What's Up With White Cloud Behavior?


I just bought three white clouds last night and am doing a fish in cycle with some mature gravel in my 10 gallon. They seemed just peachy and even started mating behaviors this morning. A few minutes ago, though, all three grouped at the bottom and are sort of hovering while rapidly moving their fins. They are very close to the bottom but they can all swim and eat just fine. They do this for a few minutes, stop, then come back again a few minutes later. Usually the male is in front with the two females behind him. Is this normal? Are they just riding the current from the filter? Are they courting? What's up here?


Mature gravel doesn't have a lot of the beneficial bacteria (bb). Can you get some cycled filter media? You could also use Tetra SafeStart to help the cycle and make it easier on your fish.

What are your water parameters?
I see you use pH adjusters...what is your normal pH?

Usually males chase the females, not the other way around.


They were out of safestart, and no I do not have access to a mature filter. My roommate just changed hers, so there was just a LOT of pink gravel in her tank, so I scooped up a bunch. The parameters are .25 ammonia, and no nitrites or nitrates yet, with nightly water changes. The pH is slightly basic here, like 7.2-7.4. And this isn't chasing when they do this. It's just hovering. They stay in a triangle with the male in front and the two girls flanking him. I'm 99% sure they're just riding the current since the filter is putting out a lot of running water for them, I just wanted to check to see if this is documented elsewhere. They do chase each other around, but then they hover intermittently.


Are you sure on the genders? And when you say hovering are they like showing off to each other (fins flared sort of thing) swimming off and then coming back?


They're just moving their fins enough to stay in the same place. And the supposed male is incredibly bright compared to the supposed females, and the girls have larger bellies and aren't as slim. Plus I saw the male attach himself to one of the girls in one of my plants this morning when I happened to look over.


You should definitely get the SafeStart. You could also ask the LFS for some used filter media. In the mean time, don't let the ammonia go over .25ppm. The fish are probably doing something close to schooling as they are adjusting to a new environment. Do they hide a lot of the time?

What is the water temp in your tank?


I would get the safestart, but by the time they get more in or I would have any shipped to me, my tank would be cycled anyway. And I change the water at bare minimum once a day, usually twice. They haven't hidden at all really, they seem very comfortable. And its between 69 and 72 depending on the time of day. I really think they are just riding the current as they school elsewhere in the tank all the time. They display fins and chase each other all the time but when they swim against the current they aren't doing that.


You can't get safestart? Surely there's more than one store near you that sells fish...

It takes 6 weeks to cycle a tank without bottled bacteria. Maybe slightly less with gravel from a cycled tank, but not much. At the very least, you should be dosing with Prime or a similar water conditioner to manage ammonia and nitrite in the tank.

As for the fish's behavior, they are probably just schooling oddly because they're missing three members of the school. But they're going to get stressed soon if you can't treat the water somehow.

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