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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I returned the tiger barbs because they were starving out the other fish for food and I witnessed them harassing my cory cats.

Replaced them with a school of 15 Serpae Tetra - They had just been shipped, looked a little rough (nipped fins). There were no dead fish in the show tank and they otherwise had clear eyes and color.

Over the last 12 days I've lost 4 - The dead fish don't have any outward visible issues, They are for the most part clean with clear eyes, etc.
The remaining fish have clear skin, fins have grown back, eating well, and colored up. I've saved them in a ziplock to bring back as proof.

I called the store and they told me it's not uncommon to lose fish when they are a new shipment.

I should have waited a week and came back to get them but I didn't (Lesson learned).

The rest of my fish are doing well, none have died or show any symptoms. I haven't lost any of my primary fish in a looong time.

I do 50% water changes weekly and the temp is 76 degrees FWIW, I add Seachem Paraguard when I add any fish to the tank.

  1. Should I just take them back or wait and see?
  2. Do you think there may be an issue with the fish or they were stressed from the trip?

It's hard to get a shot of them but here goes:
 

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Sometimes even the toughest fish can't survive being shipped for possibly weeks, dumped in a tank with no cover and bright lights, then rounded up again and put into another tank. That's most likely the reason why. They're serpaes; once they've settled in, you'll have them for a long time to come. I'd get more, though, because serpaes can be worse than tiger barbs on occasion. Larger numbers usually helps.
 

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Serape Tetras can be just as bad as Tiger Barbs for harassing the other fish. I would return them.

If you still want that sort of taller schooling fish then look into some of the Phantom Tetras, or Bleeding Hearts. A lot less nipping than Serpae Tetras. Research the fish, first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Serape Tetras can be just as bad as Tiger Barbs for harassing the other fish. I would return them.

If you still want that sort of taller schooling fish then look into some of the Phantom Tetras, or Bleeding Hearts. A lot less nipping than Serpae Tetras. Research the fish, first.
I did research these fish - I was told they are nice as a schooling fish and they are easy on the other fish. Thus far they haven't pecked or nipped at any of the other fish - they do chase each other but not like the tiger barbs.

I am/was looking for a fish that schools vs shoals and is colorful/interesting - the taller height isn't important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sometimes even the toughest fish can't survive being shipped for possibly weeks, dumped in a tank with no cover and bright lights, then rounded up again and put into another tank. That's most likely the reason why. They're serpaes; once they've settled in, you'll have them for a long time to come. I'd get more, though, because serpaes can be worse than tiger barbs on occasion. Larger numbers usually helps.
I have 11 remaining, enough?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hopefully they do behave, as it would suck big time if those serpae's attack your nicer and much more expensive coral red / red arc pencils.
From what I've read and been told, the serpae are not agressive. have you had a bad experience?

Do you have answers for the questions I asked in the beginning of the thread? :)

EDIT: I'm not married to the fish, but this is the first I've read of them being agressive in a school. The LFS recommended them for that reason. The thread is focused on health - has anyone had a similar experience with the die off? Do you have a link to their agressive tendencies? Returning them is a bit of work so I want to make sure my instinct that this is not normal is right.
 

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Serpae have a bad wrap around here huh? Funny because I never see mine harassing my other fish. they always keep it to themselves. I say keep them, they're cool little fish and I like mine a lot.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
 

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From what I've read and been told, the serpae are not agressive. have you had a bad experience?

Do you have answers for the questions I asked in the beginning of the thread? :)

EDIT: I'm not married to the fish, but this is the first I've read of them being agressive in a school. The LFS recommended them for that reason. The thread is focused on health - has anyone had a similar experience with the die off? Do you have a link to their agressive tendencies? Returning them is a bit of work so I want to make sure my instinct that this is not normal is right.
Yes, like Diana and LB79, I've seen these nipping at other fish. Bought them for a Biology class project, not knowing they'd terrorize all the other peaceful fish in our tank.

Who knows - you might be lucky and your serpaes only nip at themselves? I looked at your journal, and I didn't see any mentions of tank cover, or any of your mortenthaleri's jumping. If you haven't had a single one jump off an open tank in several months, then your fish are definitely not following the norm.

As for why you'd suddenly lose 4? Same answer as your LFS and LB79. It is common to lose fish after shipping.

You should keep a close watch on your tank. Hopefully the serpae's you lost all died due to shipping and moving stress, and not due to some disease that they have brought with them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, like Diana and LB79, I've seen these nipping at other fish. Bought them for a Biology class project, not knowing they'd terrorize all the other peaceful fish in our tank.

Who knows - you might be lucky and your serpaes only nip at themselves? I looked at your journal, and I didn't see any mentions of tank cover, or any of your mortenthaleri's jumping. If you haven't had a single one jump off an open tank in several months, then your fish are definitely not following the norm.

As for why you'd suddenly lose 4? Same answer as your LFS and LB79. It is common to lose fish after shipping.

You should keep a close watch on your tank. Hopefully the serpae's you lost all died due to shipping and moving stress, and not due to some disease that they have brought with them.
As for the mortenthaleri's jumping - no cover, none have jumped. I had a few jump when I had angels last year - I gave the angels away and since then none have jumped - I've read that plants at the surface make them feel safe. The pencils are pretty bold when it comes to food and other fish - they haven't been timid even when I have my hand in the tank...

FWIW, the barbs started out at 1" and chased each other and ate all the food. At about 2.5" is when I saw them harass a cory, was their last day in my tank - I had them for a few months. The serpae have been almost passive by comparison. They chase one another a bit more than my cardinals do. Maybe I got a passive bunch.

