Badman's Tropical Fish Forum

November 17, 2017, 06:03:32 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or join our community.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Welcome to the forum! Whether you are an old pro or new to the hobby, feel welcome to share your knowledge and experience and to further educate yourself about this great pastime of ours.

PetSmart
News: Stay tuned for another contest starting soon. 
 
   forum   guidelines calendar Forum search help Join Login  
  Main Site site map Fish Profiles Fish Stats Articles tank log Species Gallery Photo Gallery  

Badman's Chat
Users in chat
Please upgrade your brower.
in   cm  L °F   °C   click for tank volume calculations
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: fish schools  (Read 17159 times)
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« on: June 06, 2015, 08:59:15 AM »

I am always reading that schooling fish are kept in too small numbers like 6 in aquariums, but people say that is too small a number because in the wild they school in the thousands but in the wild fish school for protection and food location but any sane aquarist wouldn't but predator with prey in the same tank and fish get food on a regular basis so on that basis I would say 6 in a school is a good number for small tetras and 3 for larger bodied tetra such as the black phantom what do other people think?
Logged
Pat Mary
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Posts: 8,654



« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 09:40:36 AM »

I would say that the fish don't know if you would put a predator in with them or not.  All that they know is that there aren't very many of them in their school so the likelihood of them all being eaten is very high.

Another reason for a larger school is for a person to see the natural schooling action of that particular species.  To me, there is nothing more fascinating than to see a large school in action.

Smaller fish need more in a school than larger ones but I wouldn't use 6 or 3 as a guide.  I would put as many fish into the tank as I could as long as those fish will have enough room to swim.
Logged

When in doubt, do a water change.
Karen
Professor
Senior Staff
Obsessed Member
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Tanks: 450 pacu community, 70 tropical community, 125 tropical community 70 coldwater community, 30 shell dwelling cichlids
Posts: 10,143


I wish I was a fish!


« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 11:43:24 AM »

You have clearly never seen what happens when you put your "6" fish school into a bigger tank and add 8 more to it.  The behavior of a 14 fish school is night and day different than a 6.... and when that 14 fish school becomes 30....


Your post simply indicates that you have no idea what the function of schooling behavior is, or looks like.
Logged

Put me back out to sea to play with the fishies...I don't belong on land!  SmileyCentral.com" border="0
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 12:34:26 PM »

Actually I'm reading books on fish behaviour and all I am saying is fish school for a reason in nature this to avoid predators and find food more eyes equals better predator avoidance and better food location so in a fish tank fish don't need to be in big schools because there are no predators and food is easily found I am not say don't keep fish in schools.
Logged
Pat Mary
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Posts: 8,654



« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 01:46:22 PM »

It would be fine if you could just tell your fish not to worry...you have plenty of food and no predators.  However, we cannot do that.  Schooling fish are extremely stressed when they are not in an adequate school.  The way to relieve the stress is to have a large enough school.  They cannot count and cannot understand what we say.  We have to treat them as they need to be treated. 
Logged

When in doubt, do a water change.
russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
Administrator
Obsessed Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
United States United States

Posts: 12,556


I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 02:34:05 PM »

On the surface, fish would seem to have an easy life. Actually it is simple, but not easy. The three simple basics of a fish's life is reproducing, finding food and not becoming food. Different families of fish go though their life cycle in different ways. Many members of the cichlid family start out in schools, but after pairing off and reproducing, pretty much stick to themselves. 99% of Tetras school together in very large number and for the reasons you indicated. Their schooling behavior goes beyond just protection and finding food. It is also for reproduction purposes. In addition, not all fish species look the same or act the same. Colors, motions and various other actions of communication and identification, eating habits and food choices, temperature ranges, sets species apart. While there are certain similarities (such as schooling together), the species do not have the same communication with each other. Even species from the same continent may never encounter each other, let alone from different continents when placed together inside an aquarium.

Will six different similar-sized schooling species, forced to reside together, act the same way as if they would if only a single species? Maybe after a while of adjusting to each others presence. There will always remain a strand of chronic stress. If the fish cannot adapt, then it will weaken and come to an early demise.

It is very commendable on your part to study fish behavior in books and gain knowledge about the various fish. It is another thing to actually apply the knowledge and turn it into experience. So, bottom line is.......is it possible to keep schooling species in lower numbers than 6? With two of their three main life endeavors of providing food and a means of protection, then yes, it is possible. Aquariology is a hobby. To truly partake in a hobby endeavor is to learn, understand and grasp the details, commit the resources and become disciplined within the hobby. Anything else is like playing with a toy.


