Question Can I Keep Tetras In A Rocky Scape?

AlejandroRodriguez

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I have 4 tanks... All of them densely planted, I like the overgrown look, but they all started looking the same, so I wanted to have something completely diferent, I bought an inert substrate (white sand) and some rocks, I'm planning on adding moss to the rocks but I don't want any plants (either live or fake). The original idea that I had for the stocking was to buy a healthy school of some type of tetra. The problem is that everybody on the Internet says that tetras need a densely planted tank, if not they would be stressed all of the time. I want a species tank... Do you think that they would do okay with no plants?

If you think that tetras should never be put in a non-planted tank what other species of readily available fish can I put in my fish tank that are both small and school tight.

Ps.: My LFS doesn't offer a wide options of fish, I'm limited to what they offer.

Ps.: Its a 30 gallon - ph: 7.2
 

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MrBryan723

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Since you're not doing any live plants you could reduce the lighting and maybe use some driftwood as part of your hardscape and you could get away with tetras fairly well. Having a Blackwater tank would be another decent option for them without plants.
Granted they prefer plants, but both of these methods would reduce stress.
 

fjh

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Tetras do fine in a non-planted tank. People recommend plants because it offers them a place to hide (and obviously helps the water quality). Be warned though that is a species only tank, they will not school very tightly - this only happens when they are spooked (like if a larger fish swims by).
 
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AlejandroRodriguez

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
I have 4 tanks... All of them densely planted, I like the overgrown look, but they all started looking the same, so I wanted to have something completely diferent, I bought an inert substrate (white sand) and some rocks, I'm planning on adding moss to the rocks but I don't want any plants (either live or fake). The original idea that I had for the stocking was to buy a healthy school of some type of tetra. The problem is that everybody on the Internet says that tetras need a densely planted tank, if not they would be stressed all of the time. I want a species tank... Do you think that they would do okay with no plants?

If you think that tetras should never be put in a non-planted tank what other species of readily available fish can I put in my fish tank that are both small and school tight.

Ps.: My LFS doesn't offer a wide options of fish, I'm limited to what they offer.

Ps.: Its a 30 gallon - ph: 7.2
fjh said:
Tetras do fine in a non-planted tank. People recommend plants because it offers them a place to hide (and obviously helps the water quality). Be warned though that is a species only tank, they will not school very tightly - this only happens when they are spooked (like if a larger fish swims by).
I read that by not having many places to hide they will be stressed and will school tighter...

MrBryan723 said:
Since you're not doing any live plants you could reduce the lighting and maybe use some driftwood as part of your hardscape and you could get away with tetras fairly well. Having a Blackwater tank would be another decent option for them without plants.
Granted they prefer plants, but both of these methods would reduce stress.
What are the benefits of blackwater tanks?
 

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MrBryan723

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It is more of a natural environment to many tetra species and usually has a lower PH and softer water than typical Clearwater tanks. Also it allows less light through so you wouldnt have to focus too much on that being too bright. But looking at your pic it doesn't seem like you have too much lighting as it is.
Drawbacks are you would have to make the Blackwater every time you did a water change.
 
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AlejandroRodriguez

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MrBryan723 said:
It is more of a natural environment to many tetra species and usually has a lower PH and softer water than typical Clearwater tanks. Also it allows less light through so you wouldnt have to focus too much on that being too bright. But looking at your pic it doesn't seem like you have too much lighting as it is.
Drawbacks are you would have to make the Blackwater every time you did a water change.
How do I make the blackwater? I think I saw a bottle of blackwater extract at my LFS, but idk it was a few months ago, I'm new in the blackwater subject
 

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I have had several species of tetra, and never many plants. I could see how some of the more skittish ones would be better with plants, neons especially. but theire are many othera that would do fine. I would say that x-rays tetras have been the hardiest , most peacefull ones, and I like to mix the golden/alibino with the regular. they deffinitly do hang out occasionally under a shelf I created by balancing a slate rock onto of sturdy glass candle stick holders.
 

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Extract is common, many people also use Indian almond leaves, I use organic potting soil myself. You can also use basic tea(think lipton) and just prep it beforehand. If you use leaves, or whatnot you can boil them to do it faster but it will leech out over time on its own.

IAL
 
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AlejandroRodriguez

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MrBryan723 said:
Extract is common, many people also use Indian almond leaves, I use organic potting soil myself. You can also use basic tea(think lipton) and just prep it beforehand. If you use leaves, or whatnot you can boil them to do it faster but it will leech out over time on its own.
If I use leaves I won't have to make blackwater for every water change, since it will always be leaching tannins, right?
 

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This is my blue acara in Blackwater. It really brings out some good colors. This was a day after a water change where the water was still pretty light.
20181009_005607.jpg
 

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
I read that by not having many places to hide they will be stressed and will school tighter...
Tbh, I could see them hiding in and behind the rocks, very unhappily.
Edit: well maybe they'd find security in the shadows. I do like how all the light is focused downward and intense at the scape subject. It might look cool with them swimming in and out of shadows. Different tetra types have different swimming styles and some are more 'friendly' and out more than others. Like my super blue kerrI tetras were always out and almost eating out of my fingers right at the surface. Whereas my gold tetras are always low in the plants and dart up then back down to eat.

Your setup reminds me more of a rift lake cichlid tank, maybe a colony of smaller rock dwellers?
 
