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Antisocial Neon Tetras


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I finally got the last of my livestock for my 14 gallon cube. A group of 7 Neon Tetras.

Imagine my surprise after getting them acclimated and watching them for a couple of days. I always thought Neons were a schooling fish, but apparently they're not lol.

They hang out in groups of two or three but mostly swim around alone. When it's feeding time they'll all dash out from wherever they are for a feeding frenzy.

I guess they only really school when they feel they're in danger, if they're comfortable they swim around alone or in small groups.

Live and learn I guess. At least this makes me feel that they're happy little fish.

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I’d tend to describe Neons more as “shoaling” fish rather than “schooling” fish.

Shoals are general social groups of fish where each individual is doing its own thing.

Schools are where fish swim together, facing the same direction.

Rummynose tetras and Bloodfin tetras tend to School more than Neons…



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I have 10 Black Neons in a 20 tall- and similar to other Neons I've seen do this they kind of split up when nothing is going on. If I approach the tank everyone circles the wagons so to speak. They might school more in bigger tanks with larger numbers but I don't have experience with that. NOW, my HARLEQUIN RASBORAS, they are ALWAYS together. 

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I find fish school best when there is something to be cautious about. I don't advocate purposely scaring your fish. Instead I say be happy knowing that they are not upset. That said there are other ways that schools seem to get stronger. If you have a larger tank and more individuals in the group for instance.

As mental exercise imagine 100 neons in a swimming pool and now imagine that the pool has low visibility think blackwater. Now imagine yourself as one of the neons. You are very low on the food chain, birds, frogs other fish all form very real threats would you rather be in a group of your own kind or on your own? The fish would be in constant fear of loosing their group getting eaten or any number of other fears.

Now I might be over thinking it all, but when you think about it. We kind of do the opposite thing. We put them in aquariums, hopefully free of predictors (lol). Clear water so we can enjoy them. Plentiful food so they can have there best life and show us the best versions of themselves. Well in that case there is little to worry about for the fish and they can always school up if they need to, as they can easily see each other.

I'd say not only don't worry about it, but celebrate the fact that they don't feel the need to.

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