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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 5 zebra danios and 5 neon tetras in my 30 gallon tank. There is also a relatively large shell (it's a real seashell that spirals inwards). The opening faces towards the ground and rests on the gravel itself.

Yesterday i noticed one of my tetras missing. After looking around a while, i figured he was probably inside the shell hiding. I've noticed sometimes they go in there.

After a few hours, my tetra was still missing. So i picked up the shell. Nothing. I was worried he might be trapped or lost in the spirals of the shell, not able to see any light at the opening! So i rotated the shell such that the opening moved away from the water instead of scooping the water. After one rotation, my fish magically appeared.

Oddly he seemed fine. He didn't swim madly away. He just kinda hung out for a few seconds and then calmly rejoined his friends.

Today this morning, the same thing happened again. I recovered the fish just like before, and he didn't seem stressed at all. But i removed the shell anyway and replaced it with a thermos mug.

So...can fish really get lost in the shell spirals? I doubt he was physically stuck (even tho i've read about that before). Since he didn't appear stressed, it's possible he just wanted to hide/sleep...maybe even mate? I've never seen 2 fish in the shell at once, but who knows.

Any thoughts? Any similar experiences?
 

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Probably varies by fish. Obviously shelldweller cichlids would have no issues with shells as long as they are large enough, but I guess there might be possible issues with most tetras, who do not usually encounter shells in the wild due to how acidic the local water is and may not be used to navigating through such spaces.
 

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I feel like if the fish isn't actually "stuck" it's not stuck. I've had fish wedge themselves into things and die before. Doesn't seem like yours was stuck. That being said, I would have removed the shell too.
 

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If you are concerned about it, but want to keep the shell, you might be able to stuff something in there to prevent the fish from swimming more then a 1/2 turn in or so.

Chunk of foam, filter floss, even some gravel/substrate packed in there would probably work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's not a bad idea! But I've already settled on another one. See, a while ago, I found this log that I cut in half and was prepping to put in my tank (instead of paying $30 for something similar of plastic).

I kept it submersed in water for, like, a week, and it still wouldn't completely sink. Plus there was so much gunk coming off of it by then, even tho i rinsed it a lot before submersing it. I decided not to risk overwhelming my filter and threw the logs away.

Instead, now we're on the lookout for rocks, nice solid rocks. A couple 8-inch diameter rocks should be perfect. I want my fish to have plenty of places to hide, so 2 of those with the plastic plants between them should be great.
 
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