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Old 07-04-2014, 07:35 AM   #1
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Serpae Tetras attacking!!!

I have a 4' newly planted tank with 10 serpaes, 4 corys, 2 bristlenose & 2 angels. ph6.8 nitrite 0 nitrate 0-5 ammonia 0 temp 24-26C.

I put in 2 dwarf gouramis and couldn't stand the carnage. After 4 hours I had to transfer them. I am lucky I have another smaller 2' tank. Swapped them over with my 7 zebra danios and 4 neon tetras. They have been harassing the zebras a bit since, but before I could see all 11 newbies after putting them in, they had all but killed a neon. thought it was dead so finally removed 3 terrified neons that were already missing fin tips and scooped the 'dead' one out but it was still alive - just. The serpaes had been grabbing its tail and throwing it around like an orca playing with a baby seal!

I'm not sure what I'm asking here, but I can't get rid of the serpaes as they are the only fish my son wanted, and I can't keep the gouramis (or neons?) in the 2 foot as I have goldfish in there, and I think the temperatures (about 20C) are a bit askew for that mix (hence zebras). I also tried putting in lots of silk plants from the 2' but the serpae wolf pack always found their target, never really lost sight of them.

Is there a way to make the serpaes chill out to leave the dwarf gouramis alone? will the gouramis be able to fight back when they are older and bigger? I was assured from several aquariums that the mix would be ideal, but I suppose I just got serpaes with a different mentality.

Any help whatsoever would be great...



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Old 07-04-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by mattoid View Post
I have a 4' newly planted tank with 10 serpaes, 4 corys, 2 bristlenose & 2 angels. ph6.8 nitrite 0 nitrate 0-5 ammonia 0 temp 24-26C.

I put in 2 dwarf gouramis and couldn't stand the carnage. After 4 hours I had to transfer them. I am lucky I have another smaller 2' tank. Swapped them over with my 7 zebra danios and 4 neon tetras. They have been harassing the zebras a bit since, but before I could see all 11 newbies after putting them in, they had all but killed a neon. thought it was dead so finally removed 3 terrified neons that were already missing fin tips and scooped the 'dead' one out but it was still alive - just. The serpaes had been grabbing its tail and throwing it around like an orca playing with a baby seal!

I'm not sure what I'm asking here, but I can't get rid of the serpaes as they are the only fish my son wanted, and I can't keep the gouramis (or neons?) in the 2 foot as I have goldfish in there, and I think the temperatures (about 20C) are a bit askew for that mix (hence zebras). I also tried putting in lots of silk plants from the 2' but the serpae wolf pack always found their target, never really lost sight of them.

Is there a way to make the serpaes chill out to leave the dwarf gouramis alone? will the gouramis be able to fight back when they are older and bigger? I was assured from several aquariums that the mix would be ideal, but I suppose I just got serpaes with a different mentality.

Any help whatsoever would be great...



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Hm that's not a behavior I'm familiar with in Serpaes. I had a nice school in my 30 gallon with a trio of Peacock Gudgeons I was breeding and the Serpaes never once bothered them. In fact if anything in my tank was aggressive it was my male Peacock defending the eggs. That's a large tank and honestly don't see why they're doing that but let's dissect this and see if we can find maybe a stressor(?). Is the tank heavily planted? Doesn't particularly matter if they're plastic or fake just curious as Serpaes prefer a densely planted tank. I'm thinking maybe they don't have enough cover to their liking but I doubt that'd cause all that. What's really confusing me is why they went after the Gouramis and Neons and not the Angels, Serpaes are notorious fin nippers. Sorry to not have a hard answer but this is not common (to my knowledge) behavior.


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Old 07-04-2014, 09:47 AM   #3
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I used to have serpae tetras. They were my mini piranhas. I eventually had to give them their own 20 gal tank. Nothing was safe from them. Well I guess if I put in a large SA cichlid then then tables would have been turned. =p

I eventually rehomed them when my daughter wanted a betta.


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Old 07-04-2014, 09:53 AM   #4
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I used to have dwarf flame gouramis honey gouramis and three spot gouramis in a 46 bow with serpaes and other fish. Let's just say all but one three spot got stressed out and died. I've since decided to stop dealing with gouramis but the three spot is still doing well


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Old 07-04-2014, 06:34 PM   #5
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Thanks all. All that conflicting experience has been very helpful. My wife thinks this is just a ploy to get another tank! She might be right

the tank was moderately planted with live and silk plants as the live are still new. I've now removed the silk for the neons and dwarf gouramis to hopefully feel a bit safer in their temporary 2 foot (20gal US). It is now lightly planted i.e. 15 plus stems/small bunches only) so that should explain a bit of their behaviour.

I will eventually give the serpaes their own 20 plus gal or 2-4' depending on how much I value my marriage I suppose and plant it out very heavily with silks. My son can have it in his room!


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Old 07-05-2014, 04:26 AM   #6
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Just got a new 3 foot, will put the fancy gold fish in that tomorrow and cycle with them, and have an obstacle course for them. the serpaes will go in the already heated 2 foot with plenty of silk plants. gouramis and neons back in the four foot and hope that the neons don't become food for the growing angels!!!


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Old 07-05-2014, 11:37 AM   #7
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You could try getting plants that take up more of the water column. I have wisteria that grew a ton and all my serpaes seem to leave my fish alone, even the angel and gourami.
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Old 07-05-2014, 03:39 PM   #8
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Thanks, I will try wisteria. plants are new so not very dense. I will look at reintroduction maybe, but it took me half an hour to catch them and I ended up removing the rocks, wood and plants they were that quick. don't think I really want to do that to the other fish, plants or serpaes again. They do have a nice home with plenty of silk plants now though.


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