Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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randomriter 12-17-2012 11:26 PM

Will These Tetras Shoal Together?
I'm trying to put together an aquarium and was wondering if any of the following species of tetra will shoal comfortably with lemon tetras (so that I wouldn't have to get 8 of each but could instead have 8 or 9 of some combination thereof):

Flame Tetra
Purple Tetra
Roberts Tetra

Shewbert 12-19-2012 01:28 PM

Well the Roberts like a darker aquarium, if the lighting is too strong they soon lose the beautiful colouration.
The purple needs a stronger light but are rather timid, the more boisterous flame's may chase them.
The Flames again like subdued lighting but a slightly acidic water, this might affect the purple who is sensitive to water parameters.
I know that some fish stockists tank these together for space and selling purposes.
I cannot see any reason to say that they would not school together, but getting the lighting and water just right will be a bit difficult.
Hope this helps, maybe someone else has had luck in keeping them together,personally I would not sell them to be housed in the same tank.
Hope this helps

randomriter 12-19-2012 05:13 PM

Thank you so much, I think I'm just going to get the Roberts and the Lemon, since they seem to have the most similar water parameters.

Again, thanks so much for your time/advice!

Byron 12-19-2012 05:20 PM

You asked near the same question in another thread, to which I replied at length, so I will copy that post over for the benefit of this thread. And BTW, try not to raise the same issue in more than one thread; it helps us and you if all posts on the topic are together in one place.:-)

When we speak of shoaling fish (some sources will call this schooling, though that is technically a bit different) we are referring to fish species that live in large groups. Often hundreds and even thousands of fish live in the group, though in some species it might be fewer. The species has evolved to require this, and it may have several impacts on the fish. Frequently there is "safety in numbers" and when the fish is on its own or in too small a group (for that species, as I said, it can vary) this causes stress and stress is the cause of just about all fish disease. Stress weakens the immune system, but even more than that it can cause damage to the fish's physiology. You can read more in my article on stress in the Freshwater Articles section.

Aside from the above, many species have a social structure within the group. This can vary and may include a "pecking order" with dominant fish and submissive fish, and this is natural and necessary if that species is to be healthy. When we see tetra "playing" or what I call "sparring," we are seeing this social structure at work. It may seem like play to us, but this is a very serious social development that is absolutely essential to the fish.

Many of us have long understood the need for groups, but only last year the first scientific study on the effects of insufficient numbers within a species group came out with some factual evidence. Fish that were kept in groups under six developed increased aggression; species that one would consider peaceful actually became aggressive. Aggression took the form of fin nipping up to actual physical biting and death. And all because the fish just didn't have enough of its own species around it. The same thing happened when the tank was too small, and this shows that aggression is probably the fish's only available weapon to deal with frustration. In some cases, the exact opposite will occur; the fish will become so withdrawn because of these factors that it wastes away.

So, tetra being shoaling fish, they should never be in groups less than 6. This is a number many sources use, and generally it is the minimum, though it must be said that when space is available, increasing the group above 6 will always be better for the fish. Some species are inherently aggressive to begin with, like Serpae Tetra, and the group must be much larger. Group sizes are mentioned in our profiles where applicable.


Shewbert 12-20-2012 06:57 AM

It's Ray's daugter here.

I totally agree with Byron's comment above.
This is why fish keeping is so fascinating, you could have 2 tanks planted the same with the same fish and have totally different behaviours within the tanks (all down to the pecking order)
We have the control in what fish go into the tank, but the fish control what happens in the community.
You can sometimes see this changing as the pecking order changes.
different species of Fish in the wild will school together for the safety in numbers syndrome, but if 2 of these fish meet outside a school they will eat each other.
Stress/shock is the largest cause of death in most animals,,,not only fish,,,

I was amazed at how many people do not have hospital and quarantine tanks, if you have a sick fish, it will be stressed, it needs to be treated with a stress coat to calm it down, if you do not have a hospital tank to place the chemicals in for treating, virtually you are stress coating/treating healthy fish
Anyway thank you Byron for your excellent,accurate information.
Mandy (Marine Biologist/Vet)

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