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FAQs on Characoids/Tetras & Relatives

Related Articles: Characoids/Tetras & Relatives,

Related FAQs:  Characoid Identification, Characoid Behavior, Characoid Compatibility, Characoid Selection, Characoid Systems, Characoid Feeding, Characoid Disease, Characoid Reproduction,


Rescued X-Ray Pristella Tetra    9/2/11
Hi Crew!
I have written to you all before and received awesome advice, so I am writing again to get advice on a recent rescue. I rescued a Pristella Tetra that is about a year old.
<An outstandingly good aquarium fish, and by far my favourite South American tetra.>
It was kept in absolutely deplorable conditions, i.e. the owner did not condition the water, overfed, etc and when I received the fish it was in vividly green water (I really don't know how he survived)!
<This species is astonishingly tough, and that's one reason it's the tetra species I recommend more than any other.>
So now I have the little guy in clean fresh water with the normal parameters (no ammonia, nitrites/nitrates, etc. I need to retest the water this week so I don't have the numbers yet). My water is on the hard side,
so I'm trying to research and find out what water conditions work best for the tetra.
<Not at all fussy. This tetra -- unusually for a tetra -- can do well in hard water. In the wild it inhabits a variety of conditions, from soft, acidic streams through to slightly brackish water! It will adapt to 20
degrees dH, pH 8 without any problems at all.>
Can he be kept with my school of Zebra Danios?
I have a 20 gallon tank with 6 Zebras, 6 Corys, and 3 ghost shrimp, and 1 platy. I'm assuming he is a schooling fish,
so can I safely add more of his kind to my tank, or will that overload it?
<I'd risk it, and add 4-5 more Pristella tetras. All these species will thrive best in slightly cool conditions for tropicals, around the 22-24 C/72-75 F mark.>
I want to make sure he has a good home now and kept happy and healthy!
Thank you!
<You are most welcome.>
P.S. - On a completely different note, the last time I wrote, Neale suggested the platy. I just have to say I love the little guy, he is a joy to have in my tank! Thank you for your help!!
<Platies are nice fish; males can be hard on females, but a singleton, or a group of females, rarely cause problems. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Rescued X-Ray Pristella Tetra   9/3/11

Thank you Neale! I will go get more Pristellas in the next few days. Is there a male/female ratio I need to follow? How can I tell the difference between them? I'm glad to hear they can be with the Danios.
<Glad to help. You can't really sex the Pristella tetras, though females will likely be plumper once sexually mature. So I'd just get as many as you can, and hope for the best. They aren't aggressive. Cheers, Neale.>

Nasty Neons Hey! I just wanted to say that I have learned a TON of information from your site. I have looked throughout your search for an answer to what I'm observing, but haven't found one yet. So here is my question. I have a ten gallon tank up and running that is around two and a half months old. It is my first tank and after setting it up and having some fish die, I learned about cycling. So after a few dead fish and a ton of money spent on testing kits, I think everything is going okay. There are 5 guppies (2 m. 3 f.) and 4 Neons. I tested the water today and these are the stats: ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: around 20 (the test is a colored water thing that is sometimes hard to get exact numbers from) Temp: 79 (it's getting hot in California!) Ph: 8 (we have hard tap water) Regarding the Neons, I have one that is noticeably smaller than the other three, but he is really aggressive. He (I'm guessing) doesn't school, but isn't hanging at the bottom or hiding. He hangs out right in the middle of the tank and chases the other Neons away. I'm wondering if this is something I should be worried about. I know that Neons do better in larger numbers (6+?) but I don't want to add more fish and throw this little tanks' levels out of whack. Could I add two more Neons and be okay? Thanks for any help you guys can provide! You all do the aquatic hobby world a great service! -Shannon <Sure. As long as you watch the nitrate and adjust your water change schedule to keep it below 20ppm you'll be fine adding three or four more Neons. It's also a good move to control the aggressive one. If you're goal is breeding the guppies you will need a fry tank. Neons are small, but they can take newborn guppies. And any that make it would start to overstock your tank. Don>

A Betta to the Mix? Hey crew. Do you think a male Betta could peacefully live with my 9 neon tetras and my 3 platys in my 10 gallon freshwater planted tank? Thanks! <Nope, sorry but two problems here. The dozen fish you have now are about the limit of a 10 gallon. And the Betta will turn a small Neon into lunch. A big (?) Neon will just get harassed. Maybe to death. Don> 

New tank, fat Neons Hi there, <Good morning!> Im 13 and I love fish. I saved all my money and got a 30litre tank. I have done everything right washed the gravel and planted plants and o on. I left it running for a week and have done regular pH level tests. 2 weeks ago I got my first 4 fish, 1 peppered Cory and 3 neon tetra. All is well, until today when I noticed that the largest and 2nd largest of my neons have very large stomachs!! I am not quite sure what it is , I am thinking pregnant because those 2 seem to spend a lot of time together but I began to wonder if maybe it wasn't so in a panic I searched and this sight looked really useful so here I am!! Do you think you could help me, will it spread to my new ???s they are half orange and half deep blue, small, smaller than the Neons!! <Mmm, I suspect your "fat" Neons have just eaten a good deal more dried food than they should have... and will thin down (or have done so already) on their own. Do look into using other types of foods (frozen/defrosted, fresh) to keep them in good color and health. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Tetras I have a question regarding my neon tetras. I have a 25 gallon tank with a bio wheel and Eclipse filter. The ph is constant at 7, the temperature is constant at 80 and I do regular water changes (every 3-4 weeks as advised by our Aquarium store) and I treat the water with a Sera product called Aquatan before I add new water. I do not know the ammonia and nitrite amounts as I do not have a test kit for these yet.  Our tank has been set up for 18 months and we have had no problems. We have 5 neon tetras, 5 lemon tetras, 2 Corydoras, 3 Otos, and 3 blue German rams that replaced 3 swordfish (the children were upset about the whole eating of the young aspect). Today I notices a problem with our Neons. They all seem to have ragged fins from a mild to severe degree, most have some sort of dark greenish/blackish patches on their sides, and one in particular is emaciated and a very dull colour. This one also seems to have pop eye (one other looks like he is developing it ) and at certain angles I can see a few white things attached to his eyes and head (only this one seems to have the white effect).  Is this neon tetra disease? What else could it be? Will it affect the other fish? How should I treat it? The other fish seem fine although one or two of the lemon tetras seem to have a couple of slight ragged/split spots on their fins that I had put down to age or nipping by the male swordfish we had.  Thank you for your time in answering this question as my daughter is very upset and I want to make sure I treat the tank expediently and appropriately. Lisa < Forget testing for ammonia and nitrites and get a nitrate test kit. Changing the water every three to four weeks may not be enough and may need to changed more often. I would recommend a 30% water change while vacuuming the gravel and then clean the filter. Now that the tank is clean you should see some improvement. The tail/fin rot may need to be treated if it gets worse with Nitrofurazone. The Popeye is an internal bacterial infection that needs to be treated with Metronidazole. After treating your bacteria that breaks down the fish waste may be gone so I would add some Bio-Spira to recycle the tank.-Chuck>

