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Old 11-02-2004, 07:37 PM   #1
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Clownfish Agression Question.

I got myself two very healthy Ocellaris clowfishes about three weeks ago. They have been stellar with each other, swimming around, peacful, happy.

All of the sudden, about two days ago, they are ALL over each other. The larger fish (female, I am assuming) is constantly (and I mean, after hours of watching, they don't stop for longer than a minute) chasing the poor smaller fish (male, again, assuming). The smaller fish now is getting a ragged back fin.

I've been on the hunt for a Ritteri Anemone for these fish for a while, but the LFS I get them from always sells out of them within a day, and they (rumor has it) don't ship so well.

Would an anemone help lessen the agression? Are they trying to mate? Are they fighting? How long can the little fishie last before he gets too stressed?

Thank you, in advance, for any replies
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:03 PM   #2
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Battered husband syndrom? Perhaps he needs to get in the mood so she'll leave him alone...What size tank? How much of a size difference between the fish?
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:10 PM   #3
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Most times when this happens it will subside. Hopefully the smaller fish doesn't get damaged beyond repair. Someone with more expertise might chime in but I don't know if there is anything specific that you can do just hope it doesn't last long
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:19 PM   #4
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It's a 29 gallon tank. The size difference is minute. Perhaps..less than a half an inch, at most. But the female is 'bulkier'.

Gracious, LMW80, did some research for me, and her findings suggest a dominance issue for the lady. And that a larger, more dominant female may be the fix to this problem. I'll give it another day and see how it goes. Just worried about the little guy. I heard that it wasn't good to keep clowns in odd numbered groups??? Is that true?

Will an anemone (thinking they are trying to couple, here) lessen the agression any? Give them a place to chill for a while?
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:23 PM   #5
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Are you thinking of adding another one? It is ill advised to add any clownfish after you already have some in your tank. This will cause many fights and probably some dead fish.
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Old 11-02-2004, 09:45 PM   #6
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Hmm...

So, if this persists....what should I do?
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Old 11-03-2004, 10:32 AM   #7
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Clowns do not need anemone hosts to do well nor will it quell any part of the females aggressive behavior. I would under no circumstances suggest you add a Ritteri anemone to a tank as small as a 29 gal. They get far too large and it could easily span the entire tank.

What you are seeing in the clown behavior is typical mating/pair bonding behavior. With many clown species once a territory is claimed it is quite common for the female alone to "occupy" that area chasing out all animals that invade including the chosen mate. Once the pair bond becomes solid and some time passes they will seem less aggressive towards each other but the female will still give chase on and off. Give it some more time to see if it works itself out. As long as the smaller clown does not develope and serious injuries, simple torn fins will heal easily enough if water quality is up to par.

If you do decide to "exchange" the male, best to get one ¬Ĺ the size of the female. This will help ensure the newly added male/nueter is not seen as an aggressor but rather a suitor. The closer in size the two fish are, the more likely the aggressive behavior and more intense. Once the dominant fish has clearly established itself, it will subside.

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Old 11-03-2004, 10:46 AM   #8
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I had the same problem with a pair of clowns I had. I took the aggressive one back to the lfs, traded for another, and they have lived happily ever after.....so far.

PS. You should understand that Women are far more aggressive, I meam female species! 8O (wife walks in and slaps revhtree in the back of he head)
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Old 11-03-2004, 02:55 PM   #9
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Devilishturtles, I think steve-s is giving you great advice. My two ocellaris went through the "bickering phase" for about a week and now that the female has let the male know who's boss, she only runs at him once in a while to remind him
As I understand it from my reading, the aggressive phase can last weeks or several months but it's a normal part of the pairing process and unless the guy is really in bad shape, let it be. Has he started "quivering" yet? (You'll know it when you see it.) That's a submissive behavior that indicates things are moving along.

And--if I read right and you are thinking about adding another female to have three total--please don't! Again from my reading (not experience) two females will basically fight until one of them is dead.

