Silver Tip Tetra Breeding
I just want to say first that you have an amazing website with a treasure trove
of information. The best I have come across yet.
<Thanks for the kind words, Steve.>
Currently I have 10 of these beauties (3 males, 7 females) in a 40 gallon
breeder tank, planted. But reading through your section on STT's I didn't find
any information on breeding. I have read some things on other websites (a
separate tank with subdued lighting, conditioning with live or frozen foods,
slightly elevated temperatures (low to mid 80's), and slightly acidic ph) and
was wondering if my 10gal tank with a sponge filter would be good for a spawning
<Yes. Keep the tank clean (I wouldn't even bother with a substrate) and instead
add one or two spawning mops (whether artificial, clumps of Java moss, or simply
pots with Myriophyllum or Cabomba planted in them).>
I know they eat eggs, but could I use one tank to spawn multiple pairs?
<Normally tetras are removed to the spawning tank one pair at a time. I'm sure
you could put multiple pairs in a largish sort of tank, but then your challenge
will be remove eggs before the other fish find them. Since you don't normally
feed fish in spawning tanks, they can get hungry. Really depends on how serious
you are about rearing lots of fry. If you're happy
with just a few to top up your school, then by all means experiment with "group
spawning" in the breeding tank.>
Any information would be super helpful.
<Condition well beforehand! You want the female to be obviously swollen with
eggs before you move the pair. Water chemistry shouldn't be too hard (though
unlike a lot of South American tetras, this species doesn't absolutely have to
have very soft water to spawn). Anything between 1-10 degrees dKH, pH 6.0-7.0 is
fine. But water quality needs to be good without a turbulent flow of water (an
air-powered sponge filter would be ideal) and yes, lighting should be subdued
(ambient room lighting is fine, even better if the tank is further shaded with
floating plants). Sometimes adding peat or blackwater extract helps gets things
moving along. Check for eggs at least daily, and remove when seen (a floating
breeding trap can be a useful refuge for these until such time as the spawning
tank is vacated, if you're using the same tank for rearing the fry). As is usual
with tetras, the fry are pretty small. In all likelihood, you'll be using
infusoria the first few days, and Microworms or brine shrimp nauplii thereafter
and it'd be at least a good couple of weeks before you can start to switch to
similar. That said, some of the new fish fry foods are very good, and if you
wanted to experiment, in a mature rearing tank with lots of algae you might be
pleasantly surprised. This is one of that select group of egg-scatterers that
occasionally breeds successfully in quiet community tanks, by which I mean
people have occasionally seen baby Silvertips hiding
among the plants in those sorts of tanks. So the fry can't be too fussy!>
<Do hunt down a copy of "Fish Breeding" by Chris Andrews. An oldish sort of
book, but consequently availably for pennies on Amazon, and filled with useful
ideas on spawning numerous species of fish. While Silvertips aren't in there,
three other tetras are, and the key steps are all much of a muchness. Good luck.
Something not right with Congos and Silvertips 6/19/12
I'm afraid I'm still learning the hard way… Cannot believe I did
this…and yet I did. No quarantine tank and now there's a problem.
Went ahead and added two more Congos and a dozen Silvertips to the mix.
All adapted well, peaceful and active for almost a week now. The
Congo's seem more settled with just a few more in their group - not
darting around nearly as much as they were.
Also got a few more clumps of Corkscrew Val - my LFS person suggested
that the plants might fare better in a lower temp than 80, so I lowered
by 1 degree/day to 78. I thought this temp change would not affect
the fish negatively. Maybe it did.
<Unlikely; 77 F/25 C is optimal for both these species.>
Four days ago, I noticed what looks like a white pimple on the center of
lower "lip" of one of the female Congos, which was one of the original
group of Congos. This is definitely not Ich and not Lernaea - I've
had experience with both and this is different.
<This is something you see quite often when fish are newly introduced. I
think it's physical damage more than anything else. Bumping into the
glass or hood of the tank perhaps. Treat for Finrot, but otherwise
observe and don't panic.>
The rest of the fish is clear and perfect. No problem eating and
is as active as the rest of the group. No flashing or any other
symptom. At first, I thought it was possibly from banging into
something in the tank, but it is perfectly round, and instead of fading
like a bruise or injury, the spot became more raised, more pronounced
and well-defined, though not larger - more like a whitehead pimple
coming to a head. Two days ago, I noticed the "pimple" seemed to
erupt and a few white, filmy trails followed, then disappeared (uh-oh),
then the wound seemed to heal. I thought we were out of the woods.
