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Old 04-14-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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Exclamation Fish being territorial over a cave..

What do you think I should do? They're two juvenile sun catfish at about 3ish", and they've decided they're too big to share their cave. One is bigger than the other and has been pushing her out. I don't think they're getting too bitey yet, but they probably will unless I find a quick solution. Sun catfish are nocturnal, so they both really love the cave for the day time. My poor bullied sun cat has been hiding under a large piece of driftwood when she's pushed out, but she always tries to go back in the cave and is kicked out again. The thing is, they like being together, but are getting territorial over the cave.

What do you think I should do?

Take out the cave?
(I kind of experimented with this today and kicked them both out of the cave just to see where they would go. They huddled together under my driftwood with my pleco, looked stressed though, obviously)

Add another cave?
(I don't really want to buy another cave since they're growing so quickly and won't be able to fit soon)

Buy a much larger cave?
(probably the best option.. But I don't know if they're fighting because of lack of space because they're growing or if they're fighting because they're maturing and need separate territories)

Any advice greatly appreciated!
-Morgan
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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i dont know much(anything)about sun catfish,but i would buy another,larger cave and leave both in,that way the one that gets kicked out will still have a cave to go in.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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Don't know about the specific fish, but in the past I have had great success curbing territorial behavoir by re-arranging the decor and plants.
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Old 04-15-2011, 01:30 PM   #4
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Sun cats act like most other predatory catfish.. large and mouthy. They'll probably get 10"+ which is why I don't want to spend too much money on another cave, because eventually they won't be able to use it, unless it's HUGE. My pictus cat (who's about 8"+ now) is nocturnal as well, but he hangs out around a rocky archway. I'm going petstore hopping today, so hopefully I'll find something I can use. Currently the smaller sun cat is sitting as far under the driftwood as she can get, and she doesn't look injured from their little fights, just very stressed.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:54 PM   #5
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What I would do is go outside and find some slate, limestone, and other rocks. Wash and scrub them off boil them and use them to build another cave. I know people will come in and say that rocks will disrupt the tank and they leak minerals but that's not most rocks as long as they are not porous I would say they're fine. If they can make it through boiling without falling apart I would say they are fine to use. I would stay away from the limestone if your have a low ph this will affect that and lower it more. I have created many caves with rocks out of my back yard and river. And when they grow you can change it around.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:57 PM   #6
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I agree with Tracey. Build some more caves bc even if u make a larger one they may fight over that as well. It's probably better to have 2+
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Old 04-15-2011, 04:08 PM   #7
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I'm a geology major hahha, so I have plenty of rocks and know which ones are tank safe. ;>
I have some more cave like areas in the tank, but they won't go in them because they aren't dark enough, or my pictus is hogging them. I'll look into DIY caves, but I'm also going to look into maybe something store bought that they could use throughout their lives even when they get BIG
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:23 PM   #8
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I went out today and bought a large archway type rock piece. It's large enough that they'll both be able to fit under it even when they get fully grown at a probable 11" haha. They seem to like it, and are coming out of it more. They were going to have to get used to coming out of the caves eventually and this seems like a good way to ween them off of the pitch dark they were used to during the day.
I moved the little cave into my 20G, and the bumblebee catfish (SO ADORABLE) I just bought today is loving swimming in and around it. It should be a nice home for a pair of Rams I'm hoping to find soon as well. :] Hopefully this will all work out and thanks much for all the advice!
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:39 PM   #9
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Post pics of the bumblebee? I love those
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:32 PM   #10
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Hmm, now one of my sun cats decided to try to hide in my pictus' territory/cave structure and my pictus bit his tail to get him out. Poor guy, it's pretty torn up. He's just lucky my pictus is a pretty mellow guy, just not when smaller cats come into his territory.
I think they freaked out because my dad came in my room this morning and turned on all the fish lights. :T
Here they both are, hiding under my driftwood piece. They seem to be swimming between that hide and the new really large cave (they probably think it's TOO large atm)


But here's my little bumblebee, right after I put him into the tank. As soon as I snapped this photo he took off to play some "hide and seek", and I haven't caught a full glimpse of him since haha. He's just about 2cm long, he's so tiny and cute! He's a real blue ribbon too, he has beautiful markings and pearl scales.
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