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The effects of a bully!


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Today, I would like to share the tale of Dudikins and the 75 gallon aquarium.


Dudikins is one of two Julies I bought about 2 months ago. My hope was that I would find a happy pair that would mate up. Sadly this would not be the case. While clearly a female, the second Julie was simply not Dudikins cup of tea, and after a few days of harassment, I decided it best to move the female out of the 75 and let her, Jules, live peacefully in a 20 gallon i have in my home office. I thought all would be right in my fishes world. 

I was wrong. At first I noticed that Dudikins would harass the the bigger male of my rainbow shoal, (2 males, 2 females currently). It didn't seem overly aggressive,  just a bit if chasing once in a while. This seemed to be the norm and so his aggression kinda never crossed my mind again. 

It should have though. At least two signs were there had I known what I was looking at. Dudikins pretty much had his way around the tank, and the rainbow squad hung out mostly to the lower right side of the tank, unless I was near. This was one sign I think I was missing. 

The second sign, a little less obvious, was my Synodontis in constant hiding. I know cats tend to be a bit more shy and reclusive and our syno, Seneca, was rarely to be seen. 

About two weeks ago, my wife pointed out Seneca, who had emerged from its hiding area, and almost immediately after, as you might have guessed, Dudikins flew into action, bullying Seneca relentlessly. Going so far as to actively look for the syno. This drove Seneca back into hiding. 

Today, the last straw was reached. While doing my morning feeding, I noticed the big male of the rainbow squad had a damaged pectoral fin on his right side. Dudikins further seemed to know of the damage he caused, as he kept trying to get up to that side of the rainbow and get after the fin some more. So after the distraction of feeding was through, I pulled all of the caves and rocks out of the tank and set about catching Dudikins. He now resides in then 20, and I have moved the female into the 75.

What I find amazing is just how much different the tank is now. Every fish is far more active. The rainbows are everywhere in the tank now, not just huddled in their corner. The syno as well has come out and can be seen moving from cave to cave to bridge and back. Even the oto's, whom seemed to be to small to be a worry of Dudikins seem far happier and far more active.

The difference is absolutely amazing. If you find you have a bully. Even if that fish seems to only bully one fish, fornthe sake of the whole tank, removing the bully, not the victim, is the wisest course. They can create an atmosphere of fear without bothering all of the other fish.

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So interesting! I kept a group of julidichromis marlieri in a 120 gal Tanganyikan community for several years. With other big cichlids for tankmates, including frontosas, lelupi, and altolamprologus calvus, the julies were the most peaceful fish in the tank. The lelupi were stinkers and bullied my big mastacembalis ellipsifer eel all the time.

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