Pack mentality/Fish behavior
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Pack mentality/Fish behavior

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Pack mentality/Fish behavior
Old 06-30-2011, 02:27 PM   #1
 
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Pack mentality/Fish behavior

Well for those of us who spend a lot of time staring at our fishtanks, it is likely we have noticed some form of "pack mentality" with our fish. Maybe not all species but I have witnessed it with the Tiger Barbs and now with the Angels and Gourami. The Angels (5 of them) and the Opaline Gourami seem to have formed a pack. They certainly are not always tight together but now with the Dwarf Gourami (the new guy) they seem to wish to check him out as a pack. Nobody is rushing him but they go at him as a large group and he is obviously scared. I am still hopeful that this can work out and am willing to give it a little time as long as I never see anyone hurt him.

Like a Cat or dog, if he swims quickly away, they give chase but don't seem to pursue for real far. When it is feeding time, the dwarf Gourami swims about among them as though there is no issue at all so... I am thinking (correct me if I am wrong) that if he was truly afraid for his life, he would avoid them all the time, even during feeding time? Right before I moved him in I moved a few plants around to sort of change things up and hopefully take away the need for any territorial behavior. Actually watching now, it is only the large Gourami that gives chase but as I said, not far and not seemingly aggressive. More curious and then "oh, you run, I run" kind of thing.

Anyone else have any thought? Should I leave this alone for awhile and just keep an eye on it? Can it get better or no? Honestly, I think if the little guy would just calm down and hold his ground it will all be fine. It is the fact that he runs that the big girl gives chase. Heck she never even hurt any of the Guppy fry so she isn't an aggressive fish typically.

Byron, I think I need you to take a trip over to my house so you can observe this behavior. Ha Ha


If this were dogs, I would have no issue. I can usually spot the tiniest signals a dog gives off but fish??? No clue for sure.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:30 PM   #2
 
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Are these young fish? What size tank are they in? While I can see you are holding out that it will get better, it is more likely that it will get worse over time. The angels and standard gourami are species that tend to get much more aggressive as they grow and age, and depending on the size of the tank... as they grow the amount of territory they claim tends to grow with them, so they may eventually feel crowded. Dwarf gouramis don't usually mix well with larger fish who occupy the same territories in the tank with them (the upper 1/3). All 3 species are known for their territorial behavior as they mature, but the dwarf gourami is going to eventually really stand apart from the others because of the size differences.

If any of the angels pair up, the aggression is likely to get much much worse... that is a situation you will want to keep a careful eye on. You may go to bed some night and see all is fine, but when you wake up next morning your dwarf gourami may have turned into a victim while you sleep... Does the dwarf have any kind of cave type areas where he can hide that the others can't fit to reach him? Providing a few different areas in the tank such as that may help if there are enough of them and they are scattered... but eventually feeding time may also become an issue.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 07-01-2011, 03:32 AM   #3
 
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Yes, this is what I was afraid of. The only reason I tried it was because the Dwarf Gourami seemed so out of sorts alone. My Opaline is around a year and a half the Angels are closing in on a year. They all co-existed with Guppies including their fry and they never bothered any of them. Also there are tons of Ghost Shrimp and they don't go after them either so I thought it was worth a shot to try to co-mingle the Dwarf Gourami into that community tank.

When I go in the morning and put the room lights on, I can see that the Dwarf Gourami and the Opaline are sleeping in the same area about 3-4 inches apart. I thought that was a good sign. Also, I thought that the aggression might have been minimized by the fact that the Dwarf is a male and the Opaline is a female. Wishful thinking? I was banking on the fact that they have all been peaceful fish up to this point. I still have not noted aggression, rather curiosity.
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:22 AM   #4
 
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The fish are still young at this point... peaceful can change in a matter of a day, so a good idea just to keep watch and be prepared. Maturity can take a very peaceful fish and turn it into a terror in a tank, especially, as I mentioned, if you end up with a pair of angels in that tank. Paired angels can take over most of a tank and defend it ruthlessly from everything, especially other angels and any fish that tend to occupy the same territory.

With guppies its a little different because they tend to be more mid dwelling fish, but they move all over... not much threat to small angels... try it with adult angels and you will find a lot of chasing and likely fin nipping. Gouramis and angels tend to prefer the upper 1/3. When you put too many different fish that occupy the same territory together, trouble should be expected to develop at some point. There are a great many things that can work for a while, but long term, permanent situations are a different story. Again... maturity is going to be the big issue.

My 6 angels were raised together and all hung out together until they got to be about 18 months old... and paired up. All of a sudden they were ripping each other apart daily, 90 gallon tank fully planted and heavy decor wasn't big enough for them to coexist. There are photos of my 90 gallon if you click on my aquarium pics, so you can see the kind of heavy planting and decor I am talking about. In the end, only 1 pair could stay in that tank safely... they all needed to be separated by pairs. When the one female died her mate had to stay in a tank of his own with other fish because he just could not coexist with the other angels anymore. Angels can be deceiving from small to mature/full grown. They can go through some major personality shifts... and it tends to be all about territory. The reason I worry about your dwarf is the size issue... he won't have much defense against the larger, stronger fish.

So... for as long as it works, thats great. I just didn't want to see you caught off guard.
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
 
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He was sleeping side by side with the Opaline this morning and all the Angels hovering in the same area but I decided not to risk it. He is moved back to the 25 gallon with a few Guppy friends. He is back to pacing but at least I know he is safe now.

Your tanks are lovely Bettababy. :) My tanks are very very densely planted as well. When the Dwarf guy would go into the thick Hornwort non of the others would follow. Kind of like the prickley forest in the back of the tank. There is also tons of other plants. Plenty of hiding room but I don't want a fish in a tank where he feels he has to hide all the time.

As I have said in the past, I am kind of hoping my Angels do not pair off. I really just rather enjoy them each for how they are instead of having to worry about the whole babies thing. One thing I am noticing is that the Marble seems to distance himself most often from the others. He seems social enough with them but will go off on his own exploring. The Gold Platinum seemed like a hunter type from day one always turning one eye upward to look for things to dart after. He either had no taste for brand new Guppy fry or is more of a Nanny fish like my Opaline because they buzzed around his head and he never bothered them.

It is cool how each fish has it's own personality. If it were possible for an Angel to fall in love with a Gourami, I would say that is what happened between the Opaline Gourami and the Gold Plantinum Angel. I think it seems like the larger Sunset Blushing Angel is liking the Black Angel and the smaller Blushing is just there, not really standing out on it's own for anything.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:21 AM   #6
 
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Unfortunately we can't prevent the fish from pairing up if they are living in the same tank if thats what they decide to do. The larger the group of angels the more likely at least 1 pair will form.
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:59 AM   #7
 
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Well, I only have 5 Angels and thus far the only pairing I have seen is between my Opaline Gourami and Tux, the Gold Platinum Angel. They are frequently hanging out together and swimming side by side around the tank.
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:39 PM   #8
 
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As mentioned... they are still young, things can change. I only had 6 and ended up with 3 pairs. Unusual, yes... but not unheard of.
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Old 07-03-2011, 06:59 AM   #9
 
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Well as is always in the case of my fish, I will do what is best for them when the occasion arises. I will either re-home if necessary or move to another tank to keep everyone happy and healthy. I had to get 5 Angels as the experts say they like to live in groups so yes, there is a chance of pairing but it was a chance I had to take to have them feel comfortable in their group. All I can do is hope they do not find each other attractive or... move them when they do.
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