a thinking person, I just found it really interesting to think about.
<Is indeed, particularly given Goldfish had originally been domesticated as food, at which point they were merely greenish fish much like their wild ancestors, but better adapted to life in ponds. Some of them sported golden patches or perhaps a more brassy overall green colour, and these were saved from the kitchen and bred one to another, and over time the Goldfish that we know and love was created. All this happened some centuries ago in China and Japan, though subsequent varieties have been created in England (like the Shubunkin) and in the United States (the Comet) as well.>
Learning and thinking are just amazing things, so I hope you and the Crew are aware of how sharing your knowledge and opinions not only informs and educates, but also inspires.
<Those are very kind words; thank you.>
Keep up the Great work, I am off to the LFS. You are awesome.
<Have fun! Neale.>
Re: More re: Hello Crew   2/4/11
Hi Neale,
I hope you are well today! :)
<Yes, thank you, Holly. Glad it's Friday though...>
Just wanted to ask, do you think 3 days of Melafix would be sufficient, or should I plan on a longer course of treatment?
<Should be ample.>
Would a 25% change at the 3 Day Mark be advisable?
<Would do no harm at all.>
I am noticing a strong odor, which isn't offensive, just different. Is that a sign of overdose or normal? I did indeed measure, just checking!
<Likely normal. You can add carbon to the filter for a few days if you're worried, and it should remove it all.>
Thank you so very much, please have a splendid day!!
<And enjoy your weekend, Holly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More re: Hello Crew (RMF, second opinion?)
Thank you, Neale. Enjoy your weekend also!
<I plan on sleeping through most of it. Been a tough week! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: More re: Hello Crew...Chatting  -- 02/04/11

I hope your week was not tough because of me and all my questions! :)
<Ah no, just the kids at school. Some good, some bad, but all of them exhausting.>
Thank you again! All of my fish appear happier today.
Sleep is always a wonderful thing, my friend! Enjoy,
<I plan to.>
<Best to you, too, Holly. Cheers, Neale.> 

Battle for food   1/31/11
I have a 20g tank with 4 Swordtails and 4 Green Cory Catfish. I'm feeding them micro wafers that float for a bit and then sink, so the Swordtails knock the wafers down to the catfish. In addition, I'm feeding the catfish Sera Vipachips that sink to the bottom. Problem is, the Swordtails also really like the Vipachips, and it ends up being a battle between the Swordtails and the catfish -- of course, the Swordtails end up eating most of it. Can you maybe suggest a way I can ensure that only the catfish get the Vipachips?
<Easy, this one. Feed the catfish at night! When the lights are out, provide sufficient food for your Corydoras. Do this 3-4 times per week, and you should find they're just fine. Corydoras are nocturnal by nature, despite being day-active in aquaria, and happily feed at night. And no, they won't hide away during the day just because they're being fed at night. Do also remember to keep the tank quite cool, 22-24 C is ideal for both Swordtails and Corydoras aeneus, otherwise their metabolism will be much higher than it needs to be, and that'll place extra demands on their diet as well as shortening their lifespan.
Cheers, Neale.>

Tetra compatibility/sel. w/ Corydoras  2/4/2010
Hi guys and gals, just a quick question for Neale if I could. I've started a 29-gal FW and am wondering what type of schooling tetras would share the same temperature range as Corydoras? I'm not terribly interested in "same-old" Neons. Something along the lines of Bloodfins or Rummynose would be really nice, if they'd work. Others that are readily available locally would be something like Glowlights or silvertips.
<Hi Scott. The big surprise for many people is how many South American fish actually enjoy quite cool conditions. Besides Neons, other good choices for temperatures between 22-24 C would include Bloodfins (Aphyocharax anisitsi), Dragon-fin tetras (Pseudocorynopoma doriae), Blue tetras (Boehlkea fredcochui), Black Widows (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi), Silvertips (Hasemania nana), Buenos Aires tetras (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi), Flame
tetras (Hyphessobrycon flammeus), Loreto tetras (Hyphessobrycon loretoensis), Black Phantoms (Megalamphodus megalopterus), Red Phantoms (Megalamphodus sweglesi), Red-eye Tetras (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae), Penguin tetras (Thayeria obliqua), Darter tetras (Characidium spp.) -- to name just a few! In fact about half the South American fish we see in the trade prefer relatively cool conditions, and there's a clear distinction between the fish from relatively cool streams and the fish from much warmer habitats like the llanos pools and some of the rivers (the Rio Xingu being notorious in this respect). Rummy-nose tetras and Cardinals do prefer
somewhat warmer conditions, so aren't ideal Corydoras companions. Hope this gives you some ideas! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Tetra compatibility 2/4/2010
Thanks, Neale. Is there a larger single fish that would go with a school of tetras and a group of Corys to complete the "look"? An angel would do the trick for me, but I'm guessing that it wouldn't work here.
<Many of the cichlids we call "Acaras" come from the same relatively cool waters, and thrive between 22-24 C. These include Aequidens pulcher, Cichlasoma portalegrense, Cleithracara maronii and Laetacara curviceps, to
name but four of the more widely traded species. Cichlasoma portalegrense in particular is an under-appreciated species that used to be very popular because of its hardiness and tolerance of cool water, but has been much
overlooked in recent decades. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta breeding, Corydoras comp.    6/7/09
Hi WWM Crew! My name is Hana and I have been planning for over a month to breed my Bettas. I was wondering if I could put a Corydoras catfish in a fry tank after my fry become free swimming.
<No. There are two reasons. Firstly, Corydoras catfish will eat anything small they can catch. Their eyesight isn't good, so they hunt by smell. If the thing they find smells nice, they'll eat it! Secondly, in breeding
tanks you want perfect water quality. This is difficult to do. It is important to remove uneaten food, do lots of water changes, and above all, not add any big fish! You cannot add "one" Corydoras catfish because
they're schooling fish, and adding the minimum number -- five -- would cause too much pollution. If the breeding tank gets polluted, the fry will die.>
This is my first time so I would like some advice too.
<With regard to what?>
I don't have a sponge filter or a air pump but I do have a normal hang-on filter. Would it be okay if I put a piece of cloth on the intake tube to soften the intake?
<No. You do need an air-powered sponge filter. Firstly, the male Betta needs to make a nest, and for that, water flow must be very gentle. If the water flow is too strong, the bubbles will not stick together properly, and the eggs will fall out of the nest. Secondly, the fry are very, very small, and if the water current is too strong, they will be at risk of being sucked into the filter. Thirdly, you will need to feed the fry infusoria,
and these will get sucked into an electric filter.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Feeding (Corydoras, Botia) 5/30/2009
Hello Crew, Hope you are having a great day!! I have some questions on feeding please. I currently have 6 panda Corys and plan on buying some yoyo loaches and a Bristlenose catfish.
<Wouldn't keep Botia almorhae with Corydoras panda; the differences in size, aggression at feeding time, and social behaviour are just too acute.
Botia almorhae would work well with Ancistrus though, and similarly Ancistrus and Corydoras get along fine. If you must have loaches with Corydoras panda, look at either Pangio spp. or perhaps Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki, though this latter species is delicate and does need to be kept in a large group, so tank size will be an issue.>
First, I want to know if they will all get along or if the loaches will bother the Corys.
<Yes they will bother the Corydoras.>
Also, when it comes to feeding how is that done since they all eat mostly food off the bottom. Should I put their food in separate places in the tank, or will it be OK to feed them all together?
<Botia species will simply learn to eat food from one corner first, and then bully the Corydoras away from the food in the other corner next. Does depend on the size of the tank of course, and in a 200 gallon system I'm sure they'd muddle through! But realistically, not a combination I'd go for.>
I am worried about the loaches maybe picking on the Corys during feeding time.
<Your concern is justified.>
Thank you for your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Cory compatibility 5-26-2009
Hello Crew, hope all had a great weekend. I have a question about Corys.. I have 8 bronze Corys that stay together and school occasionally. I know Corys they are shy and do better in larger groups. My next door neighbor is getting rid of his aquarium and gave me 2 panda Corys. They hang out together and seem to be eating well. I want to know if they feel more comfortable with the bronze Corys in the tank with them than if they were by themselves. I really didn't want to buy more pandas right now.. Please tell me what you think.
<I have mixed and matched many different types of Corys whom school fine together. You should easily be able to introduce the panda Corys with the bronze Corys. If they don't mix well (sometimes they don't like each other), then you can easily purchase more in the future.>
<You are welcome! Merritt A.>
Cory compatibility Part II 5-27-2009

