Ember Tetra Schooling - comparisons between 5, 10, 15, and 20 fish

frothhelmet

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So I thought I would give my experiences of keeping different numbers of embers, as I have tried keeping different school sizes. I will also back up what I am saying with photos.

With 5 fish in both a 35l and a 60l tank they hide constantly in an invisible back corner at the bottom of the tank. When I added a rambunctious endler they came out a little bit towards the middle of the front of the tank sometimes, but always close to the bottom. Super boring and frustrating.

With 10 fish in a 35l and no endler, they would come out to the front sometimes, but most of the time would be partially in view, partially not - also at the bottom of the tank. The photo of this below was taken because I was like 'oh wow they are out and schooling, isn't this cool!' Also boring and unsatisfying the vast majority of the time.

With 15 fish in a 60l they started to swim across the tank, all layers top and bottom, but tended to hang out towards the bottom much of the time. This was starting to be satisfying to watch.

With 21 fish in a 60l they swim all over the place constantly, in and out of my driftwood, playing in the filter outflow, swimming right up to the surface even if I am not feeding the tank (they would NEVER do this before), and begging like rabid piranhas for food when I come up to the tank. The behaviour of the 5 original fish (who I have had for 4 years) is also transformed, playful and all about the tank now. This is super entertaining to watch.

5 fish ina a 60l - you can see a couple of them huddled in the back left corner.
2020-1.jpg



5 fish in the 60l - close up
2020-2.jpg


10 fish - in my now defunct 35l tank (the 5 embers from the previous photo are in this school)
2018.jpg


15 fish in the 60l (10 new fish added)
2020-15.jpg


21 fish in the 60l (six more fish added)
2020-21.jpg


Moral of the story. Get a school of 20+ embers. It solves all your shyness problems even for fish that have been habitually shy for years. I would probably add more but I'm already close to maxing out capacity on this 60l.
 
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rebel

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NICE! In Australia we have pale orange endlers and have to pay up to $6 per fish.

I use cheap dithers to bring em out and Tiger endlers seem to do the trick and add a little yellow to the mix.
 

LordMomo

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Interesting, I had a shoal of 5 which bunched together in a 55L, added 3 more and now they are all over the place. Swimming around the plants, some have picked out places for themselves that they retreat to.
Great colour on yours, mine are very dull, were like that in the lfs too.
 

tam

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I would say cover is important as much as numbers. I have 8 in a 140L and they are always out front, they don't hide at all. But, they have a lot of options for cover. The more places to run too, the more more bold they can afford to be. It sounds backwards, but I think if you want to see your fish more, give them more places to hide. I've added another five to this batch since the photo, I had them in a 30L quarantine tank for a few weeks, with similar amount of cover but found them less bold there too. So I would suggest space, numbers and cover are probably a good combo if you want to see them at their best. They are always pale/see through in the shops, but mine coloured up to match the others within a couple of weeks of moving to the main tank.

IMG_8376c.jpg
 

LordMomo

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Agree with Tam above, everything I have read says they need a lot of cover/hiding places, coming from brown water environments with leaf litter on the floor and dark substrate. So best try and mimic their natural environment and provide a lot of plants.
 

zozo

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Embers are also very sensitive to flow and changing flow direction or amount of turrnover in the tank can make them move to a different more open location.

Since it is very hard to determine/see the flow in a tank I have to guess how and what. So I guess they don't really feel comfortable in a strong or too turbulent flow and move into the dead spots. These so cold dead spots or least flow areas in a tank are usually near the bottom and in corners.

Best way to find out if the flow is the culprit, turn off the pump and see what happens. :)

Regardless the numbers, they most likely will come out and be all over the place.
 

Wookii

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I’ve seen little difference in the behaviour of Embers as long as the shoal is 8+ individuals. I’ve had shoals as few as six, some at around 14 and now have 21.

As mentioned above, they need some cover to feel safe and shoal naturally, the tanks in your shots @frothhelmet are too sparsely decorated/planted with insufficient cover, which is possibly why you saw more reserved behaviour in lower numbers.

I also find fish behaviour is affected by their exposure to things happening outside the tank. If a tank is in a high traffic area with people walking by it every 20 minutes the fish learn the approach of a human is nothing to fear and become bolder and more confident, often racing to the glass when someone passes nearer their feeding time. Whereas fish in a tank that only sees someone at feeding time, are much more timid when someone approaches.
 

LordMomo

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lilirose

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I've got 14 in a heavily planted 90l (90x30x30) (link in my sig if you want to see it) that are the opposite of shy. They really, really appreciate a dense planting (and also look great when surrounded by green). The numbers dropped down to seven out of the original dozen and they still seemed unbothered, I only see super tight schooling when I am in the middle of a water change, but I topped them up with another seven just to keep the tank nice and busy.

I alternate mine between Bug Bites flakes, Hikari Micro Pellets, and very recently Dennerle Neon & Co (which is also deeply loved by the Pygmy Cory Cats as it sinks very quickly!). I meant to start a live food culture while the weather was warm, but it seems I've waited too long again...
 

frothhelmet

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Interesting, I had a shoal of 5 which bunched together in a 55L, added 3 more and now they are all over the place. Swimming around the plants, some have picked out places for themselves that they retreat to.
Great colour on yours, mine are very dull, were like that in the lfs too.
Yeah my LFS 'The Goldfish Bowl' has a consistent source of embers that get FIRE red. They're awesome. The water here is ph 7.5 and medium hard even. It seems to me there are different 'varieties' of embers. Some get red, others not so much. Thanks!
 
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frothhelmet

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I've got 14 in a heavily planted 90l (90x30x30) (link in my sig if you want to see it) that are the opposite of shy. They really, really appreciate a dense planting (and also look great when surrounded by green). The numbers dropped down to seven out of the original dozen and they still seemed unbothered, I only see super tight schooling when I am in the middle of a water change, but I topped them up with another seven just to keep the tank nice and busy.

I alternate mine between Bug Bites flakes, Hikari Micro Pellets, and very recently Dennerle Neon & Co (which is also deeply loved by the Pygmy Cory Cats as it sinks very quickly!). I meant to start a live food culture while the weather was warm, but it seems I've waited too long again...
I feed my embers grindal worms once a day - easy to culture any time of year.
 

frothhelmet

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the tanks in your shots @frothhelmet are too sparsely decorated/planted with insufficient cover, which is possibly why you saw more reserved behaviour in lower numbers.
It's true. I just like this sparse look showcasing that wood however. The cories clean my fine sand substrate so I never have to vacuum and my snails clean the glass. All I have to do is a monthly water change and filter rinse, and feed it. The moss grows too slowly to need to trim. I would get rid of my crypts too but I kind of like them. Only have to trim them every couple of years or so. It's my version of fishkeeping heaven :cool::cool::cool::cool:. The good news is that I have enough embers in this tank now that the hiding places don't matter. Great movement and action now :)
 
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