Black Widow or congo tetra?

richard brown

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Hi everyone.

I am looking at adding a group of either of these fish in my roma 200 and wondered what you guys think.

I currently have around 16 neon tetra, 6 platy, 6 oto's, 8 amano shrimp.

Which do you think would be best?
 

Ueroe

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i prefer C option, serpae tetra fish. Still tetra family, and look like orange lollipop.
i dont like black widow because the color only black and white.
Congo is good if they have wide fin (we call slayer congo tetra), but very rare
 

sparkyweasel

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I love Congo Tetras, but they could look a bit crowded in your tank, and maybe out of proprtion with your other fish.
Have you seen photos of mature Black Widows? The black fades and they look quite dull. They can also get a bit aggressive as they get older.
I would suggest Black Phantom Tetras. They are a nice size for your tank and tankmates, keep their (mostly black) coloration, and have a bit of shining green to contrast with the black. Females have a bit of red in the fins too.
Of course, it comes down to your preference in the end, but have a think about the Black Phantom Tetra. :)
 

richard brown

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I love Congo Tetras, but they could look a bit crowded in your tank, and maybe out of proprtion with your other fish.
Have you seen photos of mature Black Widows? The black fades and they look quite dull. They can also get a bit aggressive as they get older.
I would suggest Black Phantom Tetras. They are a nice size for your tank and tankmates, keep their (mostly black) coloration, and have a bit of shining green to contrast with the black. Females have a bit of red in the fins too.
Of course, it comes down to your preference in the end, but have a think about the Black Phantom Tetra. :)

How big do the phantom tetra get?

I will tell you a story, a few months ago I sent my girlfriend to pick up an angel fish from the lfs(she drives, I don't) told her what to look for with health etc anyway they refused to sell her an angelfish because of the neons so she came home with 6 platy instead and they have started to breed alot so instead of plucking out fish I decided to get some fish to help keep the population in check.

I wanted some larger fish anyway eventually so 2 birds with 1 stone.
 

mort

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Black phantom tetra are a good choice but another option could be blue Columbian tetras, they are slightly more aggressive than the phantoms but my brother has them with cardinals and they haven't nipped anything and are model citizens. I personally would avoid serpae tetras as they have a well deserved reputation for fin nipping.
An outside shot for a lower level tetra could be bleeding hearts, they get a decent size.
 

sparkyweasel

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Black Phantom Tetras reach about 4cm. I don't know if they would eat platy fry, haven't tried. :)
 

alto

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Angelfish would suit this tank very well (as I recall tank is fairly tall - 55cm check ;))

To minimize chance of angelfish eating small tetras, rasboras etc, just have your shoaling fish established before adding small angels (1.5 cm body)
Adding a group of several angels helps maintain them as a group rather than pairs - bonds may form but they’re less likely to actually begin breeding (especially if food is sufficient but not plentiful)
Of course nothing is guaranteed so if you never want a breeding pair of angels, only keep 1
But then you miss out on the social behaviour of these fish - closer to wild, the more behaviours typically displayed BUT then also the greater chance of “hunting” being one of the displayed behaviours

I’ve kept wild caught altums with small tetras/rasboras - the actual fish they grew up with were not seen as possible prey, but when I added some more harlequin rasboras (similar size to existing shoal), after one week the new rasbora were MIA

When I kept domestic angels with small tetras etc, I didn’t observe hunting of new individuals (tetras etc) but I always maintained any smaller fish in a good sized shoal .... and rarely added new angels - as with discus, sharing normal flora between newly introduced angels/discus often ends up with sick fish (so suitable quarantine and introduction procedures are important)

Adding an adult angel to a tank with small fish, it’s likely your small fish will disappear over time

High bodied tetras etc are less likely to be eaten - eg, phantom tetras vs neons

For the platy breeding issue, I’d separate out and keep only males or females rather than depending on other fish to eat the fry - platy/guppy fry are pretty good at laying low, and with the constant production, some will survive

Bettas are good at hunting down hiding fry, they’ll go anywhere up or down that the fry may go BUT if the platy shoal holds the area where most fry are hiding out, then you’ll need more aggressive fish ... which then means they are more aggressive in general (poor neons I suspect ... not that they will get eaten, but they will be kept in check - a larger shoal would help with this behaviour eg, 26 neons rather than 16)

If you’re not keen on the platy’s, I’d rehome them
- and send a note off to the supplying shop that they should’ve warned about the fry explosion and offered to select only males :rolleyes: - this is no less important than the angelfish concern

Add more neons
Decide what other fish you’ld like

But to answer your actual question, I prefer Congo tetras over Black Widow (though I suspect if you found a wild caught source they’d be more attractive and less aggressive fish) - though I’d usually not suggest Congo tetras in any tank under 120cm length
 

richard brown

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Angelfish would suit this tank very well (as I recall tank is fairly tall - 55cm check ;))

