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  1. #1

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    Default Comment about neon tetras and schooling


    0 Not allowed!
    I have often heard that neon tetras HAVE TO BE IN LARGE SCHOOLS to be happy and comfortable.

    I have 3 neon tetras in a 20 gallon tank along with 3 male and 5 female guppies (and many baby guppies (sell later), AND two blind cave tetras) and they RARELY school together.
    The only times that they school is when they are stressed (ie. I put my hand in tank, or a new fish is added to tank). Baby guppies not included in new additions to tank.
    Otherwise, they are more like the guppies and just hang out in different parts of the tank.
    NOTE: Filter drips into water over an ornament and air bubbles are slow and small.

    I also have another 20 gallon tank with 3 other neon tetras in a more active tank, along with 3 female and one male swordtails and 4 male guppies. These 3 neon tetras school together constantly.
    NOTE: Filter waterfalls into water and air bubbles are faster and bigger than other tank.

    NOTE: the 6 tetras came from the same tank in pet store.

    So I guess it depends on the tankmates that are with the neon tetras (or the amount of water movement). The more relaxed the tank, the more relaxed the neon tetras; therefore, the less schooling (security) needed.
    Last edited by newtoshrimps; 11-18-2012 at 09:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    so you need to understand this about fish:

    we recommend that they are in schools of appropriate size because that is how they are in the wild. it is the definition of their behavior to need that school.

    your post is just like calling out a flock of birds-saying that they don't need that...no-they are in that group because it makes them more comfortable.
    or why antelope are in packs, or why deer are always together.
    animals school/flock/pack.(etc) because it is what they NEED.

    so sorry to burst your bubble, but unless you increase the #'s. You will never see the true behavior of that fish the way it is supposed to be.
    wouldn't be surprised if they die off sooner too-because they are not comfortable.

  3. #3

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    Lightbulb Three of any schooling fish will hardly EVER school no matter where they are.


    0 Not allowed!
    Good points Mizzouotank.

    The more relaxed the tank, the more relaxed the neon tetras; therefore, the less schooling (security) needed.
    The above is true wrt their nature however:

    It addresses in no way the fact that you would have to have an actual school available in order to know if they would behave that way or not.

    But you don't.

    They don't school because [Get ready for it-->] There is no school available.

    Last edited by Goes to 11!; 11-18-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    you do have a point in saying that the tetras don't always school tightly, especially when
    they don't feel threatened, but just imagine: you are the only human left on earth after some apocalyptic event. won't that feel lonely? point is, humans don't "school" either, but we are very definitely social creatures as are the tetras. your fish may not hang out in a big ball all the time, but they do need more than 3 to be happy.

  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    When tetra's school, it's a defense mechanism for them. The larger the school, the larger they appear to other fish that hunt them and the more comfortable they are and less stressed. They also play more and have more fun together. It simply makes no sense to get a schooling fish and then don't give them a school to be in.

    Just because they swim around together doesn't mean they won't be more happy in a family unit. They bunch up and remain together with larger fish in the tank because they are more afraid.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 11-19-2012 at 12:13 AM.

  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Not to "pile on" but when you post a comment like that it's going to happen, they are simpley more happy and secure in schools. + 10 to all the above posts.
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  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
    When tetra's school, it's a defense mechanism for them. The larger the school, the larger they appear to other fish that hunt them and the more comfortable they are and less stressed. They also play more and have more fun together.
    But this is exactly my point... they school when they are stressed. The ones in the calm tank are not stressed... the whole tank is relaxed.
    Whereas the ones in the more active tank ARE stressed... and need to school together.

    Thanks for the comments... and I understand what you are saying... but I just wanted to point out that a calm (and stress-free) tank reduces the need for schooling fish to school.

    PLEASE NOTE: Just because the neons do not school with each other (in calm tank) they do play with the other fish (namely younger guppies that are about the same size as they are).

  8. #8

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by newtoshrimps
    But this is exactly my point... they school when they are stressed. The ones in the calm tank are not stressed... the whole tank is relaxed.
    Whereas the ones in the more active tank ARE stressed... and need to school together.
    you aren't getting it though.

    as 850R said. 3 isn't a school, so you physically cannot see them "school" together when you do NOT have them in a school in the first place.

    we all agree that schooling is a defensive mechanism and not seeing them school is a good thing.

    however, you cannot say you see your neon's school when there is no such school.

  9. #9

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by mizzoutank
    You will never see the true behavior of that fish the way it is supposed to be.
    wouldn't be surprised if they die off sooner too-because they are not comfortable.
    I have had the neons since they were young... the ones in calm tank grew up with the guppies... I have had them for 9 months old and going strong.

    As I mentioned above, they play (swim) with the younger guppies (a new batch of friends every month).
    Whereas the neons in the active tank do not swim with the other fish... they stay to themselves.

    So no bubble busted.. I get to watch many sides of the neon tetra... not just the schooling side.

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    If I threw one cory's in my tank, he would move about and do what cory's do, too. Even if I tossed in 2 cory's. But they would be a lot happier if I dropped in 6-8 of them. Obviously this is your tank and you will do as you wish but you won't convince anyone else that schooling fish kept in 3's is the right way to keep them.

    My most active tank ever was a 29 gallon, planted, with 43 neons. And I'm now working on the same thing again.

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