Stressed/skittish pearl danio

  1. s hawk Well Known Member Member

    I have a 5.5 barebottom tank with three pearl danios. I also have some anubias and my lights are on for 12 hours a day now. I do not have any algae problems, other than a couple splotches in the corners, and some light brown algae growth on my airline and its suction cups. Tank is in 70 to 78 range. Normally its pretty steady, however I know pearls like cooler temps and I will unplug my heater as the room is warm enough. I tested my water during my last WC (Saturday) and it was 0,0, then like 5-10 or so on nitrate. Now before I describe whats going on I need a slight disclaimer. I know I am right at stocking level, and a 5.5 is small for danios. When I bought the fish I needed something hardy that was not a betta, live bearer, and what I could find in a little college town. I cannot return these fish to the store, and rehome is not an option (unless family member starts up 29 again and wants them). I might get a bigger tank down the road but would only be a 10 gallon max as I have to move it every year. I am also a college student and don't have that much money to spend on fish. Sorry for being so blunt but had to get it out there.

    Now for the fish
    For the last couple of days one danio has been stressed and extremely skittish/easy to startle. Yesterday I came up to the tank (a little quickly) and he ballistic around the tank. Today the same happened but I kinda stomped on accident and shook the tank. That one makes sense on why he is skittish. Even slowly approaching the tank startles him. As I am sitting next to the tank now he is acting normal, although he seems to be at the bottom of the pecking order. I also put an old plastic plant from an old family members tank in there as cover and that kinda helps it seems (although it out of a 29 and looks huge in my 5.5).

    • Pearl danio acting skittish, and colors are more faded than rest (stress sign)
      • Solution A-Do nothing just watch it
      • Solution B-Get another pearl danio
      • Solution C-Get another decoration or thing for cover
      • Solution D-Get live plant that grows well with stuff I have
      • Solution E-Fishlore suggestions

    Hope the bulleted list helps makes things clearer. Another thing I have noticed is that the pecking order has changed. The biggest fish (who I think is a female and has been bigger since day 1) is now alpha. The two smallest (who I think are males) are now second and third. The third guy is the one I have been talking about. Thanks in advance sorry for my harsh words at first.
     
  2. chromedome52 Fishlore VIP Member

    Glad you're sorry for your harsh words, because now you're going to have to listen to mine. From the actions you describe, I'm thinking you have the regular Pearl Danio, Danio albolineatus. This species is a close relative of the Zebra Danio, but gets almost an inch longer. It requires much more swimming room than a 5.5 gallon tank provides. Generally, these fast schooling fish are recommended for tanks not less than 30 inches long.

    You really should have researched what could live in a small tank before buying any fish at all. Now you have stressed fish in a cramped space that can only get worse for them as they grow. I would be working on convincing that family member to set that 29 back up. More fish will not help, nor will more decorations or live plants.
     

  3. Peacefantasy Well Known Member Member

    A 5g is tiny..
    But if youre against rehoming them, I recommend getting more plants and finding a solution to buffering the movements you make near the tank.
    Really you should have more pd but..you know theres not enough room even for what you have. But this is the best recommendation I can give you
     
  4. ashleyb Member Member

    More fish might help if you were planning on upgrading your tank, which it doesn't appear you are. These little active guys need a lot of space to thrive and feel secure. I encourage you to at least upgrade to the 10 gallon, but a 20 gallon is more ideal. You can get a 20 gallon for about $40 and they are still easy to move. It's not nearly as difficult as moving a 75 gallon in my experience. Hopefully next time you'll take more precautions, but I'm glad you cared enough to make a post about it on a forum that tank shames a lot. Please consider upgrading the tank! Good luck.
     

  5. s hawk Well Known Member Member

    Yes it is the regular pearl danio not CPD. I almost got those but got the danios after a columanus infection. Got new tank and filter, and everything else sanitized. I didn't want to put in 7 dollar apiece fish and lose them all. I normally do my research before getting any fish (or plant). Thanks though. Any more suggestions are welcomed.

    Also if I lose these fish to moving or family member (that's not really losing them). Then I will either get CPD, maybe a Betta who's head isn't ugly, or I really want scarlet badis (but can't get live food).
     
  6. ashleyb Member Member

    A Betta would be a good choice for a 5.5 gallon and would be comfortable. They also have a lot of personality for such a small fish. I recommend rehoming the danios and getting a Betta instead, if it is an option. We have an obligation to care for our fish to the best of our abilities, and sometimes that unfortunately means rehoming them.
     
  7. s hawk Well Known Member Member

    Yeah I will seriously consider a Betta if I have to restock this tank. I just think they have the ugliest heads in the world.
     

  8. hampalong Fishlore VIP Member

    I really don't think "rehoming them is not an option" is an option. The tank is too small for the fish, and so is the number. The reason they have a "pecking order" is because you're keeping a schooling fish in a group of three. This pecking order is unnatural, yet commonly seen when schooling fish are kept in insufficient numbers.

    I refuse to believe that a shop that will take them off you doesn't exist. It's not about having limited options, it's about doing what is right for the fish.

    :)


    Edit... I also don't believe five gallons is sufficient for a Betta, but I'm not prepared to argue that one here.
     
  9. s hawk Well Known Member Member

    Okay yeah know danios need larger numbers. The issue is that the fish store I bought them from is in my college town 6 hours away. I just have big name stores here and I don't see them taking them back (nor do I want to give them back). Just had to say that because I forgot it earlier
     
  10. ashleyb Member Member

    You don't want to give them back when you already know they are unhappy and not able to thrive in your care? If you can't provide their bare minimum requirements you shouldn't own them. Set them up properly or rehome them. Those should be your options.
     

  11. s hawk Well Known Member Member

    They seem happy and consent until yesterday. I knew from day one that yes I needed a bigger tank but I could make it work. Yes that is not the best way to handle fish. Although let's stop it here and not get into the ethics and morality of fishkeeping. If anyone else has any other suggestions please feel free to add below. Thank you everyone
     
  12. hampalong Fishlore VIP Member

    ....because you have chosen to ignore them.
     
  13. Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

    The op has been advised on his tank, it's his decision whether to take that advice or not.
    Thread closed