Smallest, Hardiest, and Easy to Find

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Luniyn

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While my tank is still going through the cycling process, I am starting on a search of all the pet stores in my area for the other fish I want to put in eventually. Right now I have 2 Red Eyed Tetras and I will be adding 3 more for a total of 5 once the tank is finished cycling. Then I would like to get 3 Cory Cats. The problem is which one's to buy. So I started to go around to all of my local pet stores and specialty fish stores to see what they have. And what I found out was that it wasn't much. Pet Co., Pet Supermarket, Pet Smart, etc. at most had a few albino cory's and bronze cory's. Maybe once in a blue moon I would find 1 and only 1 peppered cory. So I tried the more specialty stores and they seemed to have 3 rows of salt water tanks and only 1 or even 1/2 a row of fresh water tanks. As a result few options. I did find one store that had some that they called Bumble Bee Catfish. I looked them up and it turns out there there are several varieties that can be called "Bumble Bee" including one that can get up to 8" long which isn't gonna fly in my 20 Gal. tank. They also had 1 (again only 1) that was called a Sterbai Cory which seems to be similar to the peppered except it's spots were in rows. Now keeping in mind that I really need Cory's that are in the 2" range (smaller the better) and I would like them to be bottom dwellers as I'll have the mid to upper parts of the tank covered, does anyone have any suggestions as to which one's are hardy, small, and found often in pet stores? The reason I say "found often" is some of the stores have told me they will order easy to find (read cheap) fish for a pretty nominal upcharge. I would like to get a more varied looking fish as I'm not fond of the washed out albino look and the bronze just look like a reverse albino. Any suggestions?
 

Tom

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I have 3 green corys and they are pretty hardy and are almost everywhere in my area. They also look really neat. I think they stay small.
Tom
 

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We have Julii Corys & love them. The petco here had them & albinos, but they're almost always out of the Julii's.. can one of the chain pet stores tell you when a shipment is coming in? Maybe they'll get a batch of some Julii or Green Corys without an upcharge?
 
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Luniyn

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Thanks for the reply's. I've seen both of those fish only in photo's online, but both look pretty especially the Julii's. I'll have to see if any of the stores will get these or plan to get them in the near future. Though at the rate my tank is cycling it could be years before I'm ready :.
 

Tom

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Do you have a Walmart that still sells fish in your area? That is where I got my corys from.
Tom
 

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Luniyn said:
Thanks for the reply's. I've seen both of those fish only in photo's online, but both look pretty especially the Julii's. I'll have to see if any of the stores will get these or plan to get them in the near future. Though at the rate my tank is cycling it could be years before I'm ready :.
- we have the pics of our Julii Corys here. They're fun little fish and always so busy. If you need help with your tank cycling, there are some good products out there - Bio-Spira is very popular if you can find it (it has to be refrigerated) - just don't waste your money on one called "Cycle". Here's a link to a great online store that sells it (but it gets REAL expensive ordering it online because of the overnight shipping so I hope you find it near you):
 

inari

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I've got speckled and pandas but I think those might be a bit too big for what your looking for, I have them in my 10 right now but once I graduate they will get a bigger tank anyway idk of any that are that small. sorry
 
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Luniyn

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Tom said:
Do you have a Walmart that still sells fish in your area? That is where I got my corys from.
I've been trying to stay away from Walmart fish simply because every time I hear it mentioned on these boards, it's almost always preceded with the word "Dreaded". I don't have a quarantine tank so I really need to have happy healthy fish, and there are a few stores in my area which I just trust more.

FLBettaCouple said:
...we have the pics of our Julii Corys here. They're fun little fish and always so busy. If you need help with your tank cycling, there are some good products out there - Bio-Spira is very popular if you can find it...
They are very cute and one that I will defiantly keep an eye out for. As to the Bio-Spira, my only concern is that I'm cycling with fish rather then without. So the water quality of my tank is very important. Will adding something like that just be too much of a shock to the fish? I guess I could put them in a bucket for 24 hours, but it would be without a filter (though I could put an air stone in there just to keep the water churning). But even then, once I've used it, am I forced to keep using it or can the tank be weened off eventually?
 

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I wish I knew enough about Bio-Spira to help but over on the Bettas forum, you'll find a very knowledgeable member who knows a lot about Bio-Spira.. chickadee (Rose). Perhaps you could email her about it?
 

