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Neon Tetras Wont eat?
#1
Hi everyone, very new to fish keeping, but we've (Myself and my partner) had our 19litre tank going for quite a few months now. I've learnt a lot since we started..but google doesn't seem to help me each time I have a specific question.

So the point to this thread is..I recently added more plants to our tank, specifically backdrop plants that are tall and provide some decent cover for our 12 Tetra. 
However since adding the plants, the tetra arent eating as much as they used to. I put the flakes in..and the plants seem to calm some of the filter stream. The tetras used to go nuts for the flakes before, and would eat almost all of what I put in. Because the flakes were getting pushed under the water on the other side of the tank, and they would race to go and catch them. Huh

Now they are rarely seen coming out from behind their usual hiding spot that's on the opposite end of the tank, I end up taking the food out again (so it doesn't just end up polluting our water). I know that they prefer it when it sinks down, but because of the plants it tends to sink in the opposite side the tetra like to hang out. So there's an excess of flakes on one side that I try my best to fish out again gently..

They seem extremely skittish, so when I come over to feed them they duck for cover and more often than not..ignore the food I just put in. Even if I stay very still and sit there to watch them for a while.

What should I do? We have a Fluval Spec tank, and I'm waiting on a nicer light set up that mimics more of a daytime cycle than the harsh bright LEDs the tank originally came with. Since I know tetra prefer dimmer lights. 

Any polite advice would be amazing, thank you!
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#2
Hi 

Do you have the means to test the tankwater for ammonia, pH and nitrite? If so, what are the results? Do you know if your tapwater is soft or hard? If you don't, can you tell us your nearest town?

How big are the tetras?

What temperature is the tankwater?

And any chance of a pic to show how dense the planting is? And how long are the lights on for each day?

How often do you change some of the water? Do you clean the filter sponges - and if so, how?

Do you have any bottles of stuff to put in the tank? And if so, what are they?

(Sorry for the interrogation)
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#3
Oh that’s odd indeed, every time I go near my tanks the fish dart over to see if it’s food time Wink
As Vale! has asked, it always good to know what their living situation is as these can affect the behaviour of your residents.
Once we know, there might be some hints as to why things are like they are. You get some great guidance here too !
Bikini Bottom - 168l - community
The Kremlin - 58l - Shrimp and Cory 
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#4
(13-08-2019, 05:21 PM)Vale! Wrote: Hi 

Do you have the means to test the tankwater for ammonia, pH and nitrite? If so, what are the results? Do you know if your tapwater is soft or hard? If you don't, can you tell us your nearest town?

How big are the tetras?

What temperature is the tankwater?

And any chance of a pic to show how dense the planting is? And how long are the lights on for each day?

How often do you change some of the water? Do you clean the filter sponges - and if so, how?

Do you have any bottles of stuff to put in the tank? And if so, what are they?

(Sorry for the interrogation)


Hi Vale! No it's okay!
We've been testing our water with every second water-change. We change the water weekly and have never missed a change. Our last water change was a large one as our local aquarium store advised us last time we were in trying to get advice on a fungal shrimp issue. (Small white..almost hairy parts appeared on one of our shrimp.) They advised we do a large water change and add a nano tropical almond leaf which they said would help control any fungi that were present. The shrimp in question has since moulted (and laid eggs!! Our first batch of eggs! Although I'm trying not to get my hopes up since the tetra will probably eat the fry Sad ) and the fungus is gone now. Shed with their old skin.

With each new batch of water we add Stress Zyme, and Stress coat+ as our water is a tad hard. But we are in the suburbs of Dublin..if that helps figuring out the water type.
We clean the filter every second water change, we usually take it apart, rinse and squeeze with tap water and do not use any soaps. 
We add 5mls liquid carbon plant fertiliser everyday. And Professional plant fertiliser once after the water change.

The tetra vary in size, there's only one large one which I'd estimate at about 2 inches? The others are all smaller than that. 

