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Affinity of Neon Tetras
(Paracheirodon innesi) towards
schooling with conspecifics within
different levels of turbid water
By: Shehzer Tahir, Graham Jones and
Andrew Flynn
Research Question
• Research Question: What are the effects of
turbidity on the visualization of conspecies of
neon tetras fish?
• Rationale: To achieve a greater understanding
how neon tetras would interact in an
environment that resembles their ecosystem.
Background Information
• The neon tetra is a popular
aquarium fish, it is
characterized by remarkably
bright body coloration
• Likely evolved bright
coloration in response to the
ecological context of their
turbid habitat in the Amazon
• Exhibit aggregation in the
form of schooling
http://www.keepingtropicalfish.co.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/Paracheirodon-innesi.jpg
Experimental information
• Independent variable: Turbidity
• Dependent variable: The reaction of the fish
in the affected water
• Species: Neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)
• Hypothesis: Neon tetras will have a affinity
for schooling with conspecifics in clear water
over turbid water
Experimental Design
• Instantaneous/Scan Sampling -> 15 minute
sets where data was recorded in intervals of
30 seconds
• Test one – Same turbidity -> no fish/three fish
• Test two – different levels of turbidity -> Three
fish/Three fish
• Turbidity levels include: 0mL, 0.3mL,
0.75mL,1.5mL and 3.0mL (Food coloring)
Procedure
• Fish were
placed in Jars
• Dechlorinated
water at 21o
Celsius
Procedure
• Equal volumes of red,
blue and green food
coloring was added to
the water in the jars to
simulate turbid water
• Different levels of
turbidity were prepared
by adding different
amounts of Food
coloring to the jars.
Our Results
• Several test sets were done with different
levels of turbidity
• 50% of our data was significant based on the
X2 test
Higher Turbid level vs. Lower Turbid
level
Preference for water of
low turbidity
120
At the highest turbid
water level there was no
preference
Percent time in section(%)
100
80
60
40
20
0
Turbid Water (3mL)
No Fish
Turbid water (1.5mL)
Sections of aquarium
Testing for Clear Water Preference
100
Fish showed an affinity
for schooling with the
fish in clear water
Percent time in section(%)
This graph shows clear
water vs. low level turbid
water
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Clear Water
No Fish
Turbid
Water(0.30mL)
Sections of aquarium
Testing for Clear Water Preference
100
There was a increase in
affinity to clear water when
it was compared to higher
level of turbid waters
90
80
Percent time in section(%)
A significant preference for
Clear water over over even
more turbid water
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
Graph shows clear water vs.
high level of turbid water
0
Clear water
No Fish
Turbid water
(1.5mL)
Sections of aquarium
Testing Fish vs. No Fish in Turbid Water
100
Suggests that the fish
cannot see their
conspecifics at higher
turbidity levels
80
Percent time in section(%)
No preference when
given a choice
between jars with
fish and no fish
90
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Turbid Water (3mL)
Fish
No Fish
Turbid Water (3mL)
No fish
Sections of aquarium
Conclusion
• Neon tetras showed an affinity for clear water
over turbid water
• Affinity for clear water went up when turbid
water levels increased in other jar
• Showed affinity for lower level turbid waters
vs. high turbid waters
• Showed no affinity for schooling at highest
turbid level with fish present or not
Improvements
• Bottom surface was mirrored
• Neon Tetras were re-used for multiple
experiments
• Lack of trials for each turbidity level
• Background distractions
• Light consistency
Future Research/Wrap-Up
• Future Research
-Additional work on this subject needs to be
done to discover more information on the ecological
purpose for neon tetra coloration
• References available upon request
• Any Questions about whole project??
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