This morning, I noticed a new spot on the same fish, on one side of its
upper lip (white dot on mouth in picture attached), similar to the
original pimple, when it first appeared - this one seems less uniform.
more ragged. I also noticed the exact same (new stage) of the
pimple on two of the Silvertips - on both, at the center of the lower
"lip", so now I think it's definitely more than a bruise or injury,
since the Silvertips are not bumping into anything in the tank.
The rest of the Congos are perfect, as are the Emperors.
Note: I've actually cut back from feeding twice daily to once
daily. However, I've also caught my 8-yr old feeding the
fish outside of feeding times a few times, so there might be uneaten
food lying around that I haven't been aware of. I've done a little
educating about overfeeding and I don't think it will be a problem
As far as the white pimples, I'm concerned about treating for a possible
parasite, fungus, or bacteria. Do you know what this is, or might
be? How would you treat it?
If treating with meds, would raising the temp help or hurt in this case?
<I would not do anything to move the temperature beyond 25 C/77 F.>
I've attached a few pictures - my camera's not great, so they're not
really clear. I think you can get a good idea though. The
affected Silvertip is the one at the bottom of the picture.
I am concerned about treating a 45 gallon planted tank. I have a
10 gallon tank that I can set up as a hospital tank, but there would
still be the problem of the 45 gallon tank being infected, and all the
remaining fish being susceptible to whatever this is.
One more thing - This morning when the timer lights go on (7AM) and the
time I usually feed them, all 4 male Congos' fins and the tops of their
heads looked bloody. I've never seen this before and I was alarmed
at first, when it looked like they might be injured or sick. But
it was just the males and all 4 had the exact same odd coloration - just
the dorsal fins, the anal fins and the tops of their heads. I
checked the water quality and it was fine, except the pH was 8.
It's usually around 7.8. That's the only change from the normal
parameters. I can't think this was normal or some kind of mating
coloration, but it was uniform with all four and then disappeared within
15 minutes or so. But it definitely seemed bloody and not like a
normal coloration. After they ate, their coloration went back to
<Congo Tetras can, do change their colours with mood, so if they are
otherwise normal -- don't worry! This is a stunning species with colours
difficult to describe, and very changeable and oh, so dependent on
ambient lighting conditions and mood.>
Have been reading up on the Congos and much of the available info says
they do best in softer lighting. How do I provide enough light for
a planted tank and also provide the Congos less intense lighting?
<Allow leaves to grow across the surface. Add floating plants if you
Thanks again for all your help.
| Thank you! Re: Something not
right with Congos and Silvertips
Phew! I can stop feeling like a nervous new mother now.
BTW - How's that beautiful niece of yours? Are you a new uncle again
<She's just fine; thanks for asking. Nope, not been made an "uncle" again,
Thank you so, so much.
Question about Silvertip Tetras and
Panda catfish, comp. 3/14/12
I looked through your forum and Googled my question and nothing came up
about it, so I thought I'd try writing to you guys. We have a
10 gallon tank with 5 Silvertips, 1 Zebra Danio and two, small
Panda catfish. As you probably are well aware of, the
Silvertips can be very resourceful, mischievous little fish which can
be a double-edge sword. What's happened is that whenever we now
feed the catfish their small sinking food pellets, there is a male ST
that will try to nip the other fish and steal their food, and now the
more shy Panda won't eat. It also looks like there might be some
little "nip marks" on that particular Panda's tail, so
now it's become kind of a hassle/ordeal. Is there something I can
do to prevent this from happening--this situation only comes when
there's food around, the rest of the time everyone gets along fine,
but my main concern is about that particular Panda (who incidentally
has been hiding a lot more lately which is unusual for it). I was
thinking maybe there's some kind of a net/barrier thing that I
could put in the tank to keep everyone separated while I'm feeding
them? I'm really not quite sure what to do about this… what
initially started off as "cute" behavior has quickly become
pesky, and very high maintenance!