Thank you for the information - I will replace them with either more cardinals or harlequins - If the mortenthaleri were cheaper I'd consider getting 10 more - two of the little buggers cost as much as the 15 serpae!
 

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I'll add to this thread on behalf that mine were pests too. I had a group of 6 that nipped at themselves and other fish also.
 

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No cover and not a single mortenthaleri has jumped in months? I think your tank is one of the reasons the "YMMV" term has been made.

Mortenthaleri's, along with the other nannostomus fish are known to be notorious jumpers. Sure, plants at the surface help reduce the chances, but they will still jump - usually when something surprise them, sometimes just random jumping at night.

Like I said earlier, if you haven't had a single red arc / coral red jump off your open top tank, then your fish is definitely not following the norm. I'd say keep a close eye on the serpae's. Who knows, maybe you will be one of the lucky folks to have peaceful serpae's? Or maybe your tank is big enough so to dissipate any aggression?


.....and I hear you about mortenthaleri prices. It hurts even more to see one on the floor. Don't ask me how I know :icon_redf

As for the mortenthaleri's jumping - no cover, none have jumped. I had a few jump when I had angels last year - I gave the angels away and since then none have jumped - I've read that plants at the surface make them feel safe. The pencils are pretty bold when it comes to food and other fish - they haven't been timid even when I have my hand in the tank...

FWIW, the barbs started out at 1" and chased each other and ate all the food. At about 2.5" is when I saw them harass a cory, was their last day in my tank - I had them for a few months. The serpae have been almost passive by comparison. They chase one another a bit more than my cardinals do. Maybe I got a passive bunch.

Thank you for the information - I will replace them with either more cardinals or harlequins - If the mortenthaleri were cheaper I'd consider getting 10 more - two of the little buggers cost as much as the 15 serpae!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No cover and not a single mortenthaleri has jumped in months? I think your tank is one of the reasons the "YMMV" term has been made.

Mortenthaleri's, along with the other nannostomus fish are known to be notorious jumpers. Sure, plants at the surface help reduce the chances, but they will still jump - usually when something surprise them, sometimes just random jumping at night.

Like I said earlier, if you haven't had a single red arc / coral red jump off your open top tank, then your fish is definitely not following the norm. I'd say keep a close eye on the serpae's. Who knows, maybe you will be one of the lucky folks to have peaceful serpae's? Or maybe your tank is big enough so to dissipate any aggression?


.....and I hear you about mortenthaleri prices. It hurts even more to see one on the floor. Don't ask me how I know :icon_redf
Never heard "YMMV", I had to look that up on Urban Dictionary :redface: I'm glad it appears to be the case for me as mortenthaleri or I would give up keeping them. Sorry you've lost them :( The angels would scare one out of the tank every couple of days - they never bothered the cardinals but I lost quite a few mortenthaleri till I could find a good home for the Angels.

The serpae and cardinals were tightly schooling from side to side in the tank - maybe they are juvies and haven't gotten agressive yet but the lights went out 40 minutes ago and they are both in a single tight school between the two driftwood.

Either way I'll take them back and just stick with fish I know - I had never thought of Serpae tetra till the LFS recommended them - They are very pretty fish when they color up.
 

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Here's my somewhat limited experience with Serpae tetras. I only have 3 because the LFS said they would school with my 6 Black Skirt Tetra's so didn't need to have more of them. They don't school with them though .. I guess they figured a Tetra is a Tetra and they're all the same, so all varieties will school with each other. Wrong!

The Serpae's seem to pick out an area of the tank close to the bottom and will sometimes chase other Serpae's that come into their territory .. sometimes they don't though & will sort of school. They don't chase the Black Skirts at all. My Black Skirts will sometimes chase each other but not chase the Serpae. Now I say chase .. I wouldn't call it fin nipping. And I don't see any signs of fin nipping. It's more of a quick dart toward the other fish without even getting close enough to make contact.

I was thinking about getting more Serpae's but wondering if more would make them more aggressive because they'd feel safer in a bigger group. Right now they seem to like their own little spots. Also, didn't think they were a bottom fish but that's where they stay. Maybe because I don't have enough to make them feel safe so they keep to themselves. After reading this thread, not sure whether to add more or not. Everything seems to be working out but would like the see the Serpae's more .. kind of hard to see them at the bottom through all the plants. LOL
 

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When I had them in my tank, and some in a friends tank, larger sized school, 6 in hers and 12 in mine, both of the schools got nicked named the devil fish. I have no clue why, but they where always very aggressive fish in our tanks. It was not until my friend switched to semi aggressive, angels, tiger barbs, did the serpaes calm down and live a nice peaceful life with the other fish.
 

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Needless to say, Tiger barbs are not community fish for the types of fish you have (and for that fact most of us do in planted tanks).

Many community fish behave in numbers and misbehave in very small numbers (2 or less especially).

The other factor is the toughness of they're neighbors. Serpae's have enough of a rep to warrant keeping a vigilant eye on your other fish. From my experience, they're more appropriate for semi-aggressive species tanks.

Play it by ear.
 

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One of the hardiest and easiest fish to take care of in my tank. They are going on 4 years now. Will chase each other but not other fish. And you can see by my signature the community tank I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the all the feedback - I'll ask people's experience on PT before making the purchase. The LFS said these guys are peaceful.

FWIW, something must be wrong, I just found another one dead 5/15... Going to round them up and take them back for a refund. I've bought cardinals and had them shipped overnight and not lost a single one, this is weird.
 
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