Fish Stressed Out By Tank Care

Melmoth666

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Right now I have a 58G tank that is about half stocked.

4 Black Skirt Tetras (they killed their leader)
6 Serpae Tetra
3 Black Kuhli Loaches
1 Bronze Cory
1 Emerald Cory
6 Golden Danio
1 Dwarf Gourami

My water parameters are pristine. I have not seen an ammonia reading above .25 since cycling, 0 Nitrites, and low nitrate, consistently 5-10 ppm.

So I have a gravel bottom, I lost 2 Cory's to illness--The vet said that it was most likely because of stress. He said the stress can come from anything and everything, but his theory is that part of it was their difficulty in eating on the gravel substrate.

I have been overfeeding shrimp pellets to assure my Cory's and Loaches can eat and don't have to dig too far down to get at food until I can add a sandy beach...(which is going to be its own headache)

Because of this I have been vaccuming the gravel at every water change to keep it clean. AND changing the water more frequently, about 30% every 2 days. (I also added an HOB Filter for extra mechanical filtration)

I really need to remove all my tank decos and do a complete vac job but I am worried about the fish.

My fish are TERRIFIED of the gravel vaccuming I already do. After just a few spot vacs and water change they hide for HOURS. Anyone have any tips or tricks for a tamer/less terrifying way of doing tank maintainance?
 

McFly

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When I gravel vac, I move slowly. I slowly sink the vac into the gravel, wait for
the soot to get up into the hose, then slowly move to the next spot. With a 60
gallon tank, I get about 1/2 the bottom done weekly, and that is fine.

If fish are scared of the tube, sink it down to the gravel, and leave it there for an hour
or two. After a while the fish will swim over and investigate it, and become a bit
more comfortable with it. Move it slightly from time to time. My rainbows were
horrified of the vac, now they swim over to it and hang out around it.

Same with moving rocks... I only move a couple of rocks each gravel vac. Some
never get moved, except for the 'big clean' twice a year.
 

mattgirl

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Your corys will get more comfortable if you will add more. They will be less stressed too. On their own they don't feel safe. With friends they should be out and about.

I have way more corys than I should have. Up until a couple of years ago I had a gravel substrate and my corys had no problem getting to food. I didn't have to over feed for them. They really will be fine on smooth gravel so that isn't what is stressing yours out. Just 'cause a fish vet said it, it doesn't make it true.

When doing your gravel vacuuming take it slow and easy. They will get used to you doing the necessary maintenance. Stop over feeding. They will find their food even on gravel.

The very best thing you can do for them is get them some friends. I would add no less than 4 but more than that is better for them. Don't go for a variety. They do much better with all of them being the same species. .
 

LynnwoodFishDad

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Totally agree on the cory comments. No less than 5 and typically they should be the same species.

My substrate is a volcanic gravel and neither the loaches nor the corys have any issue finding food. I often see my kuhlis and yo-yos head down in the substrate. Like little fishy headstands! LOL. Not sure a beach is really needed.

If you do build a beach, try segmenting off 25-30% of your tank bottom with larger rocks like dragon stone and fill that small portion with sand. Helps keep the sand from spreading.
 
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Melmoth666

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Your corys will get more comfortable if you will add more. They will be less stressed too. On their own they don't feel safe. With friends they should be out and about.

I have way more corys than I should have. Up until a couple of years ago I had a gravel substrate and my corys had no problem getting to food. I didn't have to over feed for them. They really will be fine on smooth gravel so that isn't what is stressing yours out. Just 'cause a fish vet said it, it doesn't make it true.

When doing your gravel vacuuming take it slow and easy. They will get used to you doing the necessary maintenance. Stop over feeding. They will find their food even on gravel.

The very best thing you can do for them is get them some friends. I would add no less than 4 but more than that is better for them. Don't go for a variety. They do much better with all of them being the same species. .
I don't want to add any more Cory's until I sort out the beach. Everyone says they are sand sifters and require a sandlike substrate. At which point the Emerald Cory is very hardy, so I think I would add more, and leave the bronze on his own.

Totally agree on the cory comments. No less than 5 and typically they should be the same species.

My substrate is a volcanic gravel and neither the loaches nor the corys have any issue finding food. I often see my kuhlis and yo-yos head down in the substrate. Like little fishy headstands! LOL. Not sure a beach is really needed.

If you do build a beach, try segmenting off 25-30% of your tank bottom with larger rocks like dragon stone and fill that small portion with sand. Helps keep the sand from spreading.
Thank you for the advice. Yeah, I am actually thinking about taking a glass cooking dish, filling it with sand, saturating the sand with aquarium water, putting the lid on it, lowering it into the aquarium, then packing it into the gravel, and slowly remove the lid....instant beach. I am going to do a few dry runs in rubbermaid storage bins to make sure it works.

T
When I gravel vac, I move slowly. I slowly sink the vac into the gravel, wait for
the soot to get up into the hose, then slowly move to the next spot. With a 60
gallon tank, I get about 1/2 the bottom done weekly, and that is fine.

If fish are scared of the tube, sink it down to the gravel, and leave it there for an hour
or two. After a while the fish will swim over and investigate it, and become a bit
more comfortable with it. Move it slightly from time to time. My rainbows were
horrified of the vac, now they swim over to it and hang out around it.

Same with moving rocks... I only move a couple of rocks each gravel vac. Some
never get moved, except for the 'big clean' twice a year.
Thank you for the tips...I am going to try that tomorrow!!
 
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mattgirl

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I don't want to add any more Cory's until I sort out the beach. Everyone says they are sand sifters and require a sandlike substrate. At which point the Emerald Cory is very hardy, so I think I would add more, and leave the bronze on his own.
Not everyone To be perfectly honest I have seen some barbel damage since I switched from gravel to sand a couple of years ago. I have to think it is because I see them dive bombing the sand and burying their faces in it. Up until then I had always had gravel in all my tanks and I have always had corys in my tanks. Keep in mind, I have been in this hobby for a very long time so many years of having corys on gravel.

I am not trying to talk you out of making a sandy beach for your corys. I am just saying having gravel is not what is stressing them out. If anything I have to think it is their numbers. Getting more emerald corys is a very good idea;
 
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