Question Need Advice On Setup For Cory Cats

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Hi all,

I'm new to the forum, so thanks in advance for your advice and guidance! I am a wildlife biologist, but I specialized in birds and am a total newbie when it comes to fish.

About 6 months ago, I inherited a with two fancy goldfish from the awful previous tenant of my apartment who literally just left them behind! I had a very traumatic experience with my adopted goldfish (Edamame and Nori). I take animal life very seriously and tried to get up to speed on goldfish care and I bought all the things I needed (water conditioner, good bacteria, test strips, etc.) and dutifully did the 30% water changes once a week, but about 4 months in, they both died in my care One got Ich, then the other did shortly after, and despite the treatment that the aquarist store nearby recommended, they both declined until they died. It was horrible.

It has now been two months since the goldfish died, and after a lot of research and searching, I have fallen in love with cory cats. I hear they are much better beginner fish, and I'm looking forward to doing things right this time. So I have a bunch of questions...

1. Is there still a risk of the ich being in the water and hurting the new fish? We've had the filter running for the last two months and have been doing partial water changes every two weeks.
2. I know that it's recommended to get 6 cories since they are a shoaling species, but will that be overcrowded for a 9 gallon tank?
3. What cory species should I look for (and which should I avoid) for a 9 gallon tank?
4. As far as habitat goes, right now I have small pebbles (which I will replace with soft substrate!), one Anubias plant, an agate geode, about 8 Marimo moss balls, and an air bubble aerator. Should I remove or add anything in particular to get ready for the cories? Do I need a tank heater?
5. I don't want them breeding in my tank. Can I tell if I'm getting all males or all females?
6. Are nerite snails compatible with the cories?
7. Finally, is there a fish rescue/adoption or anything like that? I'm in San Francisco. I'd prefer to give some unwanted fish a good home if possible. If not, maybe you can tell me of a responsible place to get them in my area?

Thank you to this community for any and all advice you can give!!


Valued Member
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Raleigh nc
1 year
1 and 4 I will answer at the same time. You do need a heater to keep the temp consistent for the cats. And once you get that heater all you have to do is turn the temp up to 90 and the ick is a by by!
5. I only have pandas, peppers and jullis and I have no idea what sex they are even though I did research on how to tell. It might just be me though.
6. Nerite snails are perfectly compatible with Corys! I have two in my tank that has Corys.

Sorry I can’t answer the questions about if they will have enough space. I don’t want to give you wrong information. There are A LOT of Cory experts here that will be with you shortly!


Well Known Member
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More than 10 years
#1: Yes, there is a chance. Ich is actually present in most water, its only when the fishes immune system is compromised that it attacks them. It doesnt manifest out of thin air. Its a parasite and latches onto fish that are weakened.

#2: A 9 gallon tank is too small for most Corys. Only Dwarfs or Salt & Pepper will fit in it, and I dont think Id do 6. Personally, I dont like keeping Corys in small groups or small tanks. My son has 3 or 4 in a 10 gallon with his Guppies, but it seems like they randomly die for no reason (the reason being the tank and school isnt big enough is my thought).

#3: If youre set on Corys and you cant upgrade to a 20 long ($20 bucks at Petco during their sale) then Id do 4 Salt & Pepper (NOT Peppered).

#4: Sand substrate is best for Corys and really brings out their personality. Plants are fine, they wont bother them. Yes, you need a heater to keep a constant temp.

#5: They wont. lol You MIGHT get females laying eggs, but actually have males fertilize the eggs AND the eggs hatch AND the fry live, youll be lucky. IF that happens, someone will gladly take them off your hands.

#6: Yes.

#7: No idea, Im in Maine. lol Check around, ask your local petshops. Petco usually takes in unwanted fish.
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