Thanks for the information. I always thought that only like types would school together and not mixed. If different types do not like each other how can you tell? Do they fight or run each other off? Thanks again.
<Corys are very laid back fish. They will just ignore each other and swim in their own schools. That is why I would not worry about mixing them. You are welcome! Merritt A.>

Corys fighting-- 05/09/09
Hello Crew, hope all is going well with you. I have a question please.
Several weeks ago I purchased 6 medium sized panda Corys for my 75 gallon aquarium. There are no other fish in there right now. About 2 days after introducing them into the tank I noticed one dead one morning. I didn't really think much about it since fish die just like people. But last night when I was just watching them swim around together 2 of them starting picking on one. They seemed to be pushing him around with their noses and when the attacked fish tried to swim off they would not let him alone.
Finally the 2 attackers left but the one attacked stayed on the bottom motionless for a while before starting to swim around again. At that time I went to bed and did not have time to look in the tank this morning as I was getting ready for work. But when I got home this evening one was dead and I assume it was the one picked on last night (and maybe today also.)
<How big are these Corydoras? It's rare for Corydoras to "fight", whereas the closely related Scleromystax species (such as what was formerly called Corydoras barbatus) are much more boisterous. But, adult Corydoras will spawn readily in good conditions, and the mating behaviour involves multiple males courting single females. To the casual aquarist, this can look a lot like fighting.>
I have had Corys before in smaller numbers (usually 2 or 3) and in other aquariums and never noticed any fighting or bullying. Please tell me what can be the cause of this. Before in other aquariums I always had about 3 Corys and each one was a different kind. I never had any problems at all.
When setting up this tank I read about how getting six or more of the same kind would cause them to school together and be happier. I did just that and now this has happened.
Any advice or reasoning you can give will be greatly appreciated.
<Since you have so much space, I'd add a few more Pandas. If there is some aggression, this will dilute that problem. Corydoras also become so much happier and more attractive in big schools!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Corys fighting-- 05/09/09

