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Author Topic: takin' 'em to school!  (Read 3207 times)
Afri
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« on: March 16, 2011, 07:36:06 PM »

I'm not sure I'm posting this in the right spot, but here goes.  There are a lot of species that are described as best kept in shoals or schools, but I know many of us, myself included, may at least start out with fewer fish than what some sources recommend.  I am interested in hearing about what changes in behavior people might have observed in schooling or shoaling fish species as they increased the numbers of these fish toward the recommended minimum shoal/school size.
Thanks!   11579
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Shari
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 08:25:17 PM »

I had 8 Clown Loaches in my 125g, roughly 2"-3". Though they were never really scared of me, they never acted like my original group of 12 (with Albert). They ran when I fed, rather then coming close and NEVER hand fed. They would come out after I closed the tank and eat, wandering around. I normally only saw 4 at a time, sometimes 6, but never all of them unless I had stripped the wood out during a water change....makes it hard to make sure they are all there Smiley

About 4 months ago, I added 5 littler ones, making a total "school" of 13 from 2" to 4" (originals grew Smiley ). Within 2 weeks they were handfeeding biggrin Now I see almost all of them MOST of the time. I have no trouble doing a headcount. They seem much more active and outgoing, playing more, sitting at the front of the tank in a bunch, and playing dead right where I can see them Smiley

That's the most dramatic one I have lol
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BallAquatics
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 09:01:45 PM »

My experience with schooling or shoaling fish involves Danios. I typically keep around 20 different types of Danios.  Most are kept in species tanks with 8 or more fish per tank.

The more shy varieties, Glowlight's and Celestial Pearls really come into their own when kept in larger groups.  Where just a handful of these fish will often bunch up in the corner, when kept in larger groups they are as bold as brass.

As for the others, it's hard to put your finger on it, but they are just different when kept in larger groups.  Call me crazy, but a planted tank with a group of 30 or 40 plain old Zebra Danio is truly a thing of beauty.

While it's great that millions of these fish are adaptable enough to be kept in less than optimum conditions, it's also a shame that most fish keepers never see them as they should be seen.   lazyboy

Dennis

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Telcomvic
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 09:51:29 PM »

Quote
While it's great that millions of these fish are adaptable enough to be kept in less than optimum conditions, it's also a shame that most fish keepers never see them as they should be seen.

This is true of most schooling species. Not everyone has room for a large tank; so, you do the best you can with the space available.

I had a max of 6 Glo fish. I lost 2 since Dec 2009. I can't say that 6 acted any differently than 4. On the other hand 2 Lemon Tetras acted very differently than 4. They were hidding in the corner till I got 2 more. The Pristella Tetras started off at 3; I added 2 more from a different lfs and now are down to 3 again. The 2 that I got from a different lfs never did school with the other 3 even after months of being in the same tank.
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20 gal high with 8 Glofish, 3 Pristella Tetras, 3 Lemon Tetras and 2 Aspidoras.
Ashraf
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2011, 12:04:16 AM »

I started out with 6 tiger barbs right away. Then after two weeks or so added another 3. One jumped ship. Never noticed much difference between 6 or 9 or 8, to be honest.
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Belinda
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2011, 11:39:11 AM »

I've noticed a difference ..this what I have seen with several of my different Rainbow species.
Whenever I had had 6 or fewer of one schooling/shoaling species they tend to stay together and not venture too far from their chosen area of the tank ..
If the number drops the fish tend to start to die off slowly one by one with no symptoms other than getting shy.

However, when I started to up the numbers to form proper schools to 10 or so and they all ventured throughout the tank showing great colours and vitality.
I then upped the numbers even more to 15 - 20 and then I really noticed a difference ..
The whole group just zipped through out the whole tank as if they owned it.

I also noticed something else ..with these guys...
The Alpha male and female are not necessarily the ones to lead the pack ..
They tend to sit back 2 or three behind the first ones who are usually the next in line of dominance;
pushing them forward..... so if there is a threat ahead of them they are safe, and the next in line to the throne (so to speak), would be the one who's life would be at risk.

So in my opinion it is wisest to pick a species of fish for your tank that can live in a proper sized school ..
If you have a smaller tank pick the smallest of fish... OR.... go out and get the proper sized tank for a good sized school of the fish you want to keep. happy


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MrPuffer
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 07:54:24 PM »

I started out with 6 tiger barbs right away. Then after two weeks or so added another 3. One jumped ship. Never noticed much difference between 6 or 9 or 8, to be honest.

Funny, I've noticed the same thing about tiger barbs. I had a school of 12 that over the past few years has been whittled to six. They act pretty much the same. In fact, with 12, it always seemed the weaker or smaller ones would be stressed from all the chasing. A smaller school of tiger barbs that all are of the same stature seems to work better.

That said, if my school shrinks again, I'd add a few more to keep at least six.

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