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Hi Tom,

I don't think that slate will be a problem for pymy corys. Slate is generally in rather large slabs, isn't it? The surface is smooth. This should be fine.

I have some pygmy corydoras and they don't spend very much time scouring the bottom, anyway. Not like my other corydoras. They sometimes even school with my harlequin rasboras or sit on leaves. They spend more time in the mid and upper levels of the tank than my other corydoras, which tend to scour the bottom.

The main thing I'd worry about with slate (for any bottom dwelling fish) is whether it has sharp edges. Corydoras, like some other fish, can startle if the lights go on suddenly or if there's a sudden movement near the tank. At that time, the fish can dart around briefly in alarm. If the edges of the slate are sharp, they might injure themselves on the slate.

If you have gravel in your tank, I'd recommend burying your slate's edges in the gravel. That's what I've done in my corydora tank, and the corydoras have enjoyed nibbling food off the slate. Their barbels are fine and they seem to like the slate even better than the gravel. (They're not pygmy corydoras, though; the pygmy corydoras are in my other tank.)

If you can't bury the sharp edges in gravel, perhaps you can either buff the edges or just pick your pieces of slate carefully.

I hope that you post pictures!
 

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i wouldn't recommend slate substrate. I assume you mean like a crushed or ground slate substrate. It leaves very sharp edges and isn't recommended for bottom dwelling fish.

if its tiles, or large pieces, then what morainy says makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Here are some shots. Lighting was poor here, so the slate looks shinier and blacker than it is. Plus, everything isn't ready so the heater and flower pot will be moved, and more plants need to be added. The terra cotta wall contains smooth, black gravel.





 

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oh, it's like slate tiles. should be fine, except perhaps where they butt against each other, just make sure theres no sharp edge there or place a barbel could get caught.
 

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Tom, I'm not sure if I am looking at slate or just at the shiny bottom of a tank. Do you have slate tiles there side by side, making an entire surface?

You asked if slate would be bad for barbels, and I don't think that it would harm barbels if the fish are whisking along the top of it (as opposed to chopped up slate, which would be sharp)

I think that this would be alright for pygmy corydoras as they spend so much of their time swimming or sitting on plants. I've never noticed them paying much attention to sand, other than sometimes sitting on it. But for other kinds of corydoras, like pandas and so on, most of them like to sift through sand as someone here said.

Very interesting looking tank, by the way! Kind of like a window garden. Do you find it easier to grow plants in containers? I"m thinking of trying it.
 

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by pygmey do you mean C pygmaeus or dwarf corys generally? C pygmaeus spends much more time in the water column than do the other dwarf corys, and would be ok on most substrates. For the other dwarf cory's, tile should be okay, assuming the edges are smooth, there are no pinch points between pieces and you keep an eye on flaking.
All and all, though, fine river sand is the best substrate for corys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very interesting looking tank, by the way! Kind of like a window garden. Do you find it easier to grow plants in containers? I"m thinking of trying it.
I find it easier to keep the tank clean over a long period. If I were to do it over again, a lighter colour might have been a better choice.

I meant dwarf corys in general.
 
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