Our tank stays at a steady temperature of 21C and doesn't really fluctuate..this is without a heater, it's just how warm our front room is. 

The lights are typically turned on around 9pm each morning and turned off at 6pm. However, having said that I've ordered a different light that has automatic dimming functions to mimic the light cycles of a typical day, the light that came with the tank is a simple strip of LEDs suspended over the top, and personally I think it's too bright for the fish..and some of the plants. We have a fern in since the beginning of our adventure into fish tanks..and for the last few months the fern has been developing brown spots and rotting. I suspect is due to too much light, but until the new light arrives there's nothing I can do to remedy that right now. 


Our most recent water test (from this evening) yielded the following results:

PH 7.0 - Ammonia 0PMM - Nitrate 0pmm - Nitrite 0pmm - P04 0pmm

A detail that I wasn't aware of until I was able to ask my SO about until he got home but apparently the shop who sold us the tetra told him they were wild caught. Which might explain why they are skittish. But I certainly missed that detail when we were buying them. Sad

Here's a picture of our tank, taken last night. I'm fairly embarrassed by the browning fern.. I keep a wide range of house plants and consider myself fairly decent with them..but this one just wont get better for me! I hope the new light helps when it arrives.
https://media.discordapp.net/attachments...eight=1277
[-] The following 1 user Likes Bio-Oops's post:
  • Annie
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#5
Hi

All good info, thanks.

Most of Dublin apparently enjoys soft water. The exceptions are 'some areas' on the North side of the city. It may be that you have to contact the Council to find out what exactly your water's like. It could well be an important thing to know.

Your water's chlorinated. When you wash your filter sponges every fortnight you may be damaging the microbes which form part of your fishes' life support. It may be that there is a 'spike' of ammonia after water-changes which you don't notice, but the fish just might. It might be interesting to know whether that actually happens. Normally it wouldn't be an issue but you have a lot of active fish (well, they should be!) in a relatively small volume. Always use tankwater to clean filter sponges!

The relatively large surface area to volume of a smaller, unheated, tank is also disadvantage. A bit of a draught can affect the temperature very much more quickly than would happen in a biger tank! I also think the ambient temperature is a bit low for them. Really I suggest getting a nano heater to keep the tank a little bit warmer and temperature stable.

Plants are good.From your description I was concerned that there were a lot more than there are (although they can help to hoover up excess ammonia and nitrite, a jungle of them can affect things like pH and/or dissolved gases in a daily cyclical pattern - again especially relevant in a smaller tank. Lighting period is OK - you could knock an hour off if convenient.

I think I'd change the StressCoat+ to a standard dechlorinator. I'm not a great fan! It coats everything after a while and (IMO) degrades the quality of the mini-ecosystem if used for a long time. The aloe vera component is marginally useful if fish are injured, so don't necessarily throw it away if you do change. Stresszyme is OK but not necessary going by your pic and from your description of maintenance routines.

Is oxygenation OK so far as you can see (fish 'gasping' or spending an unusual amount of time at the surface? (I guess not, from what you say!)

Anything like furniture polish, spray cleaners or room deodorisers used in the vicinity of the tank, inclusive of lit candles? Or at all? Is the room noisy? Children around?

Just trying to narrow down the likely stressors. Others will no doubt add more possibilities soon.
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#6
It sounds like there are a couple of problems here.
I'll leave the shrimp problem as I've no experience with it and cannot remember for the life of me why it happens, but I have a feeling in the back of my mind it may have something to do with liquid carbon??????
The neons were relatively settled when you added the plants by the sounds of it, so you have made a new set of surroundings which they now need to get used to. This will take a while. They should feel safer long-term with more cover to run to when upset.
However, if you are washing media in tapwater, as Vale! says, it is very likely that you are getting ammonia and nitrite spikes which the fish, and shrimp, won't do well with at all. The media only needs a quick swish in old tankwater when the filter slows down.
Also if there is a lot of movement near the tank, that will have a similar effect.
There is one point I'd like to make, and that is that a 19l tank isn't big enough long-term for 12 neons when they're all around 2", so it is worth considering upgrading to a 54l some time in the not too distant future. Wink Smile
If at first you don't succeed....
...get someone else to do it! Big Grin

Enjoy your fish, shrimps and snails!
Ian

All my posts are from a desktop.
Mobiles are way too complicated for me, although I do have one now. Wink
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#7
(13-08-2019, 08:26 PM)Vale! Wrote: Hi

All good info, thanks.

