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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, there's a link in my signature to another problem, and provided I can find someone to take the Pleco I inherited, that'll be solved. This question is for after I get rid of him.

I currently have 3 Black Skirt Tetras (one is a rather old 'Fruit'), 3 Serpae Tetras, and 2 Gold Barbs. They all range from 1in to just under 2in (exact sizes in My Tanks). According to various online sources, the first are semi-aggressive, the middle are mildly aggressive, and the last are either passive or highly territorial. (No, seriously, opinions are that divided.)

Most recommend I get at least 5 of each. However, I've noticed fin-nipping problems and the Tetras chasing each other around the tank. (Funny enough, the Gold Barbs get in the way whenever the Serpaes chase each other and none mess with the Barbs. It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen, and I've begun to call them the Police Fish of the tank.) Anyway, some sources tell me that they'll get worse if I enlarge the group; some tell me the opposite. Other sources tell me that Tetras are Tetras are Tetras- aka I don't need to add more. I've got my 5gal to fall back on if I need to, though I'd prefer it to stay a hospital tank.

Also, they seem to have formed their own little group, though the species stay with each other within that group. (Except the Barbs. One stays with the Black Skirts and the other with the Serpaes.) Especially during times of stress, they all swim together.

TL;DR, how should I stock my tank after the Pleco is gone? (Cannot afford any more tanks or filters, just for the record.)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh. According to my calculations here, I will have about 17.25in of fish when they mature. The one Black Skirt is old, though, and its growth may be stunted due to dyeing, so maybe I can knock off a 1/2 inch...
 

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From your pleco thread, I will assume the tank is 25 gallons; correct me if this is inaccurate.

Characins (tetra, pencilfish, hatchetfish), danio, barbs, rasbora [and some other species like corys, angelfish, discus, etc) are all shoaling fish. This means that in their respective habitats they live in quite large groups, often hundreds and even thousands. They have evolved for this, and from species to species there are varying behaviours and interactions. In the aquarium, they must be kept in groups, and it can vary from species to species but most suggest no less than 6 of a species; some require more. In all cases, the more the better, and this obviously will largely depend upon tank space.

Unfortunately, the three species you have all should have more in their group. At this point, I will mention our fish profiles under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. If the name (common or scientific) used in the profile is typed exactly the same in posts, it will shade and you can click it as a link to that profile. Example Serpae Tetra, Golden Barb, Black Widow Tetra. I've used the common names here, and as you can see they can vary. But checking these profiles will give you the minimum tank size for each species and the minimum number. I won't repeat all that, but continue to explain why this is critical.

Shoaling fish have needs for the group. Feeling safer is obviously one, but often the particular species will develop a pecking order and this is crucial to their health. If numbers are too few, or the tank space is too small for the fish (as the fish sees it), normal levels of aggression can be heightened out of stress. And that is what you are seeing. The Serpae and BW are naturally inclined to be nippy, but keeping them in larger groups sometimes reduces this completely, or confines it within the group. But again, space is a factor in this too. Last year the results of the first scientific study into the effects of numbers and space upon species confirmed this; many oif us "knew" this happened, but now we have the scientific proof.

Assuming the 25g, I would remove the Golden Barb as this fish needs 8 and attaining 3 inches means this is not going to work in a 25g tank. Then you could increase the other two to 7 or 8 and hope for the best. But remember that these two species are inherently aggressive, and there is no way to change this. Providing a larger environment and increasing the group will or should keep it at a minimum. Leaving things as they now are will make it worse for the fish, and they will be subjected to increasing stress. Their increased aggression is simply their only way to lash out at what they find frustrating--too few of their own, and too small a space to function as nature programmed them.

Hope this helps.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh, yeah, it's a 25gal with exact specifications: 12x24x15 (depth, width, height).
So even though they more or less school together already anyway, Tetras cannot be mixed and have the mix count as a group? And I'm guessing the Golden Barbs are just way too big for my tank in general?
Sigh. I figured, but I really like them...and oh boy are the former owners not going to be happy with me. (Still have contact, they just can't care for them.) But if that's what's best for the fish, then well.
 

