08-31-2010, 08:46 PM
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Hello, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Thanks for the PM bringing this issue to my attention.
While I can't say for certain that it was this or that fish in your list causing the trouble, I can certainly say there are a few that could and undoubtedly will sooner or later if steps are not taken to removing them.
First, the Red Tailed Shark as you singled this out. This fish should only be kept in a 4-foot tank and on its own, by which I mean only one of the species. Other bottom fish are also risky, as is explained in the profile, please have a read.
Serpae Tetra are notorious fin nippers and can be very aggressive. Sometimes this aggression is brought on my environmental conditions--too few fish in the group (should be at least 8 or more of these), too small a tank (in a minimum 55g if other fish species are included). In a 45g tank a group of 8 serpae with some other active fish (note, active) including bottom fish would work.
The Pictus Catfish should be in a group of 5 or more and in a 4-foot tank. They will eat anything small, and as they grow to 5 inches this includes quite a number of other fish like tetras, rasbora, etc.
Clown loach can attain 12+ inches, and need to be in a group (they have a social structure) of at least 5 or 6 but in a 6 foot tank. They grow quickly and need the space to develop properly. Again, note the profile info.
Yoyo loach also needs a group, 5-6, but given its smaller size it can do in a 4-foot tank. Again, profile info.
The knight goby attains 3 inches and will eat smaller fish, though it is generally shy. It will probably help control your livebearer fry, one good point.
If fish are dying from being "torn up" as you put it, I would suspect the Serpae first, then the Shark. Unless the dead fish were very small, the goby was probably not the culprit.
I hope this helps a bit. A last comment on the information in our profiles. I agree, searching the internet or asking staff in fish stores and even other hobbyists can frequently result in conflicting information. Sometimes there are differing opinions, but sometimes the information is just plain wrong. I have written many of the profiles, certainly those referenced in this post; I research thoroughly, I use several sites and sources including highly respected ichthyologists and hobbyists. If you read it in our profiles you can be assured that there is agreement among the majority of those who know. Where knowledgeable people may differ, I mention that. Sometimes fish will behave one way in my tank and completely different in your tank; this has to be taken into account. But each fish species has some inherent traits that are there and this or that may trigger them one day.