Blackskirt Tetras & Angelfish? Question

Discussion in 'Tetras' started by CaptainTim, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. CaptainTimNew MemberMember

    Hi, I am new to this forum, but I was wondering about the coexistence of angelfish and black skirt tetras.

    I apologize in advance for the inevitable essay I will write.

    Let me begin by describing my tank. I have a 55g tank that I have been slowly been trying to make into an authentic biotope aquarium representing fish of north, central, and south america. It is a planted aquarium with very thick amazon sword forests on either side of the tank (separate territories for my rams), as well as plenty of low growing plants like anubias, dwarf hairgrass, and aponogeton. I also have anacharis and hornwort as fillers. I keep 5 small red river crawfish (procambarus natchitochae) which I caught in a creek where I live in Louisiana. They are harmless to my fish, and are beneficial in that they eat the feces and leftover food that my fish leave behind, keeping my tank spotless. In the center of my tank I have some driftwood and rocks in the back forming caves, and underneath that as well as in the center of the tank I have an open area with a sand bottom as a place for my catfish to explore, as well as it being a reinforced visual boundary for my rams to stay on their own turf and stop fighting each other (yes, I had to literally draw a line in the sand to get them to cut it out.) I'm noting this in order to explain that my tank has plenty of cover so as to reduce stress in my fish. I maintain the levels in my tank regularly by doing partial water changes about once a month (sometimes more if it needs it), as well as replacing the filters. I bring water samples to my LFS regularly in order to ensure that my tank is doing well.

    I have collected many species from around where I live here in Louisiana, as well as many fish from my LFS. Before anyone says anything about mixing wild and storebought fish, let me put your minds at ease. Plenty of research went into my collections, and nothing went into my tank that wasn't small enough at full size to fit in my tank, and no sick fish were added either. I have had these fish for a long time now and have never had a single outbreak of sickness, not even ich. I keep my tank at around 80 degrees fahrenheit for this reason, and all of my fish are happy and healthy.

    Anyway, I have felt compelled to represent many fish families with multiple fish species. For example, I have 6 angelfish, 4 GBR, and 2 keyhole cichlids in my tank to represent the south american cichlids. Pretty much everything I have put in my tank has revolved around this singular question: "will they get along with my angels?" They are, after all, the reigning monarchs of my tank. So, the conundrum I now face is "what tetras, besides neons, can I keep with my angels?" I have one black skirt tetra, an old dinosaur left over from when i first cycled my old 20g tank (she's a tough old tetra and I love her to death). I feel so sorry for her because she is all alone. I tried introducing some more of her kind in the past, in my old 20g, but they were simply horrific, ripping my angel's fins to shreds. I had to remove them, For some reason my lone blackskirt has always been super peaceful, but from what I read and what I observed, these fish are not normally friendly to angelfish. But she is so peaceful, and so beautiful, and so lonely. It breaks my heart not to keep trying. So i guess I'm asking if anyone has had any success cohabitating these species? She gets along fine with my angels, so is it possible to find more like her? Now that I have a bigger tank, I have the space to try a bigger school, since the first time I attempted this, I had a 20g tank and so I only put a school of 5 in with the angels. Will a larger school and more space eliminate the issues of stress that might cause these tetras to fin nip? Is the fact that my one blackskirt is at full size, about 3.5 inches from nose to tail, possibly a contributing factor as to why she is less threatened by my angels? She was full size when i first introduced my first angels, so maybe that is the key?

    My main concern is that my angels are getting bigger now, and so, consequently, my neon school is slowly starting to shrink. I need to figure out how to represent the tetra family without affecting my angelfish. I need something that is big enough not to get eaten, yet no fin nipping (I'm dreaming aren't I?) If blackskirts are not the answer, can any other tetra live peacefully with angels? I'm considering rummynose, but my LFS sells them for $3.99ea, whereas blackskirts are $0.99 :p. I also hear that lemon tetras are good, but I cant find anyone in a 40 mile radius that sells them :-/.

    :;eye__:;eye <<---------Me, nervous that this post is waaay too long.

    Anyway, I hope someone knows and that this might help others. Feel free to ask me any questions as well :)
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello and Welcome to Fish Lore!

    Hopefully you will receive some tips and suggestions before long.

    Once you reach 3 posts to the open forum, you can then create your Aquarium Profile which will aid others with their responses. To create the Profile, click on Forum Actions in the bar close to the top of the screen. In the drop down box, click on Edit Profile. Be sure to hit SAVE when you are done.

    Best wishes for your tank and fish and I hope you enjoy the forum!

  3. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Bleeding heart tetras or diamond tetras are big enough not be a snack for the angels.
    Most tetras can be nippy if kept in small numbers, if you keep them in a big enough group they'll mostly keep their bickering between themselves

  4. OP

    CaptainTimNew MemberMember

    Good advice Coradee. I plan on starting a large school to help keep them away from my angels. Do you think this will work with black skirts? Or should I just try it with bleeding hearts or diamonds instead?

  5. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    I'd stick with just bleeding hearts or diamonds & get at least 6.
    You will have to rehome some of the angels as they get bigger as your tank isn't big enough for 6 at adult size especially if they pair up & think about breeding.
  6. Fishy Friends

    Fishy FriendsWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Captain Tim & welcome!