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Oh, yeah, it's a 25gal with exact specifications: 12x24x15 (depth, width, height).
So even though they more or less school together already anyway, Tetras cannot be mixed and have the mix count as a group?
Correct. The social interaction within a species is critical. This does not cross species, at least not with characins in general.

And I'm guessing the Golden Barbs are just way too big for my tank in general?
Yes.

But if that's what's best for the fish, then well.
This is our aim. At least, it is what I always aim for. Advance research can help prevent many issues. We learn as we go, continually.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sigh. Okay. So. The Sepaes currently have it the worst, with 2 having popeye (one unilateral from transport, one bilateral). The Black Skirts chase each other around but don't seem to have any injuries from it. I'm thinking I should start with getting more Serpaes, right? (Though unfortunately, all of this is happening in the far future, as I have to find someone to take the Pleco first.)
Without the Barbs, I should eventually have 4.5in and 6.75in, making a total of 11.25in. (Though again, might be able to knock off 1/2 an inch for Neon, the old Albino 'Fruit' Black Widow Tetra.) I think I'm supposed to subtract 5gal for substrate and deco? So that'd give about 9in to work with. That's:
3xSerpae = 4.5
2xBW = 4.5
6 Serpae, 5 BW
OR:
4xSerpae = 6
1xBW = 2.25
7 Serpae, 4 BW, with 0.75 room extra.
OR:
1xSerpae = 1.5
3x BW = 6.75
4 Serpae, 6 BW, with 0.75 room extra.

I personally think the first combo is best?
 

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Sigh. Okay. So. The Sepaes currently have it the worst, with 2 having popeye (one unilateral from transport, one bilateral). The Black Skirts chase each other around but don't seem to have any injuries from it. I'm thinking I should start with getting more Serpaes, right? (Though unfortunately, all of this is happening in the far future, as I have to find someone to take the Pleco first.)
Without the Barbs, I should eventually have 4.5in and 6.75in, making a total of 11.25in. (Though again, might be able to knock off 1/2 an inch for Neon, the old Albino 'Fruit' Black Widow Tetra.) I think I'm supposed to subtract 5gal for substrate and deco? So that'd give about 9in to work with. That's:
3xSerpae = 4.5
2xBW = 4.5
6 Serpae, 5 BW
OR:
4xSerpae = 6
1xBW = 2.25
7 Serpae, 4 BW, with 0.75 room extra.
OR:
1xSerpae = 1.5
3x BW = 6.75
4 Serpae, 6 BW, with 0.75 room extra.

I personally think the first combo is best?
This is another of those difficult issues on which to advise. There really isn't space to have all these fish in suitable numbers, so one has to make the best of it. But before getting into that, the inch of fish per gallon idea can serve as a guide sometimes, but it can also be very misleading. I gave this up years ago. Fish compatibility is a big factor in how many fish a certain tank can hold successfully, along with the aquascape--live plants, providing the environment the fish do best in, and so forth.

Would you consider going with just one of the tetra, and removing the other? Or removing both and reconsidering new species that are less trouble? I toss this out because one should carefully consider all options and try to think long-term, before buying more fish that could be more trouble.

Another option is staying with what you have (the two tetra species I mean, I definitely suggest removing the barbs). This at least does not add to the problem. I can't speak for the condition of the fish of course.

I do wish all fish stores would train all employees so customers could be properly advised from the start. One of our members worked in a fish store for 20 years, and one that required staff to pass a training course on fish care. This is not the norm, sad to say.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well, I've been talking about it with my partner a lot, and we think we're going to try and start over. One problem is that no one may want to take Neon, and if we started over, we wouldn't want Black Skirts. (In fact, I'd want some peaceful fish and some Cherry Shrimp.) Advice?

