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The Newb's Progress—


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Three and a half weeks in. Six little tetras swimming around in a 55 gallon tank.

The two Serpae are swimming together. They don’t appear to be aggressive, and they don’t stay together all the time either. It’s like there’s so much room they get lost. They are vividly colored, a beautiful translucent red.

The fruities are digging time under the amazon sword and rotala. They also chase but do not appear to clash.

Everyone’s interested in food. I’m feeding tetra flakes or brine shrimp pellets that slowly sink crushed in a mortar and pestle. I feed ‘em for one frenzy of engorgement—a minute or two, trying to pay attention to who’s interested more or less each time.

Temp 78f. pH 7.2. Hardness 4/7. Ammonia 0. Nitrite 0. Nitrate 8ish. Nitrate hasn’t risen sharply over the last two days, I’m guessing because it’s six small tetras in a 55 gallon tank.

So, when???


I still want to wait a while but I’m really excited.

I think I’ll go for 10 more serpae for a total of 12. The fruities are dyed white skirts, as I understand, so maybe 2 white skirts to increase their group. That leaves me open for the centerpiece thing.

I’m now thinking I’d like Congo tetras, maybe six?, together with the 12 serpae and six white skirts would be 24 fish, six of which would hit 3”+ That's about 2 gal./f.in. With all that space and a good diet they should color up nicely.

Another idea instead of the congos would be a large group of 20 or more small tetras, maybe black neons or embers so, maybe…30 black neon or 20 black phantom with the six fruities and twelve serpae.

Oh…and half a dozen corys either orange or green.

I love thinking about this.


My brother’s coming this evening and I’ve just finished making meatballs, Parm and Asiago, seared, It’s 12ish pm est. and I can’t wait for dinner.

In a way I feel sorry for my fish; no way they eat as well as I do.

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That sounds like a nice stocking level to me. Congos are beautiful but if you want a smaller fish  I love my little green neon tetras. The blue really pops against the green of the plants. I’m sure you could fit in a nice sized school of them. And definitely include some Corydoras! 

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With the smaller tetras their bioload is not super high. The Congo’s do have a fairly decent bioload. Serpaes somewhere in the middle. That’s why you can do 20-30 green neons, runny nose or in a 55. 

Congos are interesting to get their full coloration and behaviors you have to have females which are nice looking but nowhere near as nice as the males. The other tetras for the most part males and females are similar and loads of color. Plus you can get larger groups And they are less spendy. 

I have diamonds, red eyes, black phantoms, green neons and I have a few von rios leftover from other setups. All are great for different reasons and I find it’s very individualized in terms of taste. Green neons are the tightest schoolers I’ve ever had followed by the red eyes. Phantoms and diamonds are more shoalers then schoolers but do school when my festivum Spikey Feathers goes cruising for trouble or usually food. Nothing like a threat response to get some natural behaviors. 

And corys, I’d go with a bakers dozen. Once you get to 7 or More the magic happens they just can’t help themselves being goofy and loving life. 


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