Help Should I Separate This Cichlid Pair?

Ravynn

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I'm having a really hard time figuring out what I should do since i've never kept cichlids before and I expected these cichlids to be peaceful like everything/everyone online says. I originally had four ~2-2.5" Keyhole cichlids in a 40 breeder. 2 paired up and the male was tormenting the unpaired male and female so I separated them.

The pair had fry that got to free swimming which I just separated today since they were small enough to still catch. Right after, the pair decided to dig sand pits again which is their breeding behavior. Soon after I noticed the male Keyhole charged after my little 2" BN pleco twice and it's making me super nervous that it will be even more exaggerated when I add more fish (tetras and cories).

I need some help in figuring out what my best course of action should be... separate the pair? Keep 2 males? Keep 1 male? Keep 1 female? I still have the unpaired male and female as no one has shown interest in taking them yet. I have no idea what I should be doing here. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Here's the little monsters.
vmyPDQE.jpg
 
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Ravynn

Ravynn

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nikm128 said:
Separate them for a week or two to chill out, then try and add them back.
Is that going to reduce breeding aggression at all?
 

A201

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If you want the subordinate Keyholes in the same tank as the breeding pair, I suggest leaving the mated pair's nest site alone. Next build a elevated hardscape consisting of rocks & possibly driftwood, in another location away from the nest. Create plenty of ledges & caves.
That action should help a lot and give you a chance to show your aquascaping skills.
I recently had to transfer my psycho OB Peacock Cichlid to my XL Red Texas FH "wet pet" tank. In order to make that living arrangement work, I had to literally throw together a rock hardscape. The Red Texas is vicious and would have killed the OB in short order. As you can see from the pic; harmony. Thanks to the rocks. Lol.
20190425_204925.jpg
 
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Ravynn

Ravynn

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A201 said:
If you want the subordinate Keyholes in the same tank as the breeding pair, I suggest leaving the mated pair's nest site alone. Next build a elevated hardscape consisting of rocks & possibly driftwood, in another location away from the nest. Create plenty of ledges & caves.
That action should help a lot and give you a chance to show your aquascaping skills.
I recently had to transfer my psycho OB Peacock Cichlid to my XL Red Texas FH "wet pet" tank. In order to make that living arrangement work, I had to literally throw together a rock hardscape. The Red Texas is vicious and would have killed the OB in short order. As you can see from the pic; harmony. Thanks to the rocks. Lol.
20190425_204925.jpg
I don't want the subordinate Keyholes in the same tank as the pair because they were chasing the others so bad I thought they were going to kill them; they made it clear there was not enough room. I'm more worried about non-cichlid tank mates, as schooling fish are going to be out in the open and corydoras have no sense of territory. I have no problem separating the pair if that's going to help me achieve a community tank. I just have no idea where to go from here..

I appreciate your response though. Lovely cichlids!
 

A201

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You might consider adding a school of Buenos Aires Tetras. They are good looking, tough and inexpensive. A school of seven or eight should be enough to keep the Keyholes occupied to the point of exhaustion. They are too fast for the Keyholes. I've kept BA Tetras long term with Green & Red Terrors.
 
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Ravynn

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A201 said:
You might consider adding a school of Buenos Aires Tetras. They are good looking, tough and inexpensive. A school of seven or eight should be enough to keep the Keyholes occupied to the point of exhaustion. They are too fast for the Keyholes. I've kept BA Tetras long term with Green & Red Terrors.
I've been kind of set on harlequin rasbora, rummynose tetra and bronze cories as tank mates along with the bristlenose already in there. Am I going to need to separate the pair then? I'm not interested in breeding fish, I just don't know what the best thing to do is, lol.
 

A201

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I'm not a breeder either. My primary tank is an all male African Cichlid tank. It took a while to identify the females, catch then rehome. The aggression level dropped significantly. Shame to split the pair, they are very healthy, colorful Keyholes.
 
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Ravynn

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A201 said:
I'm not a breeder either. My primary tank is an all male African Cichlid tank. It took a while to identify the females, catch then rehome. The aggression level dropped significantly. Shame to split the pair, they are very healthy, colorful Keyholes.
I agree. I have no idea what to do. I just don't want my Keyholes to chase and kill new fish I add.
 

A201

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When I introduce new African Cichlids, its usually in groups. The original Cichlids recognize them as rival cichlids and give the new arrivals the typical cichlid slap down. Despite the hyper aggression it usually only lasts a couple of days unil a new heirarchy is formed.
In your situation, introducing an unlike species such as Rasboras or Rummynose probably won't generate the same aggressive reaction. Those species are mid to upper level dwellers. I bet they can coexist.
 

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I second the BA tetras. Fast, colorful, and fun to watch. I added 6 and my cichlids’ behavior changed for the better instantly.
 
