We were wondering if you give your fish places to hide out such as plastic flexi-pipe, driftwoods, terra cotta flower pots, etc.?
Which things have you found to be the most popular with your fish to seek shelter?
We are using 4" plastic flexi-pipe and have bent them into a number of shapes. Our fish seem to hang out in them a lot. Is that normal? The tank looks empty because they are gathered in the pipes.
Will they eventually come out and be sen more often?
hey bob, well it depends on the kind of fish you have. Giving fish places to 'hide' also creates the illusion of their environment being bigger (more places to go, more territories to occupy. it's trick used with african cichlids. use a piece of rock with a lot of holes for the fish to retreat to. you can fit more fish in a smaller volume and not stress them out too much by doing this.
if your fish are new, they'll come out eventually, especially when they recognize you as the feeder. If they have been in there a while, they may be stressed out due to water conditions, or possibly one large fish bullying the other ones by being extremely territorial.
i have natural wood in my tank, it looks good, adds some tannins to the water, and creates places for the fish to go and for the java moss to grow on
Places for the fish to hide in a tank have the pros Sean lists,
However, there are some cons to it as well. The more stuff in the tank, the more you will have to clean the tank since solids will tend to settle against things in the thank instead of getting sucked out to the grow beds.
If you are trying to breed the fish, having some hides and territories is good but if you have a heavy stocking density and are trying to grow lots of fish out, you may be better off keeping the tank fairly clean. Objects in the tank will make it harder to catch fish and may even hide a dead fish from you or even keep it from floating to the surface so keep an eye on water quality in case you need to go hunting for dead fish.
I use a few terra cotta flower pots. They're easy to pick up if you need to clean. The fish seem to appreciate the extra habitat. More often, they hide in between the pots and the side of the tank rather than in the pots themselves.
I use both terra cotta pots and sections of 6" PVC. I probably like the 6" PVC best as it sometimes floats around the tank and provides a variety of environments in the tank.