Fish at war
So I'm going to present my situation to see what opinions you wise fish-keepers have.
I've got a 29 gal. tank that's been set up for nearly 5 months. Its my first tank, things have been going fairly well. I have a pair of Pearl Gouramis, 3 juvenile green swordtails, an apple snail, a sailfin pleco, and a Black Molly. The Black Molly ("Big Daddy") is a tough guy, king of the tank, and the only survivor of the 3 mollies I cycled my tank with. (Never again, will fishless cycle in the future.)
Halfway through January I purchased a small Synodontis Eupterus. He's beautiful and also the most expensive fish in my aquarium at $13 :roll: . The moment I plopped him in the tank I could see he and Big Daddy weren't going to get along. For the first couple of days, Maud'Dib (my syno, named in reference to the Dune novels on account of the faint blue glow of his eyes) would chase Big Daddy around the upper levels of the tank. This was thoroughly hilarious because he did all of his chasing upside-down. Then he settled into a new aquarium decoration I had added for him for the explicit purpose of minimizing conflict.
After a week, the tables turned, and now Big Daddy picks on Maud'Dib. Especially around feeding time, he will fan out his fins and swim circles around Maud'Dib's decoration, not letting him out to get lunch. I was tolerant of this, since Maud'Dib the syno seems to have no issues roaming the tank safely after lights out, and thus is probably getting enough food.
Over the last couple of days, I've noticed Big Daddy's got some battle scars. After I took out Maud'Dib's decoration yesterday to do a thorough gravel cleaning and fit it with some java moss, my syno has relocated to a rock formation and hasn't returned to his home. As a result, Big Daddy has been harassing him constantly. Maud'Dib isn't picking the fights, but he seems to win them all. Today there was a big ruckus, and when I walked over to investigate I found Big Daddy had come up short a few scales after the latest scuffle.
I'm worried about my fish. Does it sound like this will pass? Or should I get Big Daddy out of there before he gets himself killed? It's really frustrating to watch him pick all of these fights that always end poorly for him. I imagine eventually my syno will grow big enough that Big Daddy will know better, but I'm not sure he has that much time.
Re: Fish at war
As far as your feeding goes, maybe try using a sinking bottom feeder pellet or disk shaped food, which will put it into the cat's territory and take it out of that of the mollys.
Like I said, I pic would help most, but it sounds as if that syno needs a different tank asap.
A new tank will be materializing, a 60-75 gal, but this won't be until probably June. The syno and pleco are both destined for that tank. I do feed sinking pellets along with flake food and the occasional bloodworm treat, but the Molly loves the sinkers more than any of my fish with the exception of my pleco. I drop a couple in at lights out though, so the syno comes out and gets his share.
Here's a pic. The tree with the face is my syno's usual home, but you can see his glowing eye over in the bottom right corner that he's relocated to since I gave the tree hair yesterday (hair looks quite crooked in this pic, maybe I need to fix it, or maybe I'll just let it grow out).
I just don't get why there is conflict. The Molly has never had any interest in the bottom half of the tank until the syno moved in. The syno never goes up top. They aren't stepping on each other's toes. I guess the tank's just not big enough for the both of them.
I would for sure add a bunch more decorations! Fill it up, the more decorations you have the healthier your fish will be and the better they'll be able to get along.
Dawn, would it help to try and divide the tank with decorations? Maybe a bunch of fake plants to kind of seperate the tank into territories?
It might for a little while, it's worth a try. Once that syno starts to grow, his territory needs will grow with him... that's where the real problem will come in. But its worth a try to buy some time!
Bah so I impulse bought a 30 gallon hex tank because it was $50 off and looks cool. I started another thread asking about how to decorate it. I weighed my options, and I think based on what was going on in the other tank that my molly will be better off cycling this new tank than he was battling in the other one. So he's in there as of this evening.
It's funny, I think I'm already seeing more of my other fish with him gone from that tank. Gonna stick some neon tetras and cories (schwartz probably) in with him eventually. I don't think he'll give them too much trouble. It probably wasn't ideal to drop him in first so that by the time other fish arrive he's established that the whole tank as his territory...but what else could I do. Only alternative was to take him back to the pet store.
I guess when I named him "Big Daddy" it was appropriate. He really is a beautiful fish though. I've never seen another molly that looks quite as nice as him.
I would say that you have to think a bit more about the fish you want to put into your tank before you buy them. Otherwise in the futur you will have exactly the same problems with other fish.
1:bring one back to the store and exchange it with one compatible.
2: put them in two different tanks.
I had this kind of problems with two plecos a commun and a G.gibbiceps pleco. the one that was the stronger got the weakest after some time. now I have two tanks and life is better for everybody.
2 suggestions that will help you:
1. When you're considering adding neons, make sure you add the entire school at once. This will mean keeping close tabs on water quality, expect a spike.. so daily water changes of at least a few gallons will be needed for the first wk or 2. Make sure your school of neons has 8 - 10 in their group, this will make them stronger overall.
2. When you're about to add the neons (not the night before, do it while the fish are acclimating) rearrange every decoration in the tank. Don't leave 1 rock or plant in the same place as it was during cycling when the molly has the tank to himself. This will force all of the fish to find territory at the same time, none of it will be his already.
Best of Luck to you, but I agree... need to research the fish before buying them, no matter how pretty they are.
What research could I have done that would have told me a 2-inch molly would pick on all the other inhabitants of a 30-gallon tank? Show me the research that says male black mollies are very territorial and agressive, and shouldn't be kept in such a small space. Show me the research that says synodontis eupterus cannot coexist with black mollies.
The internet is full of conflicting advice about fishkeeping. I do read about fish before I buy them and I do my best to satisfy their needs to ensure their health. Case in point -- I bought a new tank just to resolve this situation. But a lot of this can only be trial and error. I'm not really sure how I could have known to avoid this particular fish combination.
But please, if you've got a good reliable resource you would like to share which would help me avoid problems like this in the future, I'd appreciate it.
Thanks for the advice on the neons Dawn. I will be sure to follow it.
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