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I have Julii, Green, Peppered, and dotted cories, they are all good and love to hang out with each other
 

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Bio Spira will not hurt or shock your fish-- it is live bacteria needed in your biological filter. It claims to cycle overnight-- a lot of people use it and like it-- it really speeds the whole thing up. I know that you don't like them, but I LOVE the albinos. Mine are such funny little fish. My tetras tried to chase them when I first put them in, one of my corys turned around and basically said "um no!" They are very peacful but can hold their own. I like the Jullis as well, but my LFS is always out. Plus the albino looks great aganst my black substrate.
 

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Genie said:
Bio Spira will not hurt or shock your fish-- it is live bacteria needed in your biological filter. It claims to cycle overnight-- a lot of people use it and like it-- it really speeds the whole thing up. I know that you don't like them, but I LOVE the albinos. Mine are such funny little fish. My tetras tried to chase them when I first put them in, one of my corys turned around and basically said "um no!" They are very peacful but can hold their own. I like the Jullis as well, but my LFS is always out. Plus the albino looks great aganst my black substrate.
Our petco is always out of Juliis, but we saw something interesting the other day - they were selling Greens as Juliis.. lol. yea, very knowlegeable there..
 

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Ha sounds about like my petco which tried to get me to get that tiny bowl for my betta.
 

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Genie said:
Ha sounds about like my petco which tried to get me to get that tiny bowl for my betta.
LOL.. maybe all petcos really are like the one here.. yikes! is petsmart any better? we don't have one here in our town.
 
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Luniyn

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My PetCo isn't so bad, they just never have any good selection of "different" fish. It's pretty much always the same thing. PetSmart and PetSupermarket are just about the same as PetCo. It really depends on who they get to work there and how honest they are. A lot of these places will get somewhat knowledgeable people but they are limited on what they sell. So they will oversell certain items that they are just trying to get rid of. I tend to trust the Mom and Pop style store employees more because although they are even more limited in what they sell (because they can't buy in the volume of these bigger stores) they only buy product they know works well.

In any event, I might be changing my mind on buying cory's now. Not that I don't want them, but I took a closer look at my stone in my tank and noticed that it isn't as smooth as I thought. The are actually little crushed pebbles and I see a lot of sharp edges. So it's either redo my entire tank from scratch which will probably mean that any good bacteria that has managed to grow will die or go with a different bottom fish like an oto. I like the cory's so much though, so I may be redoing my tank from scratch :'(.
 

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Luniyn said:
My PetCo isn't so bad, they just never have any good selection of "different" fish. It's pretty much always the same thing. PetSmart and PetSupermarket are just about the same as PetCo. It really depends on who they get to work there and how honest they are. A lot of these places will get somewhat knowledgeable people but they are limited on what they sell. So they will oversell certain items that they are just trying to get rid of. I tend to trust the Mom and Pop style store employees more because although they are even more limited in what they sell (because they can't buy in the volume of these bigger stores) they only buy product they know works well.

In any event, I might be changing my mind on buying cory's now. Not that I don't want them, but I took a closer look at my stone in my tank and noticed that it isn't as smooth as I thought. The are actually little crushed pebbles and I see a lot of sharp edges. So it's either redo my entire tank from scratch which will probably mean that any good bacteria that has managed to grow will die or go with a different bottom fish like an oto. I like the cory's so much though, so I may be redoing my tank from scratch :'(.
Otos are great fish, we actually went in for them, but changed our minds when we saw the Julii Corys. If you decide to go with flat marbles (which we did for our tanks after we got the corys), a lot of dollar stores sell them in 1lb bags or you can get them at wally-world for about $2 per 18oz bag (clear ones they sell 3lbs for $2.97).. the same flat marbles we see at the chain stores for about $5 per pound.
 
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I just can't get into the large marbles look. I like a more natural looking tank. My eventual goal is a completely natural tank (). Right now I am using which does have some round stones in it and is made smoother by the coating they apply. And after looking at other options I think I'm actually not that bad off. These are actually river rocks, so it's not like catfish haven't lived in the wild with these type of stones. Some sites have recommended sand, but have you ever taken your finger and pushed a hole into a bed of sand? I can't imagine the catfish barbels fairing any better in that considering it feels like sand paper (hence the name I guess ). Now that's not to say that I'm not going to be looking for a smooth river rock that comes in very small pieces to replace my stone with anyway, but if I can't find it I still think I'm going with cory's. They are just too cute to pass up.
 