Thanks Neale, I appreciate the advice. Could courting cause one to die?
<Shouldn't do; the females are usually so much bigger than the males that it's hard to see what problems would occur. I have a school of eight or nine Corydoras paleatus in one tank that spawn every few weeks (in fact
rescued a few eggs just the other day). Never seen any sign of serious problems. By contrast, Scleromystax males can be feisty, and sometimes shed one another's fins (though they don't harm the females). So provided you
have Corydoras rather than Scleromystax, as you do with Corydoras panda, I can't foresee any issues with aggression.>
And how many more would you recommend getting?
<I find groups of 6-10 works well with all these little Callichthyidae.>
Thanks again.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Apistogramma ID and comp., esp. with Corydoras   02/08/09 Hi I have a 40 gallon community tank Corys, Gourami, Rasbora. I went to one of my local fish store and saw a fish that I thought looked pretty cool was told it was an Apistos cichlid (didn't expand on the name. From what I can find on youtube.com he LOOKS like "cacatuoides" (I know nothing about any types of these fish) except what I found AFTER I bought him since LFS said he would do good in community tank. It has black horizontal line through center of body a black line vertically under eye and very light black vertical lines on body. Tail is bright yellow outlined with black. Only difference (that makes me not sure from what I found on youtube.com if it is cacatuoides) is the yellow/black coloring is nowhere else. The dorsal fin only has one thin vertical black stripe at the front. My question(s) because if first question is negative answer then the rest of questions is none issue --to me anyway. 1 My online research concluded (again, after buying with OK from LFS) that Apistogramma are for tanks ph 6.5 to 7.0. LFS says their ph for their fish is 7.8 red flag???????? My tanks ph is 7.4 do I need to return the fish or will he adapt? He doesn't seem to look stressed or breathing hard so clamped fins etc. 2. From the description above are you able to give me an idea of WHICH Apistogramma this might be, and if the lack of coloration anywhere besides the tail means its a female or can still possibly be male but still young to have more color. 3.Depending on what type of Apistogramma it is what is the common name e.g. cockatoo thank you <Hello. It's not a good idea to buy any fish before confirming the identity of the species, and looking up its basic needs in a book. Cichlids are a particular problem because many species look similar but turn out to have differing needs or behaviours. Apistogramma are notoriously difficult to name. For one thing, the females are all virtually identical, but even the males can be extremely similar. Within species such as Apistogramma cacatuoides there are also distinct varieties. There's no way to name your fish without (at least) a photo, and to be honest even then there's room for error. This said, the majority of Apistogramma are fairly similar in needs: moderate temperature, soft water, low to neutral pH. Social behaviour is almost always polygamous, with one male needing to be kept with 2+ females to avoid bullying. Assuming this was an inexpensive fish, the chances are good that it was Apistogramma cacatuoides simply because that's the species most easily bred. There are numerous artificially bred forms about. It's fairly tolerant of moderately hard, slightly alkaline water. Assuming the hardness is no more than, say, 10 degrees dH and the pH no higher than 7.5, you should be fine. The major killer with these dwarf cichlids is nitrate, and you absolutely must keep the nitrate level below 20 mg/l to have any chance of long-term maintenance. Finally, most cichlids don't have common names, and those that do, the common names are often misleading, being used for other species as well. For example, the "Parrot Cichlid" isn't just that hideous hybrid, but was originally the name of a South American species, Hoplarchus psittacus. So the sooner you get comfortable with scientific names, the easier you'll find navigating the world of cichlids. By the way, do watch the Apistogramma/Corydoras mix: Apistogrammas have been known to attack and blind Corydoras catfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Apistogramma and  02/08/09 Hi Thank you for the fast reply. Yeah, I know it was a bad move buying a fish without knowing about it. I usually do a lot of research on the internet before getting something. I had just gone to guy some fish food and it became an "impulse buy" and I have gotten fish here before and this was someone new there. So I can only blame myself. The ratio for male to females is that for multiple cichlids for the bullying? because this is the only cichlid I have. Or is that ratio for just having a cichlid in a tank period? Here is a pic sorry that its not a great one. Hopefully this will help in a possibility identifying the fish. <Hello. The ratio of one male Apistogramma to 2+ females is to do with their social/breeding behaviour; if you have equal numbers of males and females, things don't always work out right, and sometimes the male bullies the female. With more females, he'll be moving between temporary associations with different females, so while mating with one female, the other will get a rest. If a single female has to put up with the constant attention of the male, she'll get exhausted. As she weakens, he'll get frustrated, and he'll try to drive her out of his territory. (Polygamous male cichlids can be "wife beaters"...) In any case, the picture does look a lot like Apistogramma cacatuoides, going by the orange/black flecks on the caudal fin and the long black bar along the midline of the flank. This is lucky, because as I think I mentioned last time, it's one of the best "beginner" Apistogramma. It'll put up with more mistakes than most any other member of the genus. Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry Shrimp Compatibility, w/ Corydoras   8/20/08 Hello, <Amanda> I hope whichever of the crewmembers that gets this is having a good day. <I hope we all are> I have a quick question. I am pretty sure I already know the answer, but I read over the facts (both shrimp and Corydoras) and just wanted some confirmation either way. I have the opportunity to purchase some cherry shrimp (they aren't very common here). I am very interested in getting some but only if I can house them safely. The only tank I have which is suitable to their needs at the moment is populated by 10 Corydoras (five C. aeneus and five C. sterbai). My gut feeling is that the Corydoras might try to eat the cherry shrimp (on the Corydoras section on WWM it is stated "Corydoras et al. are more carnivorous than omnivores... eating mainly insect larvae, worms, and crustaceans in the wild." If this is the case I will not get them, but if you feel housing them together will be safe I'll pick them up. Thank you Amanda <If this tank is large enough (let's say 29 or more gallons), and there is sufficient habitat (rocks, plants, wood...) these shrimp and Callichthyids should be fine together. Bob Fenner>
Question about unknown fish - 06/08/2007 Hi, I recently bought a 180 gallon fresh water tank that came along with a fish that I cannot identify. I was hoping that you could help me. The previous owner stated that the fish was a goby but the research that I have done does not support that. I have searched the web and went to my local pet store but no luck. The fish is about 10 inches long very stout and broad. He has bright orange/red coloring on his very top fin. He has small eyes and a pretty big mouth. The fish is gray in color with stripes on the body. He likes to sit on the bottom of the tank resting on two bottom fins. I would like to add some other fish but I am a little apprehensive because I do not know how this fish behaves. I would greatly appreciate any help. I have included a few pictures Thank you, Michelle <Hello Michelle. Your new fish is almost certainly the North American sleeper goby Dormitator maculatus. The taxonomy of the gobies and goby-like fishes is complex and in a state of flux, but broadly speaking this is a goby of sorts, a member of the family Eleotridae as opposed to the "true" gobies Gobiidae. This is a large, omnivorous brackish water species with a high tolerance for freshwater though I'm not convinced it can be permanently maintained as a freshwater fish. It doesn't need much salt to do well; 3-6 grammes of marine salt mix per litre should be adequate. It can also be kept in a marine aquarium. In freshwater aquaria its colours tend to be subdued and it is more prone to sickness. It is hardy, gets to 70 cm in the wild, though 30 cm or so is more typical in aquaria. This species (and sleepers generally) eats both animal and plant foods. An ideal diet would contain green foods like tinned peas and algae wafers along with bloodworms, chopped seafood, and the occasional earthworm or river shrimp. It is not aggressive towards fish it can't swallow whole, but given its maximum size it is obviously not suitable for the average community tank! In the right tank, e.g., with scats, Monos and other largish brackish water fish, these sleeper gobies are friendly, entertaining pets. http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=3827 Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Question about unknown fish, Corydoras comp.  -- 6/8/08 Neale, I can not thank you enough for your help! Do you think I could add some Cory cat fish in the tank with the goby? I have some cat fish in another tank ranging in size from about one inch to 3 inches. thank you Michelle <Short answer is no, Corydoras wouldn't work. Firstly your Sleeper Goby will need at least some salt added to the water, and Corydoras won't appreciate that at all. Secondly the Sleeper Goby could well try and eat them. If you want a catfish for this aquarium, consider Hoplosternum littorale, a large relative of Corydoras from northern South America and Trinidad. It's very hardy, can be kept alone or in groups, gets to about 20 cm in length, and is very tolerant of brackish water. It will thrive in the slightly saline conditions Dormitator maculatus demands. There are various other brackish water catfish, but that's the one I'd go with here. Cheers, Neale.>

