Established clownfish suddenly start fighting?

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fish' started by Jukas, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Jukas

    Jukas New Member

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    I've had a pair of mis-bar clowns in my tank for about six months now. Both were purchased at the same time from my lfs and were within 25% of each others size when I got them (hoping to get male/female). They were fine in quarantine for a month and they've been fine in my DT for five months.

    In the last month or so they started displaying aggressive behavior towards each other. At first they'd just go near each other and go side to side and shake their bodies at the other. Then it escalated to face to face between the two with the initiator being split equally between the larger and the smaller one. Today I've noticed the larger clown is constantly chasing the smaller one any time it's out in the open.

    I've been stocking very slowly so my 75g and 20g sump consists of a CuC a Tomini Tang and these two clown fish. Short of removing one or both of them and starting over with a new pair is there anything I can do to get them back to cohabitating peacfully?
     
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  2. Clownfish518

    Clownfish518 Razorback
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    Ah, Clownfish in love!

    This is very typical behavior actually. As long as one is not hurting the other chances are they will work it out. The shaking is a sign of submission, and the male does it to the female. If they both do it, then most likely the "female" hasn't changed yet. They are protandrous sequential hermaphrodites. They must mature fully as a male before turning female. What is going on is they are getting older, their bodies are getting more mature, and the female is starting to assert herself, and is probably switching sexes, with the result that you are seeing the damsel side of their personalities come out.

    Like I said they usually work this out, its just a step in the maturation process. One trick I have seen work is to rearrange the rock structure, which can diffuse the territorial response in the female. By the time she re-establishes a territory she may be past this stage.

    There are other tricks, but that's a good one to start with.
     
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  3. Neptunesghost

    Neptunesghost New Member

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    +1 I agree. My female will beat on the male viciously, but the both sleep in the same anemone (hmmm sounds sooooo familiar)

    She will chase him and nip until he submits....then, I guess she gets bored and finds something else to do.
     
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  4. lcstorc

    lcstorc Well-Known Member

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    My female Clarkii will sometimes pick the male up in her mouth and move him to where she wants.
     
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  5. mettjl03

    mettjl03 New Member

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    make that +2... My clowns pick on eachother all the time... Its just love taps lol
     
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  6. kathywithbirds

    kathywithbirds New Member

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    My poor maroon boy gets his fins nipped sometimes. Other times he's "banished" to the RBTA for a few hours. (They live in the ritteri.)
     
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  7. Scottg

    Scottg New Member

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    OK, this is just too weird, I was about to post almost the same question, except my time frame is in weeks not months. My tank (10 gal nano) is fairly new - finished cycling a month ago. Since, Ive added a cleanup crew (four crabs, two snails) a half dozen frags (star polyps, zoas, green candy trumpet and green birdnest), and the two clowns (small maroons - 1.5 and 1.75 inches)

    They just started "fighting" two days ago, but it was the face each other, but heads, then the small guy would shake and run off. Today, the big one has chased the smaller one to the highest corners of the tank, and the small guy has two nips out of his fins - one in the rear dorsal, one in the tail.

    I was ready to take the "bully back to the LFS and trade for a little chromis or something, but maybe I'll give them a bit more time. . .
     
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  8. Clownfish518

    Clownfish518 Razorback
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    Young clownfish in love

    The bully isn't really a bully, she is just a female and that's their disposition. In the confines of an aquarium, the male can't swim far enough away to diffuse the aggression. Rearranging the decor may upset the territoriality, and accomplish the same thing.
     
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  9. Scottg

    Scottg New Member

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    I don't have decor that can be re-arranged, just two pieces of live rock that have been epoxied/ zip tied together to form a good overhang. I'll post some pics.

    I think she's claimed as her territory. . . "the water" and he just can't get away. When I tried to take a pic of his nipped fins, I put a finger down in the water to coax him to turn and swim down, but he let me push him before he moved.

    It was like he looked at me, and both being men, I understood what he was saying. He was like "look Scott, I don't care. . . put me in a coffee cup or something, just get me away from this crazy hormonal woman!"

    so I guess at times we understand each other. . .
     
