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Bully Fish


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Since introducing them the original fish (shimi) has been chasing the new one. I thought a few days would be normal, but it has gotten to the point that the new fish can't eat or come to the surface without getting rammed. If they are eating the new fish is bothered to the point of spitting out it's food so the shimi can get it. As soon as the lights go off at night Shimi starts chasing the calico all over the tank for hours - ramming its sides and going under the calico and wedging his head under its tail like a spawning chase, even pushing enough to splash at the surface of the tank.

But both are under 2 inches of body length (not including tail) and neither has stars. At the peaceful times they stick pretty close together, the calico follows Shimi from a distance, but then the chasing starts as soon as the calico acts like it's found something to eat or is near the surface. At the worst times the calico hides under the filter intake or in some of the plants and just stays still. :(

Is this normal for newish fish?? They've been together for 14 days and the aggression seems to be getting worse. I don't want to re-home anyone after all this work unless I have to, but I also don't want the calico stressed and potentially getting injured. 

And if I have to re-home one, do I try again or just have a single fish forever. If I move the aggressive one out, what is the likelihood that the more docile calico would turn around and be just as bad to a new fish in a few months time? Basically would this cycle just keep repeating or is it that Shimi is just aggressive? I've read that oranda tend to be more pushy, and Shimi is supposed to be an oranda, but I don't know how true this is

 

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  • Regular Member

I had to separate them - just watched as Shimi tore the calico's tail fin and pinned him against a rock. I can't tell if any scales are damaged :(

This is so incredibly frustrating 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Regular Member

Update: I re-homed Shimi the Blue Fantail. He went to a co-workers 40,000ish gallon pond - its a man-made pond that used to be for watering stock, but they don't keep cows anymore and its just a nice shady pond with lillys and cat tails- (50ftx20ish ft with a max depths of 8ish feet on the sunny end. There isn't any connection to native waterways, so no risk of adding invasive species. She's got a few koi / shubunkin-looking pond fish that get fed pellets every few days, but are mostly mosquito control. It hasn't been stocked with any game fish like bass or perch.

Shimi is a good fast swimmer and with the dark coloring I hope he has a good chance. Banjo is awful tore up, he's got several missing scales and a torn tail-fin, and now tilts at a 30-45 degree angle when resting. I tried separating them for several days, adding more cover, rearranging things, and feeding with Banjo is his own bin. Nothing worked, as soon as the lights went out of Banjo came out from behind the filter he was rammed, nipped, and chased without a break. I've seen spawning behavior and I am certain this wasn't it. Shimi would literally grab a mouthful of Banjo's tail and shake it like he was trying to rip it off, same with pectoral fins. 

Banjo is a slower fish and with the injuries and brighter colors I figured re-homing him to an outdoor pond would not be fair.

He's now recuperating. I'm doing small salt increases and temp increases, and daily water changes to keep the water as pristine as possible, but for now am avoiding heavy medications.

Is this common? The aggressiveness? If I wanted to get another fish at some point, how likely is this kind of behavior. I'd like have more than one fish in the tank, of course not until poor Banjo is all healed up, but now a little afraid to try and add one in a few months. I don't want to go through another 30 day QT with a new fish just to have it beat up and back in the hospital tank after a few weeks, that doesn't seem fair.

 

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  • Regular Member

Was the original fish on its own for a long time? In my experience some lone fish do get very territorial and don’t take well to new tank mates. If and when you do add a new fish, rearrange the tank before adding it and if possible, isolate the original fish for a while then add them to the main tank together.

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The original fish was only in the tank alone for about 3 weeks. Before I introduced them I added all the plants and rearranged things. Then before they were together I used a clear critter keeper with the lid on floating inside the tank for about 24ish hours to they could see each-other (The top was slotted to allow for water flow) - the chasing and fin nipping started about two days after the new fish was released. I figured a few days would be normal, but the aggression got worse not better. It quickly went from just chasing to ramming and fin tearing. Worse at night when the lights went off and when there was food. So for about a week, I took the original fish out of the tank and set up in a tub. After 7 days I reintroduced him to the main tank and that;s when he immediately drove the new fish to the bottom and ripped a chunk from the tail fin, i hadn't even gotten my hand out of the water yet. 

After that, I moved him out permanently so I could treat the injured fish. I've only seen bettas act like that

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How long is your tank? What did both of the fish come from ? Do you have places in the tank for a fish to hide? like plants? 

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I've had baby fish do this - the two ones I have now battle a bit. Eventually they grow out of it in my experience. For them to inflict injuries of such magnitude is different. Spawning attempts can cause these injuries but not really just battling. It would be interesting to have observed this behavior. 

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  • Regular Member
23 hours ago, koko said:

How long is your tank? What did both of the fish come from ? Do you have places in the tank for a fish to hide? like plants? 

It's a 40B, there are tons of plants, got even more when the behavior started. Both fish came from the same tank at the petstore, but three weeks apart. I also put some big blocks of black sponge in there to help break line of sight, I was afraid to use anything like decor that was hard. Nothing helped. But Banjo is healing well. Still is tilted at a slight angle esp after eating, but seems to be doing fine otherwise. The torn fin already looks better

 

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