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Discussion Starter #1
I just put my female Turquoise bow in with a turquoise male. She's been sick--twitching and shimmying, and just finished a 10 day treatment with Maracyn and Maracyn 2. She's back to normal now. They are in a 20 gal high, water parameters all good. A-0 N-0 Nitrates 5-10. There are also male guppies, otos and Kuhli loaches in there, but it's not overstocked.

They got along fine at first but after a couple of hours he started chasing her, and hasn't stopped except for a minute here and there since! This has been going on for 3 hours. Doesn't look like he's nipping her, and no fin damge, but he won't leave her alone! I have no bushy, tall plants for her to hide in. Just shorter plants. Should I remove her (I feel he might be stressing her out) or get some tall, busy fake plants for her to hide in? I don't know if this is normal behavior, or if he might stress her out badly.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I meant to type "bushy," not busy!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, now I'm really in trouble. I have a 55, but can't put them in there, as it has had columnaris outbreaks (3 times) and I don't want to expose the rainbows to it! And I thought a single male and female would be alright, from what I read online. I didn't realize I needed another female or two. And I agree, the 20 gal high doesn't seem big enough for the both of them. And now I need another female! The 55 has other fish in it, as well. Not that that would be a problem, as the rainbows are peaceful, but I can't put them in an contaminated tank! I think I really blew it...
 

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You now know from other posts why this is occurring, and how to resolve it. I am sorry we can't offer anything else.

You don't say what the other fish in the 55g are, so we can't advise if rainbows (in a sufficiently-sized group) in there would be good or not. Perhaps you should consider re-homing some fish? To the store (some stores if they unhderstand your predicament will take fish back), or another hobbyist in the area.

Byron.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Well, I went ahead and put her in the 55. I have a few female betta, a few platies and a few balloon mollies in there, as well as a Krib and a Bolivian ram and a couple of cories. The female is doing fine in there, no one is chasing anyone. She seems a lot more relaxed now. I just hope she doesn't catch the columnaris.
 

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Yes, it is normal behavior, but not to that degree. And yes, keeping them in too small of a tank will only increase overbearing behavior like mika said. You should definitely get more rainbows if you are going to keep them in the 55. If they are not going to be kept in it, then you should return them. I don't mean to be harsh when I say this, but what research did you do that lled you to believe that rainbows can be kept as a pair??


Something else to touch on - its sounds by what you said that you put the fish back in the tank right after the treatment was completed. In my opinion, it is best to keep a fish in quarantine for a period of time for observation before returning it to another tank. You want to be able to make sure the fish is well. Depending on the severity of the disease, you may even want to add a couple fish from the main tank to the quarantine tank, just to make sure. Better that two more fish get it (and are already in a quarantine tank for treatment) than re-exposing the entire show tank to infection. That's a more extreme approach than is generally required, but some diseases can be pretty extreme. Just something to think about.
 

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The rainbows are fine with all the fish in the 55 gallon. Only fish I would worry about is the female bettas. Make sure they are getting enough food. Rainbows are very fast and active fish, they also have a high food drive. They alarm some shy and slower species during feeding. With rainbows its always good to spread food out, they will eat as much as they can as fast as they can. Keeping the male and female separate until you are sure the 55 gallon is disease free is fine. Rainbows are very disease hardy fish. After that I would recommend 1 male and 3+ females or better IMO would be 2 males and 4 females.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jaysee, I never even thought of doing that! (Putting a couple of fish from the main tank into the quarantine to see if the columnaris has been eradicated). Interesting. I'll remember that for the future.

Mikaila, I always spread the food over the entire top of the tank so everyone has a chance to eat. I see that every fish eats. And you're right--the female bettas move a lot slower than the rainbow. But the Kribensis is even faster still! That fish is so hyper.

I always watch after I feed them to make sure everyone gets their share. I have to target feed my Bolivian Ram, as he is the most timid with other fish, and backs off (won't fight for food) so I have to be sure some drops down practically on top of him so he'll get some. He's not the brightest crayon in the box, lol. He takes forever to decide to go for a morsel, and by then, another fish often gets it. So I have to "police" them.

And yes, I have no intentions of putting the male in the 55 gal tank until I know there is no more columnaris. And when I do, I'll add two more females (after they are quarantined, of course), all at the same time, hoping to cut down on the chasing behavior. I don't mind a little chasing, but he was relentless! I don't think I have enough room in the 55, with the other fish there too, or I'd get another male and three more females.

I don't remember where I read that a pair of rainbows is alright. I know I read a LOT about them. I read a male and female, or two of one sex would be good. Now I know better! I've read horror stories of one being ganged up on and killed, and thought there would be less chance of that with just a pair. Oh boy...
 

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I have to target feed my Bolivian Ram, as he is the most timid with other fish, and backs off (won't fight for food) so I have to be sure some drops down practically on top of him so he'll get some. He's not the brightest crayon in the box, lol. He takes forever to decide to go for a morsel, and by then, another fish often gets it. So I have to "police" them.
The Bolivian Ram is a substrate feeder [the scientific name for this genus is Mikrogeophagus, which is from the Greek for small eartheater, a reference to its eating habits] and should be fed sinking foods (tablets, pellets, disks, etc). In my years of keeping and spawning this species, I have never known it to feed from the surface. My current male of five years eats alongside the corys from substrate sinking foods.