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Noroomforshoe said:
I have had several species of tetra, and never many plants. I could see how some of the more skittish ones would be better with plants, neons especially. but theire are many othera that would do fine. I would say that x-rays tetras have been the hardiest , most peacefull ones, and I like to mix the golden/alibino with the regular. they deffinitly do hang out occasionally under a shelf I created by balancing a slate rock onto of sturdy glass candle stick holders.
They say that black neon tetras are very hardy too and I really like them (at least in photos and videos). Do you think its okay to keep them in this conditions?
 

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
If I use leaves I won't have to make blackwater for every water change, since it will always be leaching tannins, right?
Well since it lowers PH, you might want to or at least make sure it doesn't swing too much. I have to let my water age because the ph out of my tap is around 8 and the ph in my tank is closer to 6.
 
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angelcraze said:
Tbh, I could see them hiding in and behind the rocks, very unhappily.

Your setup reminds me more of a rift lake cichlid tank, maybe a colony of smaller rock dwellers?
I will love to have shell dwellers... But they aren't available and the other cichlid that are available are too big or too aggresive. Do you know of any small tropical fish that will feel comfortable and happy in my tank?

angelcraze said:
Tbh, I could see them hiding in and behind the rocks, very unhappily.
Edit: well maybe they'd find security in the shadows. I do like how all the light is focused downward and intense at the scape subject. It might look cool with them swimming in and out of shadows. Different tetra types have different swimming styles and some are more 'friendly' and out more than others. Like my super blue kerrI tetras were always out and almost eating out of my fingers right at the surface. Whereas my gold tetras are always low in the plants and dart up then back down to eat.

Your setup reminds me more of a rift lake cichlid tank, maybe a colony of smaller rock dwellers?
I'm in the middle of a Fishless Cycle and I'm doing all the research I can... I know that tetras feel better in a planted aquarium, but I thought that since the tank will have dark areas they won't feel the "emptiness" around them and I know that tetras like big schools so I was planning on buying over 20 fish (depend on the species I settled in)

I think that the fact that they will be the only fish in the tank will also help, because they won't feel the need to hide (or atleast not as much)
 

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
I will love to have shell dwellers... But they aren't available and the other cichlid that are available are too big or too aggresive. Do you know of any small tropical fish that will feel comfortable and happy in my tank?
I edited my post above. My tank with the two tetras types is a blackwater tank with just java fern at the bottom and plants growing emersed. It's low light with the top being open like your setup. The kerrI tetras were out all the time in the open, the gold tetras were hiding or challenging eachother in the fern.

The tannins soften the water like how tetras like it and also help darken the tank (they can't see eachother as well) while also bringing out their colours. Because they feel at ease, they are also displaying their best.

As mentioned, they don't need plants. A lot of Amazon setups have low plant numbers or none. Using emersed plants help keep the water cleaner just like underwater ones. They are probably more efficient and clean your air too
 
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AlejandroRodriguez

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MrBryan723 said:
Well since it lowers PH, you might want to or at least make sure it doesn't swing too much. I have to let my water age because the ph out of my tap is around 8 and the ph in my tank is closer to 6.
Thanks I'll do my reasearch... It was very helpful and I will definitely keep in mind

angelcraze said:
I edited my post above. My tank with the two tetras types is a blackwater tank with just java fern at the bottom and plants growing emersed. It's low light with the top being open like your setup. The kerrI tetras were out all the time in the open, the gold tetras were hiding or challenging eachother in the fern.

The tannins soften the water like how tetras like it and also help darken the tank (they can't see eachother as well) while also bringing out their colours. Because they feel at ease, they are also displaying their best.

As mentioned, they don't need plants. A lot of Amazon setups have low plant numbers or none. Using emersed plants help keep the water cleaner just like underwater ones. They are probably more efficient and clean your air too
I will love to see a photo of your tank
 

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
I will love to see a photo of your tank
Ask and you shall receive
20180603_212225.jpg

Only two super blue kerrI tetra left, but he's out! Thought there was only one, so confused about that, but anyway. The gold tetras are all in the fern. It's not a numbers issue, because there was 10 of them. Now 8. But I do think a big school of 20 or what you are considering will work for you I haven't kept neon tetras, but a big school should keep them feeling comfortable I think.
 
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AlejandroRodriguez

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angelcraze said:
Ask and you shall receive
20180603_212225.jpg

Only two super blue kerrI tetra left, but he's out! Thought there was only one, so confused about that, but anyway. The gold tetras are all in the fern. It's not a numbers issue, because there was 10 of them. Now 8.
Its an awesome looking aquascape, it reminds me of a river, looks very natural.

Wrapping up... If I buy a school of 20 - 25 black neons, do you think they'll do alright? (adding a little of tannins to the water)
 

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AlejandroRodriguez said:
Its an awesome looking aquascape, it reminds me of a river, looks very natural.

Wrapping up... If I buy a school of 20 - 25 black neons, do you think they'll do alright? (adding a little of tannins to the water)
Lol I edited again. Yes, I think it will work out I was also maybe seeing some plants like pothos growing on top and draping the sides of the tank. I think they could add some extra security without them being in the tank, but still filtering it.

Thank you very much. Natural was the goal for this tank. The gold tetras compliment that perfectly I think. I like to use plants for all the filtering aspects, I couldn't keep floating plants because of the shadows at the top, but I have English ivy growing emersed on top of the glass canopy. That's an older pic, not that the tank changes much, but the ivy has grown long roots hanging into the water. This is an added bonus effect for an Amazon setup.
 

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