South American Cichlids • Keyholes becoming aggressive

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Keyholes becoming aggressive

Postby NatalieKeyholes » Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:29 am

Any experienced keyhole keepers out there?

I have two 3 inch juvenile keyholes in a community tank with six corydoras, one bristlenose, 8 emerald eyespot rasbora and 4 plays. Until now it’s been relatively peaceful, however their pair bond strengthened recently and over the last 3-4 weeks they’ve been terrorising my catfish. They used to just swim up to other fish, now they are sometimes chasing / nipping. Concerned about stress levels for other fish. The bristlenose showed them whose boss but my corydoras are being picked on, one now has a ripped fin. Strangely I thought the tiny rasbora would be the issue but they stay at the top and when they do come down to the bottom where the keyholes are I haven’t seen any aggression at all - I do think the keyholes could eat them eventually though so will separate regardless of what I decide below.

The conundrum I have is this: I was planning to separate my keyholes and put them in a 125 litre 80cm tank on their own. The tank is 80 x 35 x 45cm so on their own I guess this would be big enough?

However, a friend who is a more experienced fushkeeper than me said they will probably just pick on each other more on their own. What do you think? Is this the right thing to do? Will they just direct more antics towards each other?

I could add some shoalers such as lemon tetra to the 125 also, and the bristlenose. As long as I choose a species that can go in my main tank also incase the keyholes don’t accept them. Would add the tetras first.

I’m not inclined to put the catfish in my 125 as they’re my favourite fish and would like to get more, maybe brochis splendens or different corys, as well as topping my orange corys up to 10.

The tank is scaped to give really good cover with very little line of sight.

Any thoughts / questions / suggestions / similar experiences? Will they calm down or get worse as they mature? Would imagine they are 15-18 months old now.

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Re: Keyholes becoming aggressive

Postby sir_keith » Sun Jun 20, 2021 9:45 am

Your keyholes are exhibiting typical pre-spawning behavior. The cory's in particular are being picked on because they occupy the same area- the substrate- that the keyholes want to use as a spawning site. If you leave them where they are, your best course of action is to give the cory's more places to hide, at least for the time being. Once the keyholes have picked a site and get serious about spawning, they will continue to defend their territory vigorously, but will pay more attention to each other, and less to their tankmates, except those that encroach on their territory.

If you do give the keyholes their own tank, you will want to add some dither fish that they can chase, but which are not fussed by the keyholes. Many of the more robust tetras fit this bill, for example, monk or red-eye tetras, or lemon tetras, as you suggested. Danio's would also work, as they are just too fast for the keyholes.

So, you're on the right track here, in terms of moving the keyholes and some dithers to the 125L, and leaving your cory's where they are. Good luck. :fish:

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Re: Keyholes becoming aggressive

Postby Auballagh » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:28 pm

+1 to Sir Keith.
Not much you can add to a post like that. He unpacked that one for you, quite beautifully. :)
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