Thanks in advance for any advice you may have for me!
<Hello Hallie. For a start, your aquarium is too small for
these species, so that's one reason you're seeing
problems. The second reason may well be that the Silvertips are not
socialising properly; as you say, they're nippy fish at times, and
like all schooling fish, they can behave aberrantly when they
aren't kept in adequate numbers. There's no way to teach nippy
fish not to be nippy, and yes, Corydoras often fall victim because
they're too stupid to learn to avoid trouble. In an adequately
large aquarium for this/these species, you could keep sensible numbers
of both. Say, ten Silvertips and at least 5-6 Corydoras (any fewer just
isn't fair on these sociable, schooling catfish). In a biggish
tank, 25-30 gallons, you could add enough bogwood and plants to provide
shelter for the Corydoras, and the Silvertips would have enough space
to avoid (not notice!) the catfish and direct their energy towards one
another. What you're tying to do is, fundamentally, keep the wrong
numbers of fish in an environment that's too small for them, so no
surprises at all, they're behaving aberrantly. Don't think of
fish as "cute" or "mischievous" but for what they
are, animals, not miniature people, and structure their environment
around what it is that they're programmed by evolution to do.
Silvertips are hierarchical schooling fish that have a need to assert
their status in a pecking order. Keep too few of them, and that
"need" has to go somewhere, and more often than not, the
behaviour is expressed as bullying among their own kind or nipping at
other fishes. Understand that, and you won't have these sorts of
problems. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Question about Silvertip Tetras and Panda catfish
Thanks for responding to my question, and yes, I think you're
right, we probably do a larger tank, but unfortunately, we don't
really have the room for it where we're living now. A larger tank
will probably be on the horizon for us, and then we'll add more,
and as you said, these problems will be avoided.
<Real good. Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Silvertip tetra color change
I have a 30g planted tank with 6 Corys 1 German blue ram and 6
<Hmm... do understand Blue Rams (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) do not
live long at the 23-25 C that your Corydoras and Silvertip tetras
(Hasemania nana) need for optimal long term health. Mikrogeophagus
ramirezi need 28-30 C to survive any length of time, and failure on
this count is one of the reasons for their abysmal survival record in
community tanks. It's a shame so many shops sell them as
"community fish" -- they're not.>
Everyone seems happy and there is no bullying except the occasional
exchange between the tetras, but no is damage done. They just seem to
be that way.
<Consider adding some more tetras; often tetras are hierarchical,
and the bigger the group, the less bullying occurs.>
My question is about the coloration change three of the tetras have
gone through. I've had them about a month and a half and three of
them have turned a reddish color. They still have the same lines and
fins, but the bodies have turned quite reddish. I'm thinking it
might be a breeding thing, or just sex differentiation, but I
haven't found this described online anywhere.
<There is some variation in colour, but complicating things is that
there's also a "copper" Silvertip tetra Hasemania
melanura. It has a distinctly coppery colour compared to the typically
golden sheen of Hasemania nana. It's entirely possible you have a
mixed batch containing both species. One problem with the reliance on
common names by some retailers and hobbyists -- if in doubt go with
No emergency, I'm just kind of curious and wondering if I should
prepare for babies or something.
<Unlikely in a community tank.>
Death of our white-tipped tetra - overfed?
3/14/07 Hi, <Hello there> Thanks for such an informative and
interesting site. <Welcome> Me and my boyfriend are reasonably
new to the fish keeping game and sadly we've just experienced
our first fish death. I'm really writing for some advice so
that hopefully we can avoid any too many more in the future.
<Sounds good> We have a 112 litre tank (just under 30 US gallons
according to the online converter). We've had the tank since
January and we cycled it for 3 weeks before adding fish (we have a
very good LFS who wouldn't let us buy fish until we provided
them with a water sample from our cycled tank!!!). <Good for
them, you, the planet> Water parameters were fine when we tested on
Saturday (nitrite and ammonia 0, nitrate 12mg/L, ph 8).
<Yikes... this last is quite high... particularly for small S.
