Did I Drive This Lone Ember Tetra Insane?

Discussion in 'Tetras' started by MissRuthless, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. MissRuthlessWell Known MemberMember

    Hey y'all - it's been quite awhile since I've been here and a lot has happened with my tanks (going to update profile after posting this but it's not accurate right now) so a little background on this sad little fish:

    I found the embers at a LPS around two years ago. There were only eight and I bought them all because of always wanted them. They were tiny so of course everyone wanted to eat them in every tank I put them in, so eventually they ended up living with my sparkling gouramis in their 12g for awhile. They was fine until the gouramis decided it was time to spawn - I figured the embers were small and the gouramis would be able to protect at least a few fry, and the embers would probably eat some and help me avoid overpopulation. Nope. They had one successful spawn and the embers literally worked as a team to pick off every single baby one by one. The male gourami lost his mind when he realized all his babies were gone and killed all but one of the embers overnight (he also killed his mate but that's not relevant to the post). I had just broken down all but three tanks and didn't have anywhere safe to put the remaining ember, so I put him in the biggest breeder net I had and there he stayed for awhile, maybe a couple months.

    During that time, I went through a nasty bout of depression and neglected my tanks badly. I lost my entire cherry and Amano shrimp colonies after a large assassin snail died in their tank and I didn't know, so I ended up with my very densely planted 5.5g tank housing nothing but pond snails. I put the lone ember in there and started searching for some friends for him, but soon found that literally no stores in my area carried them. Eventually I took a road trip to the only legit aquarium store in the state and asked them to order me some, at which point I was informed that they are not on the unrestricted species list, and are therefore illegal in Maine. I stopped actively searching for them and figured I'd just check pet stores when I traveled, and hopefully come across more someday.

    Well I drove to Washington DC and back this past weekend and found five tiny embers on my way home! Somehow they made it almost an entire day in the bag, and have settled in well. Unfortunately, my original ember is being a total jerk to them! He swam with them for awhile, but after a couple hours he was chasing them around, nipping their tails and generally being a nuisance. It's been a few days and he hasn't let up. He is almost twice their size, but I never thought he wouldn't take to them. He was so lonely he tried to befriend my cherries, and then tried to kill them when he realized they weren't the same. Did I drive him crazy by keeping him alone for so long? I feel so bad, I even posted on Craigslist when I couldn't find more to see if anyone had a school and could take him, but only got responses from idiots who knew nothing about fish. He was on his own for something like 6-8 months. I kept neons for a couple years and they were vicious every time I added new ones, they'd all fight for a couple days until a new hierarchy was established. Im hoping that's all this is, but it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I've tried feeding extra, rearranging the tank a bit (though it's only plants and a huge piece of driftwood so there isn't much I can do) and putting him in fishy time-out in a clear floating breeder (which has worked surprisingly well with others) and nothing. He hates his new friends.

    Does anyone have any thoughts, or similar experiences?
  2. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome back!

    Is the loner actually hurting the little guys or is it mainly just harmless chasing? I do own Embers and never found overly agressive behavior even when I added two new additions to the group. But then again, I never dealt with your particular situation. Maybe just give it more time, since it’s been only a few days. It’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but it’s something I would do, personally.
  3. MissRuthlessWell Known MemberMember

    Hey scarface :)

    I haven't noticed any actual harm being done, but he is REALLY chasing the others, and picking at the cherry shrimp here and there too. Mostly just chasing any ember that enters his vision nonstop. I figured it would at least have calmed down a bit by now, but nope! I invaded their space with a big breeder net earlier (for a berried shrimp) and it freaked them out just enough to school together for an hour or so... now he's back to chasing them relentlessly and nipping their tails. It's like he's on the hunt for them. I never expected this sort of behavior from such generally timid, chill fish. As of now it's more intense than what I've seen of any other tetras - and I've had quite a few species. And it's only the original one - all the others are shy and seem confused and intimidated by his behavior. I've tried feeding them extra and yes even more aggressive when there's food floating around in the mix.

    I think this is day nine that they've been together... I really hope he gets a grip eventually. Or perhaps solitary confinement made him a psycho fish. Totally bizarre!
  4. scarfaceFishlore VIPMember

    That is weird; I always saw them as hobbits of the fish world. I guess if one becomes nasty, it goes all out and holds no punches. You should name it Golem :emoji_confused::emoji_frowning2:.

    I’m sorry; I’m no help.
  5. BrandedUWValued MemberMember

    I have a similar situation with a neon tetra, so I'm curious what ended up happening with this.