Strange swordtail behaviour towards neon tetras

Discussion in 'Neon Tetra' started by Disc10, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Disc10

    Disc10New MemberMember

    Or maybe blindingly obvious, I guess that's why I'm asking. ;D

    Over the last few hours I've noticed my Swordtails (one male and one female) occasionally swim up to a Neon or two and very gently have a quick nibble at them (Or near them, it's hard to tell at times), then go about their business. The Neons will swim away mostly but not with much urgency. The neons aren't showing any signs of illness as far as I can tell, and the Swordtails are generally keeping to themselves so I'm not sure if there's anything I should be worried about. I might be worth knowing that the Neons have mostly been staying in one area of the tank in the last couple of hours, slowly moving about. I'm not sure if it's a sign of anything or if they're just chilling out! :cool:

    ... and just as I wrote that I found a dead Neon, leaving me with three. No signs of illness or injury at all. The tank is still cycling and I was advised that a few fish would help, but I'm starting to regret getting any at this point. I just feel bad for the poor fish. :-[ The swordtails don't seem to be bothered though, I just hope that really is the case.
  2. Zenial

    ZenialValued MemberMember

    They're an interesting choice of fish to cycle your tank using fish. Most use zebra danios or goldfish - something near invincible. But they're there now, your swordtails should be ok.

    Do the neeon tetra's have any damaged fins? Signs of being nibbled on.

    How are your water parameters at the moment?
  3. bass master

    bass masterWell Known MemberMember

    if you recently put the fish in, they may just be establishing territories and hopefully the aggression will slowly go away. Neons are pretty docile fish although I have seen some swordtails that get a little bit territorial but in general they dont do much harm. Id just keep your eye out for any damage on the neons. Also, 6 fish is a bit much for cycling a tank your size, especially with swordtails as they can be over 4" very often. Be sure to be changing your water very frequently until your tank is fully cycled
  4. OP

    Disc10New MemberMember

    Well, I only have two now, I found another dead neon.

    Looking at the two I have left there are signs of fin nipping. They're exploring more of the tank again as usual.

    A test with Tetra 6 in 1 Test strip tells me:
    NO3: 100mg/l
    NO2: 10mg/l
    GH: 16dH
    KH: 6d
    pH: 8.0
    Cl2: 0mg/l

    According to the test strips everything but NO3 and NO2 is in acceptable parameters.

    A Waterlife drip test for ammonia tells me there is no ammonia in the tank.
  5. bass master

    bass masterWell Known MemberMember

    your nitrite and nitrate are way above where the should be. Nitrite should be at 0 ideally but since your tank is cycling it should go down soon. Your nitrate on the other hand should never get that high, you need to do water changes to keep your nitrate under 20. Nitrite is very toxic to fish and is probably why your neons are dying so quickly. Nitrate is less toxic but when they reach levels like that in your tank it can quickly kill off your fish. You need to start daily water changes asap... While your tank is cycling you should do water changes about every other day to keep ammonia and nitrite levels as low as possible. I would start off by doing a 50% water change asap and then continue with 30% water changes daily until u get 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and <20 nitrate.

    also, a much lesser issue, your pH is a little bit off what neons prefer. That is probably causing additional stress and may be why they are dying off before your swordtails. Neons prefer much more acidic water (5.5-7.5) so you may want to lower your pH more to the range of 7.0, although dont worry about your pH until your nitrite and nitrates are much better...
  6. OP

    Disc10New MemberMember

    Thank you for the advice, I shall get on it straight away.
  7. Prince Powder

    Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    Hello Disc10 and welcome to Fishlore!

    I'm sorry about your fish loss. I'm glad you already know about the nitrogen cycle. Here are a few pointers that can help you along. First of all you received some bad advice when it was recommended you cycle with fish. Cycling is very hard on fish since they are exposed to toxins like ammonia and nitrite during the process. Even the hardiest of species can succumb to the exposure. My guess is that your losing the neons because they are actually a very sensitive fish who do not respond well in uncycled tanks. There are some things you can do to help your fish through the cycling process though. First of all I would recommend doing a large water change of about 50% as bassmaster2010 recommended followed by daily water changes of 30-50%. I would also recommend investing in a quality liquid test kit. Strips are very unreliable and can be completely inaccurate at times so you can't necessarily trust the readings they provide. I had to google the products you added and I wonder about the Waterlife Bacterlife. Almost all bacterial supplements on the market do not contain the correct bacteria to properly cycle a tank. I would recommend you discontinue the use of the Bacterlife and rely only on the water changes for now. I would recommend also getting a water conditioner that not only removes chlorine and such, but also detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. Two excellent products for this are Prime by Seachem and Amquel Plus by Kordon. The daily water changes will keep your levels lowered, but the Prime or Amquel Plus will keep any ammonia and nitrite detoxified for 24 hours between changes while still leaving them available for your bacteria to feed on.

    I would not recommend doing anything with your pH. For one thing with test strips you can't even be sure how accurate of a reading that is, for another while cycling your pH will bounce around until finally settling to it's true value after the cycle is done. While it is true that it is higher than neons prefer, most fish will adapt to a pH outside their normal range so long as they are properly acclimated and the pH is kept steady. Using chemicals like pH Up or pH Down leaves the pH very unsteady and susceptible to crashes. Just start the daily water changes with either Prime or Amquel Plus and you'll get your tank cycled, hopefully all your remaining fish will make it through.
    Good luck!
  8. OP

    Disc10New MemberMember

    Thank you for the information, I'm certain it'll prove handy ;D

    I've just finished a water change and the test strips now say that I'm down to 5mg/l of NO2, which is an improvement. I also saw a couple baby swordtails swimming about near the plants! From the size of them they must have been in there a while as they're not to far off being to big to get eaten, so hopefully They'll do okay.

    Unfortunately I'm down to one last Neon:-\
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010