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Old 05-16-2006, 11:35 PM   #1
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fishy see fishy do?!?

Yesterday, I added 2 opaline gourami to my tank (5 black neon tets and 2 albino corys). For a couple of hours after they were added the tetras seemed really stittish around them. During last nights feeding the gouramis started eating from the top. THEN!!! two of the tetras (that always wait for food to come to the bottom of the tank) started feeding from the top as well! During this mornings feeding ALL of the tetras started feeding from the top along with the gouramis . There wasn't even any overly agressive eating from either fish. Now all the fish seem very comfortable with eachother. The tetras, who usually hide and hang around the bottom of the tank, have started hanging around the middle area as well. None of the fish are even territorial. The tank seems really balanced now. It's like a fishy zen-like state . Is this common? or have a ran across an anomaly of some sort.

-happy maggie

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Old 05-17-2006, 12:53 AM   #2
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Not that uncommon. Tetras do seem to be followers.
Current fish (includes all 3 running tanks): Polypterids, severums (of which I raised from eggs), gouramis, plecos (gold spot ones & a gurupa), loaches (zebras, yoyos, & a kubotai), macculocchi spotted silver dollars, an African butterfly fish, & Ctenopomas (a leopard & an ansorgii)
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:12 PM   #3
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they probably got hungry waiting at the bottom and then looked up
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:44 PM   #4
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Some fishes certainly can learn by observation, but in this case I believe it was a combination of factors that are more related to their instinctual behavior than learning ability.

Tetras are mid-water feeders, and would prefer to eat from that level given the option (look at the position of their mouths), but when put in competition with upper level feeders they will gladly feed from the surface rather than miss out on a meal.

As for the change in swimming position in the tank, it is likely that the presence of more fishes makes them feel more comfortable, in that tetras are schooling fishes and there is comfort in numbers. Also, the normal behaviour of the gouramis clues them in that there are no predators around and it is safe to come out. In some cases, though, newer fishes might simply have usurped the tetras' normal territory, so they have to hang out somewhere else. But that case tends to be pretty obvious.

My neon tetras began schooling much better when I removed the zebra danios, who were constantly disrupting their school, and even more so when I added a dwarf gourami. Whether they see him as a potential threat or what, I'm not sure, but he certainly makes them form a nice tight school.
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