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  1. Thanks for all the input. I have lowered the temperature to 78 for the hill stream loach but yes, I had seen videos from Cory and Irene at Aquarium Coop suggest that they have experience with them happy with a sponge filter and at warmer temperatures. I will keep an eye on him but he seems happy and active as can be. The lfs got in German Blue Rams and I was tempted but I was under the impression that they were soft water, acidic pH fish and wouldn’t do well in my tank. I originally really wanted a honey gourami and they seemed to fit my tank but I’m worried the tetras will bully him. Is there a small, peaceful schooling fish, that does well in high pH and hard water? Or is that just a pipe dream?
  2. I have a 29 gallon balanced, planted aquarium with a sponge filter. 7.8 pH, very hard water, 80F My current stock is 9 neon tetras, 1 hillstream loach, 3 adult platys, one mystery snail, 2 nerite snails. I’m striving for a low maintenance, happy community tank. We recently had to return a beautiful betta who was getting along fine with everyone for 8 days and then all of the sudden the tetras started to nip at the betta’s fins. I tried separating the Betta with a breeding net, doing a water change, and reintroducing him a day later. The tetras almost immediately went for his fins again. They don’t seem to be nipping each other or the platys. Trying to decide whether to try another centerpiece fish (dwarf gourami, honey gourami, bristlenose pleco) or say goodbye to the bully tetras in hopes of finding a happy community. All my water parameters are normal (0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrite, 10 ppm Nitrate). I do have high pH (7.8 ) and hard water but it’s consistent.
  3. 29 gallon planted tank with a sponge filter. Currently 9 neon tetras, one half moon male beta, one hill stream loach, 3 platys, one albino corydora, one panda corydoras (I know not enough corydoras for either, I’ve had horrible luck with corydoras 😞), two nerite snails, one mystery snail. 0ppm Ammonia 0ppm Nitrite 10 ppm Nitrate pH 7.8 Added a single Caltalpa leaf yesterday to start lowering pH again. Was at 7.6 pH when I added the driftwood but recently started creeping back up. 82 F, a little high so I turned down the heater again this morning. Was at 80 F before. We introduced the betta to our community tank 8 days ago and they seemed to be getting along fine. The betta would chase the platys a bit but they were too fast for him and didn’t seem stressed about it at all. Betta seemed happy, exploring, active but also not flared all the time. Then yesterday afternoon I noticed the neon tetras were chasing and nipping at the betta. He in turn seemed more aggressive toward the platy (platy doesn’t mind still). This morning I noticed his tail looks a bit torn at the edge so I added him to a breeder net until I can figure out what to do. The neons don’t seem interested now that he’s in the net but I don’t want to watch the poor betta go downhill. He’s such a beauty. I also certainly don’t want to watch the neon beat him up more. Unfortunately I don’t really want another tank to set him up separately. Having the community tank and a quarantine tank is the goal. Any advice? Is rehoming him the only answer?
  4. As I was headed to take a short video of my corydoras behavior (who are looking active and healthy) and take photos my hang on the back filter yesterday I witnessed a tragedy. My small curious honey gourami was being sucked up against the hang on the back filter. I had been worried about the filter when we first got the honey gourami but he hadn't shown any struggles with it so I decided to leave it running but also get the sponge filter running to take over if I noticed him having a hard time. I feel horrible about this mistake. I turned off the hang on the back as my sponge filter is fit for up to 40 gallons. I turned off the lights and tried to give him a low stress day. I wasn't able to turn it around and he didn't make it. 😭 I think my next steps are to dismantle my quarantine tank and do a full clean and disinfect of all my equipment. I'm considering retiring my hang on back filter entirely. Maybe get a second small sponge filter to be able to move to my hospital tank when needed like Irene suggests. I will try reducing the temperature in the main tank and see if the cories like it a bit better. I really appreciate this community. Thank you for lifting up a struggling but hopeful fish keeping newbie.
  5. I try to feed them a variety. For my corydoras I switch between three in the first photo, feeding them after the lights go off. About once a week I put in a slice of blanched zucchini or cucumber for the ottos and I don’t feed the corydoras that day as I see them nibble on the slice too. Every few days I will add a small piece of algae wafer for the ottos but they enjoy a pretty decent diet of algae off my plants and driftwood. For my tetras and honey gourami I switch between the three in the second feeding right after the lights turn on in the morning.
  6. I have a 29 gallon tank with a Tetra Whisper 10-30i filter and a small Hikari Bacto-surge sponge filter. I have Activ-Flora planted substrate capped with a layer of smooth pebble gravel in the tank. I make weekly water changes and add Seachem Flourish for the plants twice weekly. pH 7.6 Temp 76F Ammonia 0ppm Nitrite 0 ppm Nitrate 5 ppm kH 80ppm gH 180ppm I have struggled with corydoras from the start. I started with a group of 6 panda corydoras but lost all but one. Tried them again when I upgraded from 10 gallon tank to my 29 gallon tank, lost all of the new group in the 10 gallon now QT tank. I think that was a sick shipment because the pet store said they didn’t do well with anyone. Decided to try albino corydoras as I had heard they were hardier but I only have 3 left after choosing seven healthy looking friends. Last night I lost one that had been healthy in my main tank for about 2 months. Just found it dead with no warning. It’s disheartening. I tried adding driftwood a month ago (boiled it for 25 minutes and let it cool before I added it to the tank) to lower my pH in case that was the issue but I think it stressed them out. One neon tetra died shortly without warning after the add and two of my cories started to go downhill. One had a sunken belly so I shifted him to quarantine right away and he didn’t make the night. I saw another displaying odd behavior, staying at the top, bobbing for air. So I shifted it over to the quarantine and tried treating with half dose Tetra Lifeguard. He made it through the treatment and was active but died a week later (yesterday). I love the corydoras but it seems like we aren’t a good match and I feel horrible that I can’t make them happy. I have three happy Ottocats, a tiny curious honey gourami, one survivor panda corydora we’ve named Gloria (staying alive 2 years later from my first set of fish), four neon tetras, two nerite snails and now three albino corydoras. I don’t want to give up the hobby but I need some direction so that I give my fish the best life. I love growing my planted garden. And I’d love to have a stable, happy community. Should I try a different type of fish that might be better suited to my tank? Should I just stick with what I have left for a while? I feel like a fish murderer.
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