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Old 08-18-2005, 01:50 PM   #1
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Schooling tetras

I currently have six flame tetras in a 29 gallon tank. While I will see them hanging around with each other from time to time, they are often scattered throughout the tank. The question I have is how many tetras do you need to really see them form a tight school? I found some indications that this only occurs when there is some sort of threat (which hopefully won't be happening in my tank). Is this true?
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:02 PM   #2
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I have had many schools of tetras over the years and I could never get mine to school either. I think they do need somekind of threat.
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:23 PM   #3
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I found some indications that this only occurs when there is some sort of threat
I have heard this as well, but don't know if it is true. I think a lot of it depends on the species. For example, in my 29 gallon tank, I keep a school of both green fire tetras and rummy nose tetras. The green fires don't hang around together all that much, but the rummy nose school very tightly. If you have room in your tank, or you want to trade in the flame tetras, you would probably enjoy the rummy nose.
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:29 PM   #4
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I have 10 pristella tetras. They scatter about the tank, and are usually in at least 3 seperate groups. If I start messing around with the tank, they zoom to the middle of the tank to form one large school right away. Safety and security in numbers!
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:34 PM   #5
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"Safety in numbers". In the wild, fish schaol for protection and other reasons. My Serpaes usually swim around on their own at various times during the day. This is eliminated at feeding time. Right before the food is placed in the tank...it starts. First one...then two and then all 6 are together. They then chase the food and each around for the duration of feeding and then about an hour afterward...they separate.
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Old 08-19-2005, 01:41 AM   #6
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To elaborate on what JChillin said, in the wild, fish school for two main reasons: predator protection and cooperative hunting.
Also, there are different types of schools, depending on the species. In polarized schools, all the fish swim together in the same direction, same speed, etc. (my ghost catfish do this.) In a non-polarized school, the fish just generally hang out together and don't show the uniformity that you'd find in a polarized school (my jumbo cardinal tetras do this). The third type of school is called an aggregation, where different species come together in a loose gathering (usually due to a food source).
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Old 08-19-2005, 03:48 PM   #7
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Isn't a good thing that they feel secure enough to not have to school all the time? I would think that meant you have a happy tank.
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Old 08-19-2005, 04:34 PM   #8
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Certainly, I agree with you Zagz. However, if they were not forming tight schools due to lower numbers (and not due to lack of security), I was planning on adding more of them. That leads me to a follow up question. This is my 29 gallon tank. It currently houses 5 albino cories and 6 flame tetras. My initial plan was to have smaller schooling fish. However, after learning that they won't really school together I am considering changing those plans. I guess what I'm looking for would be a single larger fish (or possibly a male and female pair) that could be more of the centerpiece (for lack of a better word) of the tank. It seems that blue rams would be a good fit, but I would like to have something a little hardier right now. I had thought about a pair of keyhole cichlids (which may be too hard to find) or possibly a pair of kribs. I know that these are smaller and relatively mild mannered cichlids, but would they become too aggressive in these circumstances? Any other suggestions.
Thanks,
Chris
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Old 08-19-2005, 05:15 PM   #9
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My three Gold Skirt Tetras scatter lots, but they also do school once-in-awhile. I don't really think anything of it. It must be normal, or like what Zags says.

It's neat watching them when they do school. They flip to suddenly change direction and it looks kinda neat when they are all together.
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Old 08-19-2005, 05:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
It seems that blue rams would be a good fit, but I would like to have something a little hardier right now. I had thought about a pair of keyhole cichlids (which may be too hard to find) or possibly a pair of kribs. I know that these are smaller and relatively mild mannered cichlids, but would they become too aggressive in these circumstances? Any other suggestions.
Bolivian Rams are a little hardier than the German Blues/Golds so that may be a good substitute. I know what you mean about the keyholes...I've searched all over NYC for them and they are nowhere to be found.

For the most part, dwarf cichlids such as these are not aggressive at all. I have no info on the kribs.
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Old 08-19-2005, 08:42 PM   #11
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I keep 2 Bolivian rams in a 29 gallon tank with no problems at all. Mine are territorial toward each other but never do any real damage; it mostly just amounts to chasing each other out of the territories. They have each claimed half of the tank, but pay no attention to other tankmates. IMO they would be a good choice for you.
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