Tetra Behavior At Lfs Vs. At Home

r_e_g

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I am seriously considering one or more species of tetra for the 40 g breeder that I just got. I've been looking at fish at fish/big box pet stores, reading about them, and watching as many YouTube videos as possible. I've noticed that a LOT of the tetras I see in person just seem to hover in place, flicking their pectoral fins but barely moving. An excellent example of this would be most of the Gymnocorymbus ternetzi (black widow/black skirt tetras) that I see but I also observe this in neons, diamonds, and many others. About the only tetras I see that don't behave this way (that I can think of off the top of my head) are the Buenos Aires, bucktooth, and blood finned.

My question is this: is this sedentary behavior that I'm observing a good representation of how many tetra species are, or are they acting this way because of conditions in the sellers' tanks? I'm really not interested in midwater fish that don't really swim much or explore their surroundings so I want to choose species accordingly. I'd pretty much eliminated the black skirts from my list because I never see them move. However, the other day I was at the LFS and I saw one tank of white skirts where they were actually moving around and coming to the front glass and I loved them. In a different tank just a few yards away, they were doing the hover thing. I've gone to YouTube to try to get more insight but so many people only have a few individuals of a given species in their tank so it's hard to make judgements.

To be specific, at the moment, I'm most interested in glowlight tetras, emperor tetras, lemon tetras, black skirts, diamond tetras, rosy tetras, flame tetras, and green neons. I like rummy-nose for the purported schooling behavior as well as the fact that I think it would be cool to do a Hemigrammus tank. Are any of the ones I've listed active? Thank you!
 

Lorekeeper

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A lot of (if not most) fish are going to be stressed in stores, especially something like Tetras which move pretty quickly throughout the store. At my LFS, they get shipments of cardinals every Tuesday and Thursday, and those fish are always in-and-out of the tanks in two or three days, so they never settle in.

IME, tetras are usually very active. Some more so than others (my black skirts were always a bit more sedentary than my cardinals) but none are really inactive fish. When they get full-grown, they'll definitely dart around a bit less.

Never kept rummy-nose, but they seem to be pretty great schoolers. Depending on what you're stocking the tank with, I'd actually love to see some green neons, but they won't work with everything. From what I've read, they like slightly cooler water and stay small enough to be eaten. Might be cool to do a school of green neons, a school of rummy-nose (or really, any of the ones you listed), a school of a top-dwelling fish (marbled hatchets!), and maybe some sort of dwarf loach for the bottom, with hillstream loaches being a favorite.

That's kind of a complicated stocking temp-wise, but I'd say go for 78F and leave it. The neons and hillstream loaches are claimed to do better in 74-76F, but I've seen multiple successful tanks with them running at 78F, and I'm not sure that 2 degrees will be enough to really stress anything out. Most of our fish are hardier than we give them credit for, and the bodies of water that they come from are almost never a completely constant set of values to try and replicate like we like to think.
 

GuppyGuy007

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I keep three types of tetras.
Red Eye Tetras:
Don't school too tightly for me
Very active though
Black Skirt Tetras:
Least active of the bunch.
Lemon Tetras:
My favorite of the bunch
Tightly schools for the most part
Very active
Always exploring
I highly recommend these/
 

bigdreams

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I have Cardinals and lemon tetras.

My cardinals aren't too active during the day. At night like around 3 am they get frisky and start chasing one another (spawning).

My lemon tetras are displaying all day long, are more active and are ferocious eaters at feeding time. I started with 7 now have 14... They doubled their population in about a year with out any effort from me. I keep finding fry in my sump.

Cardinals have spectacular color but lemon tetras are more fun to watch, they also breed so that's a huge plus in my book . My cardinals are going on 2 years now and their population keeps dwindling. I have come to appreciate lemon tetras subtle colors.. the males "turn on" their lemon colors when displaying. It's pretty cool. I thought they were drab until the males were glowing yellow one day for a few hours. Now they turn on their colors a few times a day .
 

GuppyGuy007

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bigdreams said:
I have Cardinals and lemon tetras.

My cardinals aren't too active during the day. At night like around 3 am they get frisky and start chasing one another (spawning).

My lemon tetras are displaying all day long, are more active and are ferocious eaters at feeding time. I started with 7 now have 14... They doubled their population in about a year with out any effort from me. I keep finding fry in my sump.

