Is this the right thread for Silver Dollars?
The profile of the Silver Dollar said to post here, but I didn't see anything specifically related to them like with the bettas...
I do not know a great deal about this species. My mom wanted them, so I got her 3. She also has a bottom feeder, but I have no idea what kind it is. They were originally in a 10 gallon tank, which I know is very small for this species. She's been out of town for the holiday, so I have been taking care of them. I noticed they seemed really skittish and spent almost all of their time at the bottom corner of the tank under the water filter. They just didn't seem happy to me so I took the opportunity to surprise my mom and I bought a 37 gallon tank to house them in. I know it's generally recommended to get a 50+ gallon tank, but that was really the best I could afford, and the thing is huge! I had a heck of a time finding a place to put it in her house. Boy, is she going to be shocked when she gets home tomorrow, lol...
Anyway, I have a few questions about them, so I hope this is the right place.
They definitely seemed much happier and less skittish once I moved them into the bigger tank. I don't know, maybe they felt less intimidated by human presence in a bigger space. But every time I stop over to her house to check on them, I find them doing the same thing ... just hanging out together in the corner, only this time they are near the heater. I have it set to 78 right now. This particular heater doesn't let you set the exact temperature and since I can't be there 24/7 to keep an eye on it till I get the temperature right, I figured 78 was probably pretty good for them. I will have her try to get it to 80 tomorrow.
Sorry for the long post, but here are my specific questions...
In the profile I read here, it says they are from calmer waters, much like bettas, so that got me thinking maybe they do not like the water filter, which definitely creates quite a current. Is it generally recommended to baffle the filters for silver dollar fish?
I know three isn't very many for a school, but I don't want to get so many that they outgrow their tank. I'm not sure she could accommodate any tank bigger than this one. Any thoughts on if the tank size is appropriate for three of them or if it could even have a few more? Or some other fish?
And my last question is related to feeding. They really don't seem to eat. I dump a bunch of flakes in there just to get their attention and they let them sink to the floor. They occasionally will chase after them in the water but not very much and they seem to nibble at the ones that land a bit. Is this normal behavior? I've tried several varieties of food already.
If you have any other helpful tips or links, that'd be great. Below is a picture of the tank (and an example of me trying to feed them, haha). It's pretty sparse right now as it only has the things my mom had in the 10g tank and she should really be the one to decorate it.
I don't have any silver dollars .. but hopefully someone who does will comment. Silver dollars are herbivores so vegetable flakes such as spirulina, lettuce, cooked romaine or spinach is an option. They will also eat cooked vegetables like peas and squash.
They are schooling fish so maybe another one or two may help their skittishness ... but as they get larger ... a larger tank may be necessary. Another idea may be to get them more cover like fake plants (they'll eat any live you put in there), drifwood or ornaments. With some fish, a sparse tank makes them feel exposed and stressed. Give them a little while longer to get used to their newer surroundings ... but I'm certain some more cover could help them feel more secure ... thus act more at ease.
Hope this helps ... at least until someone can add better info.
For now just concentrate in providing more cover ... but yeah finding plants that tall is going to be a challenge!
The behaviour you describe is due to stress. Stress occurs from many things; thinking only of what the photo shows--the number of fish in the group, the tank size, and the environment.
Shoaling fish must have companions. The fish has the internal need for this, both for security ("safety in numbers") but also in many species there is an interaction between fish that can be social, play, aggressive (dominance, etc) or for spawning. But it is there and needs to be accommodated.
Tank size affects stress. Too small a space will cause aggression in even peaceful species for instance. As will too few fish, by the way. I posted a link to the latest scientific study proving both of these a while back.
And the environment. Some branches throughout the tank would help, along with more chunks of wood or rock on the substrate. And although they eat plants, some fake ones in this case would help, especially floating to reduce the overhead light which is also stressful.
The filter is an issue, though not as significant as the above in this situation. But it may be a contributor.
I don't like to be critical, but as you have asked for suggestions it would be useless if I tried to say good about not so good. The tank size is OK now, even for another 3, but down the road this will be a problem much the same, if the fish survive that far. And that is hard to say, as stress severely weakens the immune system, which means the fish is more susceptible to other problems, and we now know a shorter lifespan due to internal issues linked to this.
If one is going to keep this species, it should only be with the understanding that its needs have to be provided. You wouldn't try to keep a horse in a city backyard but on a farm. It is the very same thing.
As far as tank size (for now), I'd be happy to add three more of these guys, and any other fish you think would be good for the tank. My understanding is they grow pretty fast and that they'll be adults in about four months; is that correct? I can do some research and down the road (three to four months from now) it won't be a problem for me to upgrade their tank. I don't think I'd want it to be any taller than the current one, but maybe one that is wider would certainly help in terms of volume.
So what would you suggest as far as tankmates for six of these guys, given the current tank, with the understanding in 3-4 months I'll get them into a 55+ gallon tank. Any suggestions you have are openly welcomed, and thanks.
Well, my mom seemed rather daunted by the sight of the fish tank and all of the information I shared with her that I've learned from here and other places. She doesn't think she would be able to care for their needs, so I've convinced her it would be best to give them up.
I spoke with a manager at my local Petsmart and he was willing to take back the tank (something he said they normally wouldn't do because they cannot sell it now) and even the fish (something they didn't do until recently). He said they would put them into quarantine at first and then they would go back into the general population with all of the other silver dollars.
Hopefully this experience was not too traumatic for them and they can find good homes! :-)
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