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The HTR 06-24-2008 10:57 AM

Cichlid Wars
So, I introduced a Jewel Cichlid into the 20g aquarium with my yellow African Cichlid on Saturday. Since then, the Jewel can't find a safe location in the aquarium and has no choice but to swim at the top of the tank or risk being chased and nipped at. I have a cave, a bridge, and a plant as hiding spots and the yellow guy has consolidated them all as his territory.

Last night, the Jewel cichlid grew a backbone and actually squared up with the yellow african cichlid and they fought it out, nipping, turning, was like a street fight. It happened about twice. No injuries yet, which surprised the heck out of me.

My question is...Are they going to to continue to have this strained relationship until one gives in or will they eventually grow to respect one another and live quasi-peacefully?

rich311k 06-24-2008 12:19 PM

They will probably keep beating one another until one dies, from fungus or infection from wounds caused by the fighting.

JustOneMore20 06-24-2008 09:24 PM

I agree. That tanks a tad small for either fish unless you keep them alone.

Stephen 06-25-2008 10:25 AM

What they said. That's not going to stop until one of them dies off.

The HTR 06-25-2008 10:34 AM

It seems today that the Jewel cichlid has managed to establish some territory behind a fake plant since it started fighting back. The yellow guy won't even go back there now, but he'll threaten to then back off. It seems since last night that they are now really only fighting when food makes them have to leave their self imposed boundaries or one strays too far. I'd guess this is a good sign as long as the boundaries remain.

It started as a constant chase but has now calmed down.

cogburn 06-25-2008 10:39 AM

try rearranging all your decorations... it forces them to establish new territories

The HTR 06-25-2008 10:42 AM

I did that for the first two days but the yellow guy would still chase the purple guy...i even went as far as to try to net the yellow guy and remove him from the tank for a while but i couldnt catch him.

But things have calmed down in the last 24 hours so we shall see what happens.

cogburn 06-25-2008 10:44 AM

hopefully it all works out... keep a close eye on the fish... if they have any sores or anything from the fighthing you might wanna dose some meds so they dont get sick and die on ya... also you may want to think about getting a bigger tank if you have the means... that is very small for those 2 fish as stated above...

kribbman 07-21-2008 03:20 PM

Your headed towards disaster here, take one of them back or risk its death.
Ive seen the same thing in my tank a few times with the same result.
Its a shame that such beutifull fish wont get along.

goldmanjace 10-06-2008 04:03 AM

one solution is to overpopulate and get a really good filtration system then it will work out

Cheapeeper 10-06-2008 04:57 PM

I had the same issues with my Black Convicts I tried to pair up. They fought and fought till I separated them and eventually had to give them both away on freecycle. The fish as amazing as it seems will not forget their territory even if everything is rearranged on them.
I suggest taking one back or maybe both and try different fish.

Menagerie 10-06-2008 11:48 PM

*This thread was originally started months ago*


Originally Posted by goldmanjace (Post 910026)
one solution is to overpopulate and get a really good filtration system then it will work out

Bad advice in a 20 gal. Overpopulation only works with certain cichlids and tank size will play a big factor.

goldmanjace 10-07-2008 09:57 AM


Originally Posted by Menagerie (Post 910454)
*This thread was originally started months ago*

Bad advice in a 20 gal. Overpopulation only works with certain cichlids and tank size will play a big factor.

It does not matter what size the tank is! Of course you are not going to overpopulate with the same amout of fish you would overpopulate a 100 gallon tank with. The only important thing to look after is the water quality and you need a very good filtrations system. I know it works because I have been doing it for years! Then again you can get a 100 gallon tank and put the 2 chichlids in it and they will still fight!

Zagz 10-08-2008 12:28 AM

You are entitled to your opinion. Size does play a factor. I've had cichlids in a small tank and in a 125 gal. More room means more room for territories and less fighting. What has worked for you is great. The reality is that is doesn't usually work for most people. Personalities of fish do play a factor. You will find that most of us that keep cichlids here will recommend a 55 gal as a minumum tank size for cichlids. Many of us have also kept cichlid for many years and you having had success that way is certainly not the norm for most cichlid keepers.

As Menagerie noted the thread was started in July, the op has probably solved the problem in their tank as there was no updates.

DSenn 10-08-2008 01:26 AM

I have had cichlids for years and tried many methods to try and get balance in the aquarium. Due to their nature, you will be fighting a losing battle, at least for the most part and especially in a small tank like yours. But there are a few things you can try.

Maybe the easiest thing for you to do is to rearrange the decor and make MORE hiding spots. This depends on how elaborate your tank set-up is. Clay pots work fantastically.

Another option that many people don't consider is to take out ALL your decor. Often times when you give cichlids no territory to compete over, they won't compete. However, this makes your tank pretty boring.

Sometimes if you remove the more aggressive of the two fish, it can give the newcomer a chance to establish himself. I would often use one of those cheap box nets that hooks onto the side of the aquarium. Put the aggressive fish in their for a week, and feed him less than the other fish. Enough to keep him healthy, but you want to 'knock him down a peg.' After a week, put him back in. If he is still aggressive, then take him out for two weeks. Not only does this separation allow for the new fish to establish territory, it allows him to get larger. In general this technique can work well, but takes time and patience, likes most things in this hobby. I have used this method and actually had the fish that was getting beat up turn a 360 and become the aggressor :)

Remember that cichlids are a pain due to their aggression. It takes experimenting to get a group of them to 'be civil.'

Hope this helps.

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