So, I Have This Indian Glass Fish...

  • #1
I have a Painted Glass Fish (its not of any color, so I find it safe to assume that it can just be referred to as an Indian Glass Fish), 3 Black Neon Tetras (not skirted), 4 Red Neon Tetras and 3 Glow-Lite Tetras in an 18 gallon fish tank. Mind you, this isn't an average wide one but stands rather tall. Yes, I know it is quite peculiar. At the same time, I've had this fish tank for a long time.

I have this concern over my 'Glass Fish', that they are lonely among the tetras? (When I called the fish store where I had gotten them from and where I go to about my fish questions, they said that they should do find among the other tetras.) However, would they still be lonely being the non-tetra?

It's hard to tell when they're schooling/shoaling and such due to the longer tank in opposition to wide. My dad thinks that we should give him some friends of his own kind and while I would love to provide that to my fish .... I don't believe we have the room for it due to the sizes of the fish and while it is possible that they might not ALL grow to maximum size, I'd just like to be on the safe side!

So what should I do? Get more friends for my Glass Fish? Is my Glass Fish alright among the others?

I haven't had them too long, but I have noticed behaviors such as bumping into the glass, racing up and down the side of the tank and today? Hiding beneath the driftwood. It is a bit colder in the tank and I'm trying to fix that.

I'm also trying to fix with the rather high Nitrate levels by having done detoxifying of ammonia, nitrates and the like with these drops I got at the store and having been told to put in a specific amount every other day for 7 days. I called them today after finishing this and checking the water to see that the nitrate levels were still high! I was told to do a 20% water change then check after 24 hours to see what happens.

I plan on doing this tomorrow, as I had to wait for my dad to come from work to tell him what was going on.

So... perhaps these high nitrate levels are causing my Glass Fish to be stressed out?

I realize that this is a lot, and I apologize. I would just like to get everything straight and on the table so all y'all can analyze my situation properly!

  • #2
I would definitely add in more glass fish, because they are shoaling species who prefer at least 6 or so. However, assuming this is a tall tank with less surface area, I would say your current stocking, if you keep at least 6+ individuals per species, is overstocked. Pick 2 of those species and stock at least 6 of them per species.

How well planted is your tank? Maybe the glass fish, in addition to being lonely, also has trouble hiding. Adding live plants will also slightly help with the nitrate levels, although if you're that high, also do a water change and see what happens. (pick species like java ferns, anubias, or java moss if your substrate isn't potting soil/black diamond blasting sand/planted tank substrate, or alternatively, grow pothos or lucky bamboo such that the leaves aren't underwater)

Could you also provide a pic of the tank? We love to see your tank progress and could also point out how to improve it
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  • #3
I very much appreciate your feedback! So, in regards of picking two and stocking at least 6- would that be referring to future reference? As if I were to do that it would be DEFINITELY overstocking. What would I do with my other fish? Because.. I only really have the one tank and I would hate to get rid of the other ones. What should I do there?

As far as plants go, I only have the three fake plants but two real pieces of drift wood that I had previously soaked before putting in the tank originally. I also have this castle decoration that they mostly hide behind rather than inside of (as it's more of a hallow cylinder with windows.)

Sure thing about the tank! I would love to get some feedback, I want my fish to be happy and healthy!

Side note: I currently don't have one of the drift wood pieces as when I had seen the fuzz I took it out because I wasn't sure what to make of it at first and have yet to put it back in.

ALSO! When I took the picture (its about 2am here so I assume the fish are at the bottom because they are sleeping) my Glass Fish appears to be up and swimming around. So.. I'm hoping its a good sign that he's moving and just not in one place?


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  • #4
All the types of fish you have right now would benefit being in a group of 6+ same species and I personally think you're a bit over stocked, and definitely would be if you upped your numbers to 6 each! That would also explain the high nitrates. The best plan of action would be to 1. get a larger tank (preferably wider than tall) and up each group to 6+, 2. get a 2nd tank and split up the types of fish and increase their numbers, or 3. rehome some of your fish to either a friend's tank or to a LFS (not a chain store like Petco/smart!!) So you had two species remaining and up their numbers to 6+. You could probably add in a centerpiece fish too. If you take some fish to a LFS, they will often times give you store credit to use on other fish.

The best way to get your nitrates down would to do more water changes until your BB can keep up with the ammonia load. Have you tested your water source for ammonia/ nitrite/ nitrate? Because if that's case, water changes won't help and you'd have to find a new water source.

As for your tank, I recommend adding more plants with a variety of heights. The silk plants are better as the plastic plants can tear your fish's fins. Real plants are best and generally cost the same or less than fake plants. Another, taller decoration could do too. To make your fish feel most secure, they need several areas where they can't be seen from any direction. Test any decoration or fake plant for sharp edges by running pantyhose over it. If it snags, the decoration won't do.

I also recommend you move the heater down a few inches. If any part of the heater is above the water, it will malfunction, over heat, and possibly explode, shattering your tank as well!
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  • #5
Wow, thanks so much for the great information! My dad just went to work so after I do the water change today and head to work myself I'll talk to him when I can about it. He's been sort of wanting a bigger tank but unfortunately I don't believe we have the funds or the materials to handle that. I'll definitely think about the third option though, as I do want my fish to be quite happy. Though it's quite strange considering the fact that the woman at my local fish store had said that (when I called her yesterday) that my glass fish should be fine considering they appear to be fine on their own in the tanks. (Because apparently the glass fish are alone in the tanks most of the time, it seems. When I had found the glass fish originally they were by themselves.)

[If this is true, would it be bad to give the glass fish back if they're going to be alone?]