To minimize chance of angelfish eating small tetras, rasboras etc, just have your shoaling fish established before adding small angels (1.5 cm body)
Adding a group of several angels helps maintain them as a group rather than pairs - bonds may form but they’re less likely to actually begin breeding (especially if food is sufficient but not plentiful)
Of course nothing is guaranteed so if you never want a breeding pair of angels, only keep 1
But then you miss out on the social behaviour of these fish - closer to wild, the more behaviours typically displayed BUT then also the greater chance of “hunting” being one of the displayed behaviours

I’ve kept wild caught altums with small tetras/rasboras - the actual fish they grew up with were not seen as possible prey, but when I added some more harlequin rasboras (similar size to existing shoal), after one week the new rasbora were MIA

When I kept domestic angels with small tetras etc, I didn’t observe hunting of new individuals (tetras etc) but I always maintained any smaller fish in a good sized shoal .... and rarely added new angels - as with discus, sharing normal flora between newly introduced angels/discus often ends up with sick fish (so suitable quarantine and introduction procedures are important)

Adding an adult angel to a tank with small fish, it’s likely your small fish will disappear over time

High bodied tetras etc are less likely to be eaten - eg, phantom tetras vs neons

For the platy breeding issue, I’d separate out and keep only males or females rather than depending on other fish to eat the fry - platy/guppy fry are pretty good at laying low, and with the constant production, some will survive

Bettas are good at hunting down hiding fry, they’ll go anywhere up or down that the fry may go BUT if the platy shoal holds the area where most fry are hiding out, then you’ll need more aggressive fish ... which then means they are more aggressive in general (poor neons I suspect ... not that they will get eaten, but they will be kept in check - a larger shoal would help with this behaviour eg, 26 neons rather than 16)

If you’re not keen on the platy’s, I’d rehome them
- and send a note off to the supplying shop that they should’ve warned about the fry explosion and offered to select only males :rolleyes: - this is no less important than the angelfish concern

Add more neons
Decide what other fish you’ld like

But to answer your actual question, I prefer Congo tetras over Black Widow (though I suspect if you found a wild caught source they’d be more attractive and less aggressive fish) - though I’d usually not suggest Congo tetras in any tank under 120cm length

Thanks for the very detailed reply @alto , how many angels do you consider a group?
 
Last edited:

alto

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I’d buy 9 small juvenile angels to start - look for good conformation and no fin damage

As the angels grow out, some will be nicer - more personable, better conformation, etc - you will almost always end up with 1 or 2 that are more aggressive (these ARE cichlids) or too submissive (for the group dynamic) - these are the ones I remove and rehome
If possible, remove a fish to a separate bin (sponge filter and water changes are all you need) for a couple weeks, to see how the group hierarchy changes, before permanent rehoming

Building a successful community takes some effort and time spent watching fish dynamics

General recommendation is ~ 37 litre/adult angelfish which means ~5 angels in your Roma 200
I’d plan on 7 with good water change routine and careful feeding
Don’t over feed angelfish - not so easy as they are absolute beggars - as this can affect development (overly large, thick body (sometimes even lumpy) with smaller fins), of course sometimes they’re just genetically less elegant fish, eg, anything “pinoy” tends to a stockier body, broader, shorter fins
This gene adds a “blue” iridescence to angels as they mature (though wilds tend to have more blue/green iridescence naturally), most are marginally blue (IMO not worth the conformation changes) though I’ve seen one shipment that was tempting (and much more expensive at wholesale cost)

Depending on line, angels will reach breeding maturity anywhere from 8-10 months, or 14-16 months (in general, the more wild blood, the later they mature) so don’t remove individuals from the group too early
When pairs form - and some may form despite everything - some are well suited to community life (gently defending the egg site) while others may become violently opposed to interlopers (they can quickly kill community fish - not usual behaviour but I did have one pair do this, they were always more aggressive in general, note these 2 fish were not particularly well bred, nor did they have any wild blood ... I’d set up a work tank and picked up a couple angels due to popular vote)


You won’t be able to buy any angels from Steve Rybicki at Angelsplus, but look at gallery photos to see what angels should look like
(He’s an exceptional breeder as he is equally interested in form and behaviour, he’s very careful with line breeding and uses wild stock for outcrosses to maintain line health & vigour)

If you’re not angel fish experienced (or perhaps even if you are :D) it’s well worth reading through the
FAQ and Learning Center

ETA :oops: seems the gallery didn’t transfer over to the new site, so not many photos at this time
(just a few colour varieties)
 
Last edited:

richard brown

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So I went with 2 juvenile Angels for now, will watch how they do, so far they are swimming happily together exploring the tank.
 

richard brown

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scotland
If any bad aggression does show up what would be the best options?

I was only going to get a single angel but kept reading how social they are and how lonely they can get when alone, the option is there to get few more next week.
 
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