Most of Dublin apparently enjoys soft water. The exceptions are 'some areas' on the North side of the city. It may be that you have to contact the Council to find out what exactly your water's like. It could well be an important thing to know.

Your water's chlorinated. When you wash your filter sponges every fortnight you may be damaging the microbes which form part of your fishes' life support. It may be that there is a 'spike' of ammonia after water-changes which you don't notice, but the fish just might. It might be interesting to know whether that actually happens. Normally it wouldn't be an issue but you have a lot of active fish (well, they should be!) in a relatively small volume. Always use tankwater to clean filter sponges!

The relatively large surface area to volume of a smaller, unheated, tank is also disadvantage. A bit of a draught can affect the temperature very much more quickly than would happen in a biger tank! I also think the ambient temperature is a bit low for them. Really I suggest getting a nano heater to keep the tank a little bit warmer and temperature stable.

Plants are good.From your description I was concerned that there were a lot more than there are (although they can help to hoover up excess ammonia and nitrite, a jungle of them can affect things like pH and/or dissolved gases in a daily cyclical pattern - again especially relevant in a smaller tank. Lighting period is OK - you could knock an hour off if convenient.

I think I'd change the StressCoat+ to a standard dechlorinator. I'm not a great fan! It coats everything after a while and (IMO) degrades the quality of the mini-ecosystem if used for a long time. The aloe vera component is marginally useful if fish are injured, so don't necessarily throw it away if you do change. Stresszyme is OK but not necessary going by your pic and from your description of maintenance routines.

Is oxygenation OK so far as you can see (fish 'gasping' or spending an unusual amount of time at the surface? (I guess not, from what you say!)

Anything like furniture polish, spray cleaners or room deodorisers used in the vicinity of the tank, inclusive of lit candles? Or at all? Is the room noisy? Children around?

Just trying to narrow down the likely stressors. Others will no doubt add more possibilities soon.


I see! Thanks for all the advice! We were going off of what our local store told us, (Seahorse Aquariums, I believe the UK also has some of these?)
As for outside stressors, we have them on our console unit just under the TV, although neither of us spend enough time in there with the TV on (30 mins in the mornings.. maybe an hour over dinner) since my office is upstairs, and my SO works away from home. So it's dead quiet during the day. They're near a window that has blinds covering it 24/7, lets light in but people cant see in to our front room. We dont have kids, or dogs (just a bunny) so there's really no noise apart from cars passing by outside every now and then.

We don't light candles, but I do have a diffuser in the opposite room (connected to the Tv room with an arch, no door) that I have on occasionlly with lavender essential oil. But I've only put it on a small handful of times since getting the tank. We don't use deodorisers or polishes. 

Never seem to see the fish gasping at the surface either, they stay firmly in the middle of the tank to the left behind one of the logs. We don't plan on adding any more plants, as I am already trimming the top parts so they don't get too out of hand. Would the trimming effect the fish? I don't take a lot off..

