How To Discipline A Fish?

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DecoyCat

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Anyone else have fish with attitude problems? How have you dealt with them?
Tangerine (my Discus) is giving my Cories a hard time, not only does he chase and peck them in his spare time he has now taken to fiercely guarding the Cories sinking pellets and eating them himself.
I fed Tangerine his food first, which was all good and well until the catfish sinking pellet was dropped in. For the last hour he has been fighting off the Cories in an aggressive manner over the sinking pellet. I was able to catch him in action, as cute as it looks the problem remains that the Cories are missing out on their meal. At the moment I don't have a spare tank I could use as the punishment tank, and its not like I can grab Tangerine out and smack his bottom, so I'm not sure how to fix this problem. Any ideas folks?

 

TheCrazyFishGuy

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Often times when I get a fish that is just set upon bullying others, I will put it in “time out,” which for them is just getting put in a breeder net/box in the same tank, or in a separate tank for a few hours to a day or two.
 

Mary765

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Try putting the fish into a tiny separate cup or container for a few minutes whilst you feed your cories, then put him back in again! I did this to one of my guppies which was eating all of the available flakes and she soon learned to share you could even feed tangerine while they are in the tiny container to get them to associate that the food you give them is the only food for them.
 

TheCrazyFishGuy

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Oh, just noticed the you not having another tank part. I’m not really sure, but when I got my first bully fish, whenever it would start to go after another fish I would use a stick or net just to chase the bully away. Not sure how effective this was though.
 
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DecoyCat

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A breeder net, I didn't think of that. Good idea guys! I'll buy one on pay day as its now over an hours time and the Cories are still trying to reach the pellet and Tangerine is still guarding it lol
Thecrazyfishguy, I did think about chasing him around with the fish net too lol
Thank you for your ideas
 

Oarngesi

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Feed them both at the same time
 

david1978

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If you cant spank him how about a stern talking to. Lol
 

RSababady

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I can relate to this problem as I too have discuss. Discuss need to be kept in groups for them to "behave" themselves. Discuss are cichlids, so you need to expect a certain amount of aggression from them. In my pack, there was one discuss that used to stop other discuss from bullying other fish.

How many discuss do you have and are they more or less the same size? - size is important to avoid smaller discuss from being bullied by larger fish.
 

Niki Rose

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I relate, my gourami has a huge attitude problem. Whenever she sees me walk into the room she swims over to the top of the tank in the corner begging for food. When I do feed my fish, because shes a top dweller even with fast sinking pellets she ends up eating most of them and then chases all the tetra's after dinner.
 

NavigatorBlack

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The Discus is behaving naturally. It does not care if you exist. You can't influence its behavior in any way. When a fish doesn't behave in the ways you want it to, don't think you can punish it or give it a time out. If you do so, you are simply torturing it by creating stress.

You can't change fish behavior with time outs, or punishment areas. That's fish behavior studies, first lesson. You are the pellet problem, and the aquarist's attitude always has to be adjusted when faced with problems that make us want to smack bottoms. We chose the fish, the tank and food, so we adjust our thinking and find solutions.

So, first, the Discus is a social fish, and is bored. Your Corys are social fish, well fed looking and needing a temperature several degrees cooler than a Discus. Your Discus will choose a territory near an upright marker, as it has done. Break his sightlines. Scape for him. Ten more plants, placed around the tank. More rocks. Give the Corydoras some cover.

Try different food. The pellets have collected in the worst possible place, as they often do, at the base of a territory marker. Adjust the currents.

No fish has an attitude problem. Each has a fairly predictable attitude based on its natural history, which does not involve being kept in captivity. Your territorial Discus or Niki Rose's greedy gourami is in a tank with companions it doesn't like, and watching it should tell you you have made a mistake putting it or its companions in there. Don't blame the fish. It's on you. The perfect solution is expensive though - a lot of fish need their own tanks. Both species, the discus and the gourami are well documented to behave as they are behaving.
 

Dave125g

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Agree with NavigaterBlack. A long term solution should be worked out for your fish. I don't think this behavior will stop.
 

Niki Rose

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NavigatorBlack said:
The Discus is behaving naturally. It does not care if you exist. You can't influence its behavior in any way. When a fish doesn't behave in the ways you want it to, don't think you can punish it or give it a time out. If you do so, you are simply torturing it by creating stress.

You can't change fish behavior with time outs, or punishment areas. That's fish behavior studies, first lesson. You are the pellet problem, and the aquarist's attitude always has to be adjusted when faced with problems that make us want to smack bottoms. We chose the fish, the tank and food, so we adjust our thinking and find solutions.

So, first, the Discus is a social fish, and is bored. Your Corys are social fish, well fed looking and needing a temperature several degrees cooler than a Discus. Your Discus will choose a territory near an upright marker, as it has done. Break his sightlines. Scape for him. Ten more plants, placed around the tank. More rocks. Give the Corydoras some cover.

Try different food. The pellets have collected in the worst possible place, as they often do, at the base of a territory marker. Adjust the currents.

