55 Gallon Tank Keyhole Cichlid New Behavior

Cognac82

Member
I have a single keyhole in my 55 gallon and I've had this fish for about 2 1/2 years. Not sick, no fish in this tank are unwell in any way. The original stock were all moved from my 29 gallon.
Moderately planted, most of the bottom has plants. In the front of the tank I have a group of brown or red cryptocoryne (not good with crypt ID). This fish started doing a behavior where he will be hovering nose down, almost completely vertical above the plants. He will then shift color rapidly, to develop very vivid contrast between the black and brown on his body. He will then dive down and get in these plants and sit with his pectoral fins on the substrate like the cory cats do for a minute or two, or sometimes just weave or flutter around the plants, doing this color display. He will then go back to swimming around the tank and will instantly lighten his color when he goes near green plants again.
It's very interesting to watch! I have never seen this fish doing this before a few weeks ago. Does anyone else keep keyholes and have you seen something like this before? Is it just a camouflaging behavior because those plants are darker? Is he mimicking the cories? Very interested to see any responses.
Like I said, this fish is definitely not visibly sick, swims all over begging for food and inspecting everything as he usually does. Water parameters are the same as always, and I change 50 or more percent of the water weekly. This behavior does not coincide with the water change or feeding or any other repeatable event. It's just random and he doesn't do it every day. What do you guys think?
 

A201

Member
If you're sure its not water parameter related, disease or a territorial issue, then maybe the
poor guy just wants a mate. Lol.
 

GlennO

Member
My Keyholes will develop stronger markings very quickly when they are startled and sometimes when they are deep among the driftwood and plants. I don't have any brown/red plants though and don't know what that's all about.
 
  • Thread Starter

Cognac82

Member
A201 said:
If you're sure its not water parameter related, disease or a territorial issue, then maybe the
poor guy just wants a mate. Lol.
I was wondering if that might be a thing too. I don't intentionally breed my fish (have had fry from white clouds and goldfish but not on purpose).
Don't think it's water related. Same parameters as always at last weekly check.
GlennO said:
My Keyholes will develop stronger markings very quickly when they are startled and sometimes when they are deep among the driftwood and plants. I don't have any brown/red plants though and don't know what that's all about.
Yeah he will color up when he's startled, too and when I change water he hides and gets dark until I stop but this is actually a pretty cool shift in color. I'm going to hang around the tank and see if I can take a video of it and put it on here.
 

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