New to everything fish

Discussion in 'Welcome to FishLore' started by Hakouna, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. HakounaNew MemberMember

    Hello, I'm new to everything fish-like: Aquarium care, cycling, fish care, ph, etc.

    So I'll just start the story of how I got to where I am in detail. My dad gave me a standard 10 gallon tank, 3 serpae tetras and a plecostomus. I got some small pebble like rocks as the flooring, and 3 plastic plant decorations. This is my first time taking care of fish so I read online about serpae tetras then saw that they needed to stay in schools of 5-6 or more. So I got 3 more. A week later, I noticed my fish not swimming around the middle much but stayed fairly low in the tank. They didn't seem sick, they actually look a lot better than from when I got them from the pet store. Fuller fins and better color. I thought it was the lighting, so I made a light cover to dim the light a bit and moved around the decorations. After that they started to swim around more, even to the top! They seemed fine for awhile, but they were picky about the flakes I gave them. They favored only eatting the red flakes from my multicolored flakes. After some time I went out and got 3 more serpae tetras (9 total) and Omega One Super Color flakes (because they're reddish). Another week passes, I noticed my fish seemed very scared and jumpy. So I made a background out of construction paper so they'd feel more secure and safe. Waited about a week then I changed the rock flooring to some gravel. Now the fish seem to being doing fine, they swim around, and chase each other.

    Here's my problem: My dad's serpae tetras in his tank don't seem too scared when i walk over, He has 5 in a 15-20 gallon tank? with a bunchload of other different fish. But, my 9 serpaes are very timid and are scared easily especially when i walk over to feed them :( They'll group up at first, then notice food and then just feed. They don't freak out when I sit next to them and watch them, but when I walk over they group up immediately. They're most likely stressed right? From the gravel changing, to the lighting switch, adding new tetras and decoration adjustments.

    -What can I do to help them not be as easily freaked out? Maybe I'm just freaking out. Should I just be patient? I think I've done all I can do.
    -How do I get my serpae tetras more red?
    -Do I have too many serpae tetras in a 10 gallon? (9 total)
    -Can someone give me a better description or pictures to tell the difference between male serpaes and and female serpaes? More colorful, less colorful and fuller body just doesn't really paint the picture for me.

    I've done more reading in the past weeks about these fish than I've read in 4 years. A lot of websites say that serpae tetras are easy beginner fish. But they seem like they're fish that gets easily stressed. "They're stress is giving me stress because they're stressed." I just want them to be happy. I feel like I should just give my fish to my dad and get a betta instead. But I enjoy watching a bunch of little fish run around and chase each other in a tank, not one that just floats around.

    and now I'm here, thanks for reading.
  2. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    first off- WELCOME TO THE FORUM :;bananarow
    not sure on the stocking of the tank (suck at telling when a tank is too heavily stocked) but i can tell you that they are skttish because there are no other fish. the other fish are called dithers, they swim around and signify that there are no predators around. when the serpaes see the other fish they think "oh, there are other fish swimming around, there must not be any predators". your profile says that you do not know about the nitrogen cycle. the word "cycle" should become a link you can click on. before you get any more fish read as much on the cycle as you can and try to aquire the API Master test kit (think that is the right one) so you can test your water and determine what part of the cycle you are in.

  3. EthanWell Known MemberMember

    well what kind of pleco is it common or bristle/clown. if it is a common pleco you will need to take it back because it will get huge

  4. bankruptjojoFishlore VIPMember

    honestly they would like a tank that is at least 30in long. they like swimming room. your 10g is deff overstocked, if i were you id upgrade to a 29g if possible.

    so is your 10g cycled? if not that could be causing them stress. the only way to know if your tank is cycled is to test it with a liquid test kit. the test strips are to inaccurate, most here use API master freshwater test kit. they run around $20 and will last you a long time.

    welcome to fishlore!

    edit.. yes some plecos get huge and would need nothing less thank a 6ft tank. some stay smaller, try to find out what kind it is.

    i dont think serpae tetras need dither fish...
  5. GordinianWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore!

    I don't think they need other fish in the tank. Tetras are supposed to be the dithers! lol. They're probably just stressed from the move from the pet store to your tank, then because of all the changes. I do think that you have a few too many in a 10 gallon; I'm actually not sure if they'll need a larger tank then a 10 gallon, because tetras are generally pretty active fish. I think if you lower your school to around 6 you should be good. You could add them to your dad's tank, but make sure his won't be overstocked from adding them.

    Do you still have the pleco? I'd assume it is a common pleco, correct? These need large tanks, around 75 gallons, and he should probably be rehomed. They're also large waste producers, so your tank will get much dirtier much faster.

    If you do decide to go with 6 serpaes, you would then have room for a small centerpiece, like a gourami or a friendly betta. That might also help the serpaes to come out of their shell.

    A few good things to know if you have an aquarium-

    *the nitrogen cycle (fish produce ammonia, which must be converted into nitrite, which must be converted into nitrate; beneficial must build up in your tank, especially in the filter media, and this bacteria will help to convert ammonia into nitrite into nitrate- the link explains it better)
    *once your tank is cycled, you'll need to do at least 25% weekly water changes to keep your nitrate levels down; you should get a gravel syphon and syphon out some of the gravel when you do water changes
    *make sure you have a filter and heater
    *most fish will adjust to pH, so you shouldn't need to be too concerned about it
  6. klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Serpaes are fin nippers, so the betta probably isn't a good idea. And I personally think 6 in a 10 gallon is pushing it, but that would be all I put in the 10 gallon.
  7. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    not true. i know someone from another forum that had about 10-12 neon tetras in a tank with themselves and they would hide constantly. another person responded and said that he had the same problem till he added danios to get some activity. needless to say the neons became more active.

    i also agree with the others- if it is a common pleco (or any other kind of pleco for that matter) i would take the pleco back because no matter what type of pleco they will always produce lots of waste, and then get some cory cats. i think that pygmy cories would work best. if you do take the advise here and you try to get a larger tank you could get bronze cories instead of the pygmies.
  8. HakounaNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all of the replies everyone. Fish owner communities are truly friendly people.

    I think I'll take out some fish, test the water and wait it out for now.
  9. Quinn_Lamb98Well Known MemberMember

    good choice:p
  10. AvaValued MemberMember

    Sounds like a good plan! Welcome to FishLore. :)
  11. AnthonyC4CWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the forums TOTALLY get a BIGGER Tank... you like watching them swim around...give the space to do it :)

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