* No color image.jpg (2.99 KB, 76x70 - viewed 605 times.)
Logged

"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 02:36:42 PM »

Trouble is fish can recognise predators if a fish has big eyes that are set well apart and a big mouth it is sure to be a predator so fish don't need us to them there are predators in the tank it is instinct past down through millions of years of evolution so they school more tight when a fish meets that description.
Logged
russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
Administrator
Obsessed Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
United States United States

Posts: 12,556


I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 02:47:11 PM »

Don,

So let see if I understand what you are saying. Is your point being, that if there are no predatory species of fish housed together with a fish species that would normally reside in a large school, and is not kept in a large school, then it will do ok not in a larger school of the same species?
Logged

"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2015, 01:30:28 AM »

Yes,I had a white cloud mountain minnow given to me by a friend it is a schooling fish I had this singular minnow for six years colours were brilliant I had no natural predators in the tank so it was fine it did school with the rummy nose tetra I had in the same tank but only occasionally when it was scared usually when I did maintenance in the tank.I just think some fish only school when threatened I think neons,cardinal and rummy nose tetra are obligate schoolers but fish like black phantom,diamond and similar fish are facultative.
Logged
russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
Administrator
Obsessed Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
United States United States

Posts: 12,556


I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2015, 12:28:17 PM »

This has turned into a very interesting discussion. Something I noticed with the fish species that you mentioned when comparing obligate schoolers to facultative schoolers...............body shape. Neons, Cardinals and Rummy Nose are all cigar-shaped fishes. Phantoms and Diamonds are high-bodied fishes.

Over the years, there have been more folks than I can count asking for both fish and aquascaping recommendations. My answer has been rather consistent. If the hobbyist has primarily cigar-shaped fishes, then employ low growing plants. If the fishes are primarily high-bodied, then use tall stem and tall bushy plantings. 

What does this recommendation have to do with the subject at hand?..........Not discounting that cigar-shaped fish can duck in and out of plant bunches, but their physiology allows for more speed and maneuverability. Their physiology also dictates their ideal methods of feeding within the water column. Flat, high-bodied fish's physiology allows them to maneuver in and out of taller plants easily. In terms of protection or flight or fight responses, one group of normally schooling fish would tend to hide while the other would tend to flee.

There are still a lot of variables and other things to consider. Again, interesting discussion going.  happy


* No color image.jpg (2.99 KB, 76x70 - viewed 558 times.)
Logged

"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2015, 01:52:09 PM »

Yeah the fusiler form or torpedo form much better designed for swimming fast and in a school form than deep bodied fish I have read books on coral reef fish as well If you look at angelfish and butterfly fish they are deep bodied and they normally form pairs or swim in threes.
Logged
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2015, 01:08:58 AM »

Would like too say this is a brilliant site and helps a lot of  people with aquariums I would like too add reading books about fish behaviour has really opened my eyes and would urge fellow aquarists to do the same
Logged
jimibabojo
Full Member

Offline Offline

United Kingdom United Kingdom

Posts: 15


« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2015, 04:27:55 AM »

I can see where you are coming from, but there are other behaviour traits to take into account.  Eg. Tiger barbs, ruthless bullies if not in a school. They only bully eachother if they are in a school.  If they are small schoolers ( not sure if that's a word). Then get as many as you can in there. They will be happier and that's what matters.
I'm a newbie though,  so you don't have to listen to meeee. 
Logged
jimibabojo
Full Member

Offline Offline

United Kingdom United Kingdom

Posts: 15


« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2015, 04:29:59 AM »

By the way, Teflon don is a wicked name. I haven't used that one in years.
Logged
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2015, 03:32:42 AM »

I agree tiger barbs should be kept In big groups. There is proof that diamond tetra are facultative schoolers, there is a video on YouTube tube showing diamond tetra in the wild and they are not in a tight school like neons they are all spread out individually have a look just type in diamond tetra wild in YouTube.
Logged
Karen
Professor
Senior Staff
Obsessed Member
****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Tanks: 450 pacu community, 70 tropical community, 125 tropical community 70 coldwater community, 30 shell dwelling cichlids
Posts: 10,143


I wish I was a fish!


« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2015, 07:10:25 AM »

I would call that supporting evidence, not proof.  Its mighty hard to prove anything.
Logged

Put me back out to sea to play with the fishies...I don't belong on land!  SmileyCentral.com" border="0
russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
Administrator
Obsessed Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
United States United States

Posts: 12,556


I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2015, 10:43:56 PM »

A fish that proposes to be a facultative schooler is really just relative. Would a facultative schooler purposely venture away from a school or purposely venture into a tighter school My experience and observation with Diamond Tetras show that they indeed form a school, but do not function all the time within a schooling formation. Individuals will separate and forage, then if startled, reform into a school; sometime loosely, but other times tighter and sometimes fly in all directions right into a plant thicket. As juveniles, their schools are much tighter. By comparison, the Cherry Barb, as juveniles, will function all together within a school, but reaching maturity, will separate and may never form back into a school.

