Neons & Serpaes

  • #1
I am new to forums (except for reading) and also new to owning tetras, so if this post is too long, I am sorry.
I have a 10 gal tank a few fake plants and a cave the fish can swim through.
After cycling the tank, yes I learned that from here, lol, I started with 3 neon tetras. 2 of them hung together, the other seemed to like to do his own thing.
A week later (yesterday) I added 2 neon tetras and 2 serpae. For a total of 5x neon and 2x serpae. They all seem to get along well, although I think the serpae get a kick out of swimming through the neons and scattering them. Every now and then, there is a little chasing, but so far no nipping. The neons are not really schooling as I would have hoped.
When I got home, I read on another forum that these 2 types of tetra do not get along, but I was encouraged to see a post here that someone else had both and they were fine. The 2 new neons have fat bellys, I asked if they were pregnant, but my LFS said they had been over fed.

I am thinking about adding maybe 1 more neon and another serpae....or 2 serpae. I don't want to over crowd the tank.

I guess my question is, how am I doing and are the fat bellys really ok?

Any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated.
I can try and post a picture if anyone is interested.

Lucy x
  • #2
Sounds like you are doing great! I'm pretty sure your serpae and neons are fine there most likely playing. Your neons should school just give them time to get used to there surroundings. Fat belly's are usually a sign of over feeding just keep an eye on them and try not to feed them to much.
Oh and welcome to the forums
  • #3
Yes, do remember that a fish's stomach is only as big as its eye, and those are pretty small fish, so you only need to feed them a few crunched-up flakes at a time. The usually principle is to only feed them what they eat in 3-5 minutes, so watch them at feeding time, and that'll help you adjust to how much food they need.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you both for your input
The serpae are doing fine. I've been mindful of the feeding and the 2 no longer have fat bellys.
However, a couple of the neons are nipping at each other. Would it help to add a couple more?
  • #5
In a tank that size, the fish will likely not school together the way you may be hoping. This is something I've tried in larger tanks with different fish with little success (to this day I am unsure why). Occasional nipping is not something to be concerned about. Adding more will likely reduce this as a problem, but is not necessary.
  • #6
Tetras are schooling fish, so I would add a few more Serpaes.

They usually only school tightly when they're nervous, so yours sound quite happy in their home.

Neons may bicker and nip, but do no damage to each other.
  • #7
Actually it is good if neons are fatter. The thinner they are the more prone they are to dying. You can tell if neons are underfed, or not eating enough. They should be more of an oval from the side view.

If their bottom half goes straight across instead of rounded, then they aren't getting enough to eat.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Swords, thank you for the picture, and information it was very helpful. my 5 neons look like that. The 2 I was concerned about had much bigger bellies.
Barbrella, Thank you for your reply. I was hoping to add a couple more serpae.

Pistora, thank you, it's ok if they don't school, I just don't want them hurting each other. A couple of the neons do have tail damage. I started out with only 3 neons and they were fine with each other, they started nipping a few days after I added 2 neon and 2 serpae. It is a 10 gal, after reading and learning so much from this site, the following would be all my tank could handle:

6x neon 3x serpae (this was my original plan) or
5x neon 4x serpae or
7x neon 2x serpae

and some type of small algae eater in the future.

Since neons are being mean to each other, I am at a loss as to what to do now. I am going to the store today and getting more plants to provide cover for them.

Any suggestions?
  • #9
More cover is probably the best thing. My serpae squabble among themselves, and sometimes do split up and go to their 'corners' in the plants to take a break from each other.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
1st pic....neons were nipping each other.
2nd pic added more plants and a background to control nipping, however, one neon has claimed the center and keeps 'patrol' chasing any neon who dares to enter. (The background makes it look more planted than it is)
Should I add plants to the center or add a couple of neon? I hesitate to do this with so much nipping going on.
Thank you, in advance for any help.
  • #11
I find with my neons that they will only eat what's really tiny and what's floating down towards the bottom of the tank, so I crumble the flakes real tiny and push them threw the water surface with my finger when i'm adding them. Otherwise my Neon's would never come to the top to eat. They just don't.
  • #12
I have a tank with neons and serpaes and the food that I give them that spreads through the water is either crisps (they sink faster than flakes) or frozen fish food that breaks apart and spreads throughout the tank. This ensures that all of the fish get food if one or two of them are being territorial.

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