I don't remember where I read that a pair of rainbows is alright. I know I read a LOT about them. I read a male and female, or two of one sex would be good. Now I know better! I've read horror stories of one being ganged up on and killed, and thought there would be less chance of that with just a pair. Oh boy
The reliability of what we read on the internet is only as good as the reliability of the source. We have profiles of many fish in our Reference Material area. Currently, we only have three rainbowfish species, and Melanotaenia lacustris is not one of them. But it is a shoaling fish like the other species, meaning it needs a group, as Mikaila mentioned. This is noted in our introduction to the Athernids.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, my Ram stays at the bottom mostly. He rarely even swims in the mid section. I do feed him sinking foods--I soak his cichlid pellets until they sink, and he gets a variety of frozen foods as well as shrimp pellets and tubifex.

I wish I had read the fish reference on this board before getting Rainbows. The 55 will be able to hold two more females without badly overstocking. I'll have 34 inches of fish in a 55 gallon. (One of my cories died). Is that pushing it too much?
 

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You don't stock by inches of fish. IMO your 55 gallon still has a lot of room, easily for a group of 6 rainbows. But I can't say that for certain because stocking depends on species requirements, current tank makes, filtration, the amount of tank maintenance(water changes, ect), Tank parameters, even aquarium dimensions come into play when stocking a tank.

Kribs might be fast in short bursts but a proper school of rainbows is very fast at feeding. A single rainbow will be much slower as they do not feel as secure. Seems a bit opposite what it should be but they are highly excitable fish and total pigs when it comes to food. They are still great fish tho, easily one of my favorites.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I knew that the "one gallon per inch of fish" rule is old school, but I don't know how else to calculate, so I just figured each of my current fish are 2 inches, with the cory being 1 inch, the Ram being 3" and the rainbows will be about 3-4 inches when grown, and came up with approx. 34 inches of fish if I only get two more females. Do you think I should get three more? And one more male? I don't want to overstock and have filtration problems. I only run one filter (Penguin 350) in the 55 gallon. I do a 40% water change once a week, and vac the gravel. The tank is 48" long--a regulation 55 gallon. My parameters are excellent. Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates average 10. I love the rainbows too. They are so endearing once they lose their fear of you. I like them almost as much as my female bettas!
 

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This present discussion points up why it is next to impossible to have "guides" to stocking. There are so many factors involved beyond mere fish size and water volume, though these are important.

Fish that are not maintained in an environment that is reasonably close to what they "expect" will be under constant stress. Each species has evolved to function best in a fairly specific set of environmental circumstances, and this includes water parameters, space, flows from the filter, numbers of the species, and how the tank is aquascaped. All these factor in to the equation of how many fish an aquarium can support, because these affect the fish's homeostasis and physiology. When everything provides what the fish needs, the fish will be healthier because it is less stressed and energy is not being wasted as it is when the factors are at variance with the fish's needs.

Zeroing in on just the numbers. Shoaling fish need a group for various reasons that almost always include "safety in numbers," but in many species also involve social interaction. When this is absent, as it is when a shoaling species is kept with 2 or 3 or even 4, the fish are under more stress because "something is wrong" to the fish. Within reason of course, having more of the species in the aquarium will ease this stress, and that means the individual fish are not creating as much of an impact on the tank's biological system, so it can then support them and perhaps more than would be the case otherwise.

The first scientific study on fish numbers has proven beyond any doubt that shoaling fish need at least five in their group, or aggression is significantly increased even in species that would normally show none, or relatively none, to themsevles and other fish in the tank. "Five" however cannot be taken as a magic number, any more than six can, because each species is unique. But for the species in the test, which I know included angelfish and some tetras and danios, it was very clear that keeping the fish in groups of five or more resulted in far less aggressive behaviours.

I don't know how well I explained that, so please feel free to ask if I hashed it up.:)

Byron.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
I think I understand what you are saying, Byron. In a roundabout way, you are telling me I need more than 4 rainbows. So I will get one more male and two more females. That will bring my total to 5. I hope this will be agreeable to the fish, and if not, I can always return the rainbows and stick with something else that isn't a schooling or shoaling species. I would have a tank full of female bettas, platies, and balloon mollies, but the bettas seem to come down with columnaris SO EASILY, and that is why I'm so cautious about adding more of them. I can't stand losing them, as they are so personable.
 

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think perhaps that is going to be the outcome: nuke the tank, or try a couple of fish in it to see if you still have problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Can't nuke the tank! There are too many fish in it, and nowhere to put them! That's the only reason I haven't already done it. And to medicate it would cost a fortune, and I'd also be medicating fish that are perfectly healthy at the moment. I could nuke the quarantine tank, and already have, since no one is in there, but not the main tank.
 

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I think I understand what you are saying, Byron. In a roundabout way, you are telling me I need more than 4 rainbows. So I will get one more male and two more females. That will bring my total to 5. I hope this will be agreeable to the fish, and if not, I can always return the rainbows and stick with something else that isn't a schooling or shoaling species. I would have a tank full of female bettas, platies, and balloon mollies, but the bettas seem to come down with columnaris SO EASILY, and that is why I'm so cautious about adding more of them. I can't stand losing them, as they are so personable.
Are you sure it is columnaris? I personally would not keep Betta in with these active fish, but what is done is done.
 

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Yes, my Ram stays at the bottom mostly. He rarely even swims in the mid section. I do feed him sinking foods--I soak his cichlid pellets until they sink, and he gets a variety of frozen foods as well as shrimp pellets and tubifex.

I wish I had read the fish reference on this board before getting Rainbows. The 55 will be able to hold two more females without badly overstocking. I'll have 34 inches of fish in a 55 gallon. (One of my cories died). Is that pushing it too much?
The old "inches of fish per gallon" *rule* of stocking is outdated and inaccurate. It does not take into account the different levels at which fish live, the depth of the fishes bodies, the varying bio-load different species can bring to the picture, etc.
 
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