Rusty aggression

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Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:24 am

If I ever said anything about Rusties not being too aggressive, I take it all back. After more than 3 years together without problem, I've been seeing a lot of aggression between the dominant and the subdominant males. I found the former dominant male beat up enough to pick him up in my hand. I nursed him back to health, but have had no luck reintroducing him to the tank. I had him in a breeding net for a while and when he stopped attracting attention, let him out and tried a floating log, and now he's back in the net.

I've also tried rearranging rocks, adding more rocks and a bunch of fake plants to make additional hiding places, but none of that has worked. These things have usually worked with other mbuna aggression problems in the past. Not sure what else I can try.







I started out with five rusties about three years ago. Lost one early on and the others turned out to be three males and one female. This hasn't been a problem until recently. There are also acei and a several assorted haps with them in a 75 gallon tank. No other problems with any of the other fish -- it's only been between these two.

They are both big males, about the same size. Any other ideas I can try?
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by theswede on Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:20 am

Try having the tank in total darkness for a couple of days after rearranging the rocks. This usally works with high aggression.
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:38 am

Thanks for the suggestion Håkan. Unfortunately I have tried that as well, but forgot to mention it. I covered the tank for two days and things did seem better, but when the lights came back on, it got nasty again.

I might give that one more try and if it doesn't work this time, I will probably have to move him out. I don't like the idea of moving a big male like him into another tank to upset the balance in established and mostly peaceful populations. Neutral
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by theswede on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:56 am

That´s to bad! If I where you I would remove the alpha male instead. Must say that you have the best looking rusties i´ve seen. They look stunning.
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by cichlidman on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:09 pm

Sorry they are nice fish..

I hope you can fix it..

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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by theswede on Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:28 am

So how did it go with the Rustie aggression?
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:07 am

I gave him another day in the breeding net, lowered the temperature a little bit, then did a water change, moved the rocks around again, added every fake plant I could find and kept the floating log and released him. I covered the tank for three days and uncovered it yesterday.

I'm keeping the light off except at feeding time. He looks a little chewed up on the sides and there is still some chasing, but as of right now, he's still out and swimming around.

I have my fingers crossed that they work it out without killing each other. Then I can slowly remove most of the plants. It looks like a bamboo jungle in the tank right now. Shocked
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by iceblue on Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:10 am

Sorry to hear about the aggression. Hopefully the former dominant male will except his lowering of status. Does he have to defend himself against both the other males or just the new dominant one?
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:20 pm

Just the new dominant one. Those two have always been about the same size, but I guess #2 decided it was time he tried for the top spot.
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by nitroloser on Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:37 pm

great lookin fish ,sounds like a great excuse to get another tank Wink
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:14 pm

That would be great, nitro, but counting the 10 gallon fry tanks, I've already got 12 to take care of.
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by Aura on Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:25 pm

Things seem to be going back to normal now. There is still some chasing, but not to the extent that it was a few weeks ago. He's no longer hiding and he's healing up well. When this first started, he had an injured eye, his sides were looking very ragged and he was so weak that I picked him up with my hand to put him in a hospital tank. I hope they got it straightened out between them.
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Re: Rusty aggression

Post by iceblue on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:57 pm

Sounds like they did. If he's (former dominant) learned his new place in the pecking order he might stay out of trouble. I've had this happen to me with some of my other species. The former dominant would heal up and try to reclaim his higher status only to end up trashed again or worse.
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