Aggressive Firemouth cichlid - flirtation?

adumsoza

Hi everyone, i just got 2 new firemouths 4 days ago. They are only 2 inches long. The next day, One of them was chasing the other one around the entire tank and aggressively biting at it. So i removed the one being bullied and put it in a 65l tank for now. The aggressive firemouth is now alone in a 225l tank apart from some BN's. Today i saw the aggressive one attacking its reflection in the glass, is this normal behaviour?
 

MacZ

Yes, this is normal cichlid behaviour. What are the dimensions of your main tank? Going by volume you're at the very lowest end I would recommend for Thorichthys.

To keep cichlids of any kind structure is key. Lines of sight have to be broken so fish have actually a chance to evade each other. If a dominant specimen is not given restriction by driftwood or rocks (plants only really help if they fill up most of the swimming space), the likelihood it takes the whole tank as it's territory is high.

Could you post a picture of the whole tank, as well as each of the fish?
 

adumsoza

Yes, this is normal cichlid behaviour. What are the dimensions of your main tank? Going by volume you're at the very lowest end I would recommend for Thorichthys.

To keep cichlids of any kind structure is key. Lines of sight have to be broken so fish have actually a chance to evade each other. If a dominant specimen is not given restriction by driftwood or rocks (plants only really help if they fill up most of the swimming space), the likelihood it takes the whole tank as it's territory is high.

Could you post a picture of the whole tank, as well as each of the fish?
The tank dimensions are 90 x 49 x 51.5 cm. I can't get good photos of the fish because they are still hiding.
 

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MacZ

The tank dimensions are 90 x 49 x 51.5 cm. I can't get good photos of the fish because they are still hiding.
Yeah... that picture is not very helpful. Trun of the room lights, turn off the computer screen and close the blinds on the Window. Only then you get useful pictures.

From what I can see the tank is not suitable for these fish. And the helicopter wreck limits your possibilities of structuring correctly dramatically.

Otherwise it's also normal that fish newly added to a tank make out their pecking order. There is no bullying in fish as per definition among humans. While we can be a. malicious and b. choose not to be aggressive, fish have no such choice and act instinctively. Now the one in the main tank will claim the whole tank as its territory and adding others will become increasingly problematic. Before adding the other one back, completely restructure the tank. Make sure there are no unbroken lines of sight front to back and side to side.
 

A201

Firemouth territorial aggression is usually limited to harmless flaring.
Firemouths are one of the few New World Cichlids that do better in conspecific groups.
I've successfully kept Firemouths long term in a group of five.
 

FishDin

Firemouth territorial aggression is usually limited to harmless flaring.
Firemouths are one of the few New World Cichlids that do better in conspecific groups.
I've successfully kept Firemouths long term in a group of five.
What size was your tank, and how was it set up (hardscape, line of site etc.)? I've never kept them, but they are on my list... I always thought I'd keep them in a 4' tank
 

TClare

As A201 says, firemouths would ideally be kept in a group, so that any aggression is dispersed and not directed at one individual. They also naturally live in groups when not breeding. Even with a group though peace is not guaranteed, you could still end up with one particularly dominant one and if a pair forms there could be trouble. But to keep a group a bigger tank would be necessary, 90cm long would not be enough as they get to about 15 cm (6") and will grow quite quickly.

It is probably best to try as MacZ suggested and rearrange and structure the tank before trying to reintroduce the less dominant one. Make sure there are plenty of hiding places and line of sight breaks and it might work out. Having some smaller dither fish might help as well.
 

A201

I've kept Firemouths in a 65 gal. & a 120 gal. FM's are Central American Cichlids. Although adaptable to a wide Range of water parameters, hard water w/ an elevated PH 7.5 - 8.2 works well for them.
Hardscape with rock piles & driftwood.
Here's a pick of a hardscape I designed for New World Cichlids & Silver Dollars.
 

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adumsoza

I just added my other firemouth back into my main tank. I came back 3 hours later and saw them both staring at each other and opening and closing their tails, is theis a sign of aggression or flirtation?
 

TClare

I just added my other firemouth back into my main tank. I came back 3 hours later and saw them both staring at each other and opening and closing their tails, is theis a sign of aggression or flirtation?
Could be either you will have to wait and see. If "flirtation" I would expect to see some body quivering, fin flaring, circling each other etc.
 

adumsoza

Could be either you will have to wait and see. If "flirtation" I would expect to see some body quivering, fin flaring, circling each other etc.
yeah, they were doing that too
 

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