Lake Malawi Species • Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

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Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:18 pm

anyone ever heard of bristlenose plecos attacking peacocks/haps? I started a tank with 20 1.5-2" peacock/haps and 1 1" bristlenose. I assumed bloat/parasite/something has terrorized my tank and I'm down to 8 peacock/haps left. However, I noticed it was always the smallest ones dying off and sometimes their fins would look torn up like they were beat up. (Not sure if this matters but none of the fish that died ever had a bloated stomach). Also some of the fish, before they died, displayed stress signs like they were being bullied, hiding in a corner or at the top. I watch my tank for a good amount of time throughout the day, and I hardly see any chasing. When they do chase it stops after a second and never more than half the length of my 48" tank. So I always assumed none of the peacocks bullied each other.

Today I checked on the tank and I saw another peacock died and the bristlenose was sucking on his side. I used to keep discus, and for discus slime coats, it was warned that once the bristlenose gets a taste of their slime coat, they will continue to feed on them at night. Is it this same for african cichlids? I'm wondering if my bristlenose has been killing all the small ones off one at a time. My only peacocks left are the largest ones that are bigger than the bristlenose.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:30 pm

Never heard of any of that. Are you sure it is a bristlenose? I have heard of CAE doing this.

I had a bristlenose defend his hiding spot in a Tang pretty vigorously but no one was hurt and all lived happily ever after. It was pretty amusing.

What are the species of haps and peacocks? These are 2" fish or under?
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:46 pm

Yes the fish is definitely a bristlenose. Its possible the fish had already died and the bristlenose started sucking on it after, but who knows. The peacocks and haps are Aulonocara baenschi and star sapphires. All the ones that have died have been under 2". The ones still alive are all around the 2-3" size. The bristlenose is probably around 2-2.5" as well.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby DJRansome » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:46 pm

Are you doing 1m:4f or more on the ratio?
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:57 pm

Example of one of the star sapphires fins all torn up before it died
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:58 pm

DJRansome wrote:Are you doing 1m:4f or more on the ratio?


The fish are still too young to be sexed, at least for me. Only the dominant male Aulonocara is colored up
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:22 pm

I will say with 100% conviction that there is no way the bristlenose is killing your fish. There is no way they could ever cause that kind of damage even if they wanted to. And they don't want to. I have kept them in numerous tanks for over 25 years, including community tanks with tetras and smaller fish and have never seen any aggression towards any other fish that wasnt another bristlenose or a different pleco. There's a reason they are so popular. Because they don't get that big, do a great job at eating algae and are peaceful. Ok, enough with my pro- bristlenose rant. I'm not going to speculate on who the culprit or culprits are but alot of aggression takes place when we're not watching the tank.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:30 pm

I have seen with my own eyes my 6" bristlenose sucking the sides of my 6" discus and eventually killing them. Its very common with discus due to their slime coat.

But...I dont disagree that it could be one of the peacocks when im not looking. My question was more to find out if its possible or ever heard of with african cichlids. Also since I saw him sucking on the dead one, was hoping he wouldn't develop a taste for it.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:36 pm

I have heard of common plecos doing that to Discus but I dont think that's even the norm for them. 6" is a very large bristlenose. They usually max out under 5". I believe that you definitely witnessed that with your Discus but the temperament and activity difference between a Discus and Hap or Peacock is worlds apart. Even if you had a rogue bristlenose the Hap and Peacock would swim away. Are you 100% sure its a bristlenose and not some other type of pleco? Because there definitely are larger plecos that are predatory in nature.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:45 pm

Yup, definitely a bristlenose. I purchased it from the same place as my peacocks from one of the popular breeders on this site. Also agree on the discus having a different temperament, and i would think my peacocks would swim away if the bristlenose ever attempted it. So sounds like its not common at all and I dont have to worry about him. I'm still new to african cichlids, so when I walked in on the bristlenose sucking in on the dead body I thought I'd check with you all!
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby fishboy75 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:57 pm

Yeah, I hear you. I'm more experienced in "community" fish and general fishkeeping and learning more and more about the different African cichlids every day. Im sure that your bristlenose was just being opportunistic and not a killer. Good luck!
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby ironspider » Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:41 am

I don't think the BN is quick enough to catch them.
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:55 am

The fish does not look well overall, but not entirely due to damage from fighting.

That said, if your fish are lurking in corners, there is harassment going on. If you cannot see it at all and the small ones are dying...try removing a couple of the large ones and see if the rest do better.

Is it more the sapphires or the baenschi that are dying?
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby Bamzam » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:13 am

DJRansome wrote:The fish does not look well overall, but not entirely due to damage from fighting.

That said, if your fish are lurking in corners, there is harassment going on. If you cannot see it at all and the small ones are dying...try removing a couple of the large ones and see if the rest do better.

Is it more the sapphires or the baenschi that are dying?



More the sapphires. I've lost 8 sapphires and 4 baenschi. When they were all purchased, the sapphires were all about 0.5" smaller. The 2 that are left are the prob 2". The baenschi that died were the small ones also, the ones that are left are all 2.5-3".

Its probably worth noting that I rarely saw the 2 species interact from the times I've watched. All the chasing that usually happened was within the baenschi alone. Guess I'm back to thinking it was something internal
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Re: Bristlenose attack peacocks/haps?

Postby DJRansome » Sat Jul 25, 2020 10:47 am

Keep the hiding in mind. I am thinking harassment. The stress may have led to an illness. What about isolating the 2 remaining sapphires and see how the baenschi do on their own?
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