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Author Topic: aggressive angels  (Read 1748 times)
RogerD
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« on: December 15, 2010, 11:06:43 PM »

About 3 months ago I bought three dime sized angels for my 21 gallon community tank, without realizing how big they get: two are now 4 inches, tip to tip, while one is a bit smaller. We have plans for a 50 gal tank soon and will move these guys around for a better fit. But yesterday I observed the two bigger ones facing off and locking mouths until one backed off. Once he(?) did, the other one really bullied him, wouldn't let him get close without a head butt. So what's up here, raging hormones or getting crazy from a too small tank? Should I separate the 2 big ones when we get the 50, or will that be big enough to settle them down? I'm not interested in breeding them (3 is plenty, what would I do with 100?) but I don't want to have injured fish either. Any insight would be appreciated.
Thanks, Roger
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Pat Mary
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2010, 11:22:38 PM »

The tank is definitely too small for them.  They also are probably maturing.  I don't have much experience with angels so will leave your further questions to others who are qualified but I would certainly get the 50 now.
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When in doubt, do a water change.
dang
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« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 10:33:30 PM »

  Welcome to Badmans. Rodger!

  What you are seeing is normal South American cichlid testing behavior.  They lock jaws and by pushing and pulling, decide who is stronger.  In the wild the loser simply leaves, but in that small of a tank, there is nowhere for him to go.
  It is also used to determine the fitness of the other fish as a possible mate.
  If you don't remove the loser soon, he will probably be killed.  A 50G should be large enough to allow them to coexist if set up properly.  You need to give the dominate one a larger area and clearly define the territories with large rocks, plants or other decor.  It is also a good idea to put enough large plants between the areas so that the nondominate one is not always in the sight of the other.
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RogerD
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 01:33:10 AM »

Thanks, Dang. So it could either be two males fighting over who's the alpha, or a female testing a male for breeding-worthiness? Interesting. I've been watching and seen the whupped male cautiously approach the alpha like he's going to challenge him, but alpha feignts a charge and drives him off.I didn't think anyone was getting hurt, certainly not killed, but we'll get moving on the bigger tank plan.
Roger
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RogerD
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 04:32:27 PM »

Dang, Thanks for the advice on how serious this was. Alpha got much more aggressive over the last week and Whupped was starting to just cringe in a corner of the tank all day, showing tattered fins/tail and missing some scales. I felt horrible! So I've put in a tank divider to hold things over until the new 55 is up and running and all is well now.  Funny, that Alpha keeps trying to attack through the divider, but Whupped figured out pretty quick that he was safe and doesn't even flinch. He is doing much better. I guess the inclination to attack must be pretty much instinctual based on seeing the trespasser and is not decreased by the lesson from 30 seconds ago that there is "something" in the way.  But the "I'm safe from that guy no matter what I see" conclusion seems to be learned, and pretty quickly.
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Lori D
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Tanks: 6 gallon planted, 29 gallon, new 75 gallon
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2010, 05:50:35 PM »

The divider was a good idea.  Where's Angel #3, though? 

In my experience with Angels, difference in size has often corresponded to a difference in sex.  The smaller may be pairing up with the larger one that it's housed with.  If that's the case, even large plants and visual barriers might not be enough in a 50 gal.  The male in my pair of Angels would not tolerate another male in my 80 gallon, no matter what part of the tank the other male was in.  I hope you have better luck, but you'll want to keep a close eye on them, even in the 50.
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