Skittish red phantom tetras. Worried they're not eating. Help?

Discussion in 'Tetras' started by rengadx17, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. rengadx17 New Member Member

    I purchased a 20 gallon long tank and began to cycle it. The tank has now completed its nitrogen cycle. I decided to add 3 red phantom tetras to the tank to start out (I plan to add more of these fish in the coming weeks as I know they enjoy being in schools). However, the problem I'm having is that I've noticed they are very skittish - if you come near the tank or make any inadvertent sudden movements, they quickly swim away to the very back of the tank behind various plants and rocks and stay there until you've move away or they can't see you any longer. The problem is that I can't tell if they're eating or even know that they're being fed because the swim away the second I get close in order to feed them. It seems that the food just floats at the surface of the water for awhile and eventually just sinks to the bottom without them noticing. They've stayed alive for several weeks now without any problems so I'm assuming they just find food scraps laying around the bottom of the tank, but I'm not entirely sure. Maybe this behavior will be different when they're in a larger school and feel more secure?

    Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.


  2. BornThisWayBettas Fishlore VIP Member

    Welcome to Fish Lore!!!! Pleasure to meet you! :)

    It's very likely that they'll become less skittish when they're in a school of six or more, as being in smaller numbers can cause them to be that way and/or nippish. My aunt's glofish tetras behave similarly though, as whenever you get near the tank they dart away to the far side of the tank and huddle together. But her tank hardly has any décor, how much does yours have?

  3. MtnTiger Well Known Member Member

    Yes, you need more fish and enough décor that they feel safe.
  4. rengadx17 New Member Member

    That's what I figured. I feel like the tank has plenty of decor - I have two large zebra rocks, around 10 lives plants and two pieces of spider driftwood. I think their behavior will change once I add more of them to the tank. Attached is a picture of the tank.

    They're actually super active when I move away from the tank and am at a distance. Super cool to watch them swim around! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2018
  5. BornThisWayBettas Fishlore VIP Member

    Your tank does look pretty well decorated, I love those zebra rocks! They might also need some time to get used to you, as odd as that sounds.
  6. ClearEyes Well Known Member Member

    The schooling thing is certainly a factor, but they're also still getting used to their new home and their strange new human overlord :) A lot of my fish would swim away in terror at first when I sat down in front of the tank. If I put my hand up to the tank, they'd flee as well. Nowadays, I can put my hand up to the tank and wave it in their faces, and they don't flinch. When I sit down, they all go to the top, assuming it's mealtime :) So give it some time.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  7. Et tu Valued Member Member

    Nice tank, if you add a dark background to the back glass, it will help them feel less like prey.
  8. MtnTiger Well Known Member Member

    Very pretty set up and I agree that you have plenty of cover. Good luck.