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Murder in the Malawi Tank

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Old September 13th 05, 07:52 PM
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"Gill Passman" wrote in message
.. .
NetMax wrote:
"Gill Passman" wrote in message
.. .

I came down this morning to find a dead Yellow Lab. I instantly thought
it was the tattered beaten up one that I've been trying to catch and
isolate for the past few days....but no...she is still swimming around
and keeping out of trouble. It was a perfectly healthy (until this
morning) Lab. It was pretty badly chewed up.

I have two suspects that are beating on one another so much that they now
both have sores on their mouths...and one of them bit me the other night.
Allegedly, they are Maylandia Lombardoi but from what I can see I'm now
suspecting they are "mutts" - I have 4 of them - 2 are slightly
bluish/white, one is very yellow and the other is a browny yellow. It is
the yellow and the browny yellow that are fighting - they are now 4-5
inch plus and very fat. From the fry in the tank I'm a little confused
about their origin - deep blue with black vertical stripes - doesn't
match anything else I've got so I'm guessing they are from these fish.

Should I oik both of these fish out of the tank and trade them in as they
will certainly kill one another if not other tank companions? Should I
leave the status quo as if I get rid of these two Mbuna's by their nature
will then fight again and another dominant fish will emerge? Should I
pick one and keep it and get rid of the other one? "Innocent" fish are
getting caught up in their war...

Mbuna tanks sometimes need to be reset, in regards to the choice of
occupants and to thin out the herd. I'd turn down the water temperature
for a while (until you have time to do the reset). About 74F cools their
tempers down. The reset involves removing all the rocks & fish and
re-arranging them before re-introducing the fish (with a few ommisions
which get given away or sold).

Sometimes, I've hit a combination of mbuna and/or other africans which
peacefully added several generations. These ran several years without
intervention, but typical mbuna tanks require tweaking much more often.

ps: Don't neccesarily focus on the alpha male (troublemaker) as a new
alpha male will quickly take his place and might be worse. Use your
discretion. In regards to the odd fish being found dead, this happens.
We joke that they got 'voted' out. It seems like there's a temporary
truce called amongst the usual combatants, and they cooperate to 'remove'
the one voted out, before going back to their usual chinanigans. Really
well balanced mbuna tanks *almost* don't have this.

Thanks for the update. One of the problems is that the two fish in
question are fighting over who is the alpha male and going for anyone who
gets in the way. At the moment it's a bit like "guns at dawn". They have
occuppied one half of the tank each and spend most of their time posturing
and flaring. Occassionally one will encroach on the other ones half of the
tank which results in them locking jaws - both now have injured mouths.
The problem first emerged a few weeks ago when the non-alpha male mated
with one of the females....it has just gone downhill from there.

The only end I can see to this is that one of them will emerge dominant
either killing or severely injuring the other one. I will try the breaking
down the tank option and see how this pans out - it's better than doing
nothing....one of the fish will have to go back I think...

They are usually not so magnaminous to let the loser live unless they are
totally exhausted, so there is a good chance one or both will kill
themselves off (the winner can sometimes get killed by the tank's beta male
sensing an opportunity to jump from 3rd to 1st place, depending on your
mix). The social workings are really quite fascinating, except that in
nature, they have the option to 'bow out' and live to fight another day, and
not in an aquarium (.

Thanks again


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