I am surprised I didn't realise washing the filter with tap water.. it's so obvious! I wont be making the same mistake again. Thanks for that!
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#8
(14-08-2019, 08:08 AM)plankton Wrote: It sounds like there are a couple of problems here.
I'll leave the shrimp problem as I've no experience with it and cannot remember for the life of me why it happens, but I have a feeling in the back of my mind it may have something to do with liquid carbon??????
The neons were relatively settled when you added the plants by the sounds of it, so you have made a new set of surroundings which they now need to get used to. This will take a while. They should feel safer long-term with more cover to run to when upset.
However, if you are washing media in tapwater, as Vale! says, it is very likely that you are getting ammonia and nitrite spikes which the fish, and shrimp, won't do well with at all. The media only needs a quick swish in old tankwater when the filter slows down.
Also if there is a lot of movement near the tank, that will have a similar effect.
There is one point I'd like to make, and that is that a 19l tank isn't big enough long-term for 12 neons when they're all around 2", so it is worth considering upgrading to a 54l some time in the not too distant future. Wink Smile

The shrimp thing seems to have solved itself ..for now. As the fungus hasn't returned and many of them have since shed their old skins and are looking really bright! We had shrimp in there since before the tetra and this was the first time having any fungal issues. Everything was steady sailing until then.

Oh, absolutely! I'd like to upgrade in the near future for them, I don't think we intended to stay with the 19Ltr forever. 
I wont make that filter washing mistake again, this is the first time someone's told us not to wash with tap water! (But I feel a little stupid for not realising on my own >_< hah)

Your point about the new surroundings also makes a ton of sense! The new plants have only been in a couple of weeks at best. But I tend to overthink and worry so I was convinced something was really really wrong, and that I was causing them a lot of stress. Which is the last thing I want.

The tank is in the corner of the room, with the couch near it too, but as I said to Vale! there's really only activity there from both of us in the early morning and maybe an hour in the evening..rest of the day is pretty quiet.
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#9
Neon tetras are a funny lot - the more settled they are the less you'll see the sort of behaviour you enjoy. They will stop shoaling, unless spooked, and just 'stand' in their own little territories. 

One way to check whether they're off their food is to offer them a tasty treat - like frozen daphnia or even some live ones. That is normally right up their street and should get them out of their corners.
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#10
(13-08-2019, 08:26 PM)Vale! Wrote: Hi

All good info, thanks.

Most of Dublin apparently enjoys soft water. The exceptions are 'some areas' on the North side of the city. It may be that you have to contact the Council to find out what exactly your water's like. It could well be an important thing to know.

Your water's chlorinated. When you wash your filter sponges every fortnight you may be damaging the microbes which form part of your fishes' life support. It may be that there is a 'spike' of ammonia after water-changes which you don't notice, but the fish just might. It might be interesting to know whether that actually happens. Normally it wouldn't be an issue but you have a lot of active fish (well, they should be!) in a relatively small volume. Always use tankwater to clean filter sponges!

The relatively large surface area to volume of a smaller, unheated, tank is also disadvantage. A bit of a draught can affect the temperature very much more quickly than would happen in a biger tank! I also think the ambient temperature is a bit low for them. Really I suggest getting a nano heater to keep the tank a little bit warmer and temperature stable.

Plants are good.From your description I was concerned that there were a lot more than there are (although they can help to hoover up excess ammonia and nitrite, a jungle of them can affect things like pH and/or dissolved gases in a daily cyclical pattern - again especially relevant in a smaller tank. Lighting period is OK - you could knock an hour off if convenient.

I think I'd change the StressCoat+ to a standard dechlorinator. I'm not a great fan! It coats everything after a while and (IMO) degrades the quality of the mini-ecosystem if used for a long time. The aloe vera component is marginally useful if fish are injured, so don't necessarily throw it away if you do change. Stresszyme is OK but not necessary going by your pic and from your description of maintenance routines.

Is oxygenation OK so far as you can see (fish 'gasping' or spending an unusual amount of time at the surface? (I guess not, from what you say!)

Anything like furniture polish, spray cleaners or room deodorisers used in the vicinity of the tank, inclusive of lit candles? Or at all? Is the room noisy? Children around?

Just trying to narrow down the likely stressors. Others will no doubt add more possibilities soon.


I meant to ask in my previous reply, but would you recommend any particular heaters? I'm not sure which brands are good and what's not since I'm a newbie, I'm not sure what to look out for...but any pointers would be great!
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