My new tank is finally stabilizing and I'm looking to start adding more fish slowly in the next couple weeks.
I currently have 5 tetras - 2 golden, 1 cardinal(the other died shortly after purchase), and 2 orange flames(I believe - very small and bright orange)
Do I need to keep building up a community of each so they each are in groups of 4-6 or are at least 6 tetras, no matter what kind, suitable and act as a community of tetras together? I do notice that the like kinds pair up.
Also, are there any suggestions for a good algae-eating fish that stays small, the tank is 15 gallons? I'd love to find something really unique and beautiful, what would any of you recommend?
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
Tetra are characins, and all species are shoaling fish. This is sometimes called "schooling" but that is technically an incorrect term, though it conveys some of the same needs. Shoaling fish live in groups in the wild, often hundreds and even thousands of the same species, and maintaining these fish in a group in captivity is absolutely essential for a couple of reasons. First, security; "safety in numbers" is clearly in the fish's nature. Second, some species have social interactions among members of the group, while others have a hierarchy that just forms when a few of them are introduced to an aquarium. Some of us have said for years that fish deprived of these necessities will be stressed and unhealthy, and lately two scientific studies have confirmed this. Increased aggression frequently occurs, even among otherwise peaceful species. And the stress further weakens the fish's immune system, leading to various health problems that otherwise would never occur. And a shortened lifespan is common.
So, to the number. Six is usually suggested as the minimum for most species [some do need more due to normal aggression within the group], but this is only a random number and more--when space allows--is always better. But a 15g tank is limited in space. I would not suggest more than two species of tetra, with 6-7 of each, provided they are compatible. This will allow some room for substrate fish which always add some interest to the aquascape.
To explain compatible. This means the fish species prefer very similar water parameters, and environment--meaning the tank layout, decor like wood, rock, plants, and the water flow from the filter. All fish are not created equal in these requirements.:-)
I would suggest first that you identify the species you have. Cardinal Tetra is straightforward; but "golden" might refer to several, and "orange flame" could be the Flame Tetra or the Ember Tetra, and perhaps others. Have a look in our profiles and see if you can find them. The shaded names means you can click on the name to see that profile. Most of the commonly-seen tetra are in our profiles, under the characins section. Info on water, tank size, compatibility, etc is included for each.
Thanks Byron - the orange is definitely the Ember from the looks of it. The golden are http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/p...olden-tetra/(I remember seeing the name at the shop).
Basically I was given some very poor advice when purchasing my new tank which resulted in a dead cardinal, dead betta, and 3 species of tetras that were only in pairs.
They've all been getting along rather well for the past couple weeks. My plan is a few shrimp to clean the bottom, one small type of pleco to keep the rest clean, and then tetras only. What ratio would you suggest seeing how many I have now? I was initially thinking 4/4/4, since I already have 3 different types.
Re the pleco, these contribute a lot to the bioload. Some get very large, 18+ inches. I personally would not put a pleco in a 15g with these other fish. A better substrate-type fish would be a Whiptail Catfish. There are two in our profiles, including the unique red one. In either case, a single fish will work. The shrimp are OK, but recognize that they may get eaten by the Golden and maybe the Cardinal, depending upon size of the shrimp.
No mention was made of your water parameters (from the tap), so a caution on Cardinal, as noted in the profile, this species will not last in hard water. They are very sensitive to water parameters and conditions. Add them last; an established tank is preferable to avoid losing the lot.
My water is doing great - tested yesterday ammonia was at 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5-10ppm. My water however is hanging around 7.6 or so pH. Do I need to lower this somehow?
I should mention my tank is more vertical, it's tall - about 18"x18" wide and then 24" high. So I don't think that's enough room for the Whiptail. I was thinking just a unique type catfish(or any type that doesn't need groups necessarily) that stays SMALL.
I did hear that the fish will eat small shrimp - I was told at the store the large ones would be fine. But again these are the people that told me my betta would be fine and tetras were good in pairs of twos so....not putting much on that advice.
Also, I have substrate and driftwood in now, I'm going to begin adding some live plants to help out with the tank overall.
On lowering pH, thiscan be tricky and almost impossible. It depends upon the hardness. You can read about the relationship here:
The Whiptail is actually ideally suited. While 5-6 inches may seem large, the fact is that this fish is so slender, it contributes very little in the matter of bioload and waste, and is not a swimmer, just pulling itself along over every surface grazing algae and aufwuchs. This fish (a single one) can manage fine in a 10g. I cannot think of another "substrate" fish that better suits a smallish tank compared to this one.
Going to add in some plants later today, I tested the pH out of the tap and it was somewhere around 8.4! So it seems to be dropping a bit in the tank but nowhere near where I wish it would be. I'll see how plants affect this. The fish seem happy and perky, I don't thik it's bothering them at this point.
The levels are all very stable at this point and I'm going to start building up the tetra population slowly - how many would you suggest I add at a time w/out messing up the water? 5 in there now, I was thinking 3-4 max.
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