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Ravynn

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A201 said:
When I introduce new African Cichlids, its usually in groups. The original Cichlids recognize them as rival cichlids and give the new arrivals the typical cichlid slap down. Despite the hyper aggression it usually only lasts a couple of days unil a new heirarchy is formed.
In your situation, introducing an unlike species such as Rasboras or Rummynose probably won't generate the same aggressive reaction. Those species are mid to upper level dwellers. I bet they can coexist.
I hope so but what about the corydoras? With the male (the female is quite docile) charging at the BN for no reason it makes me nervous to add anything else.

Like I said I still have the other Keyholes... I don't know if I should keep the single male from those 2 or not as well. I just want the best chances at a community with the fish I mentioned.
 

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I really don't think your keyholes will kill anyone they're not that aggressive. I have 7 in a 55 and they're perfectly fine during spawning. They chase others around a bit but no damage is, or ever has been done. mine were fairly aggressive the first time they spawned, now they just stay by their eggs and leave everyone alone after being in the tank for 7 months and all settled in. This is just what cichlids do, they chase and they get chased I don't think you have any need to worry. It might be distressing for you to watch but for them it's just natural and what they do. Unless you see physical damage I wouldn't worry. The first time I saw mine chasing like crazy I was worried and considered rehoming one or two, they just need to settle in and get pecking order worked out it takes time. mine just peacefully swing among each other now with no issues. or I'm completely wrong and you just have very unusually aggressive keyholes.
 
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Ravynn

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toeknee said:
I really don't think your keyholes will kill anyone they're not that aggressive. I have 7 in a 55 and they're perfectly fine during spawning. They chase others around a bit but no damage is, or ever has been done. mine were fairly aggressive the first time they spawned, now they just stay by their eggs and leave everyone alone after being in the tank for 7 months and all settled in. This is just what cichlids do, they chase and they get chased I don't think you have any need to worry. It might be distressing for you to watch but for them it's just natural and what they do. Unless you see physical damage I wouldn't worry. The first time I saw mine chasing like crazy I was worried and considered rehoming one or two, they just need to settle in and get pecking order worked out it takes time. mine just peacefully swing among each other now with no issues. or I'm completely wrong and you just have very unusually aggressive keyholes.
The male in the pair was biting the fins off of the 2 that are not in the pair. There was strips and chunks taken out of the fins so I definitely had to take them out
 
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Ravynn

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Well, i've decided that i'm not going to separate the pair but I will instead move the subordinate male that was in qt to the main tank and try to rehome the pair.
 

toeknee

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Ravynn said:
Well, i've decided that i'm not going to separate the pair but I will instead move the subordinate male that was in qt to the main tank and try to rehome the pair.
Sorry it hasn't worked out Hopefully I didn't cause this by steering you into getting a group of Keyholes via our private messages. I've only been speaking out of what I have personally experienced with my group of Keyholes, and in my experience they have been peaceful and almost no trouble at all. From what I read about other peoples experience with groups of Keyholes this usually isn't an issue. The biggest complaint I read about Keyholes is that they're too shy and timid, so quite the opposite of what you have going on. Best of luck with everything!
 
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Ravynn

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toeknee said:
Sorry it hasn't worked out Hopefully I didn't cause this by steering you into getting a group of Keyholes via our private messages. I've only been speaking out of what I have personally experienced with my group of Keyholes, and in my experience they have been peaceful and almost no trouble at all. From what I read about other peoples experience with groups of Keyholes this usually isn't an issue. The biggest complaint I read about Keyholes is that they're too shy and timid, so quite the opposite of what you have going on. Best of luck with everything!
It's okay and in no way your fault. I've done a lot of research and from everything i've read online people have great success with keyhole groups as well. It's very possible this was doomed from the start as they seemed to be paired up as soon as I had them in qt from being shipped to me.
 

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That’s the risk you run with cichlids. If they pair up and breed the tank is no longer a ‘community tank’ but a breeding territory with other fish they don’t want there. And it doesn’t matter how peaceful the cichlid species is generally, deaths can always occur. If you keep the pair and they’re still breeding I wouldn’t risk adding more fish.

There’s never a guarantee of a long-term peaceful community tank if there are cichlids involved.
 
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Ravynn

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Coptapia said:
That’s the risk you run with cichlids. If they pair up and breed the tank is no longer a ‘community tank’ but a breeding territory with other fish they don’t want there. And it doesn’t matter how peaceful the cichlid species is generally, deaths can always occur. If you keep the pair and they’re still breeding I wouldn’t risk adding more fish.

There’s never a guarantee of a long-term peaceful community tank if there are cichlids involved.
Yeah, I removed them because I want a community with other fish.
 

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