Fin Nipping...When is it too much? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Fin Nipping...When is it too much?

So... I'm sure this topic will be of some great debate, although maybe not, I'm no fish expert... yet at least. But my question that I wanted input on was fin nipping... and well... how much is too much? Is any fin nipping at all too much? Should it be halted as soon as you notice it? Halted in the sense that another tank setup is needed for aggressive/passive fish? Or is some nipping okay?

Because obviously I care about all my fish, and I want them all an equal shot at life, I don't want to play favorites here... because the one doing most the nipping IS my favorite fish lol... but like I said I don't want to just let him run rampant nipping away only to find my passive fish belly up one morning with their fins nipped to all hell. And then that brings up my other question... can fin nipping lead to death in a fish? I mean does it hurt them when the end of their fins are nipped like that? or do they not really feel it? Are they not really affected much by it?

Because it seems like the culprit isn't maliciously attacking the fish... attacking them with the idea of killing them for food or anything. He just seems to be nipping at them taking little bites at their tails to chase them away from his area he is in. BUT the fish he is nipping were there before he was and well I dunno maybe I'm just a softy but that makes me feel bad...

So.. I went out and bought a little 2.5 gallon set up and put it in my room, and put the little guys that had been nipped in it away from my dwarf puffer.. dun dun duuuun now you all know who has been doing it lol. Yeah yeah I know i read over and over and was told it WOULD happen if I put a dwarf puffer in, of course I thought MY puffer would be different. Plus those little guys are just sooo god damn cute... almost too cute for their own good if ya know what I mean.

So now I'm left with my fish community split in two... the two dwarfs in the 10 gallon with a yoyo loach... who oddly enough doesn't seem to get nipped at all by them... maybe its his semi-aggressive nature? With all this empty space... and then my new little 2.5 I set up for the 2 tetras, glofish, and oto. Those are the ones with the nipped fins from him. Any well... I just don't feel as happy any more. I liked them all together in the tank. It looked more like a good community, now I just feel like it's became a mess. So all I wanted to know is, could I put them back in the tank... would the fin nipping kill them? would it be ok? or eventually would it lead to too much stress??

Also maybe that new 2.5 little tank set up would be more ideal for the two dwarf puffers?? Would that be a good idea? Is it too small for them? I mean they are tiny, even more so then what I have in there now, the two tetras, glofish and an oto? I mean obviously I would want to leave the others in there first to let it cycle. But would it be better for the dwarves you think? Or could I ever possibly have a big happy family again in the 10 gallon?

Thanks for all your input in advance... sorry for the novel lol.

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post #2 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 09:55 AM
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First of all, Welcome to the forum.

I have never had dwarf puffers, but have read enough posts about them and have researched them as I have, and still do, consider getting them.

IMHO they are not for the community tank under any circumstances. The only other fish that seem to go with them are ottos.

Fin nipping can kill over time because the fish will become stressed. It is generally accpeted now that fish do feel pain, though it is still debated, so I would say that yes, it is hurting them. It's also not really fair to put a fish through that in my eyes because no fish deserves to be put in a situation where they will be constantly harassed and attacked.

It's good that you realise that something needs to be done about this.

My personal advice is that if the dwarf puffers are your favourite, retun the tetras and glofish, many people seem to have had sucess keeping ottos with puffers so you could keep him with them, and if you have had sucess with the loach, keep him in there too. I'm not sure but I think the yo-yo loach might get much bigger than you expect and may require a bigger tank in time. A 10g tank is perfect for those fish, but with nothing else in it.

If you want to keep the other fish then buy them another tank. 2.5g is very small and generally not big enough for any type of fish though petstores still stock and sell them. What type of tetra do you have? This will determine what size of tank you will require. Also, tatras are shoaling fish by nature. Often they can fade away on their own, or in very small numbers but again the extent of this is dependant on the type of tetra. You can take this as a blessing or a curse, if you decide to keep them in another tank, asuming you have the finances to keep them in the first place, get another 4 tetras of the same species. Watching them shoal will be much more entertaining than watching them on their own and they will be a happier fish.

Once we know what type of tetra it is, we can better advise you on what size of tank will be required, but in general, as long as you don't go below the minimum, get the biggest sized tank you can afford for them as it will allow you to have more fish, and give you a greater choice of what type of fish you can keep.

Sorry to overwhelm you with the length of my response.

Let us know how you get on and what you decide on :)
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your response, very quick! :D

Well I knew something had to be done, as I immediately realized as soon as I saw the little guy sneakin up on my otto and my other tetras and then lunging at their tails taking pieces right out of them I freaked out, because I care about my fish, and it was too hard for me to watch. So I ran out and got the first thing I could get, given my resources right now are very limited, after putting all the money I've put into that 10 gallon. I made it a really great tank, for all my fish, also cost me well over 100 dollars. So I got the 2.5 at the time because I needed something quick I felt like to best care for my fish and it's all I could afford :(.

