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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 1/11/2013 22:34
Mixed species tanks? #1
Single species tanks? or several species in a tank?
ever thought about what this might do to the fish?
A study in 2011 by Sloman et al looked at the effects of Angelfish on the behaviour on many small tropical species commonly found in tanks together. They looked at both inter and intra specific interactions.
They found that Angelfish had a positive effect on the smaller species in terms of intra specific interactions, increasing natural shoaling behaviour and reduced aggressive behaviour. while increasing numbers of smaller species increases the natural shoaling behaviour.
The study also showed the problems with predicting behaviour when tank ornaments and plants are introduced as enrichment.
they concluded that scientifically concluding guidelines on assemblages and stocking densities for the home aquaria is challenging. however it was shown that natural calming was achieved with higher tank densities, when shoaling behaviours were allowed to form.
References
Sloman, Katherine A. ; Baldwin, Louise ; McMahon, Stanley ; Snellgrove, Donna. The effects of mixed-species assemblage on the behaviour and welfare of fish held in home aquariaApplied Animal Behaviour Science, 2011, Vol.135(1), pp.160-168
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 1/11/2013 22:45
Re: Mixed species tanks? #2
Saxby et al 2010 also showed that increased densities in fish commonly kept in the home aquarium ( neon tetras, tiger barbs, angelfish and mountain minnows) allowed for greater natural behaviour with increased welfare in all but the angelfish shown to be conclusive. This could possibly open the door for guidelines based on science for good welfare practices for fish keeping.
References
The effect of group size on the behaviour and welfare of four fish species commonly kept in home aquaria Amelia Saxby, Leoni Adams, Donna Snellgrove, Rod W. Wilson, Katherine A. Sloman
Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 125, Issues 3?4, July 2010, Pages 195-205
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Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 16:41
Re: Mixed species tanks? #3
Quote:
They found that Angelfish had a positive effect on the smaller species in terms of intra specific interactions, increasing natural shoaling behaviour and reduced aggressive behaviour.


LOL, Yes, if a was a tiny neon in a tank with Angels I would think that I would stop bickering with my fellow neons, and shoal together more too!

I'd be more worried about being eaten by the bigger fish!

I kept a 60 litre species only neon set up and I have to say it was one of my most favourite tanks that I've had. It was incredibly sad when they fell ill with an aggressive non treatable worm infection and I had to ultimately cull the entire shoal
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 16:56
Re: Mixed species tanks? #4
Quote:

Violet wrote:
I kept a 60 litre species only neon set up and I have to say it was one of my most favourite tanks that I've had. It was incredibly sad when they fell ill with an aggressive non treatable worm infection and I had to ultimately cull the entire shoal

That's such a sad thing to happen :( its never nice when one fish dies let alone the whole shoal. did you not fancy re-starting the tank?
yeh It is kind of obvious really some of the stuff they found, but I had kinda hoped that it would spark off some discussion about mixed species tanks and single species tanks.
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Coralline Coralline
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 11:15
Re: Mixed species tanks? #5
I think there's a big difference in mixing species that could eat or be eaten by others, and mixing species that are no threat to each other.. In the average home aquaria big enough for angels and extra fish, the example of angelfish and neons is a problem waiting to happen, whereas larger species of tetra are too big to be viewed as food would be perfectly acceptable, I do believe fish know the difference between larger fish that will and won't eat them. Off on a bit of a tangent, but there are many varieties of 'cleaner' fish and shrimp that will confidently approach much larger species and remove algae/parasites from the body or mouth of animals that could quite easily eat them!
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 11:25
Re: Mixed species tanks? #6
Quote:

Coralline wrote:
I think there's a big difference in mixing species that could eat or be eaten by others, and mixing species that are no threat to each other.

I defiantly agree, both papers looked at what they considered the most common species found in a tropical freshwater aquarium. and I don't think factored any of that in. None the less its quite an interesting bit of info.
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Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 11:50
Re: Mixed species tanks? #7
Quote:

Asumel wrote:

They found that Angelfish had a positive effect on the smaller species in terms of intra specific interactions, increasing natural shoaling behaviour and reduced aggressive behaviour.


