Need Some Stocking Suggestions

  1. HennaRose Member Member

    My six-year-old has a 20g high with a 30-gallon Aquaclear filter. After some misadventures with some sick guppies last summer, she opted to keep some cories and some platy. She had one platy come home pregnant and BabyPlaty is the only baby we ever saw; I suspect the rest were eaten. That platy is about 7 months old, and the only platy still alive; the rest have died off, one at a time, over the last 6 months. Water parameters are consistently good (she and I test and change the water weekly) and tank temp is regularly 73F-75F, so I suspect they've died of old age.

    So now she's down to BabyPlaty and six cories. Daughter would like to restock with some new fish, would like a little more activity in her tank, and is wondering what she can/should put in with her current fish. What do you suggest?
  2. MattS99 Well Known Member Member

    Get a few more platies, there very social and love company. They can thrive on their own though. I'd do something like:
    3-4x platies
    6x cories
    1x honey gourami OR Bolivian ram

  3. aquatickeeper Fishlore VIP Member

    What type of cories?
  4. HennaRose Member Member

    We have three peppered, two bronze, one albino, and yes I already know those ratios are off and am planning to get another peppered and another albino next month. We can reasonably fit 8 cories in there.

    We went last week and bought three more platy, and they all seemed fine, but I found one dead in a plant this afternoon. She'd been swimming at the bottom for the last two days and hadn't been coming up to eat, so something was definitely wrong with her, but Little Miss is very upset because we'd only had her for six days. That store doesn't do returns or exchanges on fish, so I'm having to just eat the loss and I'm glad platy are an inexpensive fish so I'm only out $2. The other two new ones seem fine - active, swimming around all over, eating, etc.

  5. aquatickeeper Fishlore VIP Member

    Okay, first cories are schooling fish so they need a minimum of 6 of their OWN SPECIES in a tank. Plus, I wouldn't do bronze and albino cories in a 20 high. So, I'd rehome those bronze and albino cories and up the peppered cories to 8.

    So now your down to 3 platies, right? 1 BabyPlaty and 2 new ones?
  6. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Peppered corys can get just as large as aeneus, I believe. I agree though that sticking to one cory species is best in this tank size.
  7. HennaRose Member Member

    No, we're now down to two - Babyfish and one other. My daughter woke me up an hour ago because the smallest of the new ones was twitching and sinking, and she died in front of us. Two seemingly-healthy fish dying out of nowhere is concerning, so I did a check of our water parameters, which I normally do on Saturdays when we change the water. It's very early Wednesday. Somewhere in the last four days, our nitrates have skyrocketed - 160ppm from 10ppm on Saturday. I don't know what caused that jump, since we've never had it that high even with 10 fish in the tank, but I do need to lower it so none of the other fish suffer the same fate.

    As for the cories, we don't have another tank set up right now and no one we can give them to. It will take some time before we can move them. We need to fix the nitrate problem before we add any more fish.

  8. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Could you be overfeeding? Make sure to vacuum the substrate really well and rinse the media in old tank water with your water changes.
  9. HennaRose Member Member

    The platy get the smallest of pinches daily, and the cories get one 1/4" algae tab per fish a week. There's almost never food left after a minute. And like I said, it was a sudden spike - our parameters were normal at our last water change on Saturday. I vaccum 1/2 to 2/3 of the gravel at every water change, always rinse the decor and media in the old tank water, and always add Prime and SafeStart at every water change and SafeStart whenever adding new fish.

    Fishkeeping Sister suspects a contributing factor was the pair of pond snails that accidentally came home with the new fish - I've never kept snails and Daughter was enthralled with them, so I haven't bothered to remove them. Sister had some snails come home on some plants and said her nitrates were always on the high end in that tank despite live plants and regular water changes. Dunno if the snails have anything to do with it, but I'm working on lowering the nitrates gradually so as not to shock the fish further going the other way. And I'll probably remove the snails as well and Daughter will just have to be okay with that. We have all plastic plants so there isn't much for them to eat, but if we add live plants to help with the nitrates it'll become snail city in there if I don't get rid of them.
  10. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I doubt a pair of pond snails will cause an overnight nitrate spike. Does your water source have any nitrates? You may want to test just to see if anything has changed in your water source.

    You can always do a snail dip for live plants using bleach or alum. I'm always adding live plants and haven't had an issue since dipping them in alum.

  11. HennaRose Member Member

    I use bottled water because our tap water has ammonia in it, and that doesn't have any nitrates in it.

    In any case, I couldn't find the snails when I did a big water change overnight. I put the fish in a bucket, changed 50% of the water, did a drip acclimation over several hours, and tested to make sure all the parameters were the same before I put the fish back in. Nitrates are still too high, but they're better than they were. I pulled out the decor out to rinse off some algae in the old tank water and no snails to be found. They've either been eaten or they're somewhere in the gravel.

