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Fish/Black widow (tetra)


Hi there,
I am a very concerned fish owner, and I am now suffering mild anxiety after my last fish-a Betta- died having it only for 4 days.
I was always worried about it because it would never move, so when I eventually went to the pet shop to get another fish the lady at the pet shop offered me a black widow/tetra fish.
I explained to the  lady that I have a bowl not a tank, which is rather small, the equivalent to what could house one beta fish. She recommend as an alternative that I get the tetra as they do not need a filter, they are more lively and the water can be room temperature. I asked if it would become lonely as my fish was apart of a school at the pet shop, she said no. I have colored rocks at the bottom of my bowl and a fake plant I brought at the pet shop in there as well.
As I said before, that I was worried by the bettas lack or movement, I now find my tetra hardly swimming about. Rather he hides in the grass and when he does swim it's very low on the rocks, his bottom fin infact touches the rocks. My question is IS THIS NORMAL? What have a done wrong? Is seems like he is just sitting the sulking, or is he bored because there's no other fish? Should I get a bigger tank (for the size of the fish he has lots of space but seems to want to stay really close and low to the edge of the bowl near the plant). Also should I clean his bowl once or twice a week? And  can I feed him pallets?I've read alot of different things on the Internet which worries me further. And as a vegetarian already acidently killing one fish, I do not want this to happen again.


Hi Shardae

Never listen pet shop employees. They are there for the paycheck and to make the sale. Black Widow Tetras (aka Black Skirt Tetras) are a schooling fish that need to be in groups of at least 5 or more.

I would recommend getting a larger tank with a filter and heater (the tsnk needs to be 78 degrees F not room temperature) Also try a more natural gravel as the bright colored rocks tend to hurt their eyes and stress them out.

As for feeding, feed them flakes not pellets. Pellets expand before they are digested and cause constipation.

Hope this helps you, good luck!



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Richard Hight


I own and maintain several freshwater aquariums from 2 to 180 gallon. I can answer most questions about freshwater aquariums, including setup, cycling, maintenance, compatible tank mates, feeding. Moving? I've moved fish both across town and across the country and can help you get your little aquatic friends to their new home safely. I know and have experience with most freshwater community fish, South American Cichlids and African Cichlids. I don't answer questions about Goldfish or keeping Goldfish with Tropical Fish. I also don't answer questions about keeping crustaceans (shrimp, snails, crabs etc) with Tropical Fish, nor questions about saltwater fish or aquariums. I'm not available to answer questions on weekends, this is when I do maintenance on my own tanks.


Many years of personal experience with fish and aquariums

HSG 2010-2011 prof

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