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Skirt Tetra Aggression

Reido Dorito

AC Members
Hello!

I've had a 20g (standard dimensions) cycled and planted tank for a few months now, and I'm noticing aggression directed toward one of my black skirt tetras. I've got eight in all; five white skirts, two black skirts, and one "glow" skirt tetra. But one of my black skirts seems to get picked on extra. This is about the third time I've seen him with rips in his dorsal and/or anal fin(s). He seems to stay in a back corner most of the time, most likely due to the fact that I've got two white skirts that keep him back there. He doesn't get seriously injured, but I'd like to keep fin-nipping to a minimum.

Anyone got any ideas as to what's causing this? Thanks.
 

fishorama

AC Members
Is it 1 of the long finned skirts? I remember you have at least 1. Those long fins can be a tempting target...as can a smaller fish especially if male. I think you have a mix of sexes & adult & slightly smaller juveniles, right?

I also know you have some plants...how are they filling in? Is the corner the only "safe place"? Can you try rearranging the décor or adding to it? it may help. Does the "victim" eat ?

Part of the schooling/shoaling tetra behavior can include a bit of nipping. Sometimes that can mean harassing the weakest fish...even to the point of death....& then they may pick on the next weakest 1 or harass a ripe slow moving female in the same way. It's not a easy thing to "fix" in a smallish tank for borderline biggish fish for the tank size...It can happen in larger tanks too with 2.5-3 inch fish.

I think we warned you back when you started this tank, I'm really not trying to rub your nose in this issue. We know it's hard & you made a good choice to have only the 8? skirts...but there can be problems. I really thought everything was working out for your tank; fingers crossed...it doesn't always happen like we hope...but I'm still hoping for your tank's success.
 

Reido Dorito

AC Members
No, it's not. Actually, it's one of my short-fin black skirts, and he's been in there since shortly after I began stocking the tank. I'm pretty sure he's fully grown, as well, and bigger than some of my other males. Funny thing is, the juveniles are the most aggressive, and I've seen very little nipping toward them. But yes, I do have a mix of males and females, and a couple little ones. Three juveniles (I'm guessing all male? They're fairly slim...), three females, and two males, counting this one black skirt we're talking about.

Yeah, they're filling in really well, I think. Just added some java moss in there today in various spots around the tank for some extra cover. Um... I've got that barrel decoration, as well, and they get use out of that. I've got that spiderwood off to the right, and the large piece off to the left. As my tropica fern reproduces, I plan on sticking them around, as well. Problem is, they grow so gosh darn slow. I've got them all suspended above the substrate as well via their roots. I can certainly try rearranging, if you think that will help. But I've tried to get a solid spread of hiding spots throughout. I put that java moss in in hopes that, as it grows out, it'll provide a little bit of extra cover for them.

I'm quickly becoming familiar with these guys' mannerisms, lol. Thankfully, it never gets serious. I mean, they never end up beating on each other or anything. And this one fish does snap back, but I don't know if it's enough to scare the other two off...? Maybe this has to do with the individual fish's temperament? This one fish is extra shy; I think he's been like that since I got him, being more apt to hide and such. Oh, and something worth mentioning, if it's of any help: I hardly see the others snapping at this one black skirt; it's usually only one female, adult white skirt, and one juvenile.

I suppose I should mention that it's not a constant issue, but I am curious as to why this one fish in particular has a tendency to hide and turn up with ripped fins. Again, this is only the third time in the last few months, but it's something that I'd like to look in to and, if possible, prevent.

I sincerely appreciate your willingness to help! I'm sure it can be kind of frustrating when trying to help somebody figure out their first tank, so I really appreciate your patience in all this. Not that we've encountered that many problems, I don't guess (not a death yet!). But still, I appreciate it.
 

Borgey401

Registered Member
Well, can’t say you were not warned. Honestly the only thing you could do to cut down aggression is get more of them and a bigger tank/more hiding spots.
 

Reido Dorito

AC Members
Yeah, I suppose their nipping behavior is just normal, you know? As long as it's not getting out of hand, I'm not going to worry about it.

Thanks!
 

fishorama

AC Members
Unless something has drastically changed in your tank, I'd just wait & see how things work out. There is a bit of "pack" behavior with tetras, the weakest fish might get picked on. That's why you want several of each species (6 or,better more). You have 8 in a slightly undersized tank; but really, I think you'll be ok. Hang tough!
 

Reido Dorito

AC Members
Yeah, for sure. Guess I'm just overthinking it, lol.

It's still super weird/neat that one of my longest and biggest residents gets picked on the most, lol.

Yeah, like I said, it never gets out of hand. I mean, maybe one day, I'll get a bigger tank, but only if I really see some issues going on. Thank you again!

Have a good one!
 

aquagirl1999

Registered Member
add more to spread aggression
Definitely shouldn’t add more unless they plan on getting a bigger tank. Side note; check out letgo if you’re looking to upgrade, people post tanks on there all the time, and a bit of fresh sealant and maybe a good wipe down and they are perfectly good tanks for super cheap.
 
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