Why Do Tetras Chase Each Other? + How To Stop Them?

Image of tetras chasing each other

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Aquariums are relaxing to watch. You often forget all of your worries when you watch colorful fish like tetras swimming all over the aquarium. However, sometimes you may notice them chasing one another. So, why do tetras chase each other?

Tetras chase each other for showing dominance, mating, lack of space due to overcrowding or small tank, defining territory, or eating food. Adding hiding spots, tank dividers, decorations to define territory, and supply of adequate food are some of the ways to stop tetras from chasing each other.

Chasing is quite normal among fish for mating purposes. However, apart from mating, tetras chase for different reasons. Let’s explore the various reasons for their chasing and ways to stop it.

7 Main Reasons For Tetras To Chase Each Other

When you keep several tetras in a tank, you will find them chasing each other sooner or later.

Given below are some of the common reasons why tetras chase each other.

1. Dominance.

Chasing behavior is common among male tetras. In general, tetras are peaceful fish. However, if you have a male-only aquarium, there may be a tetra that is dominant.

The dominant tetra may chase the other tetras to express its dominance. It is a male tetra’s behavior to show dominance and is not linked to aggression. The dominant tetra just wants to show who the boss is and where other tankmates fall in the hierarchy.

2. Mating.

Mating is the primary reason for tetras to chase each other. You will find your male tetras chasing the females when it’s breeding season.

Male tetras chase the female counterpart for mating. The female tetras are either ready to mate or run away from the eager male tetras.

Mating is natural in all living beings, and hence you can easily make out that the male tetras are merely following the females. There are no signs of aggression as this behavior is normal.

3. Introduction of new fish.

Introducing a new fish in the tank is another reason for tetras to chase. The older tetras will chase the new one as it’s a stranger to them.

You don’t have to do anything in such a scenario. The chasing will last only until the new fish gets along with its tankmates.

4. Overcrowding.

Overcrowding is yet another reason for tetras to chase each other. Overcrowding results in less space to swim freely in the aquarium.

If the tank is overcrowded, it increases competition among tetras. They feel stressed and become aggressive. This ultimately leads to chasing.

5. Territoriality.

Just like humans, fish also need private space to live. In the wild, the aquatic animals define their territory in the sea. However, in captivity, fish get confined to the available aquarium space.

Some tetra species like to establish their territory, especially neon tetras. If another fish enters their territory, they chase it away.

Also, if the tank is too small or has too many obstacles, tetras get little room to swim. They then create their own sheltered area, and if other tankmates enter it, they tend to chase them away. This chasing behavior is not aggressive unless tetras feel threatened.

Moreover, if there are not enough hiding places in the aquarium, tetras feel unprotected. In such cases, they use territoriality as a defense mechanism to feel safe.

Related Further Reading:

6. Competition over food.

Starvation is another primary reason for tetras to chase. Hunger can lead to aggressive behavior in tetras.

If you have a community tank, it becomes all the more important that all your fish gets adequate food. If your tetras get less food or nutrition, they will chase each other to compete for the limited food.

Their chasing may even sometimes lead to fights or, in extreme cases, may even lead to cannibalism. The timid tetras will be the worst affected as they will be deprived of food.

7. Playful mood.

Tetras are social creatures. They chase when they are playing with one another. So, you don’t need to panic unless they show signs of aggression.

While playing, you can also see them jumping high in the tank and getting excited.

Alright! Now that you are aware of the possible reasons for tetras to chase, let us also explore the various ways of stopping it.

How To Stop Tetras From Chasing Each Other?

If tetras are continuously chasing each other, it will be stressful for the timid tetras. You need to take certain actions to stop this cycle.

Given below are 5 ways to stop tetras from chasing each other.

1. Add hiding spots.

Providing enough hiding places is a good way to stop tetras from chasing each other. Tetras can choose a specific hiding place to rest. Similarly, other fish can choose their hiding place and have privacy without interfering in their tankmate’s territory.

