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Neon Tetras Fighting And Nipping Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Invertebrates' started by surajk, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. surajkValued MemberMember

    My 6 neon Tetras that had been really well behaved have suddenly started biting and nipping at each other. It seems like one is doing most of it, but another one is fighting back. I think I upset the social dynamics of the tank by getting rid of the only other fish in tank, 2 female guppies who were bigger than the Tetras. One of the guppies was aggressive - not why I got rid of her, but she was the queen of the tank.

    So it's been a crappy week. I had one of the guppies give birth and 7 fry survived. I've never had any survive in previous tanks but then I had goldfish and way less hiding place before. I belatedly realised that I do not have the time to manage live bearers (duh) and got rid of the mommy guppies before the other could pop. Gave them back to the lfs. I kept the fry. Plan is, if they grow well, I'll sex them at 4 wks, give the females to the lfs, keep the males.

    Now, Right after I gave the guppies away, the neon Tetras started this new behaviour, actually one of them started it. The smallest one is the most aggressive. He was always a little bit of an outlaw, he'd usually swim away from the group the most. Another one seems totgive him what for if he picks on him. These guys are all young'uns, about 3/4th inch. The guppies were fully grown, around 1.5in.

    So what should I do?
    1. Buy 2 more tetras to make the group larger? 10g tank, would get a little overstocked. Also have a zebra snail
    2. Buy any other slightly larger fish? Again .same issue
    3. Do nothing, let them work it out?
    4. Buy a betta, let him make short work of everyone else and then rule over the wasteland? (I'm joking... I think :)

    Options I do not have :
    1. Buying a bigger tank
  2. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    It might be matingbehaviour.
  3. surajkValued MemberMember

    That would be nice, if it is :)
    Let me try to describe the behaviour;

    This one fish, let's call it alpha, is usually a little further from the others. one of the other neons comes closer to alpha, alpha ignores it until it comes close enough, and alpha darts at it, usually from above, and chases it away, and is quiet again for a little while. It happens with many different neons. When alpha does this to one particular neon, there a circling fight, where they're whirling around each other trying to go for each others bellies. I've seen this last for upto 5 seconds. After one of these episodes, alpha is generally alone while the other neons are bunched up.

    It doesn't seem like usual mating behavior, but then it's been years since I've kept tetras .I also thought Tetras need perfect conditions to breed, and I'm far from it. Water too warm and hard - 26degc and Ph of 8, clear water, lots of light.

    Any ideas? I'll try to post a video when I can.
  4. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Strange thing in neons mostly the Alpha is a female (bigger)
  5. surajkValued MemberMember

    Thanks DoubleDutch. Appreciate the responses, just not sure what to make of it..

    Here's a quick clip of the behavior. What do you think?
  6. surajkValued MemberMember

    Added 3 more Neon Tetras. Behaviour has significantly improved. A little bit of chasing and nipping and mostly at mealtimes but nothing like the above behavior. I think they were stressed by a small group size - maybe they saw the guppies as part of the school, and when they were gone they got stressed.
  7. DoubleDutchFishlore LegendMember

    Watched the vid. Don't think it is mating but more establishing a (new) peckingorder.
  8. surajkValued MemberMember

    Thanks DoubleDutch. That makes sense. I must've upset the group dynamics when I pulled the biggest fish out of the tank and they went into a new pecking order establishment. When I introduced the next three, the aggressive one went into solitary for a bit, hiding under the coconut shells. Now he's back and they're a nice integrated group, spread out but schooling during wcs and no pecking during meals. Also added some blackwater extract for the tank, thinking it might help them calm down. They seem to love it, and I love the tint :)