    I have schools of black neon tetras, harlequin rasboras, and zebra danios in different tanks with angels and they do well.
  7. OP

    CaptainTimNew MemberMember

    I have decided I will experiment and get 10 Black Skirt Tetras from my LFS. I'm not sure if they carry Diamond Tetras Coradee, but I know they have Bleeding Hearts, so if this works (or doesn't) I might try those as well. And Fishy Friends, I already have the regular Neon tetras, at least for the time being (my 4 largest angels are still only half-grown so they aren't eating them yet). As for the harlequin rasboras, I might look into them as well. Zebra danios, however, are too fast and jittery for my taste, and I fear they might frighten my other fish, and since they are native to India, they wouldn't fit my biotope anyway, but aside from that I do agree that zebra danios are excellent fish and are not fin nippers from what i've seen.
  8. escapay

    escapayWell Known MemberMember

    ^ The Harlequin Rasboras won't fit your biotope. They are from Asia. ;) I'd stick to the tetras for schooling fish, as many of those available are South American.

    The Black Neon Tetras will be larger than the regular Neon Tetras. I don't think I'd worry too much of them being eaten once they are full size.

    I keep Rummynose Tetras with my Angelfish and they look great with her. Too bad they are so spendy for you. If they ever go on sale... lol, they are a good choice IMO.
  9. OP

    CaptainTimNew MemberMember

    Thanks Escapay :). I knew that rasboras were related to tetras but i still thought they were south american. Either way though, I went to my LFS yesterday and got 10 diamond tetras and a dozen serpae tetras. I decided to risk it even though I read that serpaes are some of the worst when it comes to nipping. I have a lot of green plants, and so I decided that the orange and red of the serpaes would look best in my tank, and if they didn't work out then i can still return them. Both schools are actually doing great! Coradee, you are right, diamond tetras are awesome! And neither school is nippy in the slightest. I guess I just needed to make sure I had enough to a school and that they have enough space. So even the serpaes, with one of the worst reputations, can be managed it seems. Hopefully this doesn't change. I guess that is the ultimate lesson learned here. The first time I added too small of a school in too cramped of a tank. Oh, and Escapay, I actually had planned on sucking it up and getting about 6 rummynose tetras as well, even though I don't agree that they should cost $4 per fish, but my LFS was sold out :-/. Maybe next week. But i suppose I have paid a lot more for fish. I paid $8.50 each for my sterbai corydoras catfish, and they were worth every penny, and the rummynose tetras are very beautiful, so I guess longterm I shouldn't regret buying them.

    Oh, and one negative observation that I did make, however, is that my clown loaches seem a lot more skiddish now. I know they don't fit my biotope btw, but they are one of my favorite fish and so they are my one exception to my biotope. I plan on making their own tank eventually, but for now they are small enough to cohabitate with the rest of my fish. Anyway, they seem to be a lot less comfortable than before I introduced the tetras. I'm not sure if they are just scared of the new arrivals or if this is a thing between loaches and tetras, but at any rate I do know that I have far too few loaches in the first place (I only have 2 at the moment). I bought them about a year ago when I first set up my 20 gallon tank and so it was before I decided on a biotope and I didn't know that loaches need a large school of at least 5 or more. By the time I learned this, my LFS was sold out and has not gotten any new clown loaches in since. If they do, I will get more and see how they do then.
  10. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Glad you like the diamond tetras, if I was doing a South American biotope they'd definitely be on my list of must haves :)
    The clown loaches will be far less skittish in a large group, however you best start saving for that bigger tank, at least 6ft imo as clowns not only get big in length they're also very chunky fish & can live 20+ years, some say even twice that!
    The big one in this video is Marge, sadly she passed away a couple of years ago I believe she was around 20 years old.
  11. Kindafishy

    KindafishyValued MemberMember

    I have 14 serpae tetras in my tank with 4 angels. The serpaes tend to leave everyone else alone and just occasionally chase each other. Hopefully, you will have the same luck.
  12. OP

    CaptainTimNew MemberMember

    Coradee, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I can't stand keeping fish in a tank that is too small for them. And I do plan on getting a larger tank for them when the time comes. However, I've had my loaches for about 9 months now, and they don't seem to have grown much at all. Maybe slightly in length, and more noticeably in girth, but for the most part they seem to grow very slowly. If they continue to grow at this rate, then I won't need a larger tank for at least a few years. Marge is awesome! I hope mine can live to be that large.

    KindaFishy, my serpae tetras are doing fine in regards to my angels and everything else, but i noticed that they still nip amongst themselves, so much so that one of them actually died today. Well, I should clarify, they picked one individual and picked on her until her tail was gone, and then she died. Is this normal behavior for serpaes? I started with 12 and now am at 11. I noticed now that they are picking on one that is missing his stripe (all of the others have a single stripe/spot on the center of their bodies. This individual is missing it.) Is it possible that they discriminate? Are they picking on those who are different? Or are they picking on the potentially sick individuals? I'm worried that they might kill each other until the school shrinks too small, causing them to move on to my angels.

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