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A Tank For Two . . . Too Few?

So that one fish may be fighting with the only other fish in the tank 'cause he's lonely? According to a recent study, certain species of fishies fight more and act less like themselves when they have few friends along for the ride swim.

The research examined a 2.6-gallon tank filled with either one fish, two fish, five fish, or 10 fish. Of all the pairings, the group of 10 was the "least aggressive, least likely to dart, and most likely to form schools and behave as they do in the wild." Even though the scientists only looked at neon tetras and white cloud mountain minnows, if you've ever owned fish, how many did you keep in a tank at a time?

Source: Discovery News

Image Source: Getty
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
I agree Yoga. Just because male betas are stored in tiny containers at a pet store doesn't mean they should stay that way. I had a beta in a 36 gallon tank with a bunch of other fish and he did just fine.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
For people who have betas, it's cruel to keep them in that vase with a plant on top, or any other little container. They deserve an aquarium just like any other fish. They can be kept in an aquarium with other fish too, just don't put it with fish that look similar (flowy fins, same color). I had my beta with gouramies and tetras and they all got along fine.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
HappyKate - I was going to say something along those lines. People should have an appropriate number of fish for the size of their tank and also considering the species. A rule of thumb I follow is 2 gallons per inch of fish at MAX for social/schooling fish. If it's something more aggressive or non-schooling, consider having less fish and more space they can claim for themselves. Also consider the amount of time you want to spend on the tank. The less fish you have, the easier it is to maintain the tank. If you overload the tank with fish, be prepared for high maintenance. Fish are just happier and healthier the less crowded they are so I don't ever recommend overloading the tank. I used to do schooling fish and it's really better to have groups of at least 4-5 for tetras, swordtails, mollies, gouramis, barbs (I recommend 8-10 for barbs so they keep their "quarrels" to themselves). Now I have cichlids and I find they are happier if I have only one of each type. Also, if you provide adequate space, you can have quite the mixture. I had a tank that had gouramies, tetras, a very large angel (got him when he was a baby), a convict, and two african cichlids. I kept the water at a pH of about 7.5 and all the fish got along since they all had their own area they claimed. Consider mixing species that swim at different areas of the tank (bottom, middle, top). It is possible to have a wide assortment of species.
HappyKate HappyKate 8 years
Even if they weren't nipping they won't last long in a tank that small for so many fish. The bio load is way over and they will get sick/stressed/not grow properly and later die. For a 2.6 gal tank you can only have about 2 small (including how big they should grow to) fish. For goldfish they need 2gal of water per inch and most species can grow to a length of 10 to 12 inches, if they don't they are not healthy. Please be considerate to you fish!
noxcatt noxcatt 8 years
even non aggressive fish stake out parts of the tank occasionally and they will chase each other. At most, they will nip fins if somewhat territorial but not aggressive species.
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