Do you think my Black Skirt Tetra (black) is being bullied ?

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OuiBonjour

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Hey guys, do you think my Black Skirt Tetras is being bullied ? (the black BST)

We see his fins more clearly in the last 5-10 seconds of the video where he is still for a few seconds. It seems to have be a little torn / nibbled, yet I don't see him getting chased more than the others (chasing seems to me to be evenly distributed among the 7 BSTs, and I never saw a real fight or anything , just occasional chasing).

Also, my Serpae Tetra seems to have some chewing on his analfin too. I know he should be schooling with 5 other of his own but I always felt that the Black Skirts had accepted him in their school because they are always shoaling together, and he does not seem to be hiding nor being rejected or chased. In fact, none of the fish seem to be hiding or being stressed. The Black BST seems to stay put towards the end of the video, but he's rarely like that: he usually swims peacefully all around all the time.

PS: the white around the dorsal fin of the Serpae Tetras is supposed to be part of the "look" of the Serpae: they all have the outline and white tips; I don't think it's rot.

Here :
 
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jpaquatics

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Is that a dwarf gourami at the top at the beginning of the video? What size is the tank? What are it’s inhabitants? Thanks!
 
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OuiBonjour

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Hello, yes there is a Dwarf Gourami. Here is the info :

Tank:
20G-Tall, 24" long
Cycled
50% water-change every 7 days
AM/NI/NA : 0/0/5-15

Stock :

7x Black Skirt Tetras (1x Black, 1x White, 5x Glo)
1x Serpae Tetra
1x Dwarf Gourami
6x Kuhli Loaches

1 or 2 Amano Shrimps (Added two a while ago, at least one remaining)
Lots of Assassin Snail babies

Thanks!
 
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jpaquatics

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In my opinion the dwarf gourami is probably doing the harassing. I’ve had bad experience with one in the past to the point where it actually killed a fish. I’ve heard mixed things on them but I‘ve hear they can become quite a big bully if a tank is heavily stocked and they feel like they don’t have enough room or can’t get their own territory. Since you have lots of tetras that are constantly moving around, this might make the gourami feel threatened. I would take a few minutes and observe the gourami each day, and see if you can watch him harass the other fish.

Also, you would need at least 6 Serpae tetras, as tetras are a schooling fish. It is likely stressed from both being chased and from being alone. Does the black skirt school with the glo fish and white skirt? I’ve heard mixed things about them accepting each other.
 
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OuiBonjour

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Yeah, the 7 BST schools together, even if their colors are not the same. There's a little chasing here and there, but it's just them showing their place in the pecking order. I never saw actual fight. But they're not constant schoolers, they just regularly hang around together, but not necessarily always in the same direction and all. Maybe that'd show more in a longer tank, or with more open swimming space if I had less plants.

As for the Serpea, I writted in video about it in French under the vido, but forgot to specify here. At first I bought is a rescue, with the intent of getting him 5 buddies, however after two day I seemed to me like the Black Skirt Tetras had accepting him in their school as he was hanging with them and they hanged with him. He was chased sometimes, but not more than the others, and he himself does the chasing some other times.

For me it seems like they didn't act differently with him as if he was a black skirt like them.

As for the Dwarf Gourami : I'm surprized he'd be the #1 suspect, as he's the most peaceful in the tank. I look at them very often for a few tens of minutes, and it's like he does't even see the tetras : he's always just cruising around, looking at the Dwarf Lettuce's roots, as well as looking at me when I'm near.

Even though I see some occasional chasing between the Tetras, I never saw the gourami chasing anymore, nor being chased. Except sometimes when it's feeding time, sometimes he chase someone who goes for the same bit, but dont chase it aroung, more like "hey move thats mine"

I'll try to keep an eye on him, just in case. But is it weird that he would only mess up my Serpae and my Black Skirt ? I thought thought fins might have been from the other BST like the white skirts or the glo ones, since they are the only one I see doing some chasing.

What should I do for now, do you think they are being solidly bullied, in a way that I should put they in a big hospital container and try to rehome them ? (serpae and black skirt) Should I treat them for a while (I have catapa leaves and buds, marine sal and Malachite Green. All other medications are not available anymore in Canada when the government banned them)
 
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jpaquatics

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OuiBonjour said:
Yeah, the 7 BST schools together, even if their colors are not the same. There's a little chasing here and there, but it's just them showing their place in the pecking order. I never saw actual fight. But they're not constant schoolers, they just regularly hang around together, but not necessarily always in the same direction and all. Maybe that'd show more in a longer tank, or with more open swimming space if I had less plants.

As for the Serpea, I writted in video about it in French under the vido, but forgot to specify here. At first I bought is a rescue, with the intent of getting him 5 buddies, however after two day I seemed to me like the Black Skirt Tetras had accepting him in their school as he was hanging with them and they hanged with him. He was chased sometimes, but not more than the others, and he himself does the chasing some other times.

For me it seems like they didn't act differently with him as if he was a black skirt like them.

As for the Dwarf Gourami : I'm surprized he'd be the #1 suspect, as he's the most peaceful in the tank. I look at them very often for a few tens of minutes, and it's like he does't even see the tetras : he's always just cruising around, looking at the Dwarf Lettuce's roots, as well as looking at me when I'm near.

