Can you help me decide? (loaches or corydoras)
I am so undecided about this, cause I hate having that "slight regret" feeling, especially about fish!
So I can start with some facts.
My tank is a 110 litre Juwel tank, about 29 US gallons. It's been running for a few years now and is heavily planted. The sand I use is very much corydoras-friendly btw, no rough edges, smooth and very small grains! Bliss!
The filter is a standard "boxed in" in the corner, but I've changed the pump so instead of passing 400 litre an hour, it passes 1000 litre. However, I am considering changing this back to 400 as I have to keep the water level slightly above the limit, due to the force of the pump and how it sucks in air. I'm not sure about this either so thoughts about this are welcome.
Anyway, I currently have about 15 - 20 thayeria boehlkei (blackline penguinfish) and about 4 apple snails.
The pH is around 6.5 - 7 I reckon, and the gh about 10 - 13 I would guess. I haven't checked in a few weeks but it's usually very stable as I have some small mineral blocks in the tank.
Since the thayerias keep to the top and middle, mostly top level of the water - the bottom and mid-levels are completely empty.
I've had corydoras before, and I love them, but now I'm struggling to decide between kuhlii loaches and corydoras.
I've looked up some corydoras that can be bred (I don't need them to breed, but as a sign of happiness it's very welcome) in harder water than some of the typical corydoras, and luckily some of the dwarf-types of cories can breed in hard water. I am thinking either corydoras habrosus/hastatus/pygmaeus though (especially one of these as they swim more in the middle than at the bottom, but I forget which one) I'm kinda scared the thayeria will pick on them. They are kind to other fish their own size, and don't bother with them, but knowing how fierce they are when they think they spot something edible, I'm scared they might think the smaller cories are food.
However, I've looked up the kuhlii loaches aswell and I'd love to try and keep them. They would be the "wow" to the tank as the blacklines are very "calm" compared to other schooling fish. (they like to just relax and hang out)
The only thing is, I am afraid the bottom area isn't big enough. I've got quite a few plants and I think it might be too little a space for them to really enjoy themselves. Plus, since I am quite fond of plants, I don't want them messing about in some of my more "frail" plants (l. sessiliflora will bend and crumble if something stirred at their roots too much)
So, overall this is my "pros and cons list"
pro: Tiny in size so I can have more and the bottom area should be big enough. Very cute!
cons: Might be seen as food by the other fish
pro: Good size, fun colours, will stand out
cons: Bottom area might not be big enough and/or they will try to frolic in plants that might get ruined.
Has anyone got any ideas, thougts? I would love to hear from anyone who's had kuhlii loaches - did they try to swim between plants and end up ruining them? I will be taking out a few plants in the front if I get the loaches, but it would still be not a very big area for them. Has anyone had thayerias with smaller fish? I've actually got two heterandia formosa (least killifish) in with the thayeria, as I had some in another tank and I wanted to test if the thayeria would try and eat them, and so far I think both the fish are alive and well.
I'm kinda leaning towards kuhlii loaches, but at the same time I don't want them to suffer because the bottom area isn't big enough...the dwarf corydoras I could still keep in another tank I have, if I ever get any.
Here's a picture of the tank. I could remove some of the cryptocoryne in the front and maybe the smaller echinodorus at the right side (infront of the juwel pump house)
Add to the cons for the Khuli loaches that they tend to hide a lot, either in the substrate or under objects. They are cool little fish but I think the cute cory outshines the shy Khuli. This at the end of the day depends on your personal prefrence though.
FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
Sw: 1 55gal, 1 30gal show, 1 29gal show, 1 20gal and 2 10's
Good points actually. I'd be so upset if my loaches ended up just hiding all the time!
Which is a real risk. I've got pygmy cories and they are friendly and spend quite a bit of their time in mid water. You don't have fish capable of harmingthem.
Hmm, maybe I should just go for the cories then!