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  10. Scottg

    Scottg New Member

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    Ok, here's some pics - btw, is this hijacking?
     

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  11. Scottg

    Scottg New Member

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    Ok, now my guy is in pretty rough shape. Fins are pretty ragged, and he is "resting" on the sand bottom. I almost want to put him in the breeders net to give him a rest from the crazy woman. would there be a problem with that?
     
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  12. Clownfish518

    Clownfish518 Razorback
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    You did not mention they were maroons. Yes, by all means put him in a breeders net. She is very capable of killing him. Maroon females are notorious
     
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  13. Clownfish518

    Clownfish518 Razorback
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    FYI, clownfish establish a territory around their nest which they will defend. It can measure in square feet, and maroons have a larger territory than most, can be larger than the tank. Which causes problems.

    Keep the male in the net until she stops being aggressive. Pairing maroons is always touchy. Might want to do some research on it
     
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  14. Scottg

    Scottg New Member

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    Thanks for the help, I put her in the net, and I think this weekend I will see if the LFS that sold me this "Mated Pair" will give me credit toward a different breed. . . it just seems like to much trouble for this small of a tank. I think I also need to find a new LFS.

    Thanks again guys. . .
     
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  15. incloud

    incloud New Member

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    Hey guys, found this thread related to my problem. I have two small oscellaris clowns in my tank. They were fish one and fish two about nine months ago. Gracie the original was alone and I added Ernie a week later. Ernie was very tiny but has now matched Gracie in size. They have been inseperable for nine months but have suddenly started fighting. Ernie's mouth looks a little beat up and they are twisting around in circles and shaking at each other. I'm really worried about them and hope they work it out. As much as they are fighting they still don't leave each others side. My tank is 46 gallons and very peaceful with 7 fish and assor
     
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  16. nanoreefing4fun

    nanoreefing4fun Well-Known Member
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    Bet they will work it out, my guess is they are deciding who is going to become the female & you will have a matted pair :dance:
     
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  17. mcurry81

    mcurry81 New Member

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    I'm having the same issue with my Ocellaris Clownfish. We bought them together very young, they were so tiny and cute, and have always slept in one corner of the tank together right on top of eachother. They are getting older and bigger now, and recently we noticed that they were swimming around on the opposite side of the tank they usually stay on (we have a 100g). I started watching more and realized one of the fish was charging the other, and I figured they must be determining which was going to be the female. Then this morning I get up, and they aren't sleeping together, the smaller one is sleeping on the opposite and the aggressive one one the regular spot. Will they start sleeping together and getting along after the sexing is finished?
     
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  18. DianaKay

    DianaKay Princess Diana
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    Oh gezzzz, not looking toward to my pair acting like this. Right now they seem to love each other. They seem to be teaming up to clean off the same rock & defending that area form others with the exception of the turbo snails that bulldoze there. So far they have not been mean to each other, but they are still young.
     
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  19. ReefApprentice

    ReefApprentice Well-Known Member

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    They should get along fine with each other once the aggresive one stops it gender change.Hope everything works out.
     
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  20. Abbie

    Abbie New Member

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    Hi guys, ive read the above comments and i think this may be whats up with mine. I bought 2 snowflake clowns as a pair, The first day or so they were together all day long, now the smaller one has begun to show female traits, they sleep together but it will not let the one thats very slightly smaller is not allowed in the frogspawn the smaller one has claimed, Its lost a bit of colour and hides by the candy cane until food comes out. What concerns me is i thought the smaller one should be male, but in my case the female is biggest, they are both 1.5 inches long the bigger one maybe 2mm longer.

    They have been in a week now, still sleep together but wont when the lights are on. are they doing ok, or shall i call the LFS who sold them as a pair and try to get a refund? i don't want to get rid of them but for the price, i don't want the aggro of loosing a fish? how long till they stop i really dont want the other one to die, but hes lost colour since the bullying began and i can get him to eat some frozen and some flake
     
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