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> Fighting Ocellatus, A bully claims the tank
post Nov 6 2011, 12:06 PM
Post #1
Tripp

  New Member
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Joined: 6-November 11
Posts: 1



Hi, everyone. smile.gif I've been checking out your forum for a while and finally decided to join after purchasing 3 new cichlids. A little background. Long time community fish owner, first time cichlid owner. The aquarium is established and balanced for cichlids. 10 gallon. Nice thick 2 inch layer of sand. And plenty of open space and shells suitable for claiming as shelter. I arranged the shells in spread out groups of 3-4 to give the cichlids plenty of choices.

Two days ago I purchased 3 gold ocellatus cichlids, roughly the same size. They were to be the only inhabitants of the tank (plus a snail) with plans to add one or two more once each cichlid had settled into an area of the tank. Once introduced to the tank, two of the three cichlids IMMEDIATELY began to fight viciously for a piece of presumably prime real estate. One of the fighting two was obviously the stronger bully, although they are roughly the same size. The third cichlid went to the opposite corner of the tank where he found and settled into a shell. One of the two who were fighting took a blow and became dazed, getting pulled to the filter. I powered the filter down to check on him. He then retreated, along with the other two, into a dark caved area of the tank (it has a rocky 3-D background). All three cichlids stayed in the cave for about an hour.

The bully was the first to emerge. He very cautiously came out and claimed an area right under the mouth of the cave at the far left side of the tank. The second fighter was the next to emerge. He claimed an area around the front center of the tank next to the anubias/lava rock. The third came out finally and went to the place he'd claimed originally. I assumed things were kosher, but no.

The bully has actually decided to claim the entire tank. Not only does he claim his originally area under the cave; he constantly travels across the tank to harass and invade the homes of the other two. The other two have resolved to leave their homes and cower in the two corners of the tank opposite the bully. And that's pretty much been the lifestyle for the last two days. The bully hangs out on his side, goes to the other side and beats up on the other two, snoops around their homes, and returns back to his side, again and again.


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post Nov 6 2011, 04:15 PM
Post #2
wrslrchiclids

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Joined: 27-August 10
From: 60187
Posts: 323



I don't have any personal experience with shell dwellers, like gold ocellatus, but your experience is not uncommon from what I understand.

First, I am pretty sure a 10gallon is too small for three of these fish, especially once you add one or two more. From my understanding, the reason a 10gallon is too small is for the exact problem you are stating. The dominant fish takes a large territory, while subdominant fish usually take much smaller territories. I could be wrong on this, but I don't think so - hopefully someone will confirm or correct me.

Second, is the bully doing any damage to the other two, or is he just snooping around? If no damage is being done, then you may not have a problem after a few days. Sometimes a dominant fish likes to ensure his dominance by not letting anyone else fully settle in. Then once his dominance is fully established he calms down. This could be the case, but keep a close eye for any damage from fighting.

Good luck.


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post Nov 6 2011, 09:12 PM
Post #3
tfoster7189

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Joined: 20-January 11
Posts: 475



Here is a good article regarding, what I believe is, the fish you mentioned.

Lamprologus ocellatus

I hope this helps. I personally have never kept this fish.

Good Luck!


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post Nov 6 2011, 10:12 PM
Post #4
tfoster7189

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Joined: 20-January 11
Posts: 475



wave.gif Oh yeah, by the way, WELCOME to ACF Tripp!

I forgot to mention that in my previous post.


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post Jan 4 2012, 01:24 PM
Post #5
Jaredc911

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Joined: 3-January 12
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i have been keeping shellies for 3 or 4 years 10 gallon will work for 3 try adding rocks to the aquariam that block the sight between the shells . they are going to still fight but they will fight less and feel less stressed when they are in (there territory) and the more shells the better put a few shells in three different corners of the tank good luck hope it helps they are really cool to watch when they have babies


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