Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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velgore 07-19-2012 07:31 PM

serpae tetra
hello every one

im a aqua keeper at a pet supply store in auz.

i have a 40L tank and have 4 serpae tetra in my tank one of them seems to be a bully to the others and all the ones that i keep at the store have no problems with each other or any of the other fish i put in there.

am i having this problem couse it is completely new tank and they are deciding who is boss or do i have a fin nipper here couse was fine when was at the store.

im also gona put a black ghost knife fish in there eventuly and im well aware that he will most likely kill them when he is big but what are his chances of staying safe from the tetra when small ?

thank you for help


serpaekeeper45 07-20-2012 01:04 AM

I kept serpaes years ago, and from what I remember, I had the same problem. Adding more serpaes seemed to help even out their behavior a bit. They shoaled after a few days of being together. As for the smaller fish, I would give it plenty of cover, but dont bet on it surviving. Serpaes can be viscious.

Geomancer 07-20-2012 06:30 AM

Hello and Welcome!

Serpae Tetra are well known for fin nipping, the more of them and the larger the space the more this can be lowered, but they should never, ever be kept with long fined fish. Minimum shoal size should be 8 to reduce agression. Minimum tank size is a 20g long (75 liter).

A 40 liter tank is a 10 gallon, and is not large enough even for a juvenile BGK. Minimum tank size for these guys is 6 ft by 2 ft which is 180 gallons (681 liters). Even when 'growing out' these guys would need a larger tank. The tank must be, at a minimum, three times longer than their length and wider than their length. Their bodies are not flexible, so they need the width to turn around. Max size is 20 inches (51 cm).

jaysee 07-20-2012 06:31 AM

Welcome to the forum

Sounds like typical behavior. I kept mine with tiger barbs . The problem is exacerbated in a small tank such as that. Speaking of which, a 40 liter tank is too small for a black ghost knife.

fish monger 07-20-2012 06:58 AM

I agree with what all the other members have said. See if they'll give you a nice big employee discount on a big tank ;-) Has anyone else ever heard of red minor tetras ? I had them years ago. They closely resemble red serpae tetras but, they're not nearly as nippy. More like bleeding hearts in their behavior. A good substitute if you're a big fan of that shape and color of fish.

velgore 07-20-2012 07:29 AM

i see what you guys are saying.
i has planned on getting a bigger tank but when the bgk had grown a little. they are my fav. would keeping it in a small tank till its grown be allright and if so how long will it take to grow?
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Geomancer 07-20-2012 08:47 AM


Originally Posted by velgore (Post 1163505)
i see what you guys are saying.
i has planned on getting a bigger tank but when the bgk had grown a little. they are my fav. would keeping it in a small tank till its grown be allright and if so how long will it take to grow?
Posted via Mobile Device

Not really.

As mentioned, they must always be in a tank at least 3 times their length, and the tank must be wider then they are long because they can not bend their body much to make a turn.

Fish grow very quickly, you would have to obtain the full 6ft (183 cm) x 2ft (61 cm) tank within 1 year, possibly 2.

Since these fish are not at all rare in the hobby, I would strongly suggest not buying one until you already have the tank. They're not going anywhere, so it can wait until you have the means to care for them. Life happens, and it would be a real shame for you to buy the fish then any number of things happening in the meantime preventing you from upgrading to the larger tank it needs. Finding a new home for a fish that requires such a large aquarium is not something easily done and most often the fish suffers for it.

jaysee 07-20-2012 11:18 AM

Knife fish can turn on a dime, curling their bodies into a U shape. They are very fluid and maneuverable. That's not to say that they should be kept in a smaller tank because of that. The problem with keeping a fish in a tank till its grown is that by they time the fish has "out grown" the tank, it's WAY past due for the larger tank.

serpaekeeper45 07-20-2012 03:53 PM

Oh I didn't even notice it was 40l. Yea that's small.... I had my serpaes in a 29g and that even got crowded with the addition of other fish. Another thing, although basic, is make sure to switch up the decor in the tank, and switch where you feed them from regularly. This will help ensure that they don't get territorial.

velgore 07-20-2012 05:23 PM

thanx every one. i may have to change fish then? i want a cool couler range and i thought the tetra red looked good. any ideas of fish that can go with them?
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