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Agressive bristlenose

5756 Views 39 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  GCNZ
I have a 15 gallon planted tank which I set up about 4 months ago, the first fish to go in the tank were 8 neon tetras, followed by a small female bristlenose catfish, 2 weeks after adding the bristlenose I decided to get a male to keep her company, knowing I would soon be upgrading to a larger tank. since day one of introducing the male bristlenose the female has been extremely aggressive towards the male, if she gets sight of him she will chase him around the tank, away from food etc.
It's been afew months now and the fish all seem healthy but the female is still aggressive towards the male, and she is growing at a faster rate than him probably because she is dominant over the food.

Has anybody got an explanation for this bahaviour? The only thing I can think of is not enough room for 2 of them in a small tank, there is plenty of driftwood and plants, but maybe the female thinks she rules the place since she was there first...

I have now setup a 40 gallon tank and have transferred the male into this tank on his own so he can get some confidence back and get a good feed all to himself to try put on a bit of size before I introduce the female and the neon tetras to the tank with him.
Hopefully the female will leave him alone this time since they have alot more room now...
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I will try get a photo tonight, they are pretty shy when you get really close to the tank
Its proving near impossible to get a close up pick of the catfish... but here is a pic I took not long after getting it... hope it helps, there are no bristles on her nose either...


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Thanks for the replies guys. she is probably twice the size now that she was in that pic, and still definately no bristles. And the one I think is a male had 3 or 4 bristles when he was small like you mentioned tankman, Although the male is a darker colour than the female so he may be a different variation to her...

The 40g has only been cycling for a week but I've been doing daily water changes as it's a dirted tank. It has an old cycled filter on it aswell as the new one and also some plants in there already too, The male has been in there about 3 days now and seems happy so I may introduce the rest of the fish this weekend and see how they go
Well after another water change in the 40g I have transferred the 8 neons in with the male, all fish seem happy. I moved the driftwood around a bit too so I think I will give the male BN a bit more time to make himself at home before I introduce the female, I will transfer her into the tank along with the driftwood that she currently calls home so hopefully this will seperate the territory between the two fish...
Well they've been in the new tank a few days now and the female is still the boss... Any sight of the male and she chases him away, and any sight of her and he will run, he's definately scared of her. I could isolate her for awhile by herself in the old tank but i'm not sure this will do anything for the situation... Should I look for a replacement BN?
Thats the thing, I'm not sure whether or not she is actually attacking him or just chasing him... She doesn't really get a chance to attack him because he is quick to react and get away from her, this makes me think she would attack him if he didn't get away fast enough. And also because of this he may not be getting as much food as he needs.

I would rather not get rid of the female as she is a nice looking fish and very active so I guess I will just keep an eye on them and make sure the male isn't hungry or getting beatin up.
Well it's almost been a week and I can't say I have seen a lot of chasing going on... I only really get a few hours of watching the fish after work each night while i'm chillin watchin tv but if anything it seems like the BN are taking turns hiding for a few hours while the other ones out eating/exploring and vise versa. I still don't see them getting along together in close proximity but maybe things will keep getting better... the main thing is the male is out getting food every now and then so he should be keeping healthy. Hoping for the best, looking at getting more plants and maybe more fish this weekend
I ended up getting 3 Kubotai loaches today, theyre making themselves at home in the tank nicely and the female BN started chasing them around but the more she chases them the more curious about her they get, I think she's starting to realize if she doesn't chase them they won't annoy her, they don't take any interest in the male BN so I can only see this as being good for the females aggression.
Well the loaches have won me over, they are an awesome fish to watch and I noticed how they like to be in groups so I decided to increase the group from 3 to 5 today, however when I went to buy 2 more, there was 3 left at the store so who would I be to leave one on it's own, so it came home with me too haha, so I have ended up with a group of 6 swimming around in my tank.

Feeding time tonight was madness with the loaches, really cool to watch. The female BN seems to be the most on edge out of all the fish but it looks like the introduction of a curious group loaches is doing good for the socializing of the BN, yet to see them in close proximity to each other though...
I also meant to ask what you guys think of my current tank stocking capacity...
8x neon tetras
6x Kubotai loaches
2x BN

tank size is also closer to 35g, not 40g like I mentioned earlier...
What do you guys think of this, room for more? overstocked?
The tank is 92cm long x 38cm wide... it is long rather than tall so this will be good for the loaches. I might hold off getting more fish until I have stocked the tank with all the plants that I want, I might also go looking for another taller piece of driftwood to swap with another piece I have in there at the moment.
Here's a pic of my tank, photos not very good quality though sorry :)


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I agree it does look a bit bland at the moment, I still have more plants to transfer from my 15g tank so with a bit of luck and a bit of time it should be quite heavily planted, I also want to find a different piece of driftwood to replace the one of the left of the tank. The tank has only been set up for maybe 4 weeks now so it's still early days :)
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