Could I have a gang of Zebra thugs?

SecondTime

Since restarting my community aquarium nearly a year ago, I've been baffled with fish loss. Other than the very first group of tank inhabitants, every fish I've added has died at some point. Other than an early in the game misstep with using pure distilled water, I can't attribute the deaths to anything specific. I've used different sources for stock, I've quarantined, and my water parameters are consistent (see my 20 gal tank info for the most up to date numbers). There are no visible issues in most cases - i.e.: no outward signs of fungus or parasites.

The recent deaths have been bronze corys (spaced out over a span of several weeks ), and they've turned white before passing on. I did some research on this and found stress offered as the predominant cause.

Then, it hit me...

The ONLY fish still living is a group of 4 long fin zebra danios. They are gorgeous and appear to be exceptionally healthy, even a year later. I started with these 4 in an effort to stock slowly, and added 2 more zebras to this school about a month later, then added some panda corys, then a pair of honey gouramis. (BTW I never had more than 14 fish, all of similar of this size in this tank.) This group of 4 is exceptionally active with one very large guy clearly the "boss" - he's over 2" long. He, and sometimes the others, do chase not only each other, but sometimes also fish of other breeds. Any time I feed the corys, the zebras, led by the boss, go on a frenzy to take the food from the mouths of the cats and swim all over the tank with it.

Might I possibly have found the core issue to my ongoing fish deaths? Might this gang of 4 possibly be causing excess stress to all other tank mates? If so, what's the suggested cure? I know I can (and should) increase the size of the zebra school most probably as a first step, but might it be good to consider one or two fish larger than the Zebras to realign the pecking order?

Thoughts and ideas are welcomed!
 

awilkinson871

Danios are one of those low-key bullies more often than not. 4 is a bit small for a school. Usually if the school is big enough they tend to nip at each other and not other tankmates but sometimes they are just jerks.
 

SecondTime

I used to love them...but that was in the old days when I had a 55 g. I think my 20 is just too small for these guys. So I guess one option is to house ONLY a larger school of zebras? I have no rehoming options locally that I know of. :(
 

awilkinson871

There is always Craiglist and FB usually have pages where you can rehome as long as you dont list it for "sale". They do usually do better in a larger tank with more swimming room. They have too much energy in a smaller tank and that usually ends up as aggression.
 

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