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Guppy Veterans; explain this behavior, please!


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I bred guppies before as a teenager (20ish years ago), but only for a few years before I moved to other species.  I decided about a year ago to keep one of the designer strands of guppies (Red Dragon, Dumbo Ear). They've been thriving, as guppies do.

This morning, I found one of my oldest females dead.  I saw the body in a big bolbitis heudelotii that my amanos always hang out in. I decided to leave it in for half a day or so just in case anyone wanted a little extra protein in their diet.  Tank is heavy planted, established, balanced. It can easily handle a small dead fishs' bioload. 

Anyway, long story short, one of my younger, just fully matured male guppies became territorial around the body of the dead female. I watched over the course of a few hours, as I worked on my computer next to the tank, as he chased off any other guppy that came near the corpse while he continuously nibbled on it. I've never seen territorial "food aggression" in guppies before. I've seen them be voracious eaters in large groups, but never territorial in this way. THE KICKER: it was conspecific aggression; he was only aggressive towards other guppies. I have a school of coryadoras in there, and he was fine with them to cruise by in their derpy little way, with no aggression towards them at all.

Anyway, I know this is a bit of a long post --just curious if anyone has experienced behavior like this before. I found it fascinating. 

Edited by FoxyShazam
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It depends on the tank. If its a new tank that isn't established, I would remove a dead fish. In this case, where the tank is very established with a lot of plants and a hefty amount of biological filtration, I'd prefer to not let the death of an old fish go to waste for no reason.


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