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Territorial peace vs Aggression aka Nature vs Nurture in fish


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I've kept many species and seen aggression from almost everything, many non-pike cichlids, two types of dwarf pike cichlids, variatus platys, plecos, wild bettas, etc s

ome of which have ended in major injury. Plecos in particular are pretty vicious fighting over caves in my experience. That leads me to think freshwater puffers might be getting get a bad reputation.

I work with the hairy puffer pao baileyi (now paired up) who never had a fight since arrival in 2018, and seperately have the mekong river puffer pao palustris in a colony that has now been in the fishroom for a month or two.

Are Pao puffers really total murder machines who need solitary confinement in all instances or are they the victims of a reputation that might be amplified by how the exist in the hobby? 

A few of my 6 pao palustris colony definately chase each other from time to time and give some quick though intense "mouth hugs". I would bet those are probably territorial arguments. They end fairly quickly once line of sight is lost and everyone moves back to the cave or plant roots they call home. 

My current belief is they arent trying to fight to the death since they are all doing well eating, exploring, general puffering, and there has been only superficial scrapes thusfar. Those arguments have become less frequent as they have settled into  defined territories. 

The attached short video clip is from earlier and is the palustris colony's typical feeding response to frozen krill. They even feed with a bit of a pecking order and exhibit some personal preference for certain foods. I have also observed both of those behaviors in my hairy puffers. 

Is the reputation of the ambush puffers based on research, a built in margin of safety due to their cost and how they are sold to hobbyists, aquarium legend, something else ? Am I just lucky with the 9 individuals over 2 Pao species I've kept so far?

What say you nerms?

 

 

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