6 Cory Cats, comp./sel.  4/13/08 Hello WWM crew, Thank you for your wonderful site and service to the community. We have a "community" 125 gallon tank working fine. Our tank has a total of 9 Corys: 2 albinos, 5 bronze, 1 peppered, 1 c. metae, along with the usual swords, mollies, and platys. Specific question on the usual advice to have 6 or more Cory cats. I use six as an example only. Please clarify whether this means they must all six be the same type (say, 6 emerald or 6 peppered); or does it mean 6 of any type Cory, as we have? <While a few Corydoras species will mix in the wild, for all practical purposes they should all be treated as different things when it comes to forming schools. So six bronze Corydoras, six peppered Corydoras, and so on. While they may all look the same to us, to one another they are completely different things. The sole exception is the Albino Corydoras, which is (usually) Corydoras paleatus, i.e., the peppered Corydoras though sometimes it is alternatively the bronze Corydoras, Corydoras aeneus.> We ask because none of the Corys (including the 5 emerald cats) hang out together as a "shoal" like the photos on www sites. <Precisely so. You need a reasonable number, generally six or more.> Ours are all independent critters. Is this normal or is it due to our large tank (5' long, 18" wide) ? <Bit of both. Corydoras don't normally swim as a single group all the time. They often cleave off into subgroups, often a couple of males escorting a mature female. Mine do this all the time, and periodically you'll find eggs laid on the glass as evidence. Remove the eggs, rear the fry (comparatively easy) and add them to your group of Corydoras!> One observation is that the new (this week) C. metae immediately paired off with the 1 peppered Cory; but neither of these "hang" with the albinos or emeralds, and the albinos do not associate much with the emeralds. Does this mean we have stocked wrongly? <"Wrong" is perhaps too strong a word, but perhaps not "ideally". It's a lot of fun to watch Corydoras doing the social thing, and if you feel you have space in your community tank, I'd heartily recommend bumping up the numbers. In 125 gallons, you could easily keep ten of each and not have problems.> We want to do the right thing by these very nice fish. <Indeed so!> Many thanks, Rosemary <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: 6 Cory Cats  04/14/2008 Neal, brilliant reply in concise terms. Off to the LFS Monday for some albino and bronze Corys! Many, many thanks! Rosemary <Happy to help. In theory at least, Peppered and Albino catfish should school together; if they don't, then the chances are you have Albino Bronze catfish rather than the more common Albino Peppered catfish. Enjoy your fishkeeping! Cheers, Neale.>

Gold Rams, comp., beh.  4/8/07 Hi People, <Ruth> Firstly I would just like to thank you for your great site. I've got a 60l tank (about 2 months old) with 3 Peppered Corys, 2 Schwartz Corys, 4 Longfin Leopard Danios and a pair of Gold Rams. The tank is well planted with live plants, plenty of bogwood and a rock cave. <Sounds very nice> Everything was great until about a week ago when the female ram started bullying the Corys at feeding times only. <Mmm, unusual... unless... they're reproducing...> The Rams aren't timid in any way and she only chases them if they run away, typical bully! I thought maybe they were trying to spawn so added a flat piece of slate at the bottom for them but nothing happened. Then I added the 4 Danios as ditherfish, <Good idea> funny thing is she seems to like them and doesn't bother them at all and even swims around with them. Is she just hungry? Or territorial because she and the Corys both eat at the bottom? <Perhaps a bit of both> She only fights over catfish pellets not frozen or flake food. I always sit and watch them eat and she eats like a pig and doesn't look pinched. Is my tank too full? <Is near a "psychological" limit here> Will the Corys manage with a bit of chasing at meal times (I'm 99% certain it doesn't happen at any other times) or would it be better to get rid of the rams? Thanks very much, Ruth <I do think all should be fine here... The Corydoras/Callichthyids are quite armored... and the Rams know this... I might try feeding at both ends of this tank simultaneously... Please do read (on WWM, fishbase.org, elsewhere) re the water quality of Microgeophagus... perhaps lowering water temperature will reduce the agonistic behavior. Bob Fenner>

Cory-Eating Koi!  9/19/06 Hello, <Hi Ben, Pufferpunk here.  Please try correct capitalization & correct punctuation in your email.  I have to fix this, before we can post in our Daily FAQs.> Today I came home to find my ghost coy (spelled: Koi) had tried to eat my small catfish.  I found it had lodged it's spines through the cheeks of the coy. I had to use sharp scissors to cut both front spines which were protruding on the cat fish and its top spine to remove the catfish and save the Corys life.  I removed the fish after some time but to my surprise the catfish was still alive!  After I had clipped most of his top fin down to his back, including its fin spine, I have put it in an separate tank in attempts to keep it sterile. I am just wondering if its fins will grow back from such massive loss of its top fin? <You can add Melafix to his water, to keep him from getting an infection & to help his fins grow back.  You must keep this water pristine, by doing at least 50% water changes daily, since his tank isn't cycled.  Is there a filter on there?  He will heal best with a heater set to 78-80 degrees too.  I don't suggest putting him back in with your Koi.  I'd also add Melafix to the Koi's water, as his mouth obviously has been pierced  ~PP> Regards, Ben Walker

Betta/Corydoras Comp., Sys.   8/2/06 I love your site! It is so helpful and the best one I have come across.  I have a new male Betta in a 3 gallon, filtered tank. It has silk plants. He refuses to eat anything but frozen Brine Shrimp <Need to expand this diet... not nutritious completely> and it an active little sucker.   My question is .. . is a 3 gallon too small to add a Cory catfish to? <Mmm, no... is not too small for a small/ish species of Corydoras> I am concerned about the size of the tank and how active the Betta is. Being that Bettas are territorial, I worry that adding a Cory is not a good idea. What are your thoughts? Thanks! Dawn <Should get along fine. There is an occasional "super mean" male Betta that comes along, but most are so "autistic" that they leave such armored cats be. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betcompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> Hi There, <Hello again!> Sorry, I found the answer. I kept reading and reading and found the same question. Whew! Thanks again! Dawn <Welcome. BobF>

Betta and Corys  6/5/06 <<Hi, Chris. Tom with you.>> I have recently added a Betta with 2 Cory catfish in a 10 gallon tank. Sometimes the Betta chases the Corys around the tank.  I have seen the Betta take a nip at the Cory but the Corys have been fast enough to get away.  Could this be the Betta just setting up his territory?   <<Most likely the case, Chris.>> I have read Bettas and Corys are compatible.  Is my Betta overly aggressive? <<Could be the "alpha" type but, as a recent addition, I wouldn't be concerned.>> Anyway to calm him down?   <<With good conditions, he should acclimate without much else being done.>> Also, are there any other tankmates suitable? <<A ten-gallon tank is, typically, a bit large for a Betta but I wouldn't hurry out to find more "tankmates". They'll do very well "solo" and I'm not a fan of mixing these with other fish. (The Corys, which I adore, are pretty inoffensive in any tropical tank so I would discount these as "other fish". :)>> Thanks, Chris <<Any time, Chris. Tom>>