My two tetras are a female glo-light tetra and one male glo-light tetra... I some how ended up with a female and male lol. At least I think so... one of them is a lot slimmer in size and its belly kind of concaves in a bit and the other glolight tetra is much taller... which is the male and which is the female? or does it sound like they are the same sex? and then I have a little otto in there cause he was getting nipped pretty bad by my little guy. My dwarf would literally sneak up on him while he was trying to eat sucked to the glass and lunge at him... like he does when he hunts snails and take a chunk out of his tail, this is what alarmed me the most. and then I have one of those cool glofish as well who I noticed had some nipped fins. So I realize this 2.5 is small for them and I want them to be happy and have space to swim BUT considering my resources at the moment I had to do something and this is the best I could do.

So for the time being will they be okay in this setup? Also did you think that the dwarves would do better in this little tank? rather then the other ones? and put them back in the 10 gallon? Thanks for helping me with this. Knowing that they MAY be feeling pain from this nipping makes me in no way want to just let it go on. Plus I don't want any of my fish dying.

Ugh... what little a brat this dwarf puffer has become... lol maybe I shouldn't of named him P.Diddy... lol. The weird thing is the other dwarf doesn't really nip. Its just the one... maybe the other one just is more peaceful? maybe he/she could go with the other fish and just the one could go in his own set up, or do you think the other one would become the same way? It's weird because he wasn't doing it at all in the beginning, but like on the 4th to 5th day he just like snapped. It seem to happen when he had eaten the last of the snails i bought for him.. so maybe it was just out of hunger? maybe if I keep the tank always stocked with snails he will remain Peaceful?
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 11:05 AM
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With many fish when there are more than one of the same species, there is one who is the dominant fish. Having never kept puffers I can't say if this will be the case with them but it does seem that way from what you have said. If this is the case then moving the dominant puffer would only cause the non-dominant one to become dominant, as his competition has been removed, if that makes sense

I understand that you may not be able to afford a bigger tank just now. My advice then, is to save up and get one when you can. A 10g would be fine for a shoal of 6 glolights and the otto (when you get the bigger tank it's best if you can get another 4 glolights to complete the shoal, but wait until you get the bigger tank). Have a look in your local papers or any local fish stores that have second hand tanks. You often get good deals and I find that in papers there's almost always fish tanks for sale as a lot of pople get the, but then can't be bothered. For example I bought a 30g tank recently with all acessories included for £40, which I think is $60ish. Not bad considering that the same one new, in a pet store was £120 ($180).

I think that it's roughly six and half a dzen whetehr you keep the puffers, or other fish in the small one for the time being. Not knowing the exact size of the fish it's hard to say. Just have a look at them and whatever lot seems like "more fish" give them the bigger tank.

I mean to ask earlier how you were treating the nipped fins? Melafix is a good remedy as it's natural aand it helps to heal the fish quickly. In a 10g, or 2.5g tank the dose would be very low and so it woulsn't cost you much to do thi, unless of couse you already have.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 11:17 AM
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My two tetras are a female glo-light tetra and one male glo-light tetra... I some how ended up with a female and male lol. At least I think so... one of them is a lot slimmer in size and its belly kind of concaves in a bit and the other glolight tetra is much taller... which is the male and which is the female? or does it sound like they are the same sex?
Sorry I forgot to reply to thi part of your message. It can be very difficult to sex tetras and I would be lying if I said I was able to sex them myself. Usually a fuller body does suggest a female but this can be difficult to tell as appatite for example can have a lot to do with it.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 08:18 PM
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Tetras: Males are slimmer whereas females are bigger and plumper.;)

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post #7 of 7 Old 04-26-2007, 10:08 PM
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I kept 2 dwarf puffers in a 10 gallon with 2 Sterba Corys. Fortunately, neither of my Dwarves were aggressive. However, I CAN tell you that they are extremely sensitive to water parameters, since their lack of scales makes them vulnerable. Both of mine died (trust me, I didn't want them to, they were the cutest, most intelligent fish [they actually watched ME]) because none of them would eat. I just couldn't get them to eat. I fed them bloodworms, krill, brine shrimp, nothing worked.

I'd say switch it up. Put the dwarves in the 2.5, and relocate the others to their normal tank. Dwarf puffers only need about 3 or 4 gallons to themselves, they're not very demanding with space. Try and pick up, if money allows, a slightly larger tank for them though. At least a 6 gallon for two. The 2.5 should be okay temporarily.

Tanks: 40 gal FW setup, 10 gal Reef tank.

Old BC8 setup:
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