Sick Tetras II Thanks for your quick reply. I wanted to follow up and let you know some more information that I got today. I took the neon tetras on a little trip back to the Aquarium shop (Aquariums West in Vancouver) and the staff were baffled by the greeny black patches. They agreed they looked sick but had seen nothing like it and said it was not tail rot.  They are going to keep them in isolation for a few days and have a couple of other fish experts take a look. It likely will not help the fish but I want to know if it will spread to the other fish and they are very curious. I had our water tested and the nitrates and ammonia were both zero so I don't think the water is a problem (I do change the filter every time I do a water change). I will let you know if they come up with a interesting diagnoses. Thanks again for your answer and your informative website, Lisa < Diagnoses is always difficult when you cannot see the animal. Hope they are able to help. -Chuck> 

Tetra Too fat Hi, I have tried to find some info on the net regarding this but none of what I have found matches up. I have 6 x-ray tetras in a large community tank. They have been very happy for the last 3-4 months, only now one of them has got very fat all of a sudden and seems to me breathing a lot more rapidly than the others. It also is not really interested in food and just hangs around the bottom on her own. Is it likely to be pregnant or does it seem more like an internal parasite? If it is an internal parasite is it likely the other fish will get it too? I have had no more additions to the tank for almost a month so I don't know how it would have caught a parasite. It has been like this for a few days that I have noticed. Hope you can help! Thanks Clare < You tetra sounds like it has an internal bacterial infection called bloat or dropsy. It is usually caused by stress. Do a 30% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Then treat with Metronidazole.-chuck>

Leporinus fasciatus and (yummy) plants My problem is maintaining plants in my aquarium. Research has lead me to believe it is my Leporinus fasciatus. My aquarium is a 44 gal, 36" bowfront with undergravel filter and a penguin BioWheel 170. Other livestock are a rainbow shark, 3 glass catfish, 3 Hatchetfish, 3 ghost shrimp, and a Pleco. No fish additions for about 3-4 years, no fish deaths in about 3 years-all these are 4-6 years in my care. The Leporinus is maybe now 7 inches- initially harassed by the rainbow shark until it outgrew it-now usually the shark gives in (maybe 5 inches).  Tank is 8 years old, Leporinus was moved in about 4 years ago when it was getting big for a smaller tank it was in. Single 36" fluorescent. I did okay with plants (avoiding high light requiring plants) until then. Since then I cannot maintain decent plantings (I also suspect he may have took out my snails). Java Fern has done very well and now has patches throughout the tank, Cryptocoryne wendtii has survived for 2 years but is a little chewed on. Nothing else have I been able to maintain. I admit I have quit changing the bulb in the last 2 years as nothing does well anyway, but prior I changed the bulb every six months with aquarium full spectrum fluorescents. <Does need to be changed about this often> I cannot find anywhere on your site compatibility listings, and would like more options in what I can grow, and am tired of spending money on plants that don't survive. Are there ones you can suggest that would survive or do I need to consider finding another home for him. I really ultimately would like a well planted tank. Thanks for any suggestions. SMS <It may be that your minnow shark and Pleco are contributing to your lack of success here as well... as the Pencilfish and lack of photosynthetic active radiation... Other tough plants like the Crypts, Anubias... or very fast growing ones like Vallisneria americana, Crinum species might do... You really need to add more light and change the lamps for same as well though. Perhaps another system w/o plant eaters...? Bob Fenner> 

Surface-dwelling Swordtails and Sexing Tetras  Hello. I first want to thank you for the previous information. It was very helpful. I still have the swordtail that looks pregnant. Lately (like the last 24-36 hours) she has been staying near the surface. Does this mean something? <Livebearers have been known to hang out near the surface when they are about to drop young. Keep an eye out.> She eats and has regular bowel movements, but if she is starting to develop a disease or something, I want to catch it soon. What do you suggest I do? <Well, if she looks and acts healthy in all respects other than this abnormal behavior, I really cannot pinpoint what (if anything) is wrong with her, as hanging near the surface is a symptom for many things. I assume it may be due to her pregnancy that you mentioned, but it could be a host of other causes. Low oxygen, being bullied, disease, stress, just to name a few. I would recommend your watching her closely, and taking action if you notice anything else out of the ordinary.> All the other fish in the tank swim around. The water is fine. <When you say that the water is "fine," it is about as useless to me for determining if your water is of concern. The readings you get from your test kits are magical in that respect. Something could be wrong and you may not even know about it, and it could be hidden within the readings. Don't be afraid to send them along if you think something is wrong.> Oh, and another thing, I have a couple of tetras. How can you tell what sex they are and when they are pregnant? <Depends on the tetra :-) > I know they cannot be as easy to sex as swordtails; is there something that an amateur, like me, can see that will let me know if the fish is male or female? Thank you so very much! <Again, depends on the species. Some species are sex-able, but most are not. Check the following page for tetra species identification. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/CharaciformFishes.htm  Hope this helps, Mike G> 

Tetra Question... Hello, <Hi there> I have a ten gallon aquarium and recently stocked it with all new fish. I traded in two goldfish that were outgrowing the tank for several small freshwater fish. The following are what I stocked it with: 1 - Black Molly 1 - Mickey Mouse Platy 1 - Albino Cory Cat 1 - Panda Cory Cat 1 - Fancy Guppy 1 - Red Eyed Tetra 3 - Cardinal Tetras I have two questions. First, I keep the water very clean and still have a little bit of a cloudy looking film on the top surface of the water. How do I get rid of this? <With dipping a pitcher in at an angle... or wicking an all-white, unscented paper towel...> Second, I found the half eaten remains of one of the Cardinal Tetras this evening and then while sitting watching television and the aquarium later in the evening I literally saw the Red Eyed Tetra chasing and finally eating another of the Cardinal Tetras so now I have only one of those left. I want a happy aquarium environment. What should I do? Am I not feeding them enough?  <The Red-eyed tetra is a menace... remove it> The fish are all relatively small and similar in sizes. Can you give me any advice on my two problems? Thanks. Trish <Bob Fenner>

