Fish Gangs

I fear my fish have fallen in with the wrong crowd.

Serpa Tetra's

Everything was fine at first. We started the tank with four serpa tetra and aside from my concerns that the little guy wasn't getting his fair share of the food, everything was going along--forgive me--swimmingly.

Then last weekend we introduced two Corydora (cory) catfish into the tank. Corys are bottomdwellers and peaceful souls--the shy flower of the fish garden. There was little interaction between the tetras and the corys but everyone seemed to roam freely.

Being bottomdwellers, there are little wafers that may be dropped in the water that sink instantly to the bottom of the tank where the corys are likely to be found. We dropped a wafer yesterday with no complaints. But this evening when we dropped a wafer, turf wars broke out.

The tetra's started singing, "Gee, Officer Krupke!" as they took turns lunging for the wafer. One little guy actually yanked the wafer out of the mouth of the cory. He then darted away, confirming my suspicion that they're not hungry---this behavior is just a game.

"Hey," I said, tapping the glass. "We will have no gang activity in our hood."

"Our hood?" asked Blair.

"Tank. Whatever. I won't raise fish bullies."

We peered in at the fish. One cory was hiding in his standard spot amid the java grass, adopting the attitude of "If I can't see you, you can't see me." But the other cory wasn't backing down. He didn't fight the tetra. Instead, he circled back around to the wafer and nibbled until it was yanked from him again.

How does one discipline fish? I suppose I'll just chalk tonight up to foolish behavior.

But if I catch any of those guys humming, "Maria" or "I Feel Pretty," I'm going in.