Besides, a hiding place is best for breeding and laying eggs. Tetras can protect their eggs and babies in private spots without chasing away the other fish.

Related Further Reading:

2. Provide adequate food.

Tetras chase each other in the absence of adequate food. If you give sufficient food to all your tetras, they will not chase the others to eat their meal.

If you have a community tank, you need to ensure all of the fish get their food as per their dietary requirement.

Related Further Reading: Can Tetras Eat Goldfish Food? (How Does It Affect Them?)

3. Have a large tank.

Tetras need ample space to swim. Hence, the tank should be large enough to accommodate all the fish.

If you have a large tank, tetras will have enough space to swim freely. The chasing and fin nipping behavior will reduce, and the aquarium will be a calm place for them to reside. Also, you will find your tetras relaxed and stress-free.

4. Decorate the tank to define territory.

Decorating the tank is another way to stop chasing. Decorating helps as tetras can easily define their areas. You can place castles or even rocks at particular distances. Your tetras will then occupy different corners or areas for swimming.

Similarly, you can make portions of gravel with different colors. Tetras will limit their swimming in one particular color of the gravel. As they will not be interfering in other fish territories, chasing will stop automatically.

Usage of driftwood or some tall plants is another good way for making different sections in the aquarium.

5. Use tank dividers.

Tetras chase when other fish enter their territory. This behavior is normal as they feel threatened. The best way to cope with the territorial issue is to use tank dividers.

You can divide your tank into different sections to keep the fish separate. There are many aquarium dividers available in the market.

These dividers are handy as they define the territory for similar fish. Besides, if you notice any particular fish chasing or becoming aggressive, you can separate that fish in one part of the aquarium.

Is It Normal For Tetras To Chase Each Other?

Tetras are lively fish. Hence, it is normal for them to chase each other when they are in a playful mood.

If tetras are not aggressive towards each other and are simply chasing, it is a sign that they are having a good time. In such a scenario, you don’t have to worry much.

However, if you notice your tetras chasing each other continuously, it can be because of some reason that is bothering them. As mentioned earlier, tetras chase each other to show dominance, compete over food, establish territory, or because of space constraints.

If your tetras are chasing each other for any of the above-mentioned reasons, you need to intervene. Otherwise, their chasing may soon turn into a fight that may harm the timid tetras.

Interesting Further Reading:

Related Questions

Why do neon tetras chase each other? Neon tetras are playful fish that often chase without showing any aggression. At the same time, they are peaceful creatures. Hence, if you notice neon tetras chasing continuously, you need to monitor the tank conditions. Neon tetras chase to define their territory, show dominance, get food, mate, and when there is a space constraint for swimming.

Why do glo tetras chase each other? Glo tetras are schooling fish. Hence, they prefer swimming in groups of 5 or more to feel secure. Glo tetras chase each other if you have a small aquarium. Lack of space and territory is the primary reason behind their chasing. Besides, they may also chase if they feel insecure due to less company.

Why do cardinal tetras chase each other? Cardinal tetras live in large groups in the wild. They feel safe and less stressed in large groups. Hence, if you have a small tank with relatively fewer cardinal tetras in captivity, they do not feel secure. They may show some signs of aggression and chase out of fear or insecurity. Apart from this, cardinal tetras may chase when severely stressed or to establish a hierarchy within their groups.

Why do serpae tetras chase each other? Serpae tetras are known to be aggressive for their size. They mainly chase around in the tank to establish a pecking order. They show slight aggression over those that are timid. They do not bother other fish species and chase each other playfully or for mating purposes. However, they have a reputation for being a fin nipper.

Why do black skirt tetras chase each other? Black skirt tetras are easy-going fish. However, they are territorial when it comes to defending their space. The male black skirt tetras become dominant if other male tetras enter their territory. They will chase the other fish away from the place they have made for themselves. Apart from territorial issues, they chase the female tetras for mating.

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