Black Neon Spawning 3.16.05 Hey... just came across this site by chance, LUCK! Hoping you could help. 3 of 5 black widow tetras have huge bellies, the other two are smaller in size. They all seem to have slight blood streaked abdominals. <Keep an eye on this, it could be nothing, or it could be a sign of poor water quality.> Do you think this is due to the shark chasing them a lot (maybe hurting them? <Doubt it, unless the shark is actually catching them.> Or that they are having little tetras of their own?? <Could be constipated as well.> If they are pregnant, then how can I tell when they are ready to burst? Last time my guppy had babies she went crazy on her own, so I felt bad and put her back in with the other and the poor little babies only lived for 2 hours.  <Try to remember the good times you shared.> HELP! Thank you....thank you, thank you :) Debbie x <Hi Debbie, although I have never tried to breed them I'm a big fan of the black neon myself. Unlike your guppies which are live bearers, Neons are egg layers. If your fish are getting frisky you will notice the male's colors will be enhanced and the females will be larger and rounder as they are full of eggs. If they do spawn, chances are they will eat all of the eggs. If you want to breed them, search the web for "Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi" you should find plenty of info on breeding techniques. Best Regards Gage > 

Pregnant/fat black widows  - Bob's Response Hey... just came across this site by chance, LUCK! Hoping you could help.... 3 of 5 black widow tetras have huge bellies.. the other two are smaller in size.. they all seem to have slight blood streaked abdominals...do you think this is due to the shark chasing them a lot (maybe hurting them)... <Maybe> ...or that they are having little tetras of their own?? <Doubtful> If they are pregnant, then how can I tell when they are ready to burst? Last time my guppy had babies... she went crazy on her own, so I felt bad and put her back in with the other... and the poor little babies only lived for 2 hours.  Thank you....thank you, thank you , Debbie  <Please read through the freshwater site: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm re tetras, feeding... Bob Fenner> 

Cardinal problem Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 Hey there, I was wondering if you'd be able to help me with something. I have had FW tanks for a long time but have not had any real luck with setting up a school of either Neons or cardinals. My current "failure" is a discus planted tank. It is a 46 gallon bowfront tank with 6 discus and 3 clown loaches. <Too crowded... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/discusfish.htm > The water conditions are NO3 is 20ppm, NO2 is 0, hardness is 120, alkalinity is close to 0 and pH of 6.4ish. Temp is 85F. The discus are doing fine and I do daily water changes of 5-10 gallons using RO water mixed with 1/2 gallon of regular non-RO water (for the plants).  <Good practice!> Discus show no signs of stress and live normally. I brought home 11 cardinals about a week ago which I bought at a LFS. They all seemed fairly ok even though a lot of them had skinny stomachs (due to lack of food I'd guess). <Yes, common> I first placed them in a quarantine tank, losing about 4 in a few days. After 5 days, and the rest of the cardinals looking ok, I moved them to my discus tank hoping for some survival. few days later, I am looking at 3 fish left (which do eat) but are covered in ich. <Yikes... should keep quarantined... for a few weeks> none of the other fish show any kind of ich or other diseases. The temp is high (for discus) and I was thinking ICH wouldn't live, but these cardinals are covered. <Likely will die there> I am at a loss here. Please help if you can see what I am doing wrong. Thanks, DK (P.S. I'd even go to Neons if that meant they would live better, but I read somewhere that cardinals take the high temp better.) <This is correct... I would try again, with a new batch of Cardinals.... but quarantine them longer... slowly raise the water temperature (am sure the store did not have them in the 80's F) to the Discus water conditions, fatten them up first. Bob Fenner> 

FW Needlefish Well, we ended up taking the catfish back to PetSmart and getting 3 Bala sharks instead. I have one last question! We wanted to get a needle fish, we don't know much about them, but I heard they were very difficult to take care of. Do you know anything about them or have any advice? They seemed like a really cool fish to add to our tank.  Amy & Chad <Not easily kept... need live food... and pretty large quarters... a tank three, four feet long... You can look up which species you're dealing with, its water conditions on fishbase.org Bob Fenner> 

Diamond Tetra Hey! Brody here again (a.k.a Frank Fish). I have two diamond tetras in my 50 gal. tank. I noticed a bulge in the abdomen of one of them about a week ago and I cannot figure out if it is constipated, gravid, or really sick. <I hope the middle one> I just checked my water parameters and they are fine (Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 25ppm, pH 7.8, Hardness 160ppm). I have no idea how to sex tetras so I cannot tell if it is gravid, or even if it is a female and its partner is a male. I read on your site that brine shrimp helps with constipation and I bought some O.S.I. Brine Shrimp flake food and all my fish seem to love it. Think this could help? <Yes> Could it be Malawi Bloat? <Doubtful... not common in S. American Characoids> The tetra is eating well, swimming normally, behaving normally, etc...Any suggestions? Thank you very much for your time. -Brody <I'd keep mixing in (daily) some of the brine shrimp... maybe try adding a bit more greenery to their food as well... and if the swelling persists for more than a couple weeks, a teaspoon per ten gallons of Epsom Salt added to their water. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Diamond Tetra Hello. I just e-mailed you about my Diamond Tetra about an hour ago. I went back and observed it for a while and I saw it occasionally kind of "wobble" from side to side. It would swim straight, then slow down, then its belly floated the fish up until it was vertical for a brief second and then the fish stabilized. I must stress that this behavior does not appear to be constant. Could this be swim bladder disease? <Mmm, this is not really a "disease" per se, yet per accidens... that is to say, not the cause but a resultant symptom... The question is: what is at play here... or is there anything really at play at all?> It does not seem to be having any trouble swimming at different levels in the tank as it is usually all over the place. And, as I mentioned earlier, it does appear to be eating well. Thank you very much for your time. -Brody <I wouldn't worry, panic here... give all some time. Bob Fenner>

Lack of information re Lemon Tetras Hi I have two lemon tetras and they did not eat for some reason, and last night they did not eat. I am concerned about them. What should I do?  <... how long have you had these fish? In what sort of system? Of what history? What are you feeding them? What's your water quality?  Bob Fenner> 

Lemon Tetras not eating I am feeding them flake food , and my water quality is doing good. I have had them for a very long time, and they are still not eating is that a problem?  <Mmm, could be the type of dried food, poor water quality, low temperature... What is your water pH? What is the history of this set-up? What were the fish/es eating before you got them? Bob Fenner> 

