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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m new to the hobby about 4 months. I have a 20 gallon tank with gravel, driftwood, and some plants. (I’m about to do another cleaning, damn hornwort plant is shedding and leaving a mess) I have in the tank: 1 betta, 1 clown pleco, 3 peppered Cory catfish and 3 albino Cory catfish. I do 20% water changes every week. One of the small albino Cory catfish is floating at the top, will swim barrel rolls, or lay sideways on the gravel out of the blue. All the rest are okay. I tested the water with API vials and it showed: ammonia: 0%, nitrites: 0%, nitrates:0%, and pH level is 7.8. I’m so confused what’s killing the little guy. I feed the betta 3 small little betta pellet balls about the size of his eyeball once a day, drop a algae wafer at night once a day for the pleco, and about 6-7 sinking pellets once a day for cories which they leave nothing behind. Please give me some advice, I hate to be a fish killer, thank you.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi,

In my opinion, I'd say the problem is the PH (too high) and the kind of gravel doesn't help a lot too. They prefer more sand to small rounded pebbles.

All the rest you're doing well....but could be a bad luck too with this lil guy.
Thank you Andy 🙏 Any advice will do, I have thought about the gravel lately. I just don’t know how to change out all the gravel with all the stuff already set in place. I’m assuming it’s going to be a big mess. Also, I added the driftwood recently in hopes of it lowering the pH naturally but I don’t think it’s working.
 

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gravel and pH shouldn't be the cause of the corydoras issue. Your tank water looks cloudy. There may be a bacterial bloom going on. What filter do you have running? do you have any bio media in there?

A lot of the fish from LFS are farm raise and can tolerate a wider range of water condition than wild caught. There are pros and con between wild caught and farm raised fish. farmed fish in the older days had a lot of medication used on them hence they can be immuno compromise and or weaken from long term inbreeding - not sure if the practice is different now. wild caught is harder to transition into aquarium - water parameter, food they eat, transit stress, and can carry parasites from the wild. There are others, but those are the main ones.

The corydoras you have are farm raise.

Your tank is lacking nitrate and other elements, hence your hornwort is shedding.

What kind of pleco do you have? Most pleco do not like algae wafer. They are omnivore. 1 wafer is a lot of food for a small pleco.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I’m using Top Fin filter and I also placed “Searchem Purigen” in the filter compartment as well. I did noticed the water became cloudy after I began using “API Leaf Zone” once a week for the plants which I also add “API C02 booster” every day the recommended amount in the instruction bottle. The pleco I have is a “clown pleco”. I used to break the wafers in half and drop in at night but then I saw the cories are eating the wafers too so I worried that they are eating all of it. So I started leaving the whole wafer intact and every morning the whole wafer is gone.
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You should get a different fertilizer with nitrate in there. your plants are dying and contributing to the bacterial bloom. I am not sure what brand of fertilizer you have access to at the LFS. API is not a good fertilizer. you want something with N-P-K and a fairly high N number relative to the P and K - a lot of brand will have high K but not much N. find something with high N and high K at minimum i.e. 2hr APT3 is good one. Your tank doesn't have enough fish to provide the necessary N for plant growth.

Do you see the clown pleco try to eat the wafer? Pleco will eat if they like the food they are given. Clown pleco do require some meat in their diet. What brand of algae wafer are you giving it?

I wonder if the cory is overeating the wafer because what you described with the fish is an swim bladder issue. wafer expand quite a bit in the water.

 

