Is It Imperative To Have 6+ Of Each Cory?

k9shrink

I started my first tank, a 10-gallon, about 5 weeks ago, and am currently cycling a 55 gallon tank to move everybody into. I made all the rookie errors, but through reading forums like this and doing a ton of water testing and WCs, the fish are doing great.

I now know cory people recommend having 6+ of one species for a cory to be "happy" and display "natural behavior." One of my rookie errors was getting 3 cories, each of a separate species, as well as a single yoyo loach. In forums, posters with a situation like mine are always told to return everything to their lfs and trade for 6+ cories of a single species. But so far, everything is going great, and I love being able to tell them apart and know them as individuals. They actually seem a lot more active than the near-sedentary single-species cory tanks at the lfs.

The Yoyo loach + albino bronze + Sterba's are all juveniles 1.5" long. They are all active, hang out together and are often in body contact. The yoyo doesn't bother other fish in the tank, and acts like a slightly "hyper" cory. The Orange laser cory is the only adult, about 2.5". Hangs out alone, but active, laid-back, and seems "happy" and unstressed.

So I don't see a need to return anybody. But I do realize I only have room for four more small bottom feeders once everybody moves to the 55 gallon tank. (For a total of 8 = 1/ft2)

Which idea would be best?

Option A) Get each of the current bottom feeders ONE buddy of the same species. So I would have 2 yoyos, 2 Sterba's, 2 albinos, 2 orange lasers.

Option B) The yoyo and two cories are already in a group, but the orange laser is all alone. So get 4 more orange lasers to keep him/her company.

Option C) I've read that when yoyos grow up, they get aggressive with other fish unless they are in a group of 5+ yoyos. So just keep the three "mixed" cories, but get four more yoyos.

I would appreciate any input from people familiar with cories and/or yoyo loaches. I would especially like to hear why it's so important to have cories in a species group... when my experience at the lfs was that they become much more sedentary and boring in a group.

Thanks!
 

A201

The key phrase is "Everything is going great". That's what matters.
There is no set recipe for success.
I suggest getting a few more baby YoYos. Watching a group of
Botia Loaches socially interact is very rewarding to watch.
Increase your Cory Cat schools, two or three each. Your 55 gal. Will provide enough space, providing you construct a hardscape with plenty of hiding spots. Loaches and Cories are great scavengers and relatively low waste producers. Both species require pristine water, so you'll have to keep up with your weekly WC's and provide excellent filtration.
 

Lchi87

I'm going to counter and say that I saw my Sterbais more when I added to their group. I had 4 originally and now have 10 and they are more out and about than they were with just 4. I'm confused by what you said about them being boring and sedentary? Granted my school isn't racing around my tank at all times but they do like to forage together, ride the current from the powerhead and then will spend the rest of their time piled up by each other.

To each their own though!
 

k9shrink

A201, thanks for your valuable input. I do like the idea of more yoyos--probably my favorite "character" in the tank so far. He seems to search out friends, so more yoyos would work out well.

I'm planning to keep the tank pristine. We are actually moving everything out of my home office, pulling up carpeting and putting in laminate here JUST so I can have the new 55 gallon next to my desk and watch the fish all day when I should be working.

Lchi87, thanks so much for your reply.

Of my 3 cories, the Sterba's was definitely the most cautious at first. It hid during the day for most of the first couple of weeks, and I was constantly peering in to see if it was still alive. I think it soon realized everybody in the tank was peaceful, and is now out all day with the albino and the yoyo, carefully vacuuming away at the landscaping. Initially, that's the one I thought would need friends, but it's actually the orange laser that is always alone (though out and about and active). But I'll definitely get the sterbaI a friend or two.

About the inactivity part, I'm not sure if it was age-related, or stress related or what. But when I went to the lfs yesterday to check out group cory behavior... they had a bunch of tanks with mostly just one species of cories. Unlike mine, these were all larger/adult sizes. They just laid there doing nothing. Mine at home are flitting around non-stop. But I guess maybe mine will slow down when they get older. Or maybe the ones at the store were new arrivals and were stressed or something.

Oh, and that seems doable to add 1-2 more of each of the cory species too.
 

Lchi87

LFS environments are usually stressful (smaller tanks, shared system, people tapping on the glass all the time etc) so I wouldn't say for sure that this is a good guage of normal behavior. Just as a side note, fish of different species may school together out of necessity but I think they do prefer friends! Sterbais are pricey in my area so hopefully they're not too bad where you are so your guy will get some buddies sooner than later!
 

bizaliz3

it is very rewarding to have a large group of one species. I totally understand the desire to have multiples of different kinds though. And they will hang out together since it is the only option they have....giving the illusion that they are perfectly happy. I had the same situation early on in my fish keeping career. I had 5 cories of all different types. They were always together. They seemed as comfortable as can be!! But I'm telling you, the first time I got a group of 8 of one kind...I totally saw a difference in behavior. It was very clear that they preferred being with a group of their own kind. It was a totally different experience.

I think for your viewing pleasure, and to maximize their comfort level, a large group of one kind would be ideal.

But if you are dead set on keeping the ones you have, then try getting each of them 3 friends of their kind. That would equal 12 cories and each would be a group of 4. I think 12 cories in a 55 is fine if you keep up on weekly water changes and such.

oh but shoot...the yo-yos. I wonder if you could do 3 of those and 12 cories.....I don't think that sounds absolutely terrible for a 55g....others may disagree.

Obviously the best choice is a nice big shoal of one cory type and a nice sized shoal of yo-yos. But I was trying to find a happy medium.
 

k9shrink

Thanks bizaliz3! I'm glad you guys think I can keep more than 8 bottom feeders in the 55. I would love to have the different types AND have each with something of a same-species shoal, so things are looking up. I'll have to save up, because I've so far paid $6.50-$19.00 each for the current cories and the yoyo. Buying in groups of 3 online should be more affordable.
 

k9shrink

I do love these bottom feeders. Just like the Seinfeld episode where the bakery sells ONLY the tops of the muffins (the best part), I wish I could find a tank that was all "bottom" so I could have nothing but cories and loaches.
 

bizaliz3

Thanks bizaliz3! I'm glad you guys think I can keep more than 8 bottom feeders in the 55. I would love to have the different types AND have each with something of a same-species shoal, so things are looking up. I'll have to save up, because I've so far paid $6.50-$19.00 each for the current cories and the yoyo. Buying in groups of 3 online should be more affordable.

I think 12 cories is absolutely fine. Its having 3 yo-yos on top of that that concerns me. Cuz then you have 15 bottom dwellers. I suggest trying to get the tank as heavily planted as possible and lots of hiding spots and all that.

I think bio-load-wise you would be fine. Its just a matter of making sure everyone feels they have their own space and no one feels cramped. So just do what you can to make that happen!

And since you plan to have so many fish on the bottom, you should be very minimal about what you put in the middle....to make up for that!! You don't want a packed middle too!
 

k9shrink

I already have 8 plants of 3 species + driftwood + a multi-cave "rock" in the 10 gallon. Will be putting in tons of plants and some large driftwood in the 55 gallon. Thanks for the info--I really will make sure they all have caves and places to hang out.
 

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