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Luniyn said:
I just can't get into the large marbles look. I like a more natural looking tank. My eventual goal is a completely natural tank
We bought the marbles for 3 tanks at walmart because they had the little flat marbles and the colors fit the Betta the marbles were for. As far as the little roundish river rocks go, we've seen those both at the dollar store, walmart and the pet store and we really did consider them as they are a great look, but probably will do a 55 gallon with those when we get one and set it up with Platys & Corys. If you have a "Dollar Tree" dollar store there, the ones here in our town always have those small river rocks and you'd be able to get your tank done with less expense.
 

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I think that your gravel is ok for Cories. Contrary to what a lot of people think, their barbels actually don't get worn down due to sharp gravel. The cause is that jagged gravel tends to collect a lot more debris in it than find, smooth gravel. This debris grows bacteria on it, and the bacteria in turn eats away at the Cories' barbels. So, it's more a matter of keeping the tank clean and doing extra-good gravel vacuums than getting the smoothest possible gravel.

I think the 3 most common types of Cories you see for sale are Panda, Peppered, and Bronze (regular and albino varieties). The Pandas get 2", Peppered 2.5", and Bronze 3" if I remember correctly. All are pretty hardy. So, if you are looking for somehting smaller I'd see if you can find Pandas...they're rather cute too. You can also sometimes find some of the dwarf Cories, such as C. pygmaeus and C. habrosus, which only get to 1"--however, from my experience with them I would not call them especially hardy (though that should not deter you from trying them if you like them).

If you decide against Cories, though, I do have to say that Otos are just as cute and amusing to watch. Have you thought of getting both? I'm sure you have room in your tank for 2 or 3 Otos in addition to the Cories, and they'll take care of any algae you may get.
 
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0morrokh said:
If you decide against Cories, though, I do have to say that Otos are just as cute and amusing to watch. Have you thought of getting both? I'm sure you have room in your tank for 2 or 3 Otos in addition to the Cories, and they'll take care of any algae you may get.
I went back and forth a few times and I think the fact that oto's can be a little picky about water quality made me hold off on them for a while. I do like them though and might look to them in the future, but I want to get a Dwarf Gourami to be my spotlight fish along with the 5 tetras and 3 Corys, so that's really the max my 20 Gal can take.

In any event, while visiting a PetSmart near my home this weekend I saw that their tanks were abnormally full of fish. I apparently got them shortly after they restocked all of their tanks. They had 5 types of corys in stock (Peppered, Green, Panda, Albino, and Spotted (which I think were actually False Julii's aka Leopard Corys). The green were ok but rather plain in their pigmentation and the albino's just creep me and my kids out . So it was down to the peppered, panda, and "spotted". I really liked the spotted and the panda's, but there were only 3 left of each (though I only wanted 3 anyway, it didn't allow me to choose the ones I wanted). Of the 3 panda's, one was almost completely missing his tail fin. It looked like all that was left was a new one growing in or possibly it's his original tail just it never grew. In any event, that just didn't seem right to me and I was worried about their overall health... so they were out. Then I looked at the "spotted" corys which were in the tank with the pandas. They were really, really small (like less then 1") and though that wasn't really a problem they seemed really lethargic or timid. They were huddled with the pandas and didn't respond to me putting my face near the tank (unlike the other fish in the tank or the other corys in the other tanks) which made me wonder considering they were with the pandas. Though I like the look of them so much that I kept on considering them. But I turned my attention to the peppered corys. These guys were a lively bunch (there were a good 15+ of them in the tank) and they would react to movement outside of the tank as well as swim together and play. It looked like a pack of puppies in a play pen having fun when no one was hovering over them. My kids took one look and said they were the one's to get, and I agreed. So I now have 3 of these guys swimming all around my tank, and they didn't disappoint. They haven't sat still for more then a few moments here and there that I've been watching them. They've checked over every decoration, plant, etc. in the entire tanks at least twice and have really made themselves at home . Thanks for all the advice all.
 
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