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Questions on the natural habitat of Jelly Bean Tetra
(Ladigesia roloffi) 2/21/13
I'm back with another one of my goofy questions, and I'm really hoping that you have the answer I seek, as you've never let me down - I'd hate to spoil a perfect record. ;)
I was lucky enough to have gotten my hands on a shoal of 20 wild-caught Jelly-Bean Tetra back in July, and they've done brilliantly thus far. I recently got my first canister filter, and I've been messing around with the water flow, trying to get set at a good rate for everyone in the tank. The problem is that I can't seem to dig up any information on the type of current present in the few river systems that the Jelly Bean Tetra are native to!
<Not so much rivers and streams. Most of the fish we call tetras inhabit very shallow streams maybe a few inches deep. In fact the size of a fish is often a very good clue to its habitat. The smaller the fish, the smaller or shallower the body of water it inhabits -- after all, a shallow little stream will have far fewer big predators, so it'll be a much safer place for very small fish.>
Everything else is in place for them; dark substrate, lush vegetation, floating plants/dim lighting levels, blackwater - I've never been able to maintain the temperature below 79 even when they were in a species-only setup - but they seem to be thriving in spite of that, with a new fish appearing every so often as proof of spawning. I'd just like to nail this last question of water flow down, if at all possible!
<A gentle, lazy current is what you want here. Enough to move flake around the tank when you feed them, but not enough to make sturdy plants sway in the current.>
They share their tank with a shoal of Bolivian Rams, and two types of loaches - P. Kuhli and P. cuneovirgata - both of which prefer a slower water flow, from my understanding. . .
I'd appreciate any information that you can give on the question of the current that these little beauties prefer. I'd like to see them continue to live happily with me in their glass box, and show off those gorgeously bright fins for a long time to come!
To slip in a bonus question - how can I be sure that there is enough oxygen for the fish I keep while still keeping the current/filter output down?
<Don't overstock the tank. Contrary to popular misconception, it isn't bubbles that add oxygen to the water, so there's no huge advantage to turbulent water flow (though bubbles will encourage CO2 to leave the water, which does help somewhat). What matters more is that an even current that takes water from the bottom of the tank to the top, and this is how things like airstones work, by lifting water up from the gravel towards the surface where gaseous exchange can take place. Now, if the aquarium is moderately stocked, even a gentle water current around the tank will provide adequate circulation, so overall, there'll be enough oxygen for everyone. One thing that can help is using a spray bar just below the waterline, so the water becomes ruffled. This increases the surface area, meaning more oxygen can get in, but compared to other types of water outlet, spray bars don't create so much turbulence. Regardless, you have ample scope for experimentation. If your fish are oxygen stressed, you'll see them become lethargic and spending more time at the surface, in extreme cases, right at the top, pumping the surface layer of water through their mouths and gills. If that happens, adjust the tank (in the short term, lower the water line to the filter can splash more, driving out CO2 and encouraging oxygen into the water). But provided the fish are lively and active, chances are good you have oxygen levels just right. A useful and conservative rule is to allow 10 square inches of surface to each inch of fish; in other words, a tank measuring 12 by 24 inches would have a surface area of 288 square inches, which is easily enough for 28.8 inches of small (tetra-sized) fish. This rule is conservative, assuming you stick with fish in the 1-2 inch size range, so in reality, you can often keep a few more fish than this suggests.>
If there is a lot of surface agitation in the tank, the rams seem unhappy, and the floating plants don't spread evenly across the surface, providing the fish with the shade that they all prefer. As it is now, there is a slight ripple to the water, but it isn't enough to move the floating plants.
<Sounds ideal. By definition, floating plants come from water that basically doesn't move, like ponds, otherwise floating plants would end up miles away from where they wanted to be, even being washed out to sea!>
Fish all appear happy and healthy, showing bright colors - some of the rams are breeding, so I *assume* all is well, but I do still worry about things like this, as I am very new to fishkeeping!
<In this case, your instincts are sound.>
Much thanks, as always!
Re: Questions on the natural habitat of Jelly Bean Tetra (Ladigesia roloffi) 2/21/13
You've done it again! Thank you so much for this wonderfully informative reply.
You've answered all of my questions and then some, and I now have a much deeper understanding of what my finned friends need to live happy lives. I can't tell you how much I (and my fish!) appreciate your input - it's always a pleasure to hear from you.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
It is so difficult to find solid advice, in spite of so many available 'sources.' Thank you, and the rest of the WWM crew, for giving so much of your time to answer personal queries and for your continued determination to get the correct information out for all to see. You guys are my heroes!
<Cheers indeed, Neale.>
with Rosy Tetras, sys.... env. hlth.
