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Inactive Black Skirt Tetras - 10 gallon

Discussion in 'General Freshwater' started by b_dog, May 26, 2007.

  1. b_dog

    b_dog AC Members

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    I've had a 10 gallon stocked with 5 black skirt tetras for well over 8 months now. 2 of those tetras have been in the established tank for 16+ months. Over the past two months I have noticed that the tetras all hide a lot under the decorative plants and petrified wood setup. I first thought it was due to the lighting because I didn't have a regular schedule setup for having the lights on - they usually hide when lights are on. But, lately it seems they hide all of the time and I hardly notice any activity from all 5 except during feeding time.

    I feed just standard flakes once a day and have been doing 50% water changes once a week. The water changes used to make them a little more active for that first day or two, but the last one didn't seem to make a difference. Last time I had all of my water parameters everything checked out ok and the pH was 7.6.

    Few questions.... I did a few searches and found some mixed results. I will try the water change but it doesn't seem to be a perma solution. Could it be parasite related? Could it be that the standard 10 gallon filter that came with the tank (Whisper) is just weak?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 1boatnut

    1boatnut AC Members

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    5 Blackskirts in a 10 gal. may be a little tight.
    PH is really not an issue. What are your other parameters? Water temp?
    I don't know if your lights are an issue either. My Blackskirts don't hide from the light.
     
  3. b_dog

    b_dog AC Members

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    I think the lights is probably just they are not used to it enough. I need to pick up a water test kit, but for right now I did bring the water to a LFS and all nitrates/nitrites/ammonia checked out ok (along with pH). One important thing - I never monitored temp in the past - no heater, etc. I live in a temperate region where the temp should be 70ish most of the time. Could the water temp be an issue and it's possibly too cold? And maybe the water changes help some because even though the temp is comparable, it may be a little warmer?
     
  4. kblane

    kblane AC Members

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    I think you should be fine on both the size of tank/amount of fish ratio. I assure you, they are hardy and have survived near "ecological disasters" in other peoples' tanks without harm.

    As for a lack of movement, I would be inclined to suggest amonia. Some tetras become extremely inactive during times when it spikes. However, since you've said the parameters came out ok, that shouldn't be the culprit.

    Tetras are not necessarily these active swimming fish (think goldfish). At times, they do tend to remain rather still in the water, sort of staking out their territory--this is especially true of Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. They could also be frightened.

    In terms of temp., I do not find them all that demanding in terms of water temps. I've known people to keep them in relatively low temps with white clouds. Although, if there are great fluctuation of temp, that could be an issue.

    Give them time and hopefully they'll resume a more active lifestyle.

    K Blane
     
  5. hitman12131976

    hitman12131976 Resident Calculus Teacher

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    Well, I don't know about your LFS, but my LFS tests the water with test strips. Not good.

    Purchase the API Freshwater Master Test Kit and run your own tests. For all you know, you may have high Ammonia. Wouldn't hurt to double check.
     
  6. H3D

    H3D Philosopher

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    IMO a 10 gallon aquarium is way to small to keep a proper size shoal of these fish. Considering that most shoaling species such as these prefer to be in very large groups I would not expect to much activity in such small numbers while in such a small setup.
     
  7. Coler

    Coler AC Members

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    totally agree. the last thing I will do is turn this thread into a 'my lfs sucks' expedition, but, all you really know is that the guys who sell your fish think your water is 'ok' and I for one have seen too many people post here who were told just that and when their fish continued to die and they finally got a good liquid test kit their water parameters were unsafe.

    you need to be able to test your own water.

    you say that 'last time' you had your water parameters checked everything was ok - when was last time...how do you know if maybe your tap water has changed etc ?

    you need the test kit. otherwise you're only ever guessing.
     
  8. Rbishop

    Rbishop ...and over the edge.
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    Good advice!
     
  9. b_dog

    b_dog AC Members

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    Thanks for the advice and responses.

    I went ahead and got a master test kit today (not strips) and all of the parameters turned out OK:
    nitrate - 40, ammonia - 0, pH - 7.4

    I am going to do a 50% water change today and see if the tetras act any different the rest of the day. As far as lighting is concerned I currently have an Eclipse Natural Daylight F15T8 18" fluorescent bulb in my hood. At the LFS today I was looking at some of the 50/50 bulbs, any suggestions on that? I think the fish may like it not as bright in the tank (current light) and it may look better as far as aesthetics are concerned.

    I also am interested in changing up the diet. I got some Tetra Pro Crisps today, any other ideas for feeding tetras?

    Thanks for all the help. From reading everything they may not be the most active fish, but I just want to make sure they're ok. I may look into setting up another tank as well soon (possible a betta 5 gallon?)
     
  10. Aries

    Aries "Umm...., what is that!!??"

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    Lighting, mine dont hide from brigt light (3.0wpg) - so I too doubt it would be the light.

    I feed Omega One Kelp Flakes - they love em - so do my bettas. Unfortunately, these are not sold to chain stores, suggosingly. Also, tetras like a good treat - so pick up some frozen blood worms (ie Hikari Bio) or live black worms from the lfs. Mine go bonkers for these as the pick them off of the surface. They tend to want these so they might pull out of their lull.

    Plus, 5 in a 10g is squeezing them in there, they do need some space. I am not saying it is not possible, but a bigger tank is more ideal.

    Good Luck

    Aries
     

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