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I'm new to the leisure activity around 4 months. I have a 20 gallon tank with rock, driftwood, and a few plants. (I'm going to do another cleaning, damn hornwort plant is shedding and leaving a wreck) I have in the tank: 1 betta, 1 jokester pleco, 3 peppered Cory catfish and 3 pale skinned person Cory catfish. I do 20% water changes consistently. One of the little pale skinned person Cory catfish is drifting at the top, will swim barrel rolls, or spread sideways on the rock suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Honestly, I think I saw him nibbling at it once, but no, I don’t see him often because I’ll drop the water at bedtime and go to sleep. Unfortunately, yesterday the poor little guy passed. All the other cories are healthy and behaving normally so maybe he ate too much? I’ll post the food I give the pleco. I also forgot to mention along with the “API Leaf Zone” and “API C02 booster”, I’m also been putting “Searchem Flourish tabs” in the gravel as well.
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i wanted to respond a while back but my phone died. i feel bad when people ask for advice and people end up confusing the person. i will say keeping things simple helps alot. my first thought is filtration and turns out you posted a filter that is pretty much the least favorite on most lists. tons of filtration options but ive found one with a sponge and lots of media is what you want. units with cartridges are not the best. a cheap aquaclear would be far superior in my opinion.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i wanted to respond a while back but my phone died. i feel bad when people ask for advice and people end up confusing the person. i will say keeping things simple helps alot. my first thought is filtration and turns out you posted a filter that is pretty much the least favorite on most lists. tons of filtration options but ive found one with a sponge and lots of media is what you want. units with cartridges are not the best. a cheap aquaclear would be far sup.
i wanted to respond a while back but my phone died. i feel bad when people ask for advice and people end up confusing the person. i will say keeping things simple helps alot. my first thought is filtration and turns out you posted a filter that is pretty much the least favorite on most lists. tons of filtration options but ive found one with a sponge and lots of media is what you want. units with cartridges are not the best. a cheap aquaclear would be far superior in my opinion.
Actually, by chance I was wondering if the filtration was not good enough and cheap. Maybe you’re right, I’ll take a look at the “Aqua clear” system. Any other brands you suggest? I’ll probably have to buy a better brand one than Top Fin but one that has a flow adjustment so I can turn it down for the less water movement so it doesn’t stress the Betta too much.
 

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Actually, by chance I was wondering if the filtration was not good enough and cheap. Maybe you’re right, I’ll take a look at the “Aqua clear” system. Any other brands you suggest? I’ll probably have to buy a better brand one than Top Fin but one that has a flow adjustment so I can turn it down for the less water movement so it doesn’t stress the Betta too much.
There are multiple things going on. A better filter will help with some of the fluctuation in water quality but doesn't solve issues arise from a sudden change in the system. Any filter need time to established and build up.

You said that the tank went cloudy after you started dosing API fertilizer. If I am not mistaken, API fertilizer contain potassium and iron only. Hornwort is free floating plant and wouldn't benefit from root tab - which is partly why the hornwort is shedding. dead plant matter will increase the bacterial load trying to counter a spike in the ammonia. was the hornwort doing fine before the API fertilizer,

Did anything else change before the cloudy water or after? i.e. add extra fish? change in the amount of food? change a filter cartridge?

non eaten food will do the same, but I am not sure if all the food are getting eaten. 1 hikari algae wafer is a lot of food for a pleco. A pleco shouldn't have problem pushing cories away for food if they like the food provided.

As Dino said, cartridge filter are not the best. Each time you replace the cartridge, there will be a drop off in the bacteria and another bloom will happen.

You want a filter able to hold bio media (biological filtration) - a place for bacterial to grow to help with the nitrogen cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don’t remember any big changes to the fish tank except that I added the plants near the same time. I recall the hornwort plant shedding and that’s why I decided to add some fertilizer and CO2 with the tabs to help it, the Anubis fern, Java fern, and the Christmas moss. As for the food, I know the cories tear up the sinking pellets and they leave small pieces all of the gravel which I try to suck up with the gravel cleaner during the weekly water changes and add bacterial after to make sure ammonia and nitrates level don’t spike up. I changed the filter just last week after I noticed the cloudy water but I rinsed the new filter in the fish water and left the old filter in the tank for week so the bacterial would move over just in case. I also assumed the Searchem Puregeon would help with nitrate levels.
So far, the things I should do is replace the filtration system, break and give less of the algae wafers, and find something better than the API Leaf Zone?
 

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So far, the things I should do is replace the filtration system, break and give less of the algae wafers, and find something better than the API Leaf Zone?
Yes.
remove the purigen and see how the plant do before getting a different fertilizer - but I suspect removing purigen wouldn't be enough for plants. I have to dose nitrate in the tank even when the tank is overfed growing out fry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was reading up on hornwort. losing leaves may be part of the transition. I haven't kept them in over 20 years. You can watch them for a bit longer to see if they will recover.
Thank you Edge, I appreciate the help. It’s frustrating sometimes to lose a fish or to see plants not flourishing. I don’t want to give up, I try my best to learn.
 
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