No fish has an attitude problem. Each has a fairly predictable attitude based on its natural history, which does not involve being kept in captivity. Your territorial Discus or Niki Rose's greedy gourami is in a tank with companions it doesn't like, and watching it should tell you you have made a mistake putting it or its companions in there. Don't blame the fish. It's on you. The perfect solution is expensive though - a lot of fish need their own tanks. Both species, the discus and the gourami are well documented to behave as they are behaving.
I had her with a group of her own kind but she bullied them all as well, its only around feeding time or afterwards that she chases the other fish
 

Nataku

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Meh, most fish learn by association. I have no issue chasing a difficult fish around with a net to distract it from something it's fixated on.
I do suggest you try some of Navigator Black's suggestions. Recapping and changing flow can really help. It could also provide the corydoras a sheltered area they could feed in peace in that the discus can't get in to. Like a low cave. Just drop food in front of it and the corydoras can eat in the cave.

If the discus persists, eh, I chase with a net. Fish may not be geniuses but they aren't idiots either, evolution has made sure of that. They learn soon enough that certain areas are going to get them chased with a net and learn to avoid it.
 

shutterbug13

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Have you tried crushing the pellets before you feed them? That way they would be too small for the discus and easier for the corys to eat. Even if the discus eats some, it won't be all of it.
 

lilabug4545

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I actually taught my fish positive and negatice reinforcement! My two betta girls would flare at each other from separate containers when I wanted them both in a sorority. One day, I started feeding the one getting flared at, and wiggling my finger in the water near the one flaring (spooks them just a tiny bit). They eventually learned through jealousy that of they flare, the other one gets fed. I was successfully able to keep them in a sorority together!
 
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DecoyCat

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RSababady
At the moment I have just the one Discus, I do know about them liking to be in groups for health and social reasons, I actually have another few on order from a breeder, they are only a couple of months old though so I'm waiting patiently for them to be old enough to bring home. Until then, Tangerine is on his own with the Cories. As fate would have it ive also just struck a deal with a friend who is giving up the hobby and is selling her Discus, so I will be buying her 6 Discus in the next 2 weeks, which 3 of them are the size of my hand and the other 3 not far behind. I'm also buying her 4 foot fish tank too, so i'll have 2x 4 foot tanks for my Discus. So little Tange will have some friends very soon, which no doubt will change his attitude about being a bully towards the Cories I'm thinking. And no I wont be housing the 6-7 inch Discus with Tange as his only 2-3 inches in size, they'd make a meal of him. He will be housed with the breeder babies when they arrive.

Yes the Cories are in warmer water than specified that they can handle being in with my Discus, my tank is 28c which is at the moment 2c cooler than id normally keep it with Discus. I have successfully kept Cories with Discus before at 30c for a long period of time, I didn't have any problems with the Cories nor did any die. From my experience a very large number of Discus keepers also successfully keep Cories with their Discus at high temps and recommend Cories as a tank mate. I actually love Cories but I have them purely for their cleaning abilities in my Discus tanks. Is it fair on the Cories, its much of a muchness, they truly do not seem effected by the few extra degrees, in fact mine have always thrived in the warmer water. Yes I have plans of getting more plants for this tank but no ornaments as such, just keeping it basic with live plants and driftwood only. Yes I imagine Tange is bored and that's why he is being so unforgiving with the Cories at the moment, but I'm sure once the new Discus arrive he will have other duties to for fill, we'll see anyway.

To everyone else that left comments, thanks
 
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DecoyCat

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RSababady
At the moment I have just the one Discus, I do know about them liking to be in groups for health and social reasons, I actually have another few on order from a breeder, they are only a couple of months old though so I'm waiting patiently for them to be old enough to bring home. Until then, Tangerine is on his own with the Cories. As fate would have it ive also just struck a deal with a friend who is giving up the hobby and is selling her Discus, so I will be buying her 6 Discus in the next 2 weeks, which 3 of them are the size of my hand and the other 3 not far behind. I'm also buying her 4 foot fish tank too, so i'll have 2x 4 foot tanks for my Discus. So little Tange will have some friends very soon, which no doubt will change his attitude about being a bully towards the Cories I'm thinking. And no I wont be housing the 6-7 inch Discus with Tange as his only 2-3 inches in size, they'd make a meal of him. He will be housed with the breeder babies when they arrive.

Yes the Cories are in warmer water than specified that they can handle being in with my Discus, my tank is 28c which is at the moment 2c cooler than id normally keep it with Discus. I have successfully kept Cories with Discus before at 30c for a long period of time, I didn't have any problems with the Cories nor did any die. From my experience a very large number of Discus keepers also successfully keep Cories with their Discus at high temps and recommend Cories as a tank mate. I actually love Cories but I have them purely for their cleaning abilities in my Discus tanks. Is it fair on the Cories, its much of a muchness, they truly do not seem effected by the few extra degrees, in fact mine have always thrived in the warmer water. Yes I have plans of getting more plants for this tank but no ornaments as such, just keeping it basic with live plants and driftwood only. Yes I imagine Tange is bored and that's why he is being so unforgiving with the Cories at the moment, but I'm sure once the new Discus arrive he will have other duties to for fill, we'll see anyway.

To everyone else that left comments, thanks
 

RSababady

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SabrinaBrook said:
RSababady
I'm also buying her 4 foot fish tank too, so i'll have 2x 4 foot tanks for my Discus. So little Tange will have some friends very soon, which no doubt will change his attitude about being a bully towards the Cories I'm thinking. And no I wont be housing the 6-7 inch Discus with Tange as his only 2-3 inches in size, they'd make a meal of him. He will be housed with the breeder babies when they arrive.
Have you considered dedicating one tank just to the discuss? That would solve your issue.
 
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