Strange Black Skirt Tetra Behavior Question

Discussion in 'Tetras' started by natejx, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. natejxNew MemberMember

    I'm pretty new at this and have a question about my black skirt tetras. I have 3 of them and all of them just hang out at the bottom of the tank. When I feed them they won't go to the top to feed, they wait till the flakes fall down in front of them, then they snag them. When I turn the lights off they will swim a few inches higher but still mostly stick to the bottom.

    My questions are:
    1 - Is sticking to the bottom normal? I have two red claw crabs, hoping they would "push" the BSTs up, but that hasn't happened. Also would getting some top swimmers help?
    2 - How can I get them to eat at the top?

    The set up:
    -Started the tank Nov, 7.
    -Added 3 BSTs Nov, 9 after running the tank over the weekend.
    -Added 2 Red Claw Crabs Nov 24.
    -GH 0, KH 240, pH 7.5, NO2 0, NO3 0-10 ppm
    -Ammonia not sure - had the water tested around the 18th and the guy said there was a little but a normal amount for a new tank.
    -Temp 75
    -Not sure what watts the lights are. They are 2 incandescent bulbs that come in the top fin 15 gal starter kit.

    This is a picture of my tank. I've heard that I need enough plants for them to feel comfortable. Is this an ok amount?

    Usually at least one of these guys is hiding so this is an unusual photo of all of them in the open. This is the level they typically hang out at. When the lights are off they will swim 2-3 inches higher.
  2. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Nate and Welcome to Fish Lore!
    The link above may help you a bit.
    I'm afraid that your tank may not be cycled. I see that you just started the tank November 9th.
    The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
    Not knowing your ammonia levels can be hazardous. Even the slightest amount of ammonia can be fatal to your fish. I would like to suggest that if you have the means to purchase a liquid API Master Test Kit. The strips can be very unreliable and inaccurate. You should have readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and under 20 nitrates and your tank is cycled.

    I'd recommend a 30 to 50% water change and add some Prime or Amquel + or some chemical to detox the ammonia for a 24 hour period. This will give you a little time to check on the API Master Test Kit. Too, you can buy each separate if you choose. I would surely buy the Ammonia one.

    Your tank and fish are beautiful!
  3. peacemaker92

    peacemaker92Well Known MemberMember

    Just want to Welcome you To FISHLORE! :;wv

    Great links and info from Ken. Good luck and hope everything gets better soon. ;D
  4. OP

    natejxNew MemberMember

    Woah, good call on the ammonia levels! I went and bought a test kit (API) and the ammonia level was at about 2.0 ppm. I did a 50% water change and added Amquel+. I'll let you know how things go.

    ps, thanks for the compliment aquarist48 :)
  5. OP

    natejxNew MemberMember


    After using the Amquel+ the ammonia levels are very close to zero. The fish are still acting the same but I didn't expect them to change in a day. I'll give it a couple of days and if they still act funny I'll be back with more questions!

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