I've never owned an aquarium before. But I've always wanted one. So I'm going to start one. I was thinking of a 20 g. with 2 African dwarf frogs, 1 oto, and 1 betta (I know they aren't very friendly, but I'm rather attached to bettas), and then 6 tetras. I really like black phantom tetras, but I wondered if my tank would look kinda bland with mostly the same color fish. Would the tetras be okay if I mixed them? 3 black phantoms and 3 of another kind the same size that have more color? Or are tetras not okay in groups of 3? Will they school together even though they are different types? Any suggestions would help.
see if your local pet store carries serpae tetras wich are a nice red, priscilla tetras , columbian tetras, and diamond tetras...these are some of the med sized tetras that have some interesting colors...remember to always keep them in groups the more the better a minimum of three to five ....ADIOS.......
1. Minimum of 5 for each type of tetra... 3-4 for the Otocinclus... alot of people seem to forget that Otos are a shoaling fish.
2. Wouldn't suggest Serpaes because they usually need an even larger school (7+) to prevent aggressive fin-nipping behavior. They would also probably kill the Betta... which I would also suggest leaving out of this build. Bettas do better as stand-alone fish. Only fish I would feel safe having with a Betta as a beginner are Corydoras catfish and Otocinclus catfish, and they're only safe because they're peaceful bottom dwellers while Bettas are Anabantids and need to stay near the top so they can surface for air.
Thanks for the help. I think I'll just buy a nice betta tank too when I get my aquarium. I don't want him to get nipped. ;-) As for the tetras, I'll just stick with one type for now. For some reason, I thought they would all just school together. Guess not. While my tank cycles, I'll look at some of the different tetras you suggested. Thanks!
Schooling and shoaling are very different things, so many of us use the terms interchangeably. CaliforniaFishKeeper is absolutely correct, the proper term for freshwater fish is shoaling.
Shoaling means the fish must be in a group of their own species. I use the word "must" because it is necessary; when shoaling fish are not in a group, they are under stress, and that weakens the immune system and makes the fish more susceptible to disease and health problems. They can also be more aggressive, or if normally peaceful, turn aggressive--neons that fin nip, etc.
Also, some species have a social structure within their group. Loaches for instance, and angel fish, and discus, are highly structured, and many of the characins and cyprinids to a lesser extent. When these fish are kept singly or in a pair (except when spawning, that is quite different), they do not have that structure which is part of their natural instinct, and again this causes stress.
Shoaling fish may or may not swim around (in what we tend to think of as a "school"), but they need to be in a tank with others of their species whether they swim together or not, just to maintain the inherent structure. Rasbora are super at swimming together, almost constantly. Rummynose tetra are also pretty tight in a group, and cardinals most of the time. I have several species of characins in my two large Amazonian tanks, and it is interesting to sit for a couple hours observing the interaction of fish with their species group. They clearly have signals, sometimes visible, but also chemical. You can read more about this in the introduction to the characins in our fish profile section--second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top. The profile of each fish tells you how many, tank size, suitable companions, and other info on maintaining the species in the best health and condition.
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