I need some help. I'm facing a huge dilemma. (Serpae Tetras) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
I need some help. I'm facing a huge dilemma. (Serpae Tetras)

So I bought what I thought were Flame Tetras at my local fish store to cycle my tank for the future Rasboras, Gouramis, and Corydoras that would be going in it. I intended to do my best to keep the cycling fish alive as flame tetras are known to be hardy enough to survive this.

I went home, and researched more about these flame tetras and the more I looked at my fish the more I realized they were not flame tetras.

I did some more looking around and found out they were Serpae Tetras, known fin nippers and and with common aggressive behavior.

I can't keep these in a tank with my Pearl Gouramis! Goodness! What do I do?? They will terrorize the pretty ones, and more than likely also terrorize my harlequin rasboras, emperor tetras, and my bandit corys.

I have two days left to take the fish back to the store, but I think I lost my reciept.

Now, I do not have the Gouramis, or Emperor Tetras as of yet. My Harlequin Rasboras, ( I have 8) and my Bandit Corydoras (I have 5 or 6) Are currently in a very well cycled 20 gallon, waiting to be transferred to the larger tank. I think they MIGHT co-exist with the serpaes, but I'm pretty sure my dreams of having pearl gouramis and emperor tetras just went out the window for the next two years.

I need all of your awesome advice. Please help me!

Last edited by JadaNae27; 09-30-2013 at 10:14 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 10:16 AM
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I would absolutely not keep the serpae tetras with peaceful fish. I would return them, with or without a receipt and make a stink about how they sold you the wrong fish. Hopefully they do the right thing.

Flame tetras are a good choice. I like the orange flames better then the regular ones.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
I would absolutely not keep the serpae tetras with peaceful fish. I would return them, with or without a receipt and make a stink about how they sold you the wrong fish. Hopefully they do the right thing.

Flame tetras are a good choice. I like the orange flames better then the regular ones.
I"m not sure if I can return them without a reciept. See, the store I bought these guys at wasn't a pet store. It was a wal-mart that had just gotten in new fish. They are sticklers for having to have reciepts.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 10:36 AM
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Hmmm, then perhaps you can take them to a fish store... Though if you are buying fish from Walmart then there's probably a good chance that you don't have a fish store nearby.

You basically have 3 choices - get rid of them, keep them or cull them. If you can't return them, then perhaps you can give them away. If you can't give them away, and you don't want this one mistake to dictate your fishkeeping experience for the rest of the tetras lives, then culling them is your only option. Not to be hard on you or anything, but it is your responsibility to make sure you are getting what you want. Yes, the store ought to sell you the correct fish, but ultimately you need to be the one to identify the species, as well as sexing them (if applicable).

If you choose to keep them, then you may run into issues between them and the other fish.

There is a 4th option - buy a new tank for them.


Just don't leave them in the parking lot, like someone did not too long ago.
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125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
Oh My goodnesss. Someone left fish in a parking lot??? That is very cruel.

I can't afford to buy a new tank, and I don't have the heart to cull them or just get rid of them.

I could wait until the tank was cycled and switch the fish in the tanks. A 20 gallon high would be enough space for a shoal of Serpaes, but the intention was to shut that tank down and when colder weather comes I will have to buy a new heater for that tank if I keep it running.

I know that I will undoubtedly run into issues if I keep them with my other fish in the same tank. The serpaes will kill everyone else.

I'm going to do my best to find that receipt, because I really don't have any other options.

And no, there is no fish store nearby. I have to order my fish online or risk wal-mart fish. As these were to be used as cycling fish I saw no point in importing them in. I've actually considered starting my own fish store with a business loan, because there is a market, a want, and a need for a good fish store around my area. The closest decent one is over 50 miles away.

Last edited by JadaNae27; 09-30-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 11:03 AM
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Yeah, I have to drive over an hour on the highway to go to a good fish store. There's an okay one much closer, but i generally know what he has in stock because it rarely changes, so if I want something else I have to drive or buy online.

I don't think the serpaes will directly kill anything, but the stress the other fish will feel should they be getting nipped and such will take a toll on them and can lead to disease and ultimately death. Too, it can alter the fishs behaviors and make it less enjoyable for you to watch.

Yeah, it's sad. The store wouldn't give him a refund or take them back, so....

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta

Last edited by jaysee; 09-30-2013 at 11:07 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 11:10 AM
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Ugh! Assuming you paid cash for the fish otherwise you could get a copy of the transaction.

Agree that you probably shouldn't chance serpaes with peaceful fish. If you do end up keeping them, you could have tiger barbs or rainbow fish in with them. I've had all three in my 75 gallon and they were fine together. Just keep them all in the suggested numbers.

I also had 9-10 cories in there. There was no aggression towards them from any of the fish.

Walmart should let you make an exchange even if they don't return your money. Maybe the salesperson will remember you as well.

Good luck & keep us posted.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-30-2013, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
Luckily I was able to find the reciept.

The lady at the store almost didn't give me a refund for selling the wrong fish and she refused to tank the fish back after she gave me my refund. I would feel badly for the fish, except that another employee who was passing by said that she was an avid fish lover and would gladly take them.
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