Um...Tap water parameters after AquaSafe:
-soft
-7.8
-between 76-80 F (can probably keep it cooler)

Just on a basic 'if I could have anything that sorta fit within those parameters' list, here're my favorites:
Shrimp: Cherry Shrimp (really want), other easy species?
Tetra: Glowlight Tetra, Head and Tail Light Tetra, Costello or January Tetra
Cichlid: Cockatoo Dwarf Cichlid
Barb: Cherry Barb
Badis: Scarlet Badis
Gourami: Eyespot Gourami, Croaking Gourami, Honey Gourami, Chocolate Gourami
Guppy: Fancy Tailed Guppy
Rasbora: Mosquito Rasbora, Harlequin Rasbora, Lambchop Rasbora, Hengels Rasbora, Eyespot Rasbora, Emerald Dwarf Rasbora, Dwarf Rasbora
Danio: Zebra Danio, Celestial Pearl Danio, Glowlight Danio, Pearl Danio

So there are a lot of candidates and my partner has limited me to just 'whatever will be happy in our tank and can handle mistakes (like not testing enough).' It should be noted that we don't have air conditioning, and the power goes out sometimes, but the fish tank usually never drops below 72 F, even in winter, since we have an automatic heater.

Edit: I wanna get a Water Hyacinth for the shrimp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_hyacinth
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oooh. I like the Killifish, too: Killifish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Small, non-aggressive fish such as the harlequin rasbora, neon tetra, cardinal tetra, dwarf corydoras, otocinclus catfish, dwarf gouramis, and some species of killifish can be kept with adult cherry shrimp. However baby shrimp are likely to be eaten by any fish other than the otocinclus & some other herbivorous fish. Most cichlids, including angel fish, will harass and readily eat adults as well. With enough cover and hiding places (live plants such as Java moss work well), one can have a colony of cherry shrimp survive in a tank with larger fish preying on them.
I wonder if I could have caves small enough for only the Cherries to get into, and it wouldn't be too stressful? I don't mind the cycle of life, but I do mind a miserable one.
 

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I understand your fish list in post #8 is just the species you might select from, not all together. Most of these would be suitable with your tank (25g) and water parameters, with some reservations.

Scarlet Badis is a beauty, but very demanding. Live food is almost essential. My group were managing on frozen bloodworms and obviously some live food that occurs in a well established heavily planted tank, but they still dwindled until they were gone. So unless you are willing to be culturing live foods, I would avoid these.

You want to be careful with active fish; first, they don't mix well with more sedate fish--for example, mixing any of the danio species in with any of the rasbora or gourami is not recommended, and second, active fish usually need more space [another reason why the inch of fish per gallon guideline fails]. So with the quieter fish you can have more in the tank, in other words, and in smaller tanks this is important because you can build a more interesting community notwithstanding the smaller space.

Gourami can be problematic on several fronts. The Honey is the easiest, and a trio in your 25g would be fine, with the right sedate shoaling fish like some of a couple of the rasbora species. The other three named species of gourami would be fine size-wise, but with these you are getting into difficult fish. I've kept all of these, and my chocolates spawned often. But they are not easy fish, and I lost the whole bunch within a few days to a skin protozoan.

Dwarf cichlids will fit the tank, but here we encounter the "cichlid" issue. This can work, but often it doesn't. If you are looking for a tanks with enough fish to provide interest, I would leave these out.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I understand your fish list in post #8 is just the species you might select from, not all together.
Oh, definitely! I would never put so many (and such incompatibles) together!
But that really narrows down my list! Thanks!

New list:
Tetra: Glowlight Tetra, Costello or January Tetra
Gourami: Honey Gourami
Rasbora: Mosquito Rasbora, Harlequin Rasbora

I took out the ones you mentioned plus the Cherry Barb, since they're shy but active; Head and Tail Light Tetra,
Guppy, Dwarf Rasbora, and Eyespot Rasbora since they'd conflict with the Honey on upper aquarium space; Lambchop Rasbora, Hengels Rasbora, and Emerald Dwarf Rasbora, since they eat their eggs. You'll notice I also removed the Cherries; we're thinking of giving them their own tank and breeding them to sell.

