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Old 09-03-2007, 01:54 AM   #1
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Post-spawning angel aggression

An angel pair that has been spawning regularly in a lightly stocked 55g community tank at my office for the better part of a year recently spawned on their favorite RENA Filstar XP3 intake tube again. They exhibited very typical spawning behavior initially, chasing everyone away from their spot, including me. The eggs hatched and they put all the wigglers on their favorite wiggler-rearing spot on the top of a colosseum-ruins decoration (don't ask). In no-time we had a whole mess of free-swimming angel babies. This tank is sort of an experiment in attempting to raise fry in a community tank, but that's a whole different post. The fry made it to about freeswimming+4 or 5 (days) this time. After one other failed spawning, I had seen some strange aggressive behavior from the male towards the female but it was short-lived and then all was well in the tank again. This time, after the fry were no more, the male started attacking the female pretty intently. When I realized what was going on, he had already gotten a few good nips on her fins and had even managed to pull scales off the female on both sides of her body, near the caudal peduncle. I isolated the male in a vacant 10g QT for the few days it took the female to heal up. I was hoping that it was a once-and-done event, maybe just a side-effect of a failed spawning, though I'd never seen that kind of behavior in any other mating pair before. I reintroduced the male to the big tank and we were all treated to a very strange dance between the two, I've never seen anything like it. All seemed well until I checked the tank a few hours later, the male had gone and attacked the female again. This time he put a serious beating on the female. I can't even explain how bad it was. I've never seen anything like it to be honest. She was found buried between a plastic plant and the back glass. Both pectoral fins, the bottom half of the caudal fin, one good chunk of the dorsal fin, and most of the anal fin were destroyed. More scales were missing and one of her pelvic fins was halved in length. Surprisingly, she is making a fast recovery in the 10g QT. Tough little fish.

That's my strange tale. The female is maybe 70% healed now. She seems to be happy enough, even though 10g has to be cramping her style. She eats like a pig just as always, so I'm sure she'll make a full recovery. I'm debating on whether to try to reunite the pair once more or just leave well-enough alone and finalize the divorce. Anyone ever run into anything like this? Also, in case I (we) decide not to attempt to reunite this pair, have any of you had any luck getting new pairs to form, and if so, did you have any special manner of encouraging it? Sorry for the post length.
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:59 AM   #2
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Cichlids are a very strange breed of fish and their behaviors are certainly odd. Since you've tried everything you can with reuniting the pair and it isn't working, I'd agree that the divorce should be made final.

That being said, attempting to have either of them re-paired can also fail, especially on the male's part. I've only had success in introducing a female to a lone female.

Their is also the possibility that the broken pair will become listless and depressed due to a lack of spawning opportunities at this point. You are sort of stuck in a no win situation.
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