Corys With Rams  4/27/06 Good Morning~ I've been at my aquarium hobby for about 6 months...learning a lot from this great site/people and really appreciate it! I've spotted a dwarf ram that I'm interested in and have a couple questions. The LFS has their temperature with these fish at 84 degrees...I've gotten my 12gal tank up to that temp....my tank was down for a while...bio-wheel.. have added dirty filter water & dirty gravel...about a week ago...will it be okay to put about 3 or 4 rams here?....should I purchase a few Danios/barbs at the same time to put in with them - or just the rams by themselves? < Either way would be fine.> (I'm planning to have a 20gal free in a couple weeks and intend to move them to that) Also, I really like Corys and wonder if any particular one is okay with the higher temperature? < Most Cory's can handle the elevated water temps. Some cannot but these are usually rare and expensive. Check out the Cory's at Planetcatfish.com if you are interested in a particular species.-Chuck> Thanks Again, Judy

Kribensis, Ram query... Corydoras comp.   4/21/06 Hi Crew, <Jeff> I hope all is well wherever you all are. Winter finally broke last week here in Edmonton, Canada. <Thank goodness... my cold tolerance (and no preference) is "out the window" with advancing age> Anyway, I have a reef invert question and a freshwater question. <Okay> Reef -  I recently added a frogspawn with three heads and a small xenia about 4 days ago. Both appear to be doing very well, the xenia is showing full movement (pulsing) and the frogspawn is still colourful and opens up very nicely during lighting hours. My system is a 29 gal with 130w of PC (10k & Actinic). Firstly, how often do I feed each species (Reefroids for xenia & Mysis for other). <3-4 times a week> Secondly, I have the frogspawn in the middle of the setup about 10 inches below the lights and set on my LR. Is it better to have it as low as I can and in the substrate? <Mmm, I would keep this Euphylliid off the bottom. See WWM re> I am letting the xenia tell me where it wants to be. <Good... just do keep it confined> Freshwater - I recently upgraded a 7 gal bowfront to a 25 gal tank. I had 4 Cory cats (5-6 years old each) and are very fond of them. I just added a male and female Krib to the tank 5 days ago. I had not recently read up on the fish, just remembered that I thought they would be interesting and hardy. They are particularly beautiful specimens, but I am embarrassed to say that I didn't realize that they were bottom dwellers and would take nips out of my Corys. <Too likely, yes> My question is can I replace them with rams (tank bred) and have the Corys left alone? <Yes... a much better choice> If it is ok, I saw some very small and very red shrimp that would be neat to have, they are about 1/3 the size of my algae eating shrimp I have (2 only), would the rams bother the new small red shrimp. <Not likely> The shrimp remind me of camel backed shrimp for marine. Thank you again for your time, Jeff Morgan <Morgan: "Man of the sea"... Bob Fenner>

Cory Cats co-livestocking   2/2/06 I recently set my son up with a ten gallon aquarium and after a  little research, talked him into putting Cory cats in the tank  instead of the Bala sharks he originally wanted.  Currently, there  are 3 bronze Corys in the tank.  I wanted to build the tank community  up a little at a time.  They have a cave, some plastic plants, and a  statue in their tank to hide behind.  They really love the cave.  The  tank has a Whisper 10-20 gallon power filter.  I plan to get at least  2 more Corys, but what else could I put in the tank that would swim  in the middle of the tank.  I'm not real keen on livebearers, and I  don't want to overstock.  The Corys are such fun fish.  They're  almost like little puppies when they swim out at feeding time, or  just when someone walks in the room. Thanks for your help. Vicki <Many choices... look on WWM and elsewhere re small barbs, Danios, Rasboras, small Gourami species... Bob Fenner>

Platy - Gourami mix revisited: this time, +cats!   2/2/06   Hi crew!   Thanks for your quick+informative reply regarding my platies! The little guys look very happy! I followed your advice and bought a test kit: all very good readings:   Ammonia: 0   Nitrate:0   Nitrite:25 - 50 <These last two are crossed-over... and nitrate's a bit high. Do try to keep below 20 ppm... means covered on WWM>   Ph: not sure, as it was a funny light blue colour, but I'm guessing it was about 7.5, and they told me not to worry about it at my local fish store place.    <Is likely fine... also covered>   I did not buy the Gouramis, as planned, but instead bought 2 little cats. I hope to get the Gouramis later.      My question is about my cats. In the shop, they were labeled as "speckled cats", but when I got them home and looked in a fish book, there was a picture of them... Labeled as peppered Corys! I can't send a pic. with this, but I'm working on it! They seem very peaceful and fun loving, could they be the peppered Corys?    <Are very likely a species of Corydoras... maybe paleatus... covered on WWM... fine here>   Thanks for replying to my email, and once again, thanks for your great site! <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Corydoras panda are losing their eyes!   1/26/06 I hope someone can help.  Recently I noticed 4 of my young pandas have lost their eyes.  2 have died so far.   After they lose their eyes they start to loss their color and turn whitish. They still feed and act silly.  I've had pandas for a few years and have managed to breed them very successfully.  I love my little guys and take good care.  Could this be a disease? <Not likely> or is someone attacking them? <Yes>   The only "new" addition is a very young Kribensis Cichlid (about the same size as the pandas).  I have a 60 gallon tank with mostly tetra (cardinals and hatchets), 5 platies, 2 small angelfish, 2 yoyo loaches and 2 Plecos. <I suspect the Kribensis or loaches... but could be an angel... only close observation or systematic removal will reveal the culprit. Bob Fenner> Help me please - Sabiha

