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Old 01-03-2006, 11:55 PM   #1
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Killer Damsel

Hey all,

My tank has been up and running for awhile now. Live rock looks cool, levels look good, etc. I recently introduced a small cleanup crew and 2 blue damsels with yellow fins. They looked about the same size in the store, but one of them is clearly the aggressor. He is nipping at the other one's rear fin, and it is making me angry.

Any advice on how to catch this sucker and put him in my smaller tank by himself? He is a fast SOB and I'm damaging my nice live rock setup by moving stuff to try and get him.

Also, should I bother or let him kill the other Damsel (i.e. nature take it's course). What will be the odds of the other one surviving with a eaten up tailfin? Does that grow back?

Thanks for any advice, this is upsetting my wife, and making me nuts trying to catch this darn thing.
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:24 AM   #2
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Well, the tailfin should heal if left alone. How long have you had them? Sometimes it can take a while for them to sort out territorty and who's the boss etc, but then things settle down.
I have caught my damsel at feeding time..he nearly snatches food out of my hand and I net him from behind...but he has been in my tank a while and knows the feeding routine.
Depending on how long you have had them I would wait a while and let them work it out
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:51 AM   #3
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Thanks Wood_Dog,

I have had them a little over a week. How long do you think it will take them to establish territory? The weaker damsel seems to hang out on the left side of my tank a lot, and the "killer" hangs out in the rocks in the middle / right side.

Come feeding time, the aggressor will try to get all the food and snip at the other one. Who knows what they do when I'm not watching. heh.

I'll give it some time and let it play out. We are just worried for the future of the tank when we add the other 2 fish that we want later on. Just gotta make sure they are bigger than this damsel eh?
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Old 01-04-2006, 08:12 AM   #4
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Plan on other fish additions? IMO, both damsels should be removed. New fish may face the same fate, if not worse. There may be some that say their damsels are fine, but chances are they won't be. I'd say, bite the bullet and move the rock if you have to.
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:51 AM   #5
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Yes, if you plan to add more fish get rid of them when you are going to add the new fish. Put it this way, I have literally to attacked many times snorkeling and diving down here in the keys. Thank god they are not the size of sharks, because you wouldnt be able to get in the water. Get rid of those things when your ready to add fish.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:48 AM   #6
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I have to third the "remove them if you want other fish" sentiment. Better to rearrange your rock now before you have a vested interest in the structure than wait until you have corals in there and have lost fish due to their cruelty. The currently less dominant damsel will begin to exhibit the same behavior as his buddy once he's king of the hill.
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:08 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the advice! Especially that last post, I would have thought that the damsel getting his butt kicked would have been passive with the new fish.

I am going to remove them soon, have a smaller tank that they would be perfect in by themselves.... or whichever survives the battle. hehe.

Besides the damsel issues, we are really enjoying our saltwater experience! Nassarius snails are the coolest things.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:40 PM   #8
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I agree also they will be a problem. It will be worth the rearrangement
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:43 PM   #9
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I had the same problem with my yellow tail damsels. I took the aggressor out and put him in a 10 gallon qt for two weeks and left the weak one in the main 55 gallon. I put the aggressive one back in the 55 and they didn't seem to be as mean to each other. They still occassionally chased each other out of the water, to the top. You could hear the water pop. I bought a maroon clown and it seemed to be fine until I went away for a week. When I came back the clown was all torn up from the damsels. Took the damsels to the store the day I got back and haven't looked back. Damsels are evil little demons. The store manager couldn't believe how 'mean' my damsels were. Funny.

She wouldn't give me credit so I just gave them to her. Its either that or kill them, which I'd rather not do if I had a choice.

BTW - my clown is doing great very happy and swims around all the time.
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Old 01-05-2006, 02:29 AM   #10
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Sounds like they have to go! I think I have been convinced to get rid of mine also. He beat up my royal dottyback when I put it in but has left it alone since. Still, I don't want to go through that every time I add a fish.
Glad you're still enjoying the saltwater experience
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