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Gill is still picking on Eugene


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Hey guys!

I've had Gill in the new tank with Eugene for a little over a week now (or maybe a bit longer). At first, Gill was super aggressive toward Eugene, but then they seemed to calm down and started completely ignoring each other. A couple days later, they seemed to be more friendly to each other, but now, Eugene's tail is getting all torn up at the ends! For those of you who have seen a picture of Eugene, his tail is massive and beautiful!! But now its getting a bit shredded.

I was cleaning my tank today, and just as I finished up, I saw Gill approach Eugene, and just watched them interact. Gill floated toward Eugene, went under his tail, seemed to be doing well, and then all of a sudden... CHOMP! Poor Eugene.

Do you guys know of anything I could do to maybe stop this behaviour? I don't suppose there is very much I could do, but I figured I'd ask anyway!

:)

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  • Regular Member

A suggestion was made somewhere on here about something, but I don't remember if it was due to an aggressive fish or not, but this could possibly apply to you: Try rearranging your tank. It sounds like you should separate your fish. I don't know about your setup or anything but Wow! Poor Eugene.

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  • Regular Member

Hi, I am sorry Gill is causing troubles again.

I did behavior modification with my little guy who had a habit of targeting veils of the rest of boys and girls. I tried the rearranging strategy but it did not work for us. Plus we had a big tank, with sand and plants, and drift wood and a lovely filter to 'clean" from any leftovers, so there was really plenty to do. But no, he thought that nipping is far more interesting. And he would attack pretty much everyone, including my biggest fish, who is 3-4 times his side! I tried to be patient, but when I saw a tear in one of my guy's tail, I have decided to try behavior modification.

I installed a small mesh breeder basket inside the tank and kept an eye on what was going on inside the tank. the moment I saw him attacking one of the guys I would say loudly "No" and the just moved him into the breeder basket. I would leave him there for time out. After some time he was back in the main tank and I kept watching his interactions with other members of the gang. Every single time he nipped - time out. The important aspect here is that if you decided to do it, you really need to be vigilant as in moving the perpetrator into the "naughty basket" as soon as he attacks so he can make association between his behavior and the outcome. I took him 3 days to figure out that "naughty basket is no fun". He would stop chasing and nipping as soon as he heard "No" or saw me approaching the tank - he would try to swim away as quickly as possible and hide in the pond weed, cheeky. But he was not afraid of me per say, as whenever I approached the tank to look at them and to feed them he would come to say hello Immediately. There was no hiding or lurking from behind the drift wood. This is have I knew that he made the association between his behavior and consequences The number of aggressive acts was decreasing gradually. He tried few times on the day 4th but it was nothing compared to the day 1. Day 5 went smoothly, but I left the breeder basket in for 2 more days, but I did not have to use it.

Oh, and I also made sure that the tank and the room were really dark during the night. I was lucky as it was January, so they were starting the day whenever I was starting my day. But I did have QT available on the side, in case if he would continue his mischief at night (he never did though). These days he is a really social boy and he loves to cuddle with his girlfriend. This affair is going on for some time now. But... he may chase her, he may nudge her sides with his head, but he never tries to nip. At some point in March he was a little bit more boisterous so I installed the "naught basket" again and we repeat the training but it did not last longer than 1-2 days. Since then I do not have any issues with him.

I need to stress, that I got to use this method only on one fish so I do not know how another one will react to it. But I do know that principles of behaviorism do work, providing that they are applied correctly. And I really believe that goldies are clever and do have potential for learning.

I hope you find a way to help your boys :)

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Wow Kat, thanks for that reply! :)

I too tried rearranging the tank, which seemed to mostly work. I added two big silk plants, and that really helped. Gill was initially terrorizing Eugene constantly. Now its just a big nip once in a while.

I would love to try that method out, but unfortunately I'm at work all day, which is when most of the biting occurs.

I guess all I can do for now if I can't be around to watch them is to try to find a divider to fit the tank.

On a side note, poor Eugene is quickly losing his black colouring now :( I guess thats from the stress of Gill... I wish Eugene would try to stand up for himself; he's way bigger than Gill!

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*sigh* I still feel awful for Eugene. I'm going to try to pick up a divider tonight, and I wish I had a better solution for the time being. I'm leaving for my summer volunteer position in 11 days, and I have work a whole bunch of those days, so I can't be around to try to change Gill's behaviour. He's such a bully, and Eugene is helpless. His colour is starting to fade, his dorsal fin is never straight up and proud like it used to be, and he's just got this "please help me" look in his eyes. ugh...

I don't know what to do! I can't leave the divider there all summer, that's just not fair.

I'm hoping it doesn't come down to it, but I might have to rehome Gill (I'd try to find someone on here to take him, I wouldn't trust anyone else).

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The behavior modification idea is really very interesting! For all that I have read that goldies have a 30 second memory, I know that to some degree that is not true. For example, my first tank of fish definitely knew me as opposed to strangers, and would hide when strangers walked over to the tank. And of course, we have all --on purpose or inadvertently--trained our fish (to come to a certain corner to be fed, for example).

I have a really lovely and personable fantail that is a terrible bully to the orandas and ranchus (though strangely leaves the teles alone) and have been trying to rehome him for a while here without success--currently in my kitchen in a spare tank. I tried a time out in floating colander for a day or two at a time, as well as longer periods of time alone in the spare. However, though he would be good for a bit after release (just glad to be out, I think), soon the bad old ways would return. But this makes me wonder if you could try putting him in a floating colander while you are work--release at night, monitor--and pop him back in when the bad behavior starts. Sort of a modification of Kat's method that would work with your work schedule, but with luck, might have the same effect. It might not have the same direct association, but I am now thinking I might give this a try, as truth be told, I am getting tired of maintaining this extra "solitary isolation" tank and just can't (yet) bring myself to return him to the LFS. Hmmm....

Edited by spillie
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I wish I knew where I read that information before. I even saw something else the other day. It might have been Helen. ??? Maybe you can message her. Whoever it was suggested taking out the bully and putting him in qt. Do a big WC. Change the decorations around. Or, this time maybe take them out even. Wait a day (I think) and put Gill back into the main tank. With the scent of Eugene "only" being in the tank maybe Gill will think differently about picking on Eugene. I had just skimmed over that topic but I believe it was something like this.

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