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What to do with bullies


CorydorasEthan
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Okay I've mentioned this a couple times before here on the forum, but I've never really asked for suggestions on the matter.

So I have a few fish that bully others during feeding time. Here's a little more on them:

The pearl gourami was shy at first, but quickly realized that by biting other fish or charging at them would drive them away from food. He especially hated the corydoras in the tank. He has done this since, so I had to remove him from the 29 gallon community and into the 10 gallon makeshift setup. This is obviously too small for a gourami like him, and now he shares it with some breeding guppies and a flying fox (more on him later). He continues to harass the flying fox (especially during feeding, but also due to territorial reasons), and he chases the larger female guppies during feeding.

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The flying foxes used to fight, so we left one in the 29 and moved the other to the 10 gallon with the guppies and gourami. The one in the 10 gallon chases guppies when they get too close to the bottom during feeding, and is always chased by the gourami when he himself gets too close. The one in the 29 is blind on one side, and at first was peaceful, but then developed a similar technique to the gourami, which is chasing the other fish - mainly the cories - away from their food by nipping their tails.

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I have tried feeding when the lights are out (for the cories), and it works, but the flying fox continues to bully them even when it isn't feeding time. Same goes for the 10 gallon with the gourami and flying fox.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do? I don't have any more tanks or room for tanks. Should I rehome the bullies? If so, where to?

Thanks!

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Hello! 

I haven't personally kept the fish you mentioned however I heard what to do with the bullies of the tank is to remove them for a while, maybe keep them in a 5g bucket since you don't have other tanks, and rearrange some of the tank, allow the inhabitants to acclimate to the new turf then add in the bully, it can make him less aggressive and less territorial but if that doesnt work I would recommend bringing him back to your LFS, you want to make sure you continue to enjoy your tank and you don't want a bully killing the other fish for sure. 

Good luck! 

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On 6/11/2021 at 7:15 PM, GardenStateGoldfish said:

Hello! 

I haven't personally kept the fish you mentioned however I heard what to do with the bullies of the tank is to remove them for a while, maybe keep them in a 5g bucket since you don't have other tanks, and rearrange some of the tank, allow the inhabitants to acclimate to the new turf then add in the bully, it can make him less aggressive and less territorial but if that doesnt work I would recommend bringing him back to your LFS, you want to make sure you continue to enjoy your tank and you don't want a bully killing the other fish for sure. 

Good luck! 

Thanks! I have tried using isolation and reintroduction (with slight rearrangement) before, and it worked for a week or two, and then the fish developed their same behaviors again.

Yeah I was thinking rehoming to an LFS would be my best option. I really like the gourami, and the flying foxes are great for the hair algae, but yeah with as much problems as they are causing, I might be better off just giving them away. Maybe only rehoming one of the two in the 10 gallon would work fine?

Thanks again! If anyone has any other suggestions, you are certainly welcome!

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My pearl gourami does the same thing to my dwarf neon rainbowfish. He can't catch them but he does charge at them if they get too close to "his" plant. I'm going to trim that plant down a lot so maybe that'll change his behavior. I have an electric blue acara as well but he doesn't try that with him, he actually gives way to the acara.

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On 6/11/2021 at 7:18 PM, CorydorasEthan said:

Maybe only rehoming one of the two in the 10 gallon would work fine?

This might have a best chance of working if the 1 bully you keep lands in the biggest tank, and with jungle-thick planting. My thinking is that a larger tank would leave more opportunity to claim territory that doesn't require the *whole* tank, and super thick planting would help keep his eyes off the other fish.

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I agree with @CalmedByFish, usually, if there is more cover, the chasing will end fairly quickly as there are more things in the way. Also, I would try to feed more often. Maybe it's just the fish are getting a little hungry. Try feeding 2-3 times a day (if you haven't been doing that). For any bottom dwellers, try to spread the food around so that the gourami claims one food item and then the corys or other bottom dwellers can at eat other areas. If that doesn't work, I would try to feed any other fish 30 minutes after the light has gone out. 

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