My dad and I are aware of the water sources having those things, so we usually treat it in a container before pouring it into our tank. I think the tall decorations are a good idea so they aren't as exposed in the top! I'll be sure to look into providing the best plants for my fish.

As far as my heater goes, my dad had warned me about such things so only the nozzle to adjust the temperature is above the water.

At the same time, I do have a few questions now:

- Would adding new decorations take away any space from my fish 'breathing-wise?' While I know they enjoy hiding under things, is there the danger of having too many and or 'too big' of the decorations/plants? If so, would I have to try and have less fish (no more than 6 of two species) so having too much fish wouldn't take away from the 'breathing room' of the other fish ALONG SIDE of the decorations?

- While I don't doubt that my fish are overstocked, how do I know this? As a few times I have checked the maximum measurements of each fish breed added to make sure it was less than 18. (Following the 1-inch per gallon rule) I would like to know this so I can be able to figure this out for myself next time around

Thanks so much!
  • #6
Sorry for replying a bit late, the 1 inch per gallon rule is stupid: do you really want to have that 10 inch oscar in a 10 gallon?! There's a rule based on the surface area of the tank, but even then it's only a guide. It takes intuition to know how many fish you can comfortably accomodate. Tell us the dimensions of the tank and what you plan to stock the tank with. I (or an even more experienced user) can provide feedback.
  • #7
Wow, thanks so much for the great information! My dad just went to work so after I do the water change today...

It's hard to find a pet store employee who knows what they're actually talking about. It's really up to you if you want to return it. You can always try to give it away yourself; there's a buy, sell, trade section of fishlore. But between keeping it or giving it back to the store, in my opinion it's be better off in your tank, as you actually care what happens to the fish. That's my opinion tho.

When treating tap water before it goes in the tank, you're usually just removing any chlorine in the water. But any ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates would still be in there. I suggest using your test kit to test your tap water for ammonia. If your tap water has ammonia in it, that could be the reason for your high nitrates, and no matter how many water changes you do, you'll still have ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

As for the "breathing room", I mean, technically yes decorations will take away from the amount of oxygen your fish have through water volume displacement. But you don't really need to worry about it unless you get a really really big rock lol. Oxygen in the water comes from surface agitation, airstones, and live plants. Aka, the more bubbles you make in your tank, the more oxygen for your fish. You just don't want so many bubbles that it creates a current too strong for your fish to swim. A good way to find a nice balance of swim space and hiding space is to sketch out a picture of your tank and draw in what you think is a good amount of decor. Also, here is a helpful link:

The inch per gallon rule is waaayyyy outdated and should not be used anymore. What I do is I go to and then double check on here. Aquadvisor is a great stocking calculator that will alert you of red flags, but it's also not 100% accurate, so it's importaint to do your research and double check with fishlorians, just to be sure.
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  • #8
Oh- whoops! Yeah, that sounds about right about the inch per gallon rule and such. Thanks so much, all of you ! My father and I actually did recently check the ammonia in the water, and it honestly doesn't have much so it appears that water changes should be helping. However these water changes appear to be ineffective as there is just too much in the gravel for me to try and change with just water changes. Also, I'm sure it would just stress them out and I really don't want to do that. Yesterday my father and I got some gravel that we intend on changing in our fish tank since our gravel is... quite outdated and dirty.

The dimensions of my fish tank is quite bizarre:
- 23.5 Inches tall.
- 19 3/4 in length.
- 10 1/8 inches wide.

Once again thanks SO much for all of your help!

Also, we're looking at new fish tanks
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Hi! A bit of a bump/update. I'm afraid within the month I haven't changed my situation any, but I'm more looking into obtaining another fish tank so I can try and put two of each group in two fish tanks. I've checked outand a variety of other means of research, and I'm beginning to form a plan of having an ADDITIONAL fish tank at around 30 gallons to accompany about 6 Indian Glass Fish and 6 Glowlight Neon Tetras.

(Well, I'd be wrong if I said that I hadn't changed my situation entirely. I've recently found out that my water parameter tester was incorrect due to it growing old. There is a fish establishment that I used to go to who have been in the game for about 20 years (according to their website) and my dad really trusts their judgement. Not to mention- I replaced the gravel into a nice various shades of blue color which I think REALLY helped! Not exactly with aesthetic but also with keeping the fish tank levels at a nice pace because of all the gunk that old gravel held. That fish establishment (Stingray Bay) does it's water checks for free and the woman said that they were at a good level- "I'd be happy with these levels if they were in my fish tank!" They also said that I could afford to add a few more fish.

See, my Indian Glass Fish is still quite anxious and all over the place and I'm considering getting him about two friends just to get him by until I can get another fish tank. I know my fish tank is a bit overcrowded enough, but I don't like seeing my Indian Glass fish in such a state . So, would it be okay if I were to give them two more?

While I am aware it's good to get two fish tanks (and of higher sizes), I think it would end up being more realistic for me to try and get one at a time. I'm considering an around 30 gallon to place the Indian Glass Fish into as well as the Glowlight Tetras and leaving the Red Neon Tetras and Black Neon Tetras (and making it to where there's six of each of them) in my 18 gallon. However, that would be 18.6 inches out of the 17.96 (rounded up to 18) my fish tank can hold. So, would going over really be that bad- or should I go through with the idea of leaving those two neon types in the 18 gallon?

Perhaps I am a little over my head over this? I realize I really have dug a hole for myself by not exactly doing my research and getting a variety of each kind (not to mention with the Indian Glass Fish) and I just want to take the best course of action.

Thanks for the understanding and the help

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