Oscar Tried To Eat Cory Cat   1/14/06 Hi, I've had my Oscars for about 4 months, the tiger is about 2 inches and the albino about 6 inches.  There were also to albino bronze catfish in the tank, the Oscars didn't bother these until now.  I arrived home from work today to find one of the catfish stuck in albino's mouth, my dad arrived and informed me that it had been there for most of the day.  I netted the Oscar and carefully tried to remove the fish, eventually in came out.  The Oscars mouth is now very open and I am worried as it is not feeding.  Do you think that my Oscar may die from the trauma, and should I take it to a vet, thanks for your time,   Alex < The protective spines of the Corydoras catfish work just as well in the aquarium as they do in the wild. If the spines broke off in your Oscar's mouth then you are in trouble. If you got the spines out then I would keep the water clean and treat with an antibiotic for infection. Your Oscar can go for more than a week without food. Give it a chance to heal and remove all the smaller fish that can be considered food by the Oscars.-Chuck>
Oscar Basking In the Moonlight was: Oscar Tried To Eat Cory Cat   1/22/06
Thanks for your help, he is back eating properly again now, his mouth has closed up although it is slightly off centre, other than that he is fine. I have been toying with the idea of getting a moonlight effect bulb for my tank, will this confuse the fish and make them think its night time all the time, or will they be okay with it??    Thanks again for your time,   Alex < Oscars are pretty smart and will be able to tell the daytime from the night time from the ambient room light. I do' think you will be able to appreciate your Oscar too much under those lighting conditions.-Chuck>

More Corys, Crowding Concerns? - 12/18/2005 Gage, Not to worry. I appreciate the reply. (My reply was largely rhetorical, anyway.) <Hi, Tom; Sabrina with you today.> Now, (refreshing your memory here), four Serpae Tetras, six Bloodfin Tetras, six Black-skirt Tetras and a Red Flame Gourami in the 50-gallon tank. Eight Panda Corys enroute to the QT. Can I add another school of Corys (six Serpae Corys) or, is this, now, overload? <I think this is sustainable.  Go for it.> My best, Tom <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Freshwater planted setup Howdy once again, In regards to the sump for the 55 gallon live plant fish tank. I would appreciate your comments on the sump design (drawing attached). I'm kind of new at this fish stuff but have been doing a lot of research for the last six months and want my system set up right the first time. Thanks for your previous input and thanks for your input on this aspect in advance. <missed the attachment, bud> As to your first response on adding more Corydoras cats-Should I add more Panda Cory's or can I add the same amount of another Cory species (from what I read their all compatible, given water parameters are within reason). <I'm inclined towards shoals of the same species and the panda specifically for warmer waters if you need that. Anthony>

Re: Oscars, Corydoras Cats Together Bob, thank you for your quick response:) I have a freshwater 150 gallon tank, that houses: 1 tiger Oscar several small Corey cats <Yikes... hope your Oscar can resist swallowing any of these Corydoras... >too common cause of death...> [smiles] They are well fed, happy Oscars, and never bother anyone. The Corys are prolific breeders in the tank, though the Zebras and fire eel seem to enjoy eating the eggs just as prolifically. >1 random cichlid [about the size of a convict] I would like to figure out what this cichlid is. It is almost shaped as a convict, but a bit more streamlined. Very rich coloring, with bright bluing around the eyes. Any good url that has pictures I can start researching? <Oh yes: fishbase.org The family Cichlidae is quite large... maybe start with Spilurum, the various re-do's of the genus Cichlasoma... and a very large pot of tea/coffee (to stay up late). Have fun.> >and two young albino Oscars [about 7 months old, not true albinos,  >having >lots of darkness on their fins] ><Yes, "Gold" (xanthic) varieties> Excellent, thank you:) ><Hmm do read over this (marine) piece on HLLE... and its cure... can be >done with vitamin and iodide adjunct to their foods: >http://wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm> These are the articles I read over, and it seems always to pertain to salt water tanks. Though I salt a bit heavy due to the HLLE [hoping this will keep down the other parasites while they are under stress] it is by no means brackish let alone salt. <The same causative mechanism/s exist in both marine and freshwater... lack of essential nutrients> ><Let's discuss this issue to the point of clarity for you... and  >maybe >we'll generate a definitive article on freshwater HLLE problems>. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> We are discussing:) What I am wondering is what vitamins? What changes in diet? <Mainly C and D, some E... and iodide (often termed iodine)...> I feed them Tetramin's cichlids pellets and sticks. Live feeders once a month. Frozen brine shrimp, occasionally blood worms, crickets and other assorted 'make my fish happy and give them treats food'. In the last few days, the babies have gotten to look worse, with the 'caves' beginning to look reddish, as if they are losing the last of the skin in those craters. I would like to start treating them as soon as possible, but really need to know what vitamins to give freshwater Oscars/cichlids. <There are prep.s that are made/labeled for fishes et al. aquatics, but the compounds involved are the same as for tetrapods (like you and me), so "baby vitamins" (liquids) will do... or pet-fish ones like Micro-Vit, Selcon... Add these to the food a few minutes before offering.> Thank you Bob, for all your time and help on this issue. I am really getting worried about them. cj. <Me too... do try the vitamins... they can/will effect a reversal at this point. Bob Fenner>

Molly - Cory compatibility Doctor Fenner, <Call me Robare, just not late for din din> My wife and I recently started an aquarium in our apartment. While I was growing up, my grandfather was an avid fish keeper, and it really rubbed off onto me. Finally, I have a setup of my own, and we bought four beautiful black lyre tail mollies to start. <Ah, great> I've heard from several sources that Cory cats are good tank mates for mollies. However, I wanted to make sure before I head out to my local aquarium shop that Corys can handle the slightly harder water that mollies need. Thanks for your help! <Yes, good question... "modern" Corydoras catfishes are much more "plastic" (tolerant of wide, varying water conditions) than those of yore. Will do fine with Mollies, even tolerating a modicum of salt. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Chris

Up late stressing about my four Corys <Ananda here this late night/early morning, fielding the puffer questions...> I just did what now seems to be a very stupid thing. I had an overflow of snails so I read all about loaches and went to the local aquarium store to buy myself a small pack of them, having read they where a schooling fish. I was a little nervous about this and was easily manipulated by the evil aquarium experts?   <Always stick to your guns when you have researched something...keep in mind that the people at the store are trying to sell you something and that non-commercial web sites about fish generally have the fishes' best interests at heart.> Anyways they told me I would be better off buying a single Puffer fish, and after asking what fish I already had in my aquarium told me to add a teaspoon of rock salt per gallon of water to my aquarium. <Knowing you had Corydoras catfish? Shame on them!!> It has been a little over a week now and my Cory Catfish are not eating, and I just read that Corys can not tolerate salt, <Usually not well at all. I would do a 50% water change with no salt in the new water.> but I now have a green spotted puffer fish as well. <Cute and intelligent fish, requiring salt as they mature.> Tell me how to safe my fishies without buying a second aquarium please.  :(    <Oh my. That is difficult, because the puffer needs salt, and the Corys can't tolerate it. Very young green-spotted puffers (under 2" in length) can tolerate freshwater for short periods. But your long-term solution is another tank for the puffer.> <Best wishes, Ananda>  

