Tetra Issue or Normal? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 04-15-2011, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Tetra Issue or Normal?

I was just watching the 6 lemon tetras I have that I bought just about a week ago. After reading a few threads about loaches and giving them some face time to get them used to you I was watching them for about 30 minutes. After awhile I noted something that might be normal, but I don't recall giving their behavior much thought. I appears that they swim at an angle and not perfectly 90 degrees in the water. I'll fully admit to being new to aquariums, but I would think that fish for the most part would swim straight up.

So my basic question is do fish list when they swim and should I be worried?
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post #2 of 4 Old 04-15-2011, 06:12 PM
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I suspect this is interaction between fish, males particularly. All characins will "sidle up" (as I like to term it) to each other as a form of display, play, threat, pre-spawning, enticing a female, whatever. They may encircle one another in one spot or as they swim. Some species do this continually, like Nannostomus beckfordi males; Emperor Tetra do it a lot. Cardinals rarely. But I suspect this is what you are seeing. The fish doing it will usually fully display their fins too, dorsal especially; and their colouration will usually be a bit more intense, though this is easier to spot in some species than others.

If your fish is swimming all around te tank on its own and half on its side, that is another matter. I hope not.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #3 of 4 Old 04-15-2011, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Not side ways at all. They attack all food. I know people say to feed them only the amount they can eat in 1-2 minutes. I'd bet they could eat 2X their body weight in that amount of time. I'm trying to feed them all about1-2 flakes each. I think that is enough food once a day.

I haven't seen the verictical swimming. But What I think I'm seeing is the bending of light with the glass and water. If I were to take a carpenters level and put it on them the bubble would not be level but rather 15 degree or so. I think I just have something wrong in my head that fish swim exactly perpendicular to the ground. I guess it's a free world.

Thank you for the insight.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-15-2011, 06:29 PM
I have had 7 lemon tetra for 7 months now. I know exactly what behaviour that you are talking about. I have my suspicions that all of mine are male because of their behaviour. Don't know what the odds of picking fish at random and getting all males, especially since they were my first tropical fish.

I have two that are the largest and they almost always swim (particularly after they have eaten) around on display. They look like sailboats at full mast, and they do kind of swim on a bit of a tilt. My thoughts about this behaviour is their way of looking even bigger ie more of their sides are shown to fish either above or below them.

I love watching them display and chase each other. As I said, I have two that love to show off. Their black and lemon colours are wonderful.
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