Giving Time outs to fish

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hamstermann

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Does anyone know why giving time outs to fish works? I've read a lot on the boards about how you can separate an aggressive live-bearer fish for a while and they become non-agressive. Why is that?
 

sirdarksol

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Perhaps sort of "resetting" their memory of why they were being aggressive. In territorial fish, aggression ends when the losing fish leaves what the winner thinks of as his area. Of course, in tanks, the losing fish usually doesn't have enough space to leave. If you take the aggressive fish out of the tank, to its perception, the loser has left "its area". Put it back, and everything is fine until something triggers the aggressive nature again.
Just a theory.
 
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hamstermann

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That's an interesting theory. So does aggression eventually come back? How long does a time out usually work for? I know with my daughter, it often works only for 30 seconds. I'd hate to think fish were the same.
 

Radcliffe

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Ha! So other people do that too! I use a breeding net though. Just putting the agressive fish in the breeder for a couple of days has done the trick for me. After having her fry, my black molly was exceedingly agressive with my other female molly. She got a time out in a breeding net for a few days to recover from birth and have an attitude adjustment. Seems to have worked!

--R
 

sirdarksol

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How long it will last will depend on how long until the next time something triggers aggression. In this way, you can help by making sure that the tank is suitable (large enough, right pH, enough plants/hiding places). Just like with humans and other animals, fish are going to act out more often when they are stressed.
 

andiuk

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^^^ i did this with one of my agressive mollies... it worked, and she hasn't been nippy since, and that was about a month ago... but dunno overall how long-lasting or effective it is!
 

armadillo

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How long do you leave them in isolation? Don't they suffer from the stress of moving, and then the lack of companionship? I've been at my wit's ends with my male molly who is soooo aggressive to my 4 females. He just never stops. If time out is safe and works, then wow!
 

Radcliffe

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I usually swoop them up in my breeding net and leave them there for a day or two. It doesn't seem particularly traumatic, as they are in the same water, etc. I have not noticed any ill effects to the isolated molly. I have done day long isolations for several of them for one reason or another- being agressive, getting picked on, etc. I think they have moods, they seem to take turns being jerks to each other!

--R
 

armadillo

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Aaaah, of course. I assumed it was time out in another tank. That's a good idea. Teach my male a thing or to about manners: no means no!

Unfortunately, that's also what my boyfriend assumed (time out in another tank). We now have a male molly in our pleco tank! He's not too pleased on his own. Argh! I'll get him a couple of females when I've given my plecos back to the store.

OK, a week later (after the move of the male) and I've introduced females to him. Please be my guest and try to guess which of the following two happened. Do you think that:

a/ He used his time alone to reflect on his bad behaviour and sought ways to see females as fellow fish, not mere sex objects
b/ Attempted to mate with the females when they were still in the bag acclimating

I don't know what you do to them during time-outs, but it sure ain't worked for mine!
 
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hamstermann

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I think its cause you got the other females in there with him. for my fishy time-out, she was pretty much alone except for an apparantly sick platy.
 

armadillo

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But do you mean to time out away from females to be permanent, then? At some stage, you need to reintroduce him to females. You mean I should have re-introduced him to his old tank with the old females?
 
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hamstermann

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armadillo said:
At some stage, you need to reintroduce him to females. You mean I should have re-introduced him to his old tank with the old females?
exactly. a day or two to cool off, then back to his old friends and he should be better behaved.
 

armadillo

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Oooops, better luck next time, hey.

Here's some evidence! I was trying to get a picture of her on her own, but it's just impossible.
 

Tiff14RN

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time outs

I have 2 dalmation mollies in a 10 gallon tank. The more black molly was there first and he's very aggressive to the other molly (sex?). I put him in time out (a breeding area) for 24 hours. We'll he's still aggressive. I think that it has to do with his sex and nature. When is aggressive too aggressive? I don't want my other Molly to get abused!
 

timg

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My sailfin never really lost his aggression, I think he was just h****y! He spent most of the time in the big tank with the goldfish, just being put in with the mollies for a couple of hours now and then. It was unfortunately the only way I could get him to leave them alone! We lost him a couple of months ago now to old age, exhaustion or just boredom, not sure which.

The best way to work a time-out is to give them time to adjust to a new environment and make it their territory, then put them back into the original tank, where they are the new fish in the pond, so to speak.

Fish seem to have a specific hierachy which is established very soon after they are first introduced. When one leaves the group, the next one takes his or her place. When the bully gets back, he's lost his place in the standing and has to work his way back up the ladder. This does work for 90% of bullies, but as always, there are the exceptions!
 

bmxer193

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if you leave them in there for a day or two it sounds like it will work
 

armadillo

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OK, with 2 mollies, it sounds like he's constantly re-establishing his territory and his dominance. You'd be better off with more mollies (min 3 of hte saem gender, min 2 females per male if mixed).

Could you post a picture of both mollies showing their ventral fins clearly, so we can definitely sex them for you?

Aggressive can be too aggressive. Too aggressive can lead to death, sometimes directly and sometimes through disease brought a bout by stress. This happens quicker than you'd think so I think you've got an urgent situation on your hadns.
Tiff14RN said:
I have 2 dalmation mollies in a 10 gallon tank. The more black molly was there first and he's very aggressive to the other molly (sex?). I put him in time out (a breeding area) for 24 hours. We'll he's still aggressive. I think that it has to do with his sex and nature. When is aggressive too aggressive? I don't want my other Molly to get abused!
 

Tiff14RN

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Picture

Yes, i will post their pics when I get home. I'm on a buisness trip right now, and I don't think their baby sitters got a pic of them. One is a lyretale molly and the other is a short fined molly. Can I fit one more in a 10 gallon. I don't want them to overcrowd. Tank has been established for 2 months.
 
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