Panda Corys Hi. Are panda Corys compatible with other Corys species? I have read they are sociable and like to be in a group. I have one remaining panda having 6 that died. I want the panda to have company but I do not like the fish store where I got the pandas from and can't find pandas where I want to purchase...so I'm looking at getting other Corydoras species. You think? Thanks Marty <Hey Marty, they will do fine together.  Corydoras are one of my favorite fish.  In my experience, I have noticed that although they do not bother each other, they do stick with their own.  My Albino Corys hang out with the other Albinos, and the Peppered Corys hang out with the other Peppered Corys.  What is interesting is the Albino Corys do not hang out with the Bronze Corys even though they are both Corydoras Aeneus, go figure.  One thing you may want to look into is why the other 6 died, that is not a good sign. fishbase.org is great for information regarding water parameters and what not, the link below is a fun Cory site. -Gage http://www.nettaigyo.com/corydoras/encyc/index-e.html >
Panda Corys
Thank you so much Gage. I will check out the info you sent me. The fish store where I bought the pandas is not someplace I want to frequent any longer. Their Corys had no barbels to speak of, and the Corys were very little. I watched the guy catch them and it looked like a slaughter rather than a netting. Marty <Good plan, no barbels is a very bad sign. -Gage>

Pandas and Barbs Incompatible? Hi! I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 striped barbs and 2 long-finned Danios. All 4 fish are about 1" in size.  Tank has been cycled and water tested. They have been living together for a few months now and get along great. I do a 20-30% water change every week.  The other day I added 2 small panda Corys.  Right away, one striped barb started chasing one of the Corys.  This went on for a few days. Every time the panda tried to rest, the barb would seek him out and chase him.  It only happened with one barb and one panda.  Also, the barbs were hogging all the food, so we tried a sinking pellet for the pandas, but the barbs found that too and devoured it!  Needless to say, when I got home from work one night, both pandas were dead. I took them out and did a water change and the 4 original fish are back to normal.  Will this happen with any new fish I add or was there some incompatibility with the panda and the barb?  I feel like the barb harassed the pandas to death!! < Some fish do get territorial and some barbs have been known to become fin nippers. Next time do a water change and rearrange the tank just before adding any new fish. This may help. Or you could try to add numerous fish at the same time to help disperse the aggression of the barbs.-Chuck> Thanks, Frances

Restocking, Learning - 08/25/2005 Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Wayne!  Sabrina with you today.> I've been emailing you a lot lately; sorry for the inconvenience because the problems I've had seemed petty.   <No worries.> I thought Corys would be fine living with goldfish and mine have been doing pretty well.  But I was just informed I shouldn't keep them together because of the different temperatures they live in?   <Quite true.> Anyways, I'm set on just keeping them separate, maybe giving my biggest goldfish (about 2.5 inches) to a petstore, and restocking my tank with the peppered Corys with fish that are compatible. <Sounds like a plan!> I have 4 peppered Corys in a 10 gallon tank so far. I think 1 female and 3 males because one is significantly larger than the other 3. <Actually, a good ratio, if you wish to breed.> They've been chasing her around during these past few days. She (if it's a female) looks like she's trying to swim away from them. Seems like they want to mate with her. Is it stressful to her to be the only female in the tank? <Not really....  Provided, of course, that there is plenty of cover for her to hide.> I want to add maybe 2 more Corys to the school nonetheless. Would that be too much for my tank?   <Pushing it, but they'll be fine.  Corys are VERY social animals.> I've also read some stuff on freshwater livestock and compatibilities saying Tetras (Neons, Cardinals, Black Skirts, Bloodfins, False Rummynose, and Penguins), Platies, Loaches, and White Cloud Minnows? are good for a community tank. <I would skip white clouds, as they are actually a more temperate fish....  prefer cooler water.> I don't want any more bottom feeders or fish that like to hang out on the bottom. <Skip the loaches, then.> I'd prefer fish that stay in the middle of the tank or the top. Also after reading about size and water quantity, how big will tetras, platies, and loaches grow? <Much variance for tetras....  depending upon species, less than an inch to over a foot!  Just research the species you like.  Platies, roughly 2".  Loaches, again, much variance....  from a couple inches to over a foot.  Again, research....> Do they live in the same water conditions as my current Corys? <All but the platies, yes, but even the platies will thrive with you.> Are there any other types of fish I can think about putting in the tank other than the ones I listed? <Uhh....  how big is this tank going to be??> I also don't know how many of those fish I can add along with let's say 6 peppered Corys already in the tank. <As above....  I don't know the tank size (I do recall corresponding with you before, but we go through sooooo many emails daily....  Can't remember every detail!  Mostly, be sure not to go overboard on stocking.  It's always better to have too little than too much bioload.> I don't want to have an overstocking problem like I did with the goldfish. <Ahhhh, very good!> Thank you so much and you guys have been very helpful! <Glad to be of service.> I'm starting to understand more about fish care and also gaining much needed knowledge for future the well being of any future fish! <That, my friend, is why we are here.  Thank you very much.> Wayne <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Restocking, Learning - II - 08/26/2005
Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Wayne!> Thanks for replying! I have a 10 gallon tank. I think it has completed it's cycling phase, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate looks like 20ppm maybe slightly more. <Best to get the nitrate down some with water changes - but otherwise, great.> I have a bubble wall and an action pirate ship bubbler. <No other cover?  I'd recommend adding more stuff for the Corys (and future fish) to help them feel secure and be able to "get away" from one another.  Plants (plastic or live, low-light plants), rock, even very clean, new terra cotta plant pots.> My filter is a hang on back Whisper 20 Power Filter and my tank temperature (and also room temp) is 78 - 82 degrees. When it starts to get colder I'll drop the heater in. <Perfect.> I have the 4 peppered Corys already in that tank and was just wondering how many fish (Corys, Neons probably, or platies unless there are other types that will thrive comfortable even after they are fully grown) <I'd go for platies, honestly.  They are MUCH more entertaining - and durable - than Neons.  Neons can be very, very delicate and sensitive to any changes in water quality.  Platies are VERY forgiving, especially in regards to pH, hardness, and nitrate.  Plus, they come in SO many great colors/patterns.> Are panda Corys more delicate than peppered Corys because <Not really.> I love the way they look. <Me, too.> If they are too delicate, I would probably skip buying them and just add 1 or 2 more peppered Corys. <Well, platies are schoolers and like to be in hoards of their own species (literally, can find them in schools of hundreds, maybe thousands, in the wild!), but they'll play well with other species, too.  Pandas are my favorite, as well.  You could mix these two.> I visited Petco today and if Neons would do well in my 10 gallon tank I saw some neat tetras that were an inch or less in length. The only probably is that they school and I'll have to get at least 5? (read somewhere odd numbers were best) for them to feel comfortable? <Mm, the odd number thing is bologna - it's just important to have them in a school of several.  Again, I'd do platies instead of tetras, here; if you're totally bent on having Neons, yeah, no less than five.> I would like to add some color (blue, red, orange, etc) to my tank that are not bottom dwellers. <Yup, you want platies!  Err, at least, they satisfy your color desires :)  A trio of platies and your small group of Corys would do well in this tank, provided you keep water quality in check.> Lost interest in goldfish because of how messy they are. <Ahh, dig a pond!  You'll get interested again right away.  Goldfish are AWESOME, given the proper environment.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Restocking - III? IV? - 08/30/2005
Hi WWM Crew, <Hi, Wayne!  Ya got me again!> Sabrina answered my last couple of emails about restocking my tank and I didn't give a complete description of what's in my tank (sorry). <No worries.> My Tank: 10 gallon AquaClear All Glass Tank Light Hood Whisper 20 Power Filter w/ Biofoam (this black foam that slips in front of the filter cartridge) Whisper 10 - 30 air pump A bubble wall An action pirate ship bubbler 10 plastic plants of different kinds (small - medium) Small fake log with silk plants attached Small Easter Island Statue Small natural color shallow creek pebbles (I think) <Sounds like plenty of great cover for the Corys to feel safe.> I currently have 4 Corydoras paleatus, 3 males about 1 inch long and a female about 1.5 inches long, look like they are doing great. I had 2 of them for a couple of months now and the other 2 for a month or 2. My tank has a regular temperature of 78 to 82 degrees and when winter time rolls around I'll drop a heater in to maintain a steady temp. The ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is rising but I am doing water changes to keep it down around 20ppm.   <Try to get this lower - otherwise it sounds awesome so far.> Now I would like to start adding more fish to the mix. From reading/receiving information from your site, I've narrowed my choices down to a couple fish I would like to add to my tank. I definitely want to add a couple more Corys, either panda Corys or peppered Corys, to my 4 peppered Corys. <Either would be fine, I think.> For tetras, I like Black Phantoms, Flame, Glowlights, Lemon, and Pristella and for Rasboras, I like the Harlequin and Scissortail.  If I were to get panda Corys, how many would I need to get for it to feel comfortable around my peppered Corys. I'm afraid one panda Cory wouldn't school with the other peppered Corys. <Agreed; your best bet is to stick with peppered Corys, and plan some day in the future to go with a larger tank and do a same- or similarly-sized school of pandas.> As for the tetras and Rasboras, how many could I get so as not to overstock my 10 gallon tank. I learned the hard way before with an overstock of goldfish. <So many people do!  Don't feel alone in this!> I know tetras and Rasboras like to be kept in a school of 5 or more. <If at all possible, yes.> Is it possible for me to get at least 2 different types of fish without overstocking my tank? I am thinking of around 5 - 7 Corys total and 2 different schools of tetras and/or Rasboras with 5 or more in each school. <I would go with the 5-7 Corys and one type of tetra or Rasbora....  And just five of those.  A 10g tank just isn't forgiving on water quality once you begin to reach the stocking limits.  And again, if possible, consider a larger tank in the future....  some time down the road....  to have more options.> If you have any other combinations and amounts of the types of fish I could keep I would really appreciate it! <Just as above - pick your favorite of your list (possibly omitting the Pristellas for their pretty harsh aggression) and go with five or six of those.  Then in the future, when you're addicted and go up to a 29g or 55g tank, well....  the possibilities are nearly endless!> Thanks again WWM Crew! <And thanks for being such a great, conscientious fishkeeper.> Wayne <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

125g Plant Tank, Inhabitants, Compatibilities - 10/22/2005 - Sabrina Learns Hawaiian - 10/23/05 Hi, <Aloha! Sabrina with you today, soon to be leaving Hawai'i to head back home....> Thanks for all your help in the past in assisting me with my F/W Planted Discus aquarium. It has been set up now for about three months and has been doing well. I just have a few short questions. First I'll give you the tank specs. * 125 Gallon tank- glass * 1 -Rena XP3 Canister Filter * 1 -48" Coralife Double Bulb Compact Fluorescent Light * 1- 24" All-Glass Double Bulb fluorescent Light * 100-150 Assorted Live Plants * 2- Large Pieces of Driftwood * 3-4" of a Mix of Fluorite and Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate * 2- 300 Watt Via Aqua Steel Thermometers * 6- Small/Medium Discus- about 3-4" * 6- Lemon Tetras * 20- Cardinal Tetras * 6- "Golden Wonder" Killies- about 2" * 20- Grass Shrimp * 50 Small Snails- I tried to keep them out of the tank! * 2-Large Common Plecos- 6" * 1- Small Common Pleco * 2-Clown Plecos * 6- Assorted Small Corydoras Cats (Julii, Emerald, Panda) * 6- Dwarf African Frogs * 12- "Oto" Cats * pH- 7 * Nitrate- 20ppm * Nitrite- 0ppm * Ammonia- 0ppm * 30% Water Change every Saturday So, my questions are these: Can I add six German Blue Rams to the mix? <Mm, in all honesty, I would not.> Also, can I add six more Corydoras Cats and two more "Bushy Nose" Plecos? <The Corys, yes, but the plecs I would be a bit concerned about, since you already have several of two species. If you add these, do so with extreme caution and be prepared to remove immediately.> What is the best way to remove a green mat algae- I think it's Cyanobacteria? <Mostly just nutrient control.... In your case, you might want to explore the amount of light, needs of your plants, amount of CO2 and fertilization you use.... I heartily recommend a book called "Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants" by (don't laugh) Peter Hiscock (I love that name, really I do!). You can likely gain a lot from this book. Aside from that, it's a pleasant read.>

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