Dying neon tetras Hi there, <Hi there...this is Jorie, and I'll try to help...> Have just come across your site and trawled it for any similar problems to mine, but couldn't spot anything, so I hope I'm not going to waste your time, but here goes! <You certainly are not wasting anyone's time - we are here to help you!> My fiancée and I purchased a 13 gallon tank about 3 weeks ago and set it up as follows: washed gravel in water till it ran clear, washed resin tank ornaments in the same way. A couple of plastic plants, but mostly real plants (some sword grass and sword plants, at least that's what they said they were in the shop).  We added the tap water and treated it with AquaSafe to dechlorinate, etc. following the instructions on the bottle. We added some AquaPlus water conditioner and we also added a little plant food that said it was safe for other tank inhabitants and followed the instructions in both cases carefully.  We have a mechanical, biological and chemical filter that we checked was the right size for the tank, and a heater that keeps the water at a constant 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  The filter also has an attachment that can further oxygenate the water (little pipe attachment to pump out more bubbles).  Also have a hood and light for the tank. We cycled the tank for these weeks, and before we put any fish in we checked the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH levels: ammonia, nitrate, nitrate were 0 and pH at 7.5. We live in Glasgow in Scotland and our water is quite soft. We also added some AquaPlus water conditioner the morning before the fish went in, because it recommended doing so for new fish. We bought six jumbo neon tetras yesterday afternoon - floated the bag for half an hour to get the temperature even for them, added some tank water gradually over another half an hour and then released them. They looked pretty happy, we left the light off to let them settle down and didn't feed them straight away for the same reason, feeding them a tiny amount about 2 hours later. Just before we went to bed we checked on them, and two seemed listless and gasping a little, but still able to swim, not just floating. This morning 2 were dead upside down on the tank bottom, and this afternoon two more. We did another water check and the levels were still fine. The poor guys looked physically ok when they died, apart from being a little pale - you could still make out the bright colours on their bodies. They didn't appear bloated with no cuts or gashes and seemingly normal gills. No signs of fungus or spotting either. When I was keeping an eye on the second two that died later, they seemed to get listless and were floating about the main body of the tank rather than swimming in the plants like the others. They also looked to be gasping a little.   I really don't want to be doing something wrong and be unknowingly hurting the wee fellas. The last two seem ok at the moment, although one swims about more than the other.  Do you think it could be something they had already from the shop, or am I doing something terribly wrong? Do you think I need to get them some medication, only I am reluctant to do so when they don't look hurt or diseased and I might do more harm than good? Any advise greatly appreciated, Charlotte <Charlotte, I'll be honest, I'm a bit mystified myself as to what's going on! I read your thorough narrative above, and very honestly, you did absolutely everything I typically suggest to newcomers, from rinsing the gravel, cycling the water, keeping the temp. constant, etc. The one thing that I'd suggest you measure is the water's oxygen level; you mention that you do have an air filter in the tank, but the gasping behavior you've noticed makes me think perhaps they fish aren't getting enough O2. Most major test kit brands have a conversion chart to measure oxygen levels - I personally use the Tetra brand kit, but I don't think it matters too much. Just stay away from the "dip stick" type test kits, as they are pretty unreliable. Aside from that, I'm thinking perhaps a toxin other than ammonia, nitrite or nitrite has found its way into the water - I say this because of the suddenness of the fishes' death. Can you think of *anything* (from cleaning supplies to air fresheners, for example), that could possibly be contaminating the water? I don't know if it will help, but you could try additional water changes and perhaps looking into a PolyFilter - filter media that removes lots of unwanted toxins, from phosphates to ammonia. (That's a shot in the dark, though - it's all I can think of!) You may be correct in thinking your fish weren't altogether healthy when you purchased them. Any idea how long they were living at the fish store? That's good question to ask - the longer the better, but you won't always get that lucky. I have never personally kept neon tetras, but from what I understand, they can be fragile. You did well to slowly acclimate them when you brought 'em home, and as I said above, did everything else according to the "rules".  With regards to medicating, I don't think I'd go there, especially since you don't see any observable signs of illness or lacerations. You may indeed do more harm than good - I never recommend using meds just for the sake of it, and it's always best to narrow down what's going on before taking a "shot in the dark" approach to medicating fish. Do check on the oxygen levels, and think about possible water contaminants. In the meantime, keep those water levels pristine, and hopefully the two survivors will be OK. I'll cross my fingers for you!  Good luck, Jorie> 

Re: Dying neon tetras Hiya Jorie, <Good morning, Charlotte.> Thanks so much for your reply, I don't think they had been in the shop long now I think about it, because we had been in a couple of times in the days before to get fish food and other things, and hadn't noticed them when we had a look around.  I can't think of anything I might have accidentally exposed them to (even been careful not to wear perfume on my wrists in case I need to dive in!) but maybe I'm forgetting something. I'll definitely look into a PolyFilter, that sounds a good idea - want to do my best for them, felt awful for the first ones. Have named the other two Crusoe and Friday as they are so far survivors! Thanks for all your advise, you've been really helpful, I'll keep you posted, but so far so good.  Charlotte  <Glad to hear Crusoe and Friday are doing well! I know neon tetras are an extremely popular choice with hobbyists, but my understanding is that they are remarkably fragile. Additionally, I believe they are strictly wild-caught (as opposed to tank raised), which always increases the chances of a fish not acclimating well into captivity. It sounds as though you are doing absolutely everything you can to keep these little guys happy and healthy, so I wouldn't beat yourself up over it too much. Some things just aren't within our control! Best of luck, Jorie> 

Deformed Black Tetra I have a black tetra who has black growths on it. It is several years old.  Its stripes have faded some, but these growths have shown up around its body, some around one gill and around its mouth. The upper part of its mouth has receded somewhat (looks a little like cancer there.) It is still hanging with the school and does not seemed to have slowed down. Do you have any idea what this might be? Thanks for any help.  Jeanne O'Keefe <Mmm, most likely simply the effects of "old age"... cumulative developmental genetic defects... Perhaps Lymphocystis... Nothing to do. Bob Fenner> 

Rummy Nosed Tetra Hi Crew - you've always been so helpful in the past - hoping you can do it again. I have a small school of Rummy Noses (7). I've just noticed that one of them looks like he/she has white masses under the skin of the abdomen. The others are all silver in the body - even transparent looking. This one looks like there's something white and opaque in the body. Could it be Neon Tetra Disease? Doesn't look lumpy or bloated.  <Not likely NTD... perhaps another ailment> I'm going to move it to another tank that has some Cory Cats, Flying Foxes, Platies and Guppy. If it's Neon Tetra Disease, will it infect these other fish? Thanks so much! <NTD can be very "spreading", but I strongly doubt that this problem is at play here. I agree with your speedy isolation of the one individual. Let us hope the "white masses" are passing. Bob Fenner> 

