Having a problem with my Jack Dempsey
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Having a problem with my Jack Dempsey

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Having a problem with my Jack Dempsey
Old 08-06-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
 
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Question Having a problem with my Jack Dempsey

Hey again all,

So I'm having a little issue with "Jackie" my female Jack Dempsey. I have had her since around May and she's always been top dog in our tank. I have a 55G with 2 Jack Dempseys, a Blood Parrot and a Pleco. The second Jack Dempsey was brought home at the end of June and at first "Jackie" would knock around "Boris" (who may now be a Natasha, FYI). But now "Boris" seems to knock her around and seems bigger. To be honest, I can't personally tell them apart anymore..."Jackie" was always darker than "Boris" and now they are both pale.

So anyway I changed my gravel substrate to sand about a week and a half ago. I bought play sand and rinsed until clear, waited a day then changed the substrate...kept some of the gravel in 2 little makeshift nylon bags on opposite sides of the tank. I have an air stone, a Top Fin 60 filter and a heater kept between 76 and 80. NONE of the parameters of the tank have changed except the hardness: my ammonia is 0, my nitrate is 20 and my nitrite is 0...PH is 8-8.4, KH is over 300 and water went from hard (around 150) to very soft (now 25).

Nothing but the hardness has changed, and "Jackie" is hanging out in the top corner of the tank by the heater, she rarely moves and when I feed them "Boris" and "Paco" (my Parrot Fish) eat all the time and "Jackie" will only take one or 2 pellets, even if they're right next to her. I vacuumed the sand and did a 25% water change yesterday.

Please someone tell me what is wrong with her!! She was my first JD and I don't want to lose her. Also, her color has gone from dark all the time to a lot lighter, except for her blue spots. I know that this can be caused from stress...but again I don't know what I am doing wrong.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #2
 
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It could be an aggression issue, if one is male and one is female and the female is not ready to mate then the male will harass her. Remember a lot of aggression is not witnessed directly by us.

It could also be that it has become stressed when you did the substrate changeover. A shift in hardness like that could cause them to be stressed quite easily.

The fact even though a small amount, she/he is eating, is a good sign, I would be worried if the fish wasnt eating at all. Perhaps give them a few more days to see if things change, if not then we can start exploring other possibilities of what might be causing the fish to act the way it is.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:04 PM   #3
 
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Once again, like always, Tazman you have provided me with excellent feedback.

I'm wondering though if Boris is a Natasha, could it just be normal JD aggression? The reason I think he may be a she is because IT is showing a lot of blue on her gill plate like Jackie. It's just SO weird because Jackie has been up there for 2 days and Boris/Natasha is taking her spots in the hideouts.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:24 AM   #4
 
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Update:

So it's been a few days and things are not improving. Jackie is still in the corner by the heater and when I try to toss some food in that direction, she either ignores it or it will be eaten by Boris. All of my water parameters are still exactly the same. What could this be??

I have a few pictures of her just hanging out, if anyone can tell by her coloring what's going on it would be helpful.
IMG_2392.jpg
IMG_2393.jpg

Thank you!
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:35 AM   #5
 
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Maybe agression from the other JD Boris? He mightve claimed the tank for himself. Hopefully it works out for you though . Im sure someone with a little more knowledge will chime in soon enough.
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:18 AM   #6
 
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Have you noted continued aggression from the other dempsey? If so,,you might try lowering the temp a bit as this will slow down metabolisim of the fishes.
How often are water changes and how much is changed? Might try twice weekly water changes for a couple weeks.
Any stringy white poo from the fishes? Sringy white may indicate internal parasites.
Are a variety of food's offered? is food outdated?
Chopped earth worm's,krill,cricket's, shrimp,spirulina pellet's,cichlid pellet's would be good food's.(no feeder fish).
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:15 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1077 View Post
Have you noted continued aggression from the other dempsey? If so,,you might try lowering the temp a bit as this will slow down metabolisim of the fishes.
How often are water changes and how much is changed? Might try twice weekly water changes for a couple weeks.
Any stringy white poo from the fishes? Sringy white may indicate internal parasites.
Are a variety of food's offered? is food outdated?
Chopped earth worm's,krill,cricket's, shrimp,spirulina pellet's,cichlid pellet's would be good food's.(no feeder fish).
Sometimes I will notice aggression but it's rare I have my temp at 80. No stringy white poop. I use Cichlid pellets (not sure what brand anymore they are in ziplocks after one of our dogs got too curious one day) and freeze dried shrimp as well as beef heart once a week food is not outdated, we got it 3 months ago.

As for water changes, once a week about 25%
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
 
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Ok well Jackie at one pellet this morning...better than nothing!

Also I went to a new LFS yesterday, explained my problem...showed them pictures and apparently Jackie is back to being a "Jack"...so we have 2 males in one tank. Oops.

Luckily we've acquired another 55 gallon tank and will be moving one of them to the new tank once we get it set up.

Thanks to everyone for their help!
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
 
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I hope moving one of them takes care of the issue. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:51 AM   #10
 
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And so it is,, when you or I attempt to select a mate for fishes who,, like us,, prefer to select their own mates.
Unless you can purchase a proved, established pair, then it is more successful to place several fish in the tank (tank size permitting) and let the fish do the selecting.
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