My favorite on this list are the Honey Gourami and Rasbora. Do you think I could safely have these three together? I'd probably only want males (especially the Honey), provided they could be sexed. Also, would they work with a Water Hyacinth for their floating plant, and what plants in general should I have?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Oh, just noticed that the Harlequin Rasbora are bigger than I thought. So it'd probably be best to choose between the two, right? Well, I really like the Mosquito Rasbora. 3 male Honey, 9+ Mosquito seem good to you?
 

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Comments on the last two posts.

Re the egg eating, all fish well eat eggs if they find them, and when another fish in the tank is spawning, they all know it. The confines of any aquarium unless it is very heavily planted and stocked low with fish make it almost impossible to raise fry, though sometimes one or two will slip through.

On the two rasbora, the Mosquito is very tiny, and I would be concerned for this fish with any gourami. One of the three very similar Trigonostigma species would probably be better. I personally like the Copper or Hengels Rasbora, and then the Lambchop Rasbora. These two are a tad smaller, and the copper marking on the Hengels is quite striking in a tank with floating plants to partially dim the light.

I would not have all male gourami. Even though the Honey is perhaps the most peaceful, they are still gourami, and males are territorial. Having a mix of male/female will create a more natural setting and likely keep aggression minimal.

For plants, if you want to be authentic with respect to SE Asian fish the crypts are good; if authentic doesn't bother you, pygmy chain sword or chain sword do well. Water Sprite for floating is ideal.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Okay. Big changes to our plans. (Sorry for swinging you back and forth...) My partner and I have decided to use the 25gal for our Cherry raising, and the 5gal maybe for 2-3 male Guppy. We'll have Guppy Grass and maybe a bit of Java Moss or Water Hyacinth in both tanks. (But at least to start out with, just Guppy Grass.)
This seem okay to you?
 

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Okay. Big changes to our plans. (Sorry for swinging you back and forth...) My partner and I have decided to use the 25gal for our Cherry raising, and the 5gal maybe for 2-3 male Guppy. We'll have Guppy Grass and maybe a bit of Java Moss or Water Hyacinth in both tanks. (But at least to start out with, just Guppy Grass.)
This seem okay to you?
Fine. I personally would want the larger tank for fish, just to have more and create a more interesting community. I've no experience raising cherry shrimp, so I've no idea if they need the larger space or not, but given the confines fish-wise of a 5g that would seem the better tank for shrimp. ??
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Cherries are prolific breeders, and they need a lot of algae to feed on and a lot of floor space. The minimum tank suggestion is 10gal, unless your 5gal is all floor (which ours is not). It also needs to be placed in a high-sunlight area, and will preferably be transparent so that you can monitor the status of the shrimp. It also needs to be well covered to prevent escapes, though those really only happen if the shrimp are unhappy with their space.

We could technically get a tub, but our 25gal is best. (Also, we only have 22inx14in of counter space, which the 5gal is sitting on, so it's not really enough floor space with all the outside pump stuff, etc.)

Incidentally, should I create a Cherry profile? And are there any copyright rules for copy-pasta/rewording articles?
 

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Cherries are prolific breeders, and they need a lot of algae to feed on and a lot of floor space. The minimum tank suggestion is 10gal, unless your 5gal is all floor (which ours is not). It also needs to be placed in a high-sunlight area, and will preferably be transparent so that you can monitor the status of the shrimp. It also needs to be well covered to prevent escapes, though those really only happen if the shrimp are unhappy with their space.

We could technically get a tub, but our 25gal is best. (Also, we only have 22inx14in of counter space, which the 5gal is sitting on, so it's not really enough floor space with all the outside pump stuff, etc.)

Incidentally, should I create a Cherry profile? And are there any copyright rules for copy-pasta/rewording articles?
You can write a profile. Using data from other sources is fine as data, but put it in your own words so we don't run into copyright or plagarism issues.;-) I have written most of the freshwater profiles and used several reliable sources for the data. Like doing research to write a term paper.
 
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