15 December 2016

pygmy cories

For a long time I have wanted to try keeping pygmy cory catfish in my ten-gallon tank. I've heard they can be okay with a betta because they are drab in color and stay at the substrate level, under plants, rather inconspicuous. I read up about the three pygmy catfishes. Corydoras pygmaeus is a little more streamlined in shape with a nicely defined midline and white stripe above it- this is the one I wanted but I think I actually got corydoras hasbrosus.

I had asked about it several times at the pet store and they put my name down on a list just in case they found them available when ordering. Said they don't see them often and it might take months before any came in. So I was happily surprised when yesterday I got a call. I went straight over and picked them up. Five tiny armored fishes, only half an inch in length.
This was the only decent picture I got of them. They are so tiny, and so cute. I love the way their little eyes gleam a gold ring like buttons. And they settled in nicely- exploring around- nobody looking pale or distressed. But Samblu took umbrage to their presence. Or he thought they were for hunting practice. He shadowed them. He sat in corners waiting while one little cory zipped up to the surface and wiggled around near him, then he would swing his head sideways with a slow, menacing motion to regard the cory, and bite. The cories darted away, Samblu turned to flare his beard aggressivly at an innocent nerite nearby, then abruptly cruised off and started poking in and out of the crevices among plants down below, searching for the cories.

Even though none of them actually got hurt, I've seen this before when I tried to keep platties. I wasn't going to wait until cories started dying or got their fins ripped off. I threw together my old plastic bin QT with few gallons of tank water and a few of new in it, an airstone for circulation, the emergency heater and some temporary hardscape out of Sam's tank with plants on it. Plus most of the duckweed floaters. Only have one spare air pump so I put a splitter on the airline that goes into the shrimp bowl and put the pygmy cories in there overnight.

I guess I'm getting better at setting up emergency tanks. Or the little cories are tough. One was pale after being caught (with a clear plastic cup) but in the morning they all looked fine, and ate some crumbs of shrimp pellet (dust from the bottom of the fish food can, that's how tiny they are). I took them back to the store. My kids said they'd rather I return Sam and try a different betta fish, but I know that would be just as likely to fail.

Samblu has relaxed again now the pygmies are gone, and he ignores the snails again.

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