Pregnant Blackskirt? I have a Blackskirt tetra. I have had her for almost a year and her tummy has become quite enlarged.  I noticed also she is reddish under her back fin.  Could she be pregnant or sick? <Could be either or neither... this species does get quite round... from over-eating as well as egg maturation> That is assuming it's a girl.  I have two other Blackskirts with it, a yellow Gourami, 5 Danios, 4 tiger barbs, 2 albino barbs, 1 clown loach, and 4 rose barbs  located in at least a 40 gal tank.  I treated the tank for gut worms a month ago.  What could it be? Sincerely Melissa Lee <Might even be just resultant from the treatment... I encourage you to feed your fishes a type of food that has a laxative effect... like brine shrimp or Daphnia... once a day for a few weeks. If your Black Skirt is "full of eggs" it may release them (they will be consumed by the other fishes unless you place it, the other Black Skirts in another system). Bob Fenner>

More Silver Dollars! My silver dollars spawned again! I didn't have them in a tank setup for this, I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time to protect the eggs from swordtails with a net and managed to siphon out about ten of them. I don't have another empty tank so I'm attempting to hatch them in a hanging net within the tank the parents are in, and I figure that since the water parameters were good enough for them to spawn, I will touch nothing. <Good idea> The eggs are still currently clear a couple of hours later with a spot in them. My question is: what color will they turn, and how long should it take them to hatch?   <Should remain clear except for the growing juvenile, their eyes... about four days to hatching in the low 80's F... you should be culturing food for them NOW... read about this on the Net... "Rotifer Culture"> -the Pacu kid. (am I just good at keeping the water nice? Or did I just get lucky? I never really do tests on water parameters, I just watch the fish and go with the feel. <Given passable circumstances almost all life will reproduce itself... a high priority eh? Bob Fenner>

Neon tetras that change colour... Hi. I have found your information about neon tetra very useful, but I am confused about "neon tetra disease".  I first got a fish tank two years ago and have kept neon tetras in this time.  It didn't take me long to notice that when they changed colour that this is bad, but the fish did not always die but change back and remain healthy. <Mmm, Neons do change color sometimes due to "mood", time of day, interactions with each other... not always indicative of disease> (I have had one particular neon tetra for 2 years now).  Is this colour changing due to "neon tetra disease" or is it just stress or bad water? <This Sporozoan infection is almost always fatal, and quite distinctive (loss of blue coloring distally): http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/disease/p/neondisease.htm I don't think your fish have this ailment> I really like my neon tetras and hope that there is something I can do about this phenomenon. Thanks Dani. <Read on. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater fish identifications, ChuckR Hi there I need to identify two fish to find out more about them. The one was called a "black widow" in the shop I bought it from. Its shape is very similar to a silver dollar. It is mostly black on the top half of its body and the tail is silver. Apprx 2cm long. I've looked everywhere for information on this fish but can not get anything, except black widow tetra, which I do not think it is. (saw a picture somewhere) < The black skirt tetra is sometimes called the black widow tetra. If this is not your fish then you will need to provide more info like a photo.> The other fish is definitely a goby, no doubt about that. It is white with black spots, and a small black "stripe" at the back of its top fin. The sizes are apprx 3 & 5cm each. The shop owner said its a spotted goby and that the female is the bigger one of the two, but alas, I can find no information/pictures on what it actually is. It is a very shay fish. <Look at photos of the knight goby (Stigmatogobius sadanundio ). Males have longer fins.> Both are freshwater fish. I've got two male guppies in the tank and sometime during today, the one lost half of its tail fin. I doubt that it will be the "black widow" because they've been sharing a tank for 2 months now. < The gobies are capable of biting the tail of smaller fish thinking that they are food.-Chuck> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation. Jaco Ps. If it is a stupid question or I can find the info somewhere else, please tell me so.

Freshwater fish identifications, BobF Hi there I need to identify two fish to find out more about them. The one was called a "black widow" in the shop I bought it from. Its shape is very similar to a silver dollar. It is mostly black on the top half of its body and the tail is silver. Apprx 2cm long. I've looked everywhere for information on this fish but can not get anything, except black widow tetra, which I do not think it is. (saw a picture somewhere) <Likely a Black Skirt Tetra... there are varieties, differences within this species: http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/characins2/a/blackwidow.htm> The other fish is definitely a goby, no doubt about that. It is white with black spots, and a small black "stripe" at the back of its top fin. The sizes are apprx 3 & 5 cm each. The shop owner said its a spotted goby and that the female is the bigger one of the two, but alas, I can find no information/pictures on what it actually is. It is a very shy fish. <Maybe a knight goby: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracgobioids.htm> Both are freshwater fish. I've got two male guppies in the tank and sometime during today, the one lost half of its tail fin. <Could be from either of the above> I doubt that it will be the "black widow" because they've been sharing a tank for 2 months now. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation. Jaco Ps. If it is a stupid question or I can find the info somewhere else, please tell me so. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner who encourages you to investigate before you buy livestock>

Black Skirt Tetra Issue Hi. I'm new to having fish and need help. I set up my tank at the beginning of October (30 gallon). I have 3 Black Skirt Tetra, 3 Zebra Danios, and 1 algae eater (sorry I don't know his real name - it starts with a P). <Pleco works> Earlier today one of the tetra died. I had noticed some erratic behavior and sluggish swimming over the last day or so.  He also looked as though he had bubbles on him. When I removed him from the water the bubbles were white spots, particularly on his tail. The other two tetras are now acting oddly, they are not schooling, both are staying near the top, which is odd for them, they normally swim near the bottom. What do I do? I did a water change about 2 weeks ago - the fish had been overfed while we were out of town on vacation and the tank was covered with algae. This is when I added my algae eater. All has been well until the last 24 hours or so. HELP!   Thank you, Allison <The white spots are a pretty sure sign of Ich. Treat with salt. Read here for it's proper use. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 You should also be doing more water changes. Use a gravel vac to remove the old food and fish waste. This is very important when treating for Ich. Don>