So, how do we fully understand schooling behaviors in facultative and true schoolers within our aquariums? I would think among some of the variables that size of the aquarium would certainly matter. Do some fish we consider schooling fish simply act like they are in a school because of the space they are confined in? Do similar fish swim close together by simple necessity because of the dimensions of their tank or the structure inside?

 Confined inside an aquarium with a predator? I don't think schooling behavior would make one bit of difference in that case. A predatory fish would either attack the school or pick the edge fish off one by one. Either way, it would be an irresponsible fish keeper with little research to place fish in that situation. Here is a scenario……….. Tiger Barb and a cichlid 5 times the size in the same aquarium. The cichlid has never seen a Tiger Barb before and may either avoid it or even cower for a while until the cichlid realizes that it can eat the Tiger Barb.  Wink

Let us be more realistic. In this thread we are not trying to produce a Discovery channel documentary on Tuna attacking a big school ball of Mackerel. We have our personal resources, our own personal knowledge, skills and abilities to work with as hobbyists. 30 years ago and earlier, the standard size aquarium that was purchased was a 10 gallon. Several years later, the standard size kind of graduated to a 20 gallon. Today, the mean average is still in the 20s range (20-29 gal). 

The average fish keeper is a collector. The average fish keeper will combine many different species of fish from all parts of the globe. Why? Because they may have been informed that they need some fish for the upper portion of their tank, some fish for the middle of their tank and some for the bottom of their tank. Yes, and some just get a fish for their color so they can match the wall paper in the room.

As I mentioned earlier above, this is a hobby and those who partake in the hobby to provide the best requisites possible for their fish, understand their fish, their water, their capabilities and their time and resources to devote to their endeavors. They get it. They understand it and the fine nuances and details. And many of us have been in this hobby long enough to have brought our first fish home in a tiny, folded waxed carton with a little metal handle.

Bottom line………the industry, in many respects have dumbed us down. In turn, we have dumbed down our fish. Our site and forum board members try to slow that progression and inform in an easy way. Sometimes being absolute and sometimes in a mini-novel. Many of our member can easily relay our verbiage and content in sophomore college-level and beyond, but we choose not to.  We are really fun  happy


* No color image.jpg (2.99 KB, 76x70 - viewed 548 times.)
Logged

"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Pat Mary
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Posts: 8,654



« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2015, 01:54:56 PM »

Would like too say this is a brilliant site and helps a lot of  people with aquariums I would like too add reading books about fish behaviour has really opened my eyes and would urge fellow aquarists to do the same

I think reading books to get a general idea of the hobby and the different species is great.  But, at some point, just reading doesn't cut it.  Think of school as an example.  It is one thing to learn about a career or a trade from books.  But, "hands on" works best as you advance in knowledge.  There are many people here who have been keeping fish for years and their experience is something that you will never get in a book.  I would rather go by the word of someone who has kept the species of fish that piques my interest than someone who has no idea of the quirks of that particular species.  The same goes for tank size, temp, tank mates, etc.     
Logged

When in doubt, do a water change.
Teflon Don
Full Member

Offline Offline

England England

Posts: 20


« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2015, 03:48:40 PM »

I've kept tropical fish for 5 years I have rummy nose tetra and black phantom tetra it was observing them that made me ask the question and start reading books on fish behaviour on my observation the rummy nose were very tight in a school but the phantoms went all over the tank mostly in pairs I think fish should be kept in schools but on what I have observed different types of tetra seem to have completely different behaviour.
Logged
Pat Mary
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United States United States

Posts: 8,654



« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2015, 05:17:38 PM »

And that is what observation shows a person.  Smiley
Logged

When in doubt, do a water change.
Spuds
Solanum tuberosum
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Republic of

Tanks: 10gal- Shrimp, betta, otto
Posts: 2,757



« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2015, 04:56:26 AM »

Russ already mentioned it but schooling bevaviour is very important for locating food, finding mates and ensuring best gene flow in populations.

These behaviours will eventually change through generations of being tank bred. One experiment showed that guppies schooled less after being separated from predators for 100 generations (or maybe 400, I forget). They also didn't recognise some predator cues.

Aquatic animals seem to be able to adapt and chance their behaviour a lot faster then other species.... I think mainly due to  constant changes in aquatic environments and the variety etc...

I think in the future it will be interesting to see these chances... I mean certain tank bred fish are already much more docile then their wild counterparts. Even the morphology and colouration will eventually chance.

Simply put a large school will provide more stimulation for the fish which can often be lacking in this hobby.

Can you add a small school to a tank?.. Yes.
Will they survive a long time?.. Yup
Will different species hang out with each other? Yep

Is the above the best possible environment for your fish? NOPE

Logged

TwoTankAmin
Full Member

Offline Offline

United States United States

Tanks: 20- from 5.5 to 150 gals.
Posts: 343



« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2015, 11:55:27 AM »

I have kept a school of about 65 cardinals and another of about 40 rummy nose in the past. Here is what I learned. It applies only to these fish in aquariums, not in the wild.

