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Pygmy Corydora Substrate
September 23, 2010
8:02 pm
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Saxodave
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I'm thinking of getting a small shoal of pygmy cories for my tank but I have a substrate of 2-3mm gravel, mainly rounded but a proportion of it is 'standard gravel'. Will this be okay for the fish or do I risk damagaing their barbels?

September 23, 2010
8:28 pm
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kizno1
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It should be fine as long as its smooth although i think sand would be best.

September 23, 2010
8:46 pm
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MatsP
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I think the ideal substrate for ANY cory is fine sand. That is the substrate they are found over in nature - a few species are found on silt and mud, and occassionally with leaf-litter.

Whenever Hans-Georg Evers or Ian Fuller gives talks about Corys, they say the only really important thing for a cory tank is clean water and sand substrate.

But fine gravel is better than coarse gravel. The key is that it needs to be rounded and have no sharp edges.

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Mats

September 23, 2010
9:16 pm
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Saxodave
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Thanks for your replies. I probably won't risk them on the basis of what you've said. I'll wait until I set up a tank with their requirements specifically in mind. I still need something 'small' to give me some interest at low level that won't mind the substrate I have. There are smooth stones and bogwood pieces in the tank as well (60l).

September 23, 2010
9:40 pm
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MatsP
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Why not replace (a part of) the substrate with some fine sand? I've used play-sand - local supermarket Tesco's was selling 10kg bags at half price (£0.99 I think) last week. 10kg will give you enough sand to do at least two, maybe three 60l tanks... Or you can spend a bit more money on some sand in your LFS.

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September 24, 2010
8:02 am
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Matt
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The Early Learning Centre also sell cheap, aquarium safe sand.

Cake or death?
September 24, 2010
8:11 pm
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Saxodave
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Will the cories confine their foraging to the fine sand part of the tank do you think? If so, I rather like your suggestion of changing part of the substrate for them Mats.

I've just been to have a close look at my tank and I've noticed that the gravel has become quite flat across the whole area. I'm wondering if I could bank a thin layer of sand, on top of the gravel, at the back of the tank, sloping forwards towards the middle for the cories. That way I can still keep the substrate mainly gravel, provide safe forage for the fish and enhance the landscape at one stroke!

September 24, 2010
9:17 pm
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MatsP
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Sand on top of the gravel probably won't work - it'll just sink into the gravel and disappear - and in the long term, you will end up with the sand and the gravel mixed up. I put 25kg sand in my rio 400 - half of the bottom. Now, about three years later, the sand and the gravel is all mixed up [ok, the big earth-eaters have probably helped that a lot, but still it shows that sand and gravel eventually mixes].

The corys will probably forage more in the sand - especially if you keep adding sinking food in the sand section...

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Mats

September 24, 2010
9:54 pm
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Saxodave
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Yeah, I see your point. I really don't want to upset the tank layout too much as it is all running really well at the moment and if I start scooping out handfuls of gravel to replace with sand, I can see problems occurring. I don't suppose there is some sort of fabric that can be placed over the gravel to keep the sand separate? Perhaps just a smallish square so that there is always one part where the sand hasn't intermingled.

September 24, 2010
10:56 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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I can't think of any material that would prevent the mixing. Maybe try sinking a shallow plastic tray into the gravel?

Cake or death?
September 25, 2010
8:35 am
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MatsP
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Pygmy corys are, as the name implies, small, so they really do need FINE sand. In my sons tank, which has C. sterbai in it, and I used a strip of (fake) roof-slate that I put "feet" on so that it would sit upright and placed that halfway across the tank, so on the right there is sand, and left side is gravel. It's not perfect, but it's fairly coarse sand, so it's not that easily moved.

But as I said to begin with, the pygmy corys are small, and need quite fine sand - such a play-sand or perhaps the more natural with a bit more mixed size, plastering sand.

Unless your filtration is under-gravel, I wouldn't worry too much about removing the gravel. You will stir up some muck, but it should clear up again after a few hours. Using a large size hose, you can siphon out part of the gravel too.

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Mats

September 25, 2010
7:58 pm
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Saxodave
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Ok. Things have moved quickly for me. I bought 10kg bag of playsand from ELC, removed some gravel from the tank and replaced it with a couple of kilos of washed sand. Before I had even completed this, a friend called to say he had located some young pygmy cories at a shop in London and so, by 6.30 this evening my tank had had a facelift and has three new occupants at the moment. I hope to add another three in due course. Photo shows my re-landscaping and so far the cories have been scooting across the sand quite happily.
As a precaution I wrapped a thin piece of filter foam around the filter inlet to avoid the cories being sucked into the filter.

[Image Can Not Be Found]

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[Image Can Not Be Found]

September 25, 2010
8:52 pm
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MatsP
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Looks nice to me.

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Mats

September 26, 2010
12:02 am
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Matt
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Nice to see a photo of the tank. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> Looks good!

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