Cardinals have spectacular color but lemon tetras are more fun to watch, they also breed so that's a huge plus in my book . My cardinals are going on 2 years now and their population keeps dwindling. I have come to appreciate lemon tetras subtle colors.. the males "turn on" their lemon colors when displaying. It's pretty cool. I thought they were drab until the males were glowing yellow one day for a few hours. Now they turn on their colors a few times a day .
You got your lemon tetras to spawn? What are your parameters?
Mine have not even displayed breeding behavior
 

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My embers swim throughout the tank, then hover for 5-10 minutes and repeat, lol, except during feeding, then it’s like a shark frenzy.
 

bigdreams

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fishlover001 said:
You got your lemon tetras to spawn? What are your parameters?
Mine have not even displayed breeding behavior
My tank is heavily planted dirted tank with soft water. I have had my lemon tetras for over a year and a half, didn't see my first fry for until a year after I bought them.

78-80 degrees F, GH is 6 dGH (they have spawned lower too), KH around 1 dKH, pH not sure around 6.8 I believe. Heavily planted tank. Quality pellet foods infused with Boyd's Vitachem regularly .
 
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r_e_g

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Thank you. It's good to hear that the "hover in place, move a cm forward, repeat" behavior isn't typical of most relaxed, established tetras. I should consider the fact that these store tanks are usually pretty sparse and I've heard many, many times that you'll usually see fish more the more hiding spots they have. I do want to have a fairly heavily planted tank, mostly rhizome plants but probably some others as well.

I think hatchetfish are really awesome looking and I've considered them (and would give them some floating plants to help them feel secure) but I'm worried about their jumping abilities. I will be covering the tank but I know they can get through tiny gaps.
 

Lorekeeper

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r_e_g said:
Thank you. It's good to hear that the "hover in place, move a cm forward, repeat" behavior isn't typical of most relaxed, established tetras. I should consider the fact that these store tanks are usually pretty sparse and I've heard many, many times that you'll usually see fish more the more hiding spots they have. I do want to have a fairly heavily planted tank, mostly rhizome plants but probably some others as well.

I think hatchetfish are really awesome looking and I've considered them (and would give them some floating plants to help them feel secure) but I'm worried about their jumping abilities. I will be covering the tank but I know they can get through tiny gaps.
They will jump, but honestly, I wouldn't let that keep you from at least trying them. Any fish will jump, if they have a chance. As long as you don't have any gaps larger than 1", you should be fine.
 
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r_e_g

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Lemon tetras! I edited my post to add them because they are high on my mental list of potential fish but I forgot to list them. I'd meant to include emperor tetras as well. I'm glad to hear you're so happy with them. I love the red eyes. For some reason, I'm really drawn to fish with red eyes right now. I think it could be a really cool feature uniting a few different species.
 
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r_e_g

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That's so neat that they're spawning for you. I'd love to have my fish reproduce but I also don't want to constantly have to find homes for babies.
 
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r_e_g

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Lorekeeper said:
They will jump, but honestly, I wouldn't let that keep you from at least trying them. Any fish will jump, if they have a chance. As long as you don't have any gaps larger than 1", you should be fine.
Plus minimizing gaps will be essential to prevent my cats from helping themselves. There's a decent sized gap in the hood of my RCS tank and the cats just tend to drink from it; I don't think the shrimp move enough to interest them. Fish, especially surface dwellers, would be a different story though. Thanks!
 

bigdreams

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r_e_g said:
That's so neat that they're spawning for you. I'd love to have my fish reproduce but I also don't want to constantly have to find homes for babies.
I am slowly overstocking my tank... They don't reproduce that quickly. Most eggs are eaten by the community tank mates. I also belong to a local fish club so I can easily donate any extra fry if needed.
 
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r_e_g

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I'm bumping my own thread to say that my new tank is up and running and yesterday I added six glowlight tetras! When I first added them, they sat at the bottom very nervously but then they started to explore the tank in a school and now they're adventuring everywhere, both together and on solo expeditions. I'm so amazed by how active they are. My LFS owner said that they'd probably just hide under a ledge and chill all day but that's certainly not the case. They are doing some glass surfing but it's mostly where the current is the strongest so I think they're just enjoying the flow. I love watching them. They seem like they'd love to hunt tiny live food.

Speaking of food, I have the small sized Bug Bites to feed them but they seem to have trouble fitting it in their mouths (even though it's tiny granules). What can I feed them that's smaller? Would flakes work better because they can nibble off small bites?

I'll definitely be increasing the size of their school in a few weeks but I think I'd like a second tetra species as well as cory cats. I'm debating between another streamlined species (green neons, black neons, cardinals) or a deeper bodied species for contrast (embers, lemons). I love the look of these tiny fish in a big 40 gallon.
 
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