Re: Black Skirt Tetra Issue Thank you for your response!  Today the white spots look more like fluffy stuff - on the tail and fins.  It almost appears to be fungal.    Thanks for any help you can offer. Allison <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinfectdisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Hey guys, my Silver Dollars are mating. I don't know if you remember, but a couple of months ago I had questions about diseases that were in an  80 gallon tank that included a very large Red Belly Pacu (pic. included) four silver dollars, a couple Balas, a Jack Dempsey, a Large Gourami, some Corys and  a very large Pleco. Now I know this is bad to have all these fish in this tank and it's really crowded. But somebody had to adopt these fish from the family that wasn't taking care of them. They were riddled with Ick, fin rot, and hole in the head disease and they also didn't have adequate filtration ( a pitiful old Penguin 300 that looked like it hadn't been cleaned or changed in months) But I've added a Magnum 350 pro kit with a Turbo Twist UV Sterilizer which is taking care of all the Ick and fin rot beautifully. Also, a couple days ago I picked up a used 90 gallon tank with every thing I need except the adequate filtration for $150, although this time there's no fish in it When all this first started, the Silver Dollars were in the worst shape, I thought they would surely die. But I've nursed them back to the point where their mating! Believe it or not, these people just happened to have one male and three female in there, and they decided to mate right in front of my Grandparents during thanksgiving dinner. That was really embarrassing let me tell ya.          So my question is: how can a set up a breeder tank for these larger fish (6 inches long) so that when they are ready to lay the eggs the eggs are protected. Also, how does this work with Silver Dollars? I've successfully bred over forty sword tails in three batches now, but I've never bred an egg laying species. Please help! < Silver dollars are egg scatters as are most characins. The male and female do a little dance and will swim side by side. As they do this the female releases the eggs while the male fertilizes them. The eggs drop all over the bottom of the tank and ornaments. They are quickly eaten if they are not removed. The key is to set up a tank that is big enough for them to spawn by you need to keep them separated from the eggs. Go to the hardware store and get some lighting panels that resemble egg crates. Cut them to fit your tank and suspend them off the bottom. Next time the fish spawn the eggs should drop below the egg crate where the fish cannot get them. ^Then remove the adults. Another method would be to cover the bottom of the tank with glass marbles. The eggs would fall between the pore spaces between the marbles. They prefer to spawn over tuffs of plants some java moss or an artificial spawning mop would help. The eggs are very susceptible to fungus so the tank must be kept clean. Water temperature hardness and pH are all critical to get a successful hatch. Water should be clean, warm , soft and acidic for the best results. When the fry become free swimming they can be fed. depending on what species you have the adults may not eat the fry. They should be fed infusorians until they get big enough to eat baby brine shrimp and crushed flake food. Females will be plumper than the males. Some species do not eat the fry at all! Breeding these fish is not that common . Good luck.-Chuck>   

Dull Neons... Hi there, I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my neon tetras. Today I noticed that they are looking very dull in colour and not swimming about as much as they usually do, also one of them is bloated. I thought this could be neon tetra disease, do you think this is the case? If so, should I carry out euthanasia? < If the disease is only affecting one fish then I would get rid of it. If it looks like it is going to spread to the other fish then I would treat with Nitrofuranace of Myacin. Make sure you follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks Fran

Getting Neons to School (drive them there?) Hi, <Hello> I have a 75 gallon tank with about 18 neon tetras and am planning on getting another half dozen or so.  Currently, I also have 4 peacock gudgeons and am planning on getting a few rams and maybe Apistos. <Sounds like a very nice assortment> My problem is that my Neons are not schooling, at least they don't form really tight looking school.  I have a moderately well plastic planted tank and I think the Neons just feel pretty safe in the tank.  Can you recommend any easy to care for fish that would scare the Neons into schooling. <Mmm, not scare... I suspect some aspect of water quality is at play here... what's your water chemistry, temperature?> Not something that would eat them, but just something to make the neighborhood seem tough enough to rekindle their schooling instincts.  I've thought about discus, but only want to do at most 5 gallon water changes each week.  Any suggestions? Thanks. Nate Terry <Raise the water temperature to the mid 80's F... check that the water is not too hard... Bob Fenner>

pH question for neon tetra Hi Crew, You have a really great site: I have been finding answers for most of my questions since I started my aquarium. But this one is still bugging me. What would be better for my tank to keep pH stable but fairly high or try to reduce in with chemicals risking its stability? It is 40Gals planted tank that have been running for about two moths, while fish is living there for a month. No detectable ammonia and nitrates. My tap water is about 7.0pH and very soft, but as soon as it is in the tank the pH goes up to 7.4pH and the hardness sets at 80 mg/l. I have been filtering water through peat from the beginning and doing weekly 20% water changes. I keep 8 neon tetra for now and plan to add a small shoal of Corys, gouramis and, possible, a couple of small loaches (if snails got out of control). Now I understand that pH 7.4 is too high for Neons, yet from what I learned the playing with pH is least desirable thing. Please, give me some advice on how to deal with this dilemma. It will be very much appreciated. <Something in the tank is buffering the water to the higher pH. Calcium in the water may be one source or even the sand/gravel may be reacting to the water. If you get your water from a well then check the water from the tap and then let it sit overnight and then check it again. If the pH rises then the real pH of your water is the 24 hour reading. Well water sometimes contains co2 and this temporarily lowers the pH until the co2 is off gassed. Assuming the true pH of your water is 7.4 I would recommend the following. Start getting some RO/distilled water and do a 5 gallon per week water change with it. Treat the 5 gallons of water with a buffer that will bring the water down to where you want it. After a few water changes your water will gradually be lowered to where you want it to be. Be careful . New fish from the store need to acclimated to the lower pH over time. If the local stores have water that is hard and alkaline then they may not appreciate the abrupt change.-Chuck> Thank you, Konstantin.

Re: pH question for neon tetra Thank you Chuck. From your reply I got that I do need to reduce the pH and the question is just how to do it properly. Following your advice I did left my tap water standing for a day, but pH and kH have not changed. After some head scratching, I began to do some tests. First I soaked stones there - no change, then put some gravels - no change. The next thing to test was a large piece of driftwood that is quite hard to get out without wrecking the whole set up. Fortunately, before doing that I decided to check water conditioner, and here it comes - the treated water immediately changed its pH from 7.0 to 7.4 and kH from 10mg/l to 50mg/l. A bit surprised I rushed for water conditioner from another brand and, no, this one has not changed water properties. As it might be of interest for some other beginner aquarists the "bad" brand is "TetraAqua" and the "good" one is "Hagen". I suspect it has something to do with my tap water being very soft, but, anyway, they might have put sort of a warning or something on the package. Konstantin. < Thanks for the feedback. I am sure others reading this on the website will appreciate your experiment.-Chuck.>

Sick tetra? I have a red eye tetra that's ballooned up on the under side; is this a pregnancy or a bladder or swim bladder disease? <Hello...Jorie here.  I really can't say what's going on without some more information. First off, how big is your tank, how many other fish are in it (and what type), and how long has it been setup and running for? Have you tested the water recently for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? If so, what are the readings? (Ideally, all should be at zero.) Also, what is your fish's behavior like to make you think it could be a swim bladder disorder?> It had no swim difficulties... <This likely rules out swim bladder disorder> and gills quickly <Do you mean rapid breathing? I'm not quite sure what you mean.  If it is rapid breathing, do test your water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates, as mentioned above, and do a water change to get those readings to zero if necessary.> What should I treat it with? <For now, I'd say nothing. Do a water change and please try to give me some more specific information about the tank, other fish, and the affected fish's behavior so that I can better help you.> Many thanks, <You are welcome. Good luck.>