    I'll do a series of small changes over the next few days in an effort to reduce the nitrates further with less risk of stress to the fish (and less heavy lugging for me).
  12. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    Could your daughter have overfed without your knowledge? In any case, I think doing a couple of back to back larger water changes would be more effective than a few smaller ones.

    How much ammonia does your tap water have? Your bacteria colony should be able to process those fairly quickly within 24 hours of new water being added. Are you re-mineralizing after the bottled water is added? Bottled water will not have the minerals your fish need and the water won't have the carbonates to keep the pH steady. Platies especially need hard water to thrive.

    Also, I would be feeding cories a more meaty diet. Algae tabs are not going to provide the necessary nutrition for them. They'd also need to be fed daily and not once a week.
  13. HennaRose Member Member

    It is entirely possible that she has fed the fish without my knowledge; I try to make sure she only uses what's in the pill box (portioned out), but it has happened that the fish have "looked hungry, Mama" and I've had to stop her from feeding them a second time or more than they need.

    Our tap water is 7.6pH, 4-6ppm ammonia depending on the day, nitrites and nitrates 0. Bottled (I say "bottled," but it's really equal parts purified drinking water and filtered spring water, purchased in gallon jugs) is 7.6pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates 0. We've been using the same jugs of water, from the same company, for a year with no problems.

    What else do you suggest feeding the cories? (One would think the people at the fish store would tell me they needed more than one algae tablet a week. Poor things, I've been practically starving them for almost a year!)
  14. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    4-6ppm ammonia?? That's a lot! I would still add back in some minerals to raise your GH especially for your platies. You could get a KH/GH test kit to monitor those levels. Most people raise their GH by adding crushed coral, limestone, crushed shells or by adding Seachem Replenish or Equilibrium.

    Cories are mostly carnivorous so I feed mine shrimp pellets, frozen brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms. The shrimp pellets would be their staple fed once a day and the frozen food once or twice a week.
  15. HennaRose Member Member

    I know, it's ridiculous. But I have no control over what goes into the county water supply, and it's either buy 20 jugs of water a month or wonder how much damage the water is doing. I know the Seachem Prime is supposed to "neutralize" the ammonia or something, but I'd rather start from zero, y'know?

    I have a KH/GH test kit; bought it when we were first setting up and having trouble keeping the parameters steady (when we were still using tap water), but now that the parameters are relatively stable, I never remember to use it because pH is always the same. I'll test the water again with those and adjust as needed to make sure it's at the proper parameters.

    Nitrates are down to an acceptable level again after another big water change with another overnight drip acclimation (those poor fish have been removed from their home twice in a week), and Tuesday when I can afford them we're going to pick out a few live plants to add to the tank in hopes of at least mitigating another freak nitrate spike (if not preventing one). And I will put the food out of reach of the six-year-old so she doesn't feed them without my knowledge, just in case that was the cause.

    We picked up some shrimp pellets and frozen brine shrimp yesterday morning. The catfish are more active than I've ever seen them, and little wonder! They used to be pretty quiet, only moved enough to eat and occasionally dart to the surface and back, but now that they're getting fed like they should, they're swimming all over the place. The tank is quite a bit more active now than it was.
  16. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    You could use 1/4 - 1/2 tap water and the spring water for the rest when doing water changes so that you have at least some buffer/minerals getting in there. Prime can detox up to 1ppm ammonia/nitrite for 24-48 hours so that would at least buy you some time until your bacteria processes it all.

    There would be no reason to move your fish for water changes. It would be less work for you to leave them in there. I do a 60-70% weekly water change and my fish stay in the tank.

    Glad to know the cories are enjoying the food! They really do love those shrimp pellets/frozen foods.
  17. HennaRose Member Member

    I've done 20% changes with fish in place without trouble, but have always heard a big water change with fish in place can shock them, and we've had enough deaths lately. It wasn't a risk I wanted to take. My daughter would be heartbroken if all her fish died because of an improperly handled water change.
  18. Mike1995 Well Known Member Member

  19. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    It's probably more stressful for the fish being moved out for every water change.

    As long as your pH and temp of the water being added closely matches your tank water, it's completely fine to do more than 50%. I've not had any issues doing large water changes on a weekly basis over the years with the fish still in the tank.
  20. HennaRose Member Member

    At the moment our parameters seem to have leveled out, but should we have to do another large change, would it be safe to do 75% with fish in place?

    We're going to pick up some plants today. What kind will depend on what our local stores have in stock; I'd prefer to get them from Petsmart because those are certified snail-free but if they don't have anything suitable I'll have to go to a locally-owned pet shop whose plants almost always come with some hitchhikers.