American Tetras...> Sorry - not sure how parts per gallon work
but 12mg/L is reasonably low. <Parts per million and milligrams per
liter are equivalents... the same... Think about this... there are a
million milligrams or water...> The tank is filtered,
heated (around 76 F) and planted (grasses, a couple of broad leaf
plants and some floating plants). We have: 3 bamboo shrimp 5
white-tipped tetras (was six) 4 Corys 1 whip-tail catfish 2
thick-lipped gouramis (male/female pair) <Sounds very nice... but do
watch those Gouramis> Yesterday I did a 20% water change (tap water
with dechlorinator added - roughly same temperature as tank
water). Everyone seemed fine. A few hours later we feed them
frozen bloodworm. We tend to do this once a week - usually
at the weekend when we can watch them going nuts over them! Again,
everyone seemed fine. We first noticed things weren't right a
few hours later when the male Gourami charged at one of the tetras
(I know gouramis can be territorial but this was a major shock as
we have the most chilled out and friendly Gourami). <At times...>
On closer inspection I think it was because the tetra was
behaving oddly - floating at the top of the tank and spasming. The
Gourami didn't do him any damage, I think he was just curious.
The tetra couldn't swim against the flow of the water and when
he did try to swim he was spasming quite violently. He was looking
swollen but other than that not a mark on him. He found a quiet
place behind the filter and stayed there for an hour or so. Then
he seemed to perk up a bit and went for a little swim. He was
gasping for air though. He then went and sat at the bottom of the
tank and after a few hours he died. We scooped him out and
my boyfriend gave him a close inspection - not a mark on him. The
tetra looked very swollen so perhaps we overfed him. He
was absolutely fine in the morning and acting as normal so it was
a very sudden deterioration. We didn't feed any more bloodworm
than normal but he was our smallest tetra by quite a margin and so
perhaps he ate more than his share?? Does this sound possible?
<Is, yes> I've read that bloodworm can be hard to digest
- is this a big problem? <Can be for small fishes, yes> The
other tetras didn't look swollen at all and were swimming
around fine. We've had the tetras since the end of January and the
last addition to the tank, the Corys, we have had for 3 weeks now.
Could it be an infection and would you advise any action? <Not
likely an infection... I would not "treat" here... more
likely to cause harm than help> I can't help thinking
we've overfed him, which makes me really sad. He looked
swollen and uncomfortable and it all happened so quickly that
I'm sure it must have been something that day - the food
or the water change. <These could both contribute...> Much
appreciate any guidance you can give. Sorry for the mix of
volume units - I'm British but thought you'd appreciate US
measures where I could do them. Thanks Naomi <No worries... A
third possibility is that this one fish had a sort of
genetic/developmental disorder... Fishes aren't "quite
developed" even at good size... Bob Fenner>
Blind in a cave, characin comp. - 04/14/2006 Hi, <Hello> This is a wonderful site. <Thanks.> I have
been in the aquarium hobby for a while, and I figured I
should introduce my younger sister to the wonderful world of fish
keeping! <Good for both of you!> She has her heart set on Blind
Cave Tetras (I think they are the ugliest fish out there! lol) and
Silver Tip Tetras. Could she keep 6 of each in a 10 gal. aquarium?
<This would be pushing it. Both species can be a little aggressive.
I'm sure you'll make your sister aware of the importance of
water quality/conditions for her pets but, specific to your question,
I'd prefer to see her go with no more than three, or four, of each
in this size of tank.> I would give her plenty of plants
from my tanks. <The Silver Tips would probably appreciate this. The
Blind Caves won't really care.> She also wants to add driftwood,
etc. <Keep in mind that decorations, plants and substrate affect the
effective volume of the tank. Once you've set up your
"10-gallon" tank the way that's pleasing to the eye, the
effective volume left for your fish can be reduced by, perhaps, one
quarter. In other words, your ten-gallon tank may be reduced,
practically speaking, to about eight gallons. Maybe less. Something to
keep in mind. ;)> I will also give her a heater and
filter, as well as a light. (It's her birthday) Is this an okay
setup? Is there anything special we should know about them?
<You'll be fine. Wish your sister a "Happy Birthday"
from all of us at WWM.> Thanks in advance, Anthony <Tom>
Thanks, I'll tell her to keep 3 of each! Thanks Again, Anthony
<Any time, Anthony, and good luck. Tom>