Here's a thread from reefcentral that helped me:

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hlight=pairing

HTH!
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Old 11-03-2004, 08:04 PM   #10
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Thanks alot everyone. So many places say different things, it's good to get actual advice. They are actually seeming a little better today than yesterday, but still chasing. The male's back fin seems less damaged, and looks to be healing a bit.

I'd like an anemone host in the tank, for the clowns, but is that possible with a 29 gal tank? The folks at the LFS recommended a carpet or ritteri anemone, all supposedly fine for a 29 gal.

Or, should I go without an anemone? I just heard (wrong, possibly) that the clowns like it....

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devilishturtles
'd like an anemone host in the tank, for the clowns, but is that possible with a 29 gal tank? The folks at the LFS recommended a carpet or ritteri anemone, all supposedly fine for a 29 gal.
Neither of those anemones should be housed in a 29 gal tank. They would outgrow the smaller water volume in no time.

Quote:
Or, should I go without an anemone? I just heard (wrong, possibly) that the clowns like it....
Clowns do naturally host anemones but it is not a requirement for captive care. You've already taken the first best step in helping them which is getting a pair. Mated pairs of clowns depending on species do much better and live longer in captive care than most single clowns of certain species.

What type of lighting do you have and how long has the tank been set up?

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Old 11-04-2004, 10:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Mated pairs of clowns depending on species do much better and live longer in captive care than most single clowns of certain species.
What if the clown has been by itself for 5+ years? I have a false percula clown that is my oldest fish. He used to share a tank with a dog puffer and now in my reef and is doing well. I have thought of adding a smaller clown of the same species to see if they would pair up but I wonder if he is too old?

On the anemone issue, you could try toadstool leather. On Garf's website, the metion that sometimes a clown will host to some corals. Not sure if the coral would like this and I have never tried it myself though.
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:25 AM   #13
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Mated pairs of clowns depending on species do much better and live longer in captive care than most single clowns of certain species.
What if the clown has been by itself for 5+ years? I have a false percula clown that is my oldest fish. He used to share a tank with a dog puffer and now in my reef and is doing well. I have thought of adding a smaller clown of the same species to see if they would pair up but I wonder if he is too old?
It would be a she for sure

Clowns can still have a decent longevity solo but IME they live much longer as mated pairs. I have seen firsthand ones that have been going strong for over 10 years. 5 is nothing to sneeze at either though. I have had my mated skunks for about that time.

If you did decide to add another, just be sure it's less than 1" in size if possible. It will ensure it's not sexually mature and most likely still nueter or at the very least male. The smaller clown will also appear less threatening to the incumbant female. You really shouldn't have much concern just be mindful to QT the new addition.

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Old 11-04-2004, 10:55 AM   #14
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I have one in a 5 gal nano that I think is too big for it. I knew it would get too big at some point but it looked smaller at the LFS It is about 1" to 1.5". Maybe I will try in a few weeks.

Thanks
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Old 11-04-2004, 03:16 PM   #15
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What type of lighting do you have and how long has the tank been set up?
The tank has been set up for...about 5-6 months now. I just got fish two weeks ago.

I have 2x65 watt PC lighting. 130 watts total.
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Old 11-04-2004, 04:47 PM   #16
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What type of lighting do you have and how long has the tank been set up?
The tank has been set up for...about 5-6 months now. I just got fish two weeks ago.

I have 2x65 watt PC lighting. 130 watts total.
Your lighting would be fine for a BTA (Entacmaea quadricolor), preferabley a clone but I'd wait until at least late spring early summer before getting one.

The tank is still too young coupled with the fact it's new to you as well, I would suggest a little "seasoning" in both regards before attempting an invert as sensitive as an anemone.

Even though Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla gigantea and Stichodactyla mertensii are the natural hosts; A. ocellaris will easily adopt substitues. The corals some have mentioned would be the best alternative and IME the best starting point especially when new to the hobby. Once the tank is stable and you progress, you might even find an anemone is not in the cards afterall.

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Old 11-04-2004, 06:20 PM   #17
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What I would do (I havent seen anyone suggest this that I can find) is add Vitamin C to the water and their food and it will help with the fishs fin and healing. I did this for a wrasse and it worked wonders...
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