Tuesday, 26 February 2008
Otos are small - they range in size from 16.5 to 43.8 mm (0.6 to 1.7 inches), not counting the tail. Females are 10-20% larger than males, and have a broader body, especially when they are in breeding condition. [Read the rest of my post at HubPages.com]
Corydoras are social fish - they should not be kept in groups of less than three. They appear to be happiest in groups of six or more. With the right selection of fish and appropriate aquascaping you can enjoy almost constant activity as they swim around a community tank. [Read the rest of my post at HubPages.com]
Many aquarists seem snails in a more positive light. Snails consume algae and can keep glass and rocks clean. Snails consume dead plant parts and uneaten food that might otherwise decompose and foul the water. Trumpet snails burrow through the substrate and bring oxygen into these substrates.
Quite apart from this utilitarian view of snails, some aquarists see them as desirable pets, and may dedicate aquaria to certain species. Popular pets include Olive Nerita snails, Ramshorn snails and Apple snails (also known as Mystery snails). [Read the rest of my post at HubPages.com]
In general, in order to breed corys you need frequent water changes coupled with a "conditioning" diet. They conditioning diet is a rich diet - often with a lot of live food, and essential fatty acids - that bring the fish into breeding condition. Water changes, on the other hand, mimic the beginning of the wet season, when streams and pools get an influx of fresh water. Fresh water, often cooler (although people have said that "cooler" is not important for pygmy corys).
The tank the corys are in is open-topped. As a result of this, evapouration rates are high. Over the last several months, this has meant that I am more inclined to add water than I am to exchange water. Presumably that resulted in very hard water - not the optimum for these fish. So over the past few weeks I concentrated on getting the water closer to tap water, but doing frequent, large water changes. Over the last week I have tried to soften the water some more by adding reverse osmosis water.
The pygmy corys have responded fairly well to the water changes - they seem much more active the past few days, although they still spend most of their time hidden below the dense lawn of Hemianthus. I'm cautiously optimistic.
Sunday, 24 February 2008
Apart from adding a lot more plants, I also created a small "sand lens" in the front of the tank. And, of course, I added a population of Otocinclus and two dwarf corys. So how have things changed?
Here's the tank today; while I'm having a hard time getting the Lilaeopsis to root, the Hemianthis is really coming along nicely.
Here's the tank three weeks ago, when the die-back had just started
And here's the tank three days before that, shortly after I had cleaned it out
Monday, 11 February 2008
Friday, 8 February 2008
Thursday, 7 February 2008
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Sunday, 3 February 2008
From what I've read, one of the major concerns about pet store Otocinclus is that they are often starving - they are herbivores, and are likely not to have had enough to eat for a while. There is also the stress involved in being caught and transported home. Once I got them into their tank, they all went for the bottom or the sides of the tank and just suck there. But after a few hours they were extremely active, swimming all around the tank, presumably examining surfaces for algae. They have slowed down a little since then, but they remain much more active that any Otocinclus I have seen previously. Of course, they are also very young - I wouldn't be surprised is they slowed down a lot as they matured. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
We failed to find any more C. habrosus, but it was fun to try.
That pretty much decided the fate of the former Macropodus tank. I couldn't put the new corys into the main tank (they're a bit small to cohabitate with adult Macropodus), and I didn't want to add them to the plant tank without quarantining them first. So that left the former Macropodus tank. And since I didn't want to leave them as the sole occupants of the tank, I took the opportunity to buy a dozen Otocinclus, as Gary had recommended.