Did they consider that the shoaling is a response to the threat of aggression from the Angelfish and that increased shoaling activity was actually a sign of stress in the smaller fish?

I see they used neon tetras, tiger barbs, angelfish and mountain minnows but failed miserably to understand that they have put fish together who would never be found in nature in the same waters, or who are known to prefer very different conditions from each other, or who are known to show aggression to each other. Science is very good at setting out to prove a theory at the expense of all the connected areas that need to be considered in real life.

Very often what is scientifically possible in a short-term single subject study bears no relationship to long term welfare or to real life practice.
Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 12:05
Re: Mixed species tanks? #8
Quote:

Fishlady wrote:
Did they consider that the shoaling is a response to the threat of aggression from the Angelfish and that increased shoaling activity was actually a sign of stress in the smaller fish?


They did, noting that there was no increased aggressive behaviour between the two species. the took inter and intra specific interactions into account

Quote:
I see they used neon tetras, tiger barbs, angelfish and mountain minnows but failed miserably to understand that they have put fish together who would never be found in nature in the same waters, or who are known to prefer very different conditions from each other, or who are known to show aggression to each other. Science is very good at setting out to prove a theory at the expense of all the connected areas that need to be considered in real life.

They got the data from the FAO on the sales of ornamental fish in the world. yes these fish are not commonly found together in the wild but they cant do a study on all the fish sold so the picked the most common ones. not at the expence of the connected areas, You cant factor in all the variables in one experiment, each one needs to be looked at independently to get a good result and build up the picture.

Quote:
Very often what is scientifically possible in a short-term single subject study bears no relationship to long term welfare or to real life practice.


Again to my point you cant look at every variable, but these are long term studies ( not over the lifetime of the fish granted) but they ran for over a year documenting all the interactions which occurs. And acctualy a large proportion of the time they are very accurate in the long and short term and real life practices
I do wonder FL why you don't accept the science's value in real life practices?
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finnipper finnipper
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 12:07
Re: Mixed species tanks? #9
"they have put fish together who would never be found in nature in the same waters, or who are known to prefer very different conditions from each other".

Is this an assumption or have you checked the information? Many fish which are kept in the hobby have been widely introduced beyond their natural range. It's also not right to assume that a species will only live in conditions which are the same or very similar to that species natural range.

Guppies for example are often quoted as needing slightly hard alkaline water to thrive, yet they are present in at least 69 Countries some of which don't even have waters which are hard or alkaline.

http://fishbase.mnhn.fr/Country/Count ... ia&SpeciesName=reticulata

I think if you checked you would find that a surprising number of the fish which "don't exist together in nature" actually do.

Also just because fish live together in the wild it doesn't mean that they will in a tank. Pike and roach are found together in the wild, but in a tank...
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 13:09
Re: Mixed species tanks? #10
Tiger Barbs and Angelfish? Neon Tetras and White Cloud Minnows? Please, don't take this the wrong way, but just because things can be done or have been done doesn't mean they necessarily should be done. I'm also well aware that fish that live together in the wild won't necessarily do so in a tank, thank you.

Can I reiterate that main aim of FK is to promote the welfare of fish. There are a lot of interesting facts that don't necessarily constitute the best advice to give to new fishkeepers in distress. They can be interesting to discuss, but please NOT in threads asking for help with specific issues.

When someone is here asking for help with a specific situation and possibly very distressed we need to give quite generalised advice that will actually help them and stay on topic.

Discussions in these other areas can be interesting and sometimes useful but help and advice threads are not the place to do so.

We (as in the mods) would appreciate it if those wanting to discuss matters such as this would start separate threads for that specific purpose in the Members' Lounge and leave the help threads on topic so the posters concerned and casual passers by with the same problems can get general, helpful advice pertinent to the situation at hand.

I know this IS a separate thread, but this stuff has been spilling over into the advice threads a lot lately and is not helpful.