Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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DMG 12-26-2006 01:53 PM

Fish & Lighting Question
Hey guys, first time registrant and poster but I used this site extensively for research prior to getting into the hobby.

I'll try to get to the point: I bought a 10-gallon tank and kit (saved a little money with the Christmas sales) in the middle of last week. It's lightly planted right now but I'd like to plant it a little heavier later on. The plants are doing great and I can see growth with all of them.

I added two long-fin black skirt tetras the day before Christmas. I know they're a schooling fish, and of course I was warned before purchasing them from my LFS, and they seem to be doing just great for the most part. I'm definitely going to add more tetras, I'm just wanting to slowly acclimate them as this is a new tank.

The issue I have is that the fish seem to be terrified when I turn on the lights. I try to keep the light on 10-12 hours for the plants and the fish. With the lights off they swim around the tank and eat and everything with no problems but practically as soon as the lights come on, one hides under the rock and the other hides under one of the plants. I turn the lights back off and within a minute they're back to swimming around the tank like normal. The kit came with two 15w (each) incandescent bulbs but I switched them for two 10w (each) compact fluorescent bulbs. The plants seem to be doing well but the fish not so much.

I know tetras prefer less lighting so since my tank is mostly planted on one side (two fake plants on the other) I put one fluorescent and one incandescent in the hood and they were still scared. They will swim out every now and then but they're definitely stressed and swim back to their hiding spots after a short time. I've been testing my water daily and everything seems to be running as it should; I can definitely post if requested.

Is this too much light? Do they just need more time to get acclimated? Being a schooling fish, once more are added will this ease up tensions? Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

crazie.eddie 12-26-2006 02:10 PM

(Message deleted by poster)

DMG 12-26-2006 02:22 PM

Thanks crazie.eddie, since I'm starting out I started light, got 1 java fern (it's getting less light than most everything else in the tank, at least I'm trying to keep it that way since I know it prefers less light). The second one I bought 3 bunches that line half of the back and one corner. I can't remember the scientific classification of this one, I'll have to check back at the store, but it's common name is Frill. I can't find much out about it. I'm using a timer anyway so I can certainly adjust how long the light stays on, I'm just worried about the fish being scared or whatever while it is on. Would 8-10 hours be better?

From what I understand, tetras like subdued light so I'm wondering if it's just too bright for them. Think a floating plant of some kind would be good to help dim it?

Edit: forgot the substrate. It's small-to-medium pieces of light brown multi-colored gravel. I never thought about it reflecting the light but I don't know that it would be too much.

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