Help with Rosy Tetras 11/20/09
General Tank and Tetra questions... no reading, use of WWM 3/6/08 Hi All, <Jennifer> I'm very new to being a fish tank "mommy" and I have some questions. I got a small 2.5 gallon tank about 2 weeks ago. I rinsed out the tank, the accessories, the gravel, and the plants very well. Then I treated the water with 4 drops of AquaSafe. I think I added the fish <... what species?> a little too fast <... how... was this system cycled?> and 3 of the original 5 died. I still have 2 neon tetras <Don't "like" new systems...> and they seem to be doing fairly well. After reading through some of the other tetra questions I'll be going out to get a little thing for them to hide in since we currently don't have that, just 3 silk aquarium plants. - How do I test the water and what am I looking for? I know the basics about pH, but I don't know what the pH should be for an aquarium. - How often should I change the water and how much of it should I change out? - Do I need to have a container of tap water sitting out for a couple of days before I add it to the tank? - Can I add any more neon tetras in at any point? And if so, how many should I add? - What can I put in there to help keep the tank clean? The Plecos are all so big and I don't think they would be very happy in a little tank. Also, one of the fish has a weird protrusion on his/her belly. It's not really rounded, more angled. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated, and if you can recommend a good, basic, book about the care of tetras I would greatly appreciate it! We had neon tetras when I was little, but I don't ever remember my mom doing much to take care of them. We had a Pleco that kept things clean and the tetras just swam around and were pretty. LOL. Thanks again! Jennifer <The answers to all this are posted... Please become familiar with our search tool, indices per: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm And do read here immediately: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Tetras and salt 4/27/07 Hi there, <Hello.> Love your site!! <Cool.> I have a couple of questions. First of all I've got guppies, Blk phantom tetras, black neon tetras, Danios, Pleco and dwarf frogs. When I do water changes I use our r/o water...assuming this is ok? <Yes for some of your fish, no for others. Not all fish want the same type of water. Your guppies want hard and alkaline water, around pH 7.5. Your tetras would do well in very soft water around pH 6.0. Your Danios want something in between as does the Plec. The dwarf frog something similar. So whatever you do with your water, some of your fish will be in suboptimal conditions. For your mix, I'd suggest pH 7.2-7.5, hardness 10-15 dH. As a rule, tetras adapt better to hard water than livebearers do to soft.> Should the water be harder? <For the guppies, unquestionably yes.> Was quite enjoying the lack of water scale everywhere as well as not treating the water. Also, find that the tetra's black color is fading, I know it happens overnight with no light, but still not as prominent as it once was. <Interesting. Usually tetras "fine tune" their colouration to match the surroundings. The darker the tank, the brighter the colours. Check you don't have too much light (not enough floating plants) or a bright substrate (black sand ideal, multicolour or pale substrates the worst).> I am feeding them color enhancing flakes, but since getting the frogs I find the fish have been more likely to eat the foods the frogs get (either goldfish crumbles, froggy bites, or shrimp pellets). <Colour-enhancing foods enhance reds by containing chemicals similar to carotene. These are naturally found in shrimps, for example, and many animals use them to create red colouration. Colour-enhancing foods will do little/nothing for other colours.> Also I knew the black phantom tetra were mid dwellers, but find it funny that they won't come to the top for food! Found that odd. <Why? Evolution takes millions of years to refine animal behaviour to best suit the environment. A black phantom tetra that swims away from cover into open water or to the surface of the stream becomes dinner for some passing predator. As aquarists, we need to respect this "programming" and adapt *our* behaviour to suit the fish. Sure, sometimes fish will learn tricks, and that can be very rewarding. But don't expect (or worse, demand) it.> Called a pet store and they told me to add salt to enhance the color (as that's what they're in there!), told them I couldn't as I was sure tetras couldn't have salt, and I have frogs and Pleco anyway. <You are quite right. Run, run far away from the pet store, or at least don't trust their advice. With the exception of your guppies, none of your fishes are brackish water animals; ergo, none of them need "tonic" salt.> I am sure I read that somewhere but cannot find it now...am I right or do they need a bit of salt? <No, no salt needed.> I seem to remember that if they were sick that you could use salt but at 1/4 the dose, but not with frogs right? <Old school rubbish. Ignore. You use marine salt mix with brackish/marine fishes. If something is a freshwater fish in the wild, then by jingo it's freshwater conditions they want in the aquarium!> I have since read about a product online, tetra bites (or color bites) is this what they are missing? <No.> Do you have other suggestions. <Yes. Be creative at dinner time. Fish, like every other animal, except maybe panda bears, like a variety. Alternate your foods. Some days give flake, other days frozen. Frozen bloodworms are probably the most eagerly take food for small freshwater fish, since most small fish eat them in the wild. Store these in the freezer, and defrost small amounts as required. Also use live foods when you can, and raid the kitchen for suitable treats, such as cooked peas, blanched lettuce, slices of cucumber, sushi Nori, clams, prawn, white fish, small amounts of hard-boiled egg yolk, and so on. Any aquarium should offer lots and lots of ideas.> Also, heard that if you use Tubifex worms you run the risk of bacteria because of their environment...I am assuming this is not the case with the freeze dried version, is that correct? <I've never had any luck with freeze-dried foods. Always been a waste of money to be honest, but if your fish like them, then go for it. Personally, I always go for the "wet frozen" kind you keep in the freezer. Much, much more readily taken and seems to work better as well, in terms of encouraging new fish to eat and mature fish to spawn. But yes, freeze-dry Tubifex are safe, as are wet frozen Tubifex. Live Tubifex can be risky, though nothing works better for adapting certain wild-caught fishes to aquarium life, such as Mormyrids and spiny eels.> Thanks so much for your time! You guys do a great job! <Thanks! Cheers, Neale>