In the absence of a perceived threat (notice I did not say predator), the fish tend to school less and to shoal or even meander more.

When they become really "scared", the school will breakdown as the fish bolt for any place they can hide, behind equipment, in plants, under wood, etc. they will seek to hide.

The trick to getting them regularly to exhibit schooling behavior as you might expect in the wild, but not cause them to bolt for cover, a larger non-predatory fish is ideal. I have had good luck with things such as an SAE.

My personal belief is that most fish are hard wired to react more to movement than to identifying potential threats. If a fish waits around to be sure something is a predator, it usually confirms this from inside that predator. Thus, most prey fish look to escape at the first sight of potential predator. Because schooling can be described as synchronized swimming, that first reaction is a schooled move. But if the members of the school reach a state of fear great enough, they will leave the school in favor of cover if it is available and the school will start to break apart.

There is a lot of research into schooling behavior available. In essence it only takes two fish to school. So from that point of view, one can argue two fish is enough. But, to the extent that we try to mimic nature in our tanks, a larger number is a much better approach. Even in a school of 100s of fish, schooling still relies on the visual perception of the nearest neighbors. In addition, the fish's lateral lines also provide feedback relating to water pressure around them. Both senses are what allow fish to school tightly. Moreover, research indicates that the bigger a school is, the closer the individual fish need to be to each other to maintain the cohesion of the school. The suggests the more you have, the tighter they are likely to school.

If you have a scientific bent, here is an interesting paper on schooling: Key behavioural factors in a self-organised fish school model http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Guy_Theraulaz/publication/228373499_Key_behavioural_factors_in_a_self-organised_fish_school_model/links/0fcfd5077e6762711e000000.pdf
Logged

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan
russ
Whoa. Where did I put all my stuff?
Administrator
Obsessed Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
United States United States

Posts: 12,556


I know where rasaqua's stuff is.....


« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2015, 07:25:47 AM »

Thanks TwoTank for this additional information. Great observation nd insight.
Logged

"For every difficult question, there is an answer that is clear and simple and wrong."
(George Bernard Shaw)
Cyneah
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 112


« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2015, 06:30:43 AM »

This thread is very interesting.  I see in other forums and discussions people having "schooling" fish in singles or just 2 or 3.   I had 3 Roseline Sharks in my 75g.  I wanted more, but was afraid of over stocking and they are not easy to find.  I gave my serpae tetras away and found 3 more Roselines in my LFS.  When I put them in my tank, it was fascinating watching them immediately gravitate to the other roselines.   Prior to adding the other roselines, my roselines appeared to be thriving, growing, great coloring, eating good etc.  The difference in their behavior is astonishing.  Could my 3 original Roselines have lived for their full life expectancy?  I'll never know for sure, but I do know that they appear "happier" in a school of 6.
I have 26 neon tetras in my planted 29g and they bunch together when doing the water change, but for the most part, they just do their thing.  I suppose if they were in a bigger tank, it would appear more like schooling.   
Just my  11574
Cindy
Logged
Aquatot
Full Member

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Tanks: 2 g shrimp-only, 5 g, 20 g, 55 g, and 150 g
Posts: 2,299



« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2015, 06:51:05 AM »

Indeed, this is a fascinating thread.

Is there a difference between shoaling/schooling species and 'social' species? I'm thinking in terms of say, tetras as opposed to loaches. Most shoaling tetras seem to truly shoal, for safety and security. I guess they 'enjoy' each others' company to the point that they rely on each other for safety in numbers and to exhibit their natural behaviour (breeding, searching for food, etc.). But with loaches, which we often describe as 'shoaling' species that need to be in groups, the behaviour appears completely different. I'd call loaches 'social' species rather than shoalers, because they don't strictly shoal in the way a group of cardinals might, but they do rely on each other for company. They interact on a much more complex level than a simple shoal would. They have a hierarchy, they play, they squabble, they crowd themselves together into small spaces. They seem a much more social group of animals than a shoal of tetras. Of course, they also have the same benefits of safety in numbers, breeding potential, and finding food together, just as any group of animals do... but it seems to me their behaviour cannot strictly be called shoaling, even though their wellbeing relies just as heavily on being able to live in groups of their own species.

Equally, I'm not sure I'd call my shoal of glass bloodfins 'social' animals in the way I would my loaches. But is this just semantics, or is there truly a difference here?
Logged

A fish is for life; not just for Christmas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dan's our man! Always was, always will be.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Badman's Recommended Links
1 Post
1 Topic
Last post by Badman
in Sites We Support
on 5/2/07 12:00 PM

 

Navigation
Badman's

Main Site Navigation

Complete Map

 

 

 

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.396 seconds with 18 queries.