Even though I see some occasional chasing between the Tetras, I never saw the gourami chasing anymore, nor being chased. Except sometimes when it's feeding time, sometimes he chase someone who goes for the same bit, but dont chase it aroung, more like "hey move thats mine"

I'll try to keep an eye on him, just in case. But is it weird that he would only mess up my Serpae and my Black Skirt ? I thought thought fins might have been from the other BST like the white skirts or the glo ones, since they are the only one I see doing some chasing.

What should I do for now, do you think they are being solidly bullied, in a way that I should put they in a big hospital container and try to rehome them ? (serpae and black skirt) Should I treat them for a while (I have catapa leaves and buds, marine sal and Malachite Green. All other medications are not available anymore in Canada when the government banned them)
I’m no more of an expert than you are unfortunately, I was just telling you what happened to me in my personal experience. If you watch the gourami and never see any nipping, maybe it’s the other black skirts like you said. It’s possible that the black black skirt and the Serpae are being pushed out by the other black skirts maybe? Hopefully someone else with more experience here can chime in. I have definitely heard and seen about Gouramis being agrresive in certain situations, so it’s worth doing some research on. Sorry, I wish I could tell you exactly what’s wrong, but I’m just throwing guesses out there :(
 
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OuiBonjour

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Don't be sorry, every answer is helping me. Even though I never saw mine showing aggressiveness, I still consider your experience and what you read about those a very valid point. Even if I never saw him do this, it's very possible that he's doing so when I'm not looking, or maybe by night. I'll check more often and for longer period of times.

As for their physical states (the bullied ones) do you think I should isolate them right now and treat them? Or it doesn't seem like actual bullying and just some fin nipping ? None of them looks stressed in my opinion. Maybe they could stay if it does not get worse ? I dont know.

In fact, I'm not even sure if fin nipping is hurting them. Do they have nerves in their fins ? I never saw a fish show signs of pains with finned fins, however a fish that is hurt on the body will often rub himself in substrate or rocks.

It's my first experience with fin nipping, so I don't know what is okay and what is a sign of not being okay anymore.
 
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jpaquatics

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I would probably leave them for now just so you can see if you can catch one of the fish doing it in the act. If it gets any worse you could try isolating, but without figuring out the root cause of this problem they’ll just get nipped again when put back in. I’m not sure if they can feel it, but I do know that being chased/nipped/harassed by other fish a lot does stress them out and can eventually lead to death. Hope you are able to find what’s going on
 
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OuiBonjour

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Thanks jpaquatics.

Still haven't found the culprit nor saw anyone attacking him, but he seems stressed today and stay hidden in his corner.

Visual :

I'm thinking about isolating him and/or rehoming him, but I'm afraid the uncaught culprit will just bully the next less dominant fish and do the same. I don't have any hospital tank at the moment, nor extra filter, but I have a plastic pot about 10"x10" (6" high) and an airstone, or some clean trash-bins 10"x12", maybe 2 feet high. I could fill any of those with tank water as I'm due for a water change today.

Oh, I just remembered : I have a sponge filter with an 800LPH power head. I never used them but I'm sure I could make them work – However it might be too strong for a small hospital tank.

If I don't use the sponge filter, I would do daily water changes.

Question is, does he look like he should be isolated now and rehomed ?
 
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jpaquatics

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I definitely don’t think he should be isolated because he is a schooling fish so will likely becomes more stressed by being alone/changing the environment. Something I thought of—is he the only one being bullied? Are the glo tetras getting bullied? I feel like if the gourami was the one doing the bullying they’d all be having some fin issues. That makes me think it’s the glo tetras that maybe just aren’t accepting him and the Serpae. Let me know what you think.
 
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OuiBonjour

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Yes, that's what I thought too, since I see occasional chasing between them (the glo black skirts, the white, the black) and even the Serpae - but I rarely see the Gourami chasing or being chased. He seems to ignore everyone and be ignored by them as well. I know Tetras chase each other a lot to establish hierarchy, but it's been a while since I've had them I would have thought pecking order would have been established by now.

And also, like you said the glo ones and the white skirt have no nipped fins. Oh and by isolating, it was only in the intent of letting him heal his fins and then rehome him if he's being bullied, if I need to come to that. I makes me sad to see him like that because not too long ago he was always the most interested about my presence, he was looking at me and interacting with me (well the gourami too, but none of the others care about me lol)

PS : As for the Serpae, I thought his analfin was nipped because of its shape but the white outline follows the shape of the fin and I googled other pictures of Serpaes and a lot of them have that shape. So I think it's just the Black BST that is getting all the heat. What would you suggest ?

I know cichlid owners usually change all of the decoration in their tanks sometimes to "reset" the territories which gives a break tothe bullied ones, but for one my GF really love the setup of that tank so I would like to avoid this if possible, and also : they're schooling fish so I don't believe it would be about territories right ?
 
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OuiBonjour

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I removed the lid so that they think it's feeding time again, so that they all get active, and I filmed for 3 minutes.

It seems like everyone is doing a little of chasing , but towards the end of the video it really seems to be the yellow one that chases the black the most :

 
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