Serpae Tetras versus Dwarf Gourami
I have a 30 gallon tank (well planted) with three silver hatchets, a school of 8 sherpae tetras........and I brought home a flame dwarf gouarami last night (am expecting to get at least two more DG). My problem: Those sherpae tetras are harassing the poor dwarf gourami, nipping his fins and actually laying in wait for him. All I want is peace in my tank. When I got up this morning, things seemed a bit better, but I fear the sherpae tetras will need to be taken back.....I have only had them for two weeks, so no bond has developed.
The comment and questions are: Why are these little fin nipping tetras sold as community fish (is it just the feng shui of my tank?) and what tetras or other middle swimming school of fish should I get that are colorful and peaceful? Thank you for any guidance.
If you read our profile of the Serpae Tetra [click the shaded name] you will find that this can be a nasty fish. They are inherently aggressive, and prone to nip fins. Keeping them in a large group (minimum 8, but more is better) sometimes diminishes their nipping to other fish and confines it within the group. But also, they should never be placed in a tank with sedate fish--and all gourami are sedate. The gourami's long fins are too much of a temptation, and the Gourami is not prone to fast escapes so it will be highly stressed.
I do not consider Serpae community fish. I know, sometimes they work, or do for a while; but you cannot change their inherent nature and at some point it is more than likely to reveal itself. The Tiger Barb is similar. And as you say, these fish are commonly available and stores sell them un-knowingly. It pays to research any fish before you get it. Our fish profiles are a good start.
In your 30g, I would suggest you have two options: only Serpae Tetra (get more of them), with some substrate fish [the hatchets may or may not be attacked, I would remove them for their own sake]. Or return the Serpae and build a community of compatible fish.
The Serpae have gone back and have been replaced with red eye balloon tetras. Attractive, but much calmer. There is peace once again in the tank. Thank you for the advice....there is a lot of misinformation on the internet/pet stores and a significant amount of variability between fish and the environment of the aquarium. I remember learning in my dive class not to ever touch anything that looks pretty because it is usually dangerous. Thank you for the reply. ---Julie
I had the same problem with these fish and my honey sunset gouramis. I also returned them and traded them for black phantom tetra. These guys are much calmer and there is no longer any fin nipping going on. Now looking into adding more gouramis I am just having trouble finding females, I already have two males. I want to add some female dwarf gouramis. They are such attractive looking fish.
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