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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many, many moons ago I was into keeping single specimen, aggressive fish like piranha, Aequidens sp, and puffer fish, but recently I got back into the hobby looking to start my own mid size community aquarium. Accordingly, I set up with what was *supposed* to be a relatively mild mannered cichlid that would grow to 4-5 inches and get along with tankmates. Unfortunately, my firemouth has been anything but peaceful and I'm at the point where if I can't get his attitude sorted out I'm going to give him away and if nobody will take him I may have to euthanize him.

My basic setup is thus;

40 gallon breeder (36x18 footprint), piles and piles of driftwood forming a cave system that in theory should give the fish lots of space for themselves and to get away from each other.

A variety of tank mates in the hopes that the cranky firemouths aggression would get distributed and therefore not allow him to take over the tank (one other firemouth who the aggressive one has bred with, an angelfish, a gourami, a small school of cardinal tetras, and 2 cory cats)

Lots of food for everyone;

And basically what I have is a tank that consists of the aggressive firemouth penning all the other big fish in a corner (the gourami, the other firemouth, the angelfish) and no activity going on in the tank except for when one of the other fish tries to leave the corner at which point they get flared back into the corner. When I feed them, most of the food either floats at the top or just sinks to the bottom untouched because any fish that tries to eat get's bullied by the firemouth. The firemouth doesn't bother trying to eat immediately, because he's too busy making sure the other fish don't eat. The only thing left that I can think of is dropping another piece of driftwood in there so that the last open corner that he pins everyone in is blocked off, but I imagine he'll just find new inventive ways to bother everyone.

Soooooo, two part question I guess.

1 - Does anyone have any last suggestions for how to deal with this fish before I get rid of him?

2 - Does anyone have any suggestions for a more peaceful alternative that is of similar size and body type and would be happier inhabiting the driftwood maze I have set up? The original plan was supposed to be firemouths in the driftwood, angel fish and tetras in the mid level, and the gourami occupying the top portion of the tank. I'm quite upset that for having planned everything out pretty thoroughly, this one freakishly aggressive fish has to screw it all up. Ideal replacement would be something similarish in physical appearance to a firemouth (similar body shape, like a convict but obviously if aggression is an issue a convict is not appropriate), maybe one of the smaller earth eaters?
 

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If you are going to do a second cichlid, make it one that can stand up to him. The angelfish, gourami, tetras, cories are all too peaceful for your FM. My FM was the same way towards other cichlids, even in my 90 gallon, he would chase my pike and pick fights.

My solution for you, try a