Tetra Water Temps 5/31/06 Thanks for your quick response. I have stopped trying to lower the pH. The temperature varies in my tank based on weather conditions outdoors. The tank varies from 77 to 79 on a daily basis. Should the water temperature stay consistent or is it ok for water to warm during day and cool down during night? Jon < A little fluctuation is All right. Don't let it go below 74 F and don't let it get too much above 83 F.-Chuck>
Platy & Guppy Questions... and Neons in the mix 2/22/06I'm new to the hobby, but your site has been quite helpful. I have a couple of questions about the health of my fish and I hope you can help. I have a 10 gallon tank this is well filtered, heated to about 79 F, and planted as my main tank and a 2.5 gallon hospital tank. I have 7 guppies, 2 male and 5 females; 3 Platies and 13 platy fry that are 2 days old and doing very well; 3 neon tetras, a Chinese algae eater and 2 bamboo shrimp. I know I have a bit too many, but water quality seems to be pretty good and I test it at least every other day and I have another 10 gallon being shipped. When I first brought the Platies home, one had a white rectangular wound on her back so she went straight to the hospital tank where she is now, and gave birth 2 days ago, and the white stuff has spread around her a little, but its not spotted like Ick is and appears to have some trouble swimming in the main tank. Also in the hospital tank is one of the Neons who has some gill trouble - loss of gills or the cover, <Happens> but it appears to be slowly returning to a more pink color and one female guppy who has gotten progressively worse, she has some raised scales, large white growths. One of the guppies in the main tank also has a few scales that appear almost like a shed skin coming off, but they don't appear to be getting any worse. None of the other fish seem to have any trouble, but I'm not sure what to do about the fish in the hospital tank or the one guppy with the "shedding" in the main tank. Any help or advice you can offer me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Arlie Hubbard <I would separate (when you get the new ten gallon) the Neons, read re their water quality (softer, acidic, warmer) and the livebearers... and keep their environments to their liking... This is all that is needed here. Oh... and keep an eye on this Algae Eater... often trouble with other fishes. Bob Fenner>
New Planted Tank and Fish Death 10/11/05Hello, The crew has given me solid advice in the past, and I want to share a recent experience with you all. I help my parents set up a 75 gal planted community aquarium. We went fairly low tech: no CO2 injection, low light, 2 Penguin Bio Wheel 350 power filters. All the planting was done immediately. We then cycled the new setup using established aquarium water and sponge squeezings from a mature filter. We were able to observe the complete nitrogen cycle. After our nitrite readings were zero, we added fish. The complete cycle took a little over 3 weeks. The initial stocking consisted of 40 Neons, 24 Rummy Nose, 5 Siamese algae eaters, and 5 Amano shrimp. All the Neons died over a 5-7 day period, a few every night. All but 3 of the Rummy Nosed died in the same period. 3 of the Siamese died also during this period. None of the shrimp perished. During the week of death, we continued monitoring all water parameters. There was never any change in ammonia, nitrite, pH, or nitrate. I am wondering if we stocked the tank too fast. If that was the case wouldn't there have been an ammonia/nitrite spike? Is there more to an established aquarium than just the nitrogen cycle? Are there other organisms that add to the bio-balance of a mature aquarium making it more suitable to life? Once a tank is cycled, is it mature? Or does that take months? I am trying to figure out if we received some bum fish, or the tank wasn't ready for the new fish. Any thoughts? <Im sorry you and your fish had such a rough week. I have a few thoughts/questions. What did you use for your ammonia source when cycling your tank? Fish food? Ammonia from the grocery store? Since you had cycled your tank, I assume your ammonia or nitrites were down to zero. What was your pH? Nitrate level? Tetras are known to be touchy when you put them into tanks. Did you test the fish store waters pH? Maybe they experienced a dramatic change in pH. Id consider a mature tank one thats been up for about a year or so. It does have its own collection of microfauna. Levels of trace elements have evened out. I think you probably stocked the tank a bit too fast the fish may have died before they were able to create an ammonia spike. Since your shrimp didnt die, you might have had some fish disease that wiped out most of the tank. Shrimp are very sensitive to ammonia, indicating that your test kits are speaking truth. You could have just had some bum fish, but your death levels are really high. Id suggest adding about 10 tetras at a time for a little while. What is going to be the final composition of the tank? You could start with your hardiest fish. You might want to consider a quarantine tank introducing a disease into a 75 gallon would be a nightmare to clean up.> Thanks, CW <Anytime, Catherine W>
TetrasHi. 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
TetrasThanks 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>
TetrasHi, 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>
pH question for neon tetraHi 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 tetraThank 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.>
Nasty NeonsHey! 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.