Characid Parasitology help sought Dear Sir, I feel most enthused in your marvelous efforts in elucidating parasites of Fish to the students all over the world. I have in my attachment an appeal onto where my research work lies. School of postgraduate Studies  Faculty of Biological Sciences Department of Zoology  University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 14- 05- 04.  Dear Sir, I praise your academic prowess, especially, in the area of fisheries parasitology. May your efforts and strength never waver in your imbued march towards bettering nature. I am a postgraduate research student in the above department and University, working on the parasites of Characidae in the Anambra River Basin, Nigeria.  The following are the objectives of this research work:  Ø There is scanty relevant parasitological information on fisheries development and management in Nigeria. An informed reason to fill the gap. Ø Fish are the most readily available animal protein both in the hinterland areas and cosmopolitan areas of Nigeria. Our over 120 Million population is the largest consumer of fish in Africa. So, there is burning desire to ensure availability of fish in our meals thereby ridding them of these parasites.  Sir, I am in great need of your assistance, which is inevitable to the accomplishment of this Research work. Such assistance is needed in the following areas:  ü The latest scientific methods, materials on the parasitic investigations on Characidae.  ü The parasites of the Characidae.  The aforementioned are fulcrums that will pilot the research to a logical success.  I would be grateful if my request is delivered.  Thank you.  Your sincerely,  ECHI, PAUL CHINEDU  paul_echi@yahoo.com Thank you. <Paul, will post your request for others response. We don't "do" research per se (but relate others experiences), but am hopeful your message will be found. Have you contacted the Smithsonian asking for reference help? I would. Bob Fenner>

Schooling or Shoaling? Hello, I have searched your site until my eyeballs popped out of my head, so I pushed them back in and continued searching but to no avail. <Wow.  Well, glad you got 'em back in alright.  Wouldn't want WWM to be the leading cause of eye loss, or anything!> My question concerns the behavioral function of tetras.  Most sources describe them as schooling though some describe particular species as shoaling.  I know that in a definitional sense they are quite different.  <Mm, as I understand it, a "shoal" is a group of fish, whereas a "school" is a group of fish that swim in tight formation, playing follow-the-leader, and all-around acting like one big fish.> In the stores most seem to shoal but I realize that could be because most store retail tanks are 10 - 20 gallons which may be too small to actually school. <Essentially true.  For some of the larger tetras, *very* large tanks would be needed to get them to school effectively.> What I am getting at is, which species of tetras are true schoolers that swim in tight single directional formations other than Neons? <Well, not having had the opportunity to see them behave in the wild, I would say "most".  In an aquarium, you need a large enough space to allow for enough fish to constitute a school.  Small tetras, like Neons, cardinals, and "green Neons", will school in small tanks, simply because there's enough space to do so.  Get a large enough tank to have twenty or so fish of a larger species, with enough room to travel about the tank, and they'll school for you.  My own opinion for the most stunning display of schooling tetras is, without a doubt, Rummynose tetras.  A large group of these fish in, say, a 55 gallon, heavily planted tank - mesmerizing.  Do consider other schooling fish, like Danios, rainbows, or barbs, if you do not find a tetra that fits you.> Thank you in advance for not only considering this question but to the bounty of effort, time and knowledge that is reflected in your website!! <And thank you for your kind words!  Please continue to enjoy.> I apologize if I missed a similar question that has already been answered. <To my knowledge, there has not.  No apology necessary.  Perhaps others will gain from this, as well.> Thanks,  Corey <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Head and Tail Light tetra My head and tail light tetra, who is about five or six months old, and about one and a half inches in length, has started to hang out at the top of the tank. He/She normally swims close to the bottom or the middle. When he started swimming at the top, he would eat the food, so I thought that he just needed to eat. But about two days ago, he stopped eating and stayed in a corner of the tank(29 gallons). Do you know what's wrong with it? I'm kind of new to the tank thing and he was one of my first fish, so I hope He/She will be O.K. Rachel >>Dear Rachel, you will need to get your water tested for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Take some of your tank water to the local fish store and ask them to test it for you. Ask them to write down the results, so you have a good idea what is going on in your tank. Your ammonia and nitrites should be zero, if not, there is a problem with your biofiltration. Your nitrates should be lower than 100ppm, ideally around 20-40ppm range. Do some water changes if your levels are too high. -Gwen<<

Head and Tail Light tetra Hey! Rachel again! I did test my water and I forgot to mention it but all of the levels were 0 and PH was 7.3. The tetra is doing better though, he ate a little tonight. My gold dusted molly also had fry. We only caught two, we were at dinner and when we came they were the only left! (I guess she had them while we were gone!) Thanks for the help!!! It's Rachel, AGAIN, my molly had fry while I was out eating dinner, so when I got home there were only two, that I could find! I am new to this fry thing, surprisingly because I have had male AND female mollies since Christmas of 2003- and this is the first batch! Mine are staying on the bottom of the breeding net, Is that normal? How long is it before they eat? I REALLY don't want to kill them- so someone help as soon as possible! Thanks:) >>Hello Rachel :) Hope you had a nice dinner :) Your molly fry might need a place to hide, adding some fine-leaved plants will help, java fern and some floating duckweed, if you can find them at your LFS. They will also feed off the plants. In the meantime, you can feed them crushed flake food. Don't overfeed! And don't be upset if you lose a few, I think your mollies will be having lots more fry, they seem to know what they're doing now :) -Gwen<<

Tetras with sores Hi there, I have several black high skirt tetras of different ages.  The problem is as they get older and larger, 2 of them developed a sore around their mouths. <Sores around the mouth are often times due to mouth fungus.  Which is a treatable disease, I have found that medicines from the Mardel company have worked exceptionally well.> The largest one died and I am worried this will continue until I find the problem.  They share the tank with red serapes and a 5-6 inch Pleco. <There doesn't seem to be any sort of tank mates that would be nipping or bothering the Black Skirts.> Any suggestions would be great. <Make sure that the filtration is good on your tank, keep up on the water changes.  This will help keep the fish's immune system working well, and it will also offer a better environment so that fungus and bacteria won't be able to thrive.  It's best for you to set up a quarantine tank, so in the case that your fish do come down with more sores around their mouth then you will be able to remove them from the tank and medicate them.  Look at medicines like Maracyn, and even a broader based medicine like Maracide from Mardel for a good treatment for the problem.> Thanks, Belinda <Good Luck. -Magnus>

