Royal Gramma won't eat unless food passes by his mouth?

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oscarmk

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Hi all,

So i've had my biocube 29 for 13 months now, and my royal gramma for about 10 months, he is in there with a clown fish (1 year). At first they were both fed Thera NLS 0.5 Pellets and they would both come and eat from the top. They would also eat frozen mysys shrimp on the weekend, the royal gramma would eat most of this.

Now about 4 months ago I bought Ocean Nutrition Formula Two to vary their diet, and make it a little more herbivore for the Royal Gramma, what happened is that now the Royal Gramma will very rarely eat the NLS and he will always eat the Ocean Nutrition but ONLY after the pellet falls and it also has to fall no further than 4 inches form where he is!. Otherwise he kinda chases the pellet and then stops chasing it. He doesn't look malnourished, but he isn't eating quite as much as before, he is also quite big about 3.5 inches. I have to throw him quite a bit of pellets so that some happen to pass him by and he eats them, the end result a bunch of pellets decompose in the sand. He never ever goes to the surface anymore for food he just waits, the clownfish continues to go the surface and eats most of the food.

The royal gramma also built a cave by spitting sand over the course of weeks and there is a bigger adjacent cave where he hangs most of the time, he comes out and then goes back to the cave, thankfully this cave is pretty big so I can see him clearly, but basically he doesn't chase his food 5 inches away from where his main cave is. Before he built this he was outside swimming for the most part.

I also tried the mysis shrimp and he does eat them, but not quite like before, before he would chase every single one anywhere in the tank, now he only eats those that pass by his cave... Did I make a mistake buying this Ocean Nutrition?, what can I do now?. This has been happening for 2 months now, and it is harder to feed him now, I still make sure he eats something every day, but that causes a bunch of pellets to fall to the sand.

Also while the clown is eating the royal gramma tries to make quick movements into his cave which sometimes scare the clown, like if he wanted all the food for him, but then he won't eat it unless it passes by his mouth. When he started doing this the clown would often also hide, but now he became used to the Gramma "technique" and he won't fall for it anymore and just keeps eating.

Both fish are very active, have bright colors and look well fed right now. Parameters are all perfect on the water, there is algae which absorbs all the phosphates though.

I feed them twice a day at 12:30 PM and 6:00 PM. I feed them 10-15 0.5 NLS pellets and 6-8 Ocean nutrition 1 mm pellets each time.

Any advice on what to do so the royal gramma eats normally again would be appreciated.

Thank you,

-Oscar
 

Claire Bear

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Hi, I don't have an answer specifically but it almost sounds like they are overfed to me. Maybe if the Gramma was more hungry, it would go after its food. ?
 

oscarmk

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Hi, I don't have an answer specifically but it almost sounds like they are overfed to me. Maybe if the Gramma was more hungry, it would go after its food. ?
Hi, thank you for your answer, that though has also crossed my mind, but I don't really feed them that much in my opinion, but this is definitely a possibility. To me it looks more like if he doesn't want to leave his cave because he is protecting something, but he is the only royal gramma so there are no eggs or anything.
 

Claire Bear

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ryanr is my go to guy for saltwater questions or Mike. Both will have a better idea of what is going on!
 

Mike

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I would not worry too much about it and I would not target feed the gramma either. The gramma will come out when it gets hungry enough. If this was a brand new fish it would be entirely different story but since you have had it for quite awhile I would not be too concerned.
 

ryanr

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Sounds like a comfortable gramma to me. Over time, your fish learn that there's no need to 'hunt' for food, especially when it falls from the 'heavens' so regularly. And as such, the desperation when food enters the tank subsides. Too, they'll wait for their favourite.

My clown often 'goes hungry', as he doesn't like leaving his anemone. But when he gets hungry enough, he swims all over the tank for food.

I always thought royal grammas were more carnivore than herbivore, but if yours likes ON pellets, then great.

I feed a varied an mixed diet, rarely do my fish get the same food each day. Frozen = Mysis, Brine, Brine w/Spriulina, Squid, Mussels, Prawns, Hikari Algae Mix, Rotifers, Red Plankton. Dry = NLS w/Thera A+ 1mm and Nori (for the tang).

They all have their favourite, some don't eat as much on some days, when their favourite hits, they go nuts.
 
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