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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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tetra not getting along, ideas

So in my 55g I finally got the courage to get some new fish. I got 12 .5 inch neon tetras. I liked to blue because it counters the green and the red in my plants.

However, the second I put them in there my head and tail lights went after them. The head and tails are about 1.5 inches. I am worried that this is gonna cause undo stress for the neons and lead to them dying. Or that they won't come up to eat in the evening and starve.


so my questions are:

Is the aggression normal?
What would help?
How to make sure the new fish are eating since the had and tails are more brave, and are pigs?
How to keep track of the number of neons? I want to make sure their school stays above ten, but with my spotted Raphael, if they die I probably wont find them.

Side note. The tetras are full of color while hiding in the plants, but tend to fade when out in the open. Is that normal?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 01:57 PM
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How many head and tail lights do you have?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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How many head and tail lights do you have?
Currently 3, no local Fish Store has been able to get more and it is too cold to order them from the internet. But as soon as the local places have them I am getting 3 more

Last edited by Nightshade259; 12-24-2015 at 02:19 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 03:35 PM
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Here's a few thoughts on your situation based on my experience when adding new fish. It's always kind of a "hold your breath and see what happens" thing. You never can really predict how the other fish will react.

You have a couple of positives right away. It sound as if your tank has some hiding spots for the new fish. You have a fairly large tank if not stocked too heavily. You are adding a pretty good number of Neons, that's better than if you had 12 fish picking on 3 new ones.

To answer some of your questions:
It's not unusual for new fish to be harassed by fish already in the tank. Watch what's going on. There is a difference between letting the new fish know they're the new kids on the block and outright attack to cause harm. The existing fish probably have their own territories staked out and want to let the new ones know it.

It sounds like you have some cover for the new fish. Sometimes if you rearrange things a bit in the tank it breaks down existing territories and everybody gets to be a little confused for a while. If the cover is sparse you can try adding more. I've seen new fish lay low for several days or more before getting comfortable enough to venture out.

If the fish seem to just be getting harassed and are in no real danger be patient. They may just not feed much for a while until things sort themselves out. There is almost always a pecking order at feeding time, some fish are very aggressive and others will learn to hang out on the fringe to get what they need. Try feeding enough so that the aggressive feeders can't quite get all of it and the other fish can go for the leftovers. The fish will see the opportunity and take advantage of it. That's not to say overfeed. Make sure it all gets used.

It may be difficult to keep track of the new fish if they are in cover and scattered but you should be able to get a count. Maybe not all of them every time you try but be persistent.

I think your tank will sort itself out over time but it is possible you will have to separate the fish. If its one or two existing fish causing the problem maybe you will want to remove them. That's a decision you'll have to make.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 05:57 PM
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Keeping nippy fish in larger groups often keeps them from picking at other fish. They're too busy picking on each other to have time for their other tank mates.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 06:07 PM
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I agree that adding more head and tail lights will probably curb their aggression. A lot of people will ship fish with heat packs during cooler weather. Or you may be able to find a store within a reasonable distance that is willing to order them for you.

I'm fairly experienced with fish, but new to planted tanks.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 06:28 PM
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rearranging items can help. but not to practical if you have a aquascaped tank.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-24-2015, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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I agree that adding more head and tail lights will probably curb their aggression. A lot of people will ship fish with heat packs during cooler weather. Or you may be able to find a store within a reasonable distance that is willing to order them for you.
Yeah. I have been looking for over 2 months. I am not sure if below zero is still practical? I just don't want to unintentionally kill them.

Maybe another store is a decent idea, since the two that are near my location have been trying (they are a popular choice, but their supplier has not had them recently) . I am going to the the next closest town with a pet store, which is four- 7 (depending on weather and stops) hours away. Maybe I could get some there? Would they survive a 5-6 hour drive? If so what would I need to do to help them make a long trip?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-25-2015, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade259 View Post
so my questions are:

Is the aggression normal?
What would help?
How to make sure the new fish are eating since the had and tails are more brave, and are pigs?
How to keep track of the number of neons? I want to make sure their school stays above ten, but with my spotted Raphael, if they die I probably wont find them.

Side note. The tetras are full of color while hiding in the plants, but tend to fade when out in the open. Is that normal?
I haven't kept head and tail light tetras before so I don't know for sure if they are normally peaceful or not. But a quick search and it seems they are peaceful (with possible fin nipping to long finned fish), so no, the aggression toward the neons is not normal.

I didn't see anything mentioned about them being territorial, so they still wouldn't harass other fish even if they have been there a long time and just now see new fish introduced. I have introduced tons of new fish to tanks with other fish that have been there for a lot longer and no harassing just because they are new (again, they aren't territorial fish though).

Unusual aggression is due to stress factors, causing them to be irritable or just unnormally mean. There are many possible stress factors, such as improper water parameters/environment, issues with tank mates, disease, even excess lighting, or lack of hiding areas, etc... But right away, what stands out is the small group of head and tail light tetras. Only 3 is too small of a group and causes stress among those fish which can abnormal aggression. At least 6 is recommended for any schooling/shoaling social fish. So what would help is getting more h&tl tetras. I would recommend for you to get at least 8 in total.

Your concern about the h&tl tetras harassing the neons to death is very valid. The neons being new and already stressed, they indeed can die from the additional stress the other tetras are putting on them. Depends on the severity of the harassment though.

Lot of ways to increase the likeliness of survival, but that's a whole list of things and I'm too tired to type it all out right now. Pretty much just do anything you can think of to minimize stress if you want to the best chances at success. Leaving the light off is one thing.

It's not uncommon for new fish to not eat for a day or two when first introduced until they calm down/settle into their new surroundings, currently they are just too stressed. But if they don't eat for much longer than that initial period, I would worry. As mentioned, stressed fish tend to not eat, but I would address those stressors, whether that is the other tetras harassing them or not.

Seachem GarlicGuard can be added to fish food to make it more attractive to fish, plus it has health benefits as well. Lure the h&tl tetras away from the neons with food while also spot feeding the neons so they have more of a chance to eat.

You did good with an appropriate sized neon group of 12 though, as they feel less stressed/more safe with a larger size group.

Pretty much the only way to keep track of the neons is to count them (they will probably be in a close group, so it should be easy, especially seeing their iridescent blue stripe).

The fading when out in the open isn't really normal. Once they've been exposed to the light for a little while, their colors are "developed"/present. Maybe it's just a optical illusion/effect you are seeing when they are against different "backdrops" (green/red plants vs out in the open)? Or it's just the way/angle the light is hitting them?

Regarding the other LFS, I would call first just to make sure they have them as that is a long drive. Fish can survive a 6 hour drive (they fly for longer, even without pure o2). Would help if you told the LFS how long of a drive so they can make sure they put more oxygen in the bag -then again, water volume affects pollution dilution potential :P. I would put the bagged fish in a insulated cooler/styrofoam box to keep water temp more stable -especially from heating up which would further reduce o2 in the water- and them being in the dark reduces stress. Lot of other things you can do to minimize stress, just think about it.

Man, I always type so much. Well...I'm off to get some rest :P
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