Tetras lost to a new tank Gwen,   Thanks for your fast reply - I appreciate your advice.  Unfortunately,  I think I will stay away from tetras because (maybe the water is too alkaline for them) I lost 3 different kinds of tetras when I started the tank 6 months ago. Another option might be some colorful guppies but I am concerned that they would need more salt in the water than I think some of the other fish would tolerate.    Thanks again.  Beth    >>Hey Beth :D Don't be so hard on the tetras :) You may have lost them simply because it was a new tank set-up. Tetras are normally more resilient than most other species of fish, and are quite easy to keep. By the way, guppies do not need salt in the water. Most people think that salt prevents ich, or fungus, or does some other magic thing, but the fact is that most freshwater fish do not need salt added on a regular basis. It CAN be used medicinally, to cure such diseases, but salt should only be added when you are treating something specific. My advice to you would be to re-think the tetras, like Pristellas, etc, and guppies :) Have fun! -Gwen

"Freshwater" "Lionfish", Red Belly Piranha I was just wondering if that you can put a (fresh water) lion fish in with a fire belly piranha. <Well, unfortunately, the "freshwater" "lionfish" is actually a high brackish to fully saltwater animal, and will not last long (if at all) in freshwater.  Beyond that, it is not a lionfish at all, but a toadfish.  The one most commonly available in the aquarium trade is Batrachomoeus trispinosus.  More on this fish here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/batrachoididae.htm and here: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=10747&genusname=Batrachomoeus&speciesname=trispinosus .> The piranha is about 8.5" in length.  Who would eat whom? <Provided that the lion survived long enough to be eaten, I'd name him "dinner" and not get attached, to be on the safe side.  But really, I would absolutely not try to keep this saltwater fish in fresh water.> The fish tank is a 33 gallon tank. <Yikes.  This tank is too small for the piranha alone, in the long run, as it grows to be at or over a foot long.  I would *certainly* not add any fish, compatible or not, in this tank.> Also how can you tell between a male and female piranha. Please send pics, if you have any. <You can find the WetWebMedia article and photos on piranhas here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/serrasalminae1.htm .  Sexing this fish can be difficult to impossible.  Upon maturity, the females may be more robust in the belly, and males may have slightly more blunt heads.  I would recommend using http://www.fishbase.org/search.cfm to find out more about this and other fishes.  Here is their info on the red piranha, Pygocentrus nattereri: http://www.fishbase.org/Reproduction/FishReproSummary.cfm?ID=4501&GenusName=Pygocentrus&SpeciesName=nattereri&fc=102&stockcode=4699 They have quite a great deal of information on this fish, please be sure to make use of the links at the bottom of the page.> Thanks,  Travis <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Tetra ID How can I identify tetra.  I've tried to find out but found nothing.   It's important. <browse through our archives at www.wetwebmedia.com to find your fish or a similar fish. Take note of similar genera and then carry them over to http://www.fishbase.org to search a huge database for the species you seek. Best regards, Anthony>

How Many Tetras? I would like to know how many tetra size I can keep in a 55 gallon aquarium? <It really depends on the type of Tetra as they reach different adult size. A good rule of thumb is 1-1.5 inches of adult size fish per gallon of water. Ronni>

Tetras Hi.  I was wondering if there is any good info on the environment of tetras, their behavior, and their lives in captivity? <yes, a whole bunch> I got one Serpae tetra a month and a half ago and, two weeks ago, just got four more fish: two Serpae and two red-eyed tetras.  I cannot find anything online about them. <start with the google search tool on our site, or use google.com to search the rest of the internet.  fishbase.org will also have some good information. Can anyone help me please? <That's what we're here for.> Also, what tank size would be good for them, if I were to build on the number gradually?  Write now I have a 4 G tank and I know it is small. <20gal would be good, 29gal would be better, 55gal would be really good, a 500gal... well, I think you see where I am going, the bigger the better.> Thanks so much, Amy

Tetras Thanks again so much for this.  That helps a lot.  So other tetras and planted tank.  How heavily planted? <up to you, depends on what type of plants you can grow in your tank.> What about lighting and food? <depends on the fish and plants you are keeping.> I just have the tropical flakes right now but I heard something about blood worms. <everyone loves worms, a varied diet is best.> Any tetras? <pick other tetras that you like, use fishbase.org to see if their water parameters are similar.> I've tried Google so many times.  I'm either typing in the wrong key words or there is nothing, b/c I am not finding much except for forums and list archives. <forums are good, ask folks with similar interests.>   No specific info on any specific fish, except for one site, and the tetras I was looking for weren't even there and there was almost no info.   Thanks again.  Key words?  Let me know. Amy <I'm a big fan of Fishbase, it tells you the water parameters that your fish require, after that you need to worry about aggression, not a terribly big problem with community fish.  Go pick out some other fish you like and let us know what you are considering.  Best Regards, Gage>  

Tetras Hi, I tried the Fishbase site.  A lot there, but I cannot get to info about the fish itself.  All this stuff about scientific name, and too complicated. Any help is needed.  Thanks again. <Hi Amy, what sorts of info are we looking for?  I would go for the search on google.com and see what turns up.  From my experience.  They prefer a pH range of 5.0 - 7.8, a dH range of 10.0 - 25.0.  Water temperature should be between 72 - 79 (I prefer the upper end of the scale).  They are from South America and do best if kept in schools (I would go with 5 or more).  They would do well in a planted tank with other Tetras.  I hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.  Gage>

Fat Fish (tetras) Bob, The last several weeks I have had several of my various tetra fish look like they were going to explode... There stomachs more than double in size, they definitely are breathing hard and look like they are in agony. I have no idea what would be causing this, or what should I do to protect the rest of my tank. I have a 55 gal tank and so far have had 4 fish go through this. None are the same species but all have been Tetra's. Deb <There are some protozoan and worm diseases of Tetras that might account for this "bloated" appearance/difficulty, as well as diets of foods that are hard to digest (some dried, some fresh/frozen)... and a few chemical possibilities. Do you modify your water quality? Utilize live plants? Please specify which types of Tetras are affected and what other animals you have in your system (good clues). Bob Fenner>

Spawning George Albert's toothy tetra hello, How and where would I go to find out how to breed and rear gar. Specifically the Spotted Pike Characin (Boulengerella maculata). Thanks, Andy <You should make a trip to a college library and ask a reference librarian in the life science section to show you how to run a computer-based search of the pertinent literature. An article on the topic: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm You can make a preliminary search on www.fishbase.org with the scientific or common name (under references)... Do expand your search to include other Characoid fishes that actually have accounts of captive or wild spawning, reproductive biology. Bob Fenner>

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