Are corys helpful with tank maintenance?

Bobho

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We are in the middle of cycling a 26 gal bowfront. Since we're so new at this, we have decided not to do live plants and just concentrate on the fish and are thinking of our stocking possibilities after the tank is cycled.

Would adding dwarf corys be beneficial in keeping our tank clean? Do they help with the ammonia buildup by eating extra fish food off the bottom or would their waste add enough to the ammonia to cancel out their "cleanup" ability? I wouldn't want corys unless they were useful, I'd rather have more barbs or rasboras.

We're thinking of:
6 cherry barbs
6 harlequin rasboras
(? 4 dwarf corys)

Thanks for any advice.
 
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Aquarist

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Hello Bobho,

If I'm going to have a community tank then I feel the tank should be divided into thirds:
Top feeders
Middle feeders
Bottom feeders

I think it helps to balance the entire system. More food gets eaten so less food to decay in the tank.

The only fish I have in my Goldfish tank are Goldfish. Same for my Betta tank, only 1 Betta. So if you want a species only tank then I don't see that they are necessary. Regular substrate vacuuming will help kept your readings where they need to be.

Good luck with your cycle!
Ken
 

funkman262

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Welcome to FishLore Bobho

Theoretically, you're right. Adding cories would reduce the amount of waste being produced ONLY if they are ONLY eating the food leftover on the bottom. If the food were just left there, the maximum amount of ammonia that could be produced will be produced. However, if cories were to eat that same amount of food, they would produce less waste than if the food were left alone because the cories burned some of it as energy and growth. But how often do we just let our fish scavenge for food without making sure they get their fair share. I personally place food at the bottom just for them so I'm sure they eat enough. So in the end, I don't think it would be worth it to get cories for the sole purpose of eating any uneaten food. You should get them because they're great fish with a lot of personality and a joy to watch. As far as keeping nitrogen levels in check, you should take Ken's advice of vacuuming the bottom from time to time. This would not only remove any uneaten food but also the fish poop that will continue to degrade and release ammonia.
 

claudicles

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Don't be put off cories just because they are bottom dwellers. They can be very active and interesting little fishies. They rise up frequently and scoot all over the place. As far as adding interrest to a tank I'd rate them on a par with barbs and rasbora.
 

allibobs

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I have lots of corys most are bottom dwellers and are doing a great job down there BUT my 2 albinos think they are middle of the tank fish and spend most of there time charging from one and of the tank to another barging things out of their way as they go. My thermometer is always floating on the top thanks to these 2 lol
 

BritJo

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My albino cory cats are my favorite fish. I had bought them for the exact reason you stated, to help clean up, and they do do a good job but like someone else said I do feed them as well (though only every other day do they get an algae wafer...and trust me they are ALWAYS finding things to eat on the bottom lol). They particularly love water change day (which has been daily due to an ich outbreak so they are happy fish) because all that good stuff gets stirred up and they find even more things to eat lol. Not to mention they are the coolest fish, all over the tank swimming up and down the sides and digging in the sand. SO CUTE lol.
 

BunnyPuncher

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Corys are wonderful fish who do far more than clean. In fact I would think the ever starving, ever poking around, algae eating, poop spitting Platy (or swordtail) make for a more robust and well rounded cleaner. But they do, sort of, help tidy up but as the others have said you need to get some food down to them too which can result in even more **** being accumulated down there.

In any event, all fish increase the bioload (more food! more poop!)
 
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Bobho

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Thanks! I think now I'm going to look into corys just for the fun of them instead of as workers. I guess I've never thought much of them since they're usually just on the bottom. But it sounds like they have great personalities!
 

ayelie

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I have lots of corys most are bottom dwellers and are doing a great job down there BUT my 2 albinos think they are middle of the tank fish and spend most of there time charging from one and of the tank to another barging things out of their way as they go. My thermometer is always floating on the top thanks to these 2 lol

Funny my guppy thinks he is cory. When they get going up and down the glass he goes along right beside them. I guess he schools with them. It just looks strange.


As for being put off because they are bottom feeders well, mine are all over the tank, and they are the sweetest little fish ever. I get to watching them and forget the other fish.
 
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AlyeskaGirl

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Yes, Corys are fun fish to have. Don't get them because you just want them to cleanup. They are much more then that as stated in the posts above. Don't just drop flake food in there and think they will get enough. They enjoy sinking shrimp pellots, algae wafers and frozen bloodworms.
 

Craig-D

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Thanks! I think now I'm going to look into corys just for the fun of them instead of as workers. I guess I've never thought much of them since they're usually just on the bottom. But it sounds like they have great personalities!
Cories will keep your subtrate clean, but they are far more than just workers. They are quite active (if you keep them in numbers - 5 minimum) and quite entertaining. Though they mostly hang at the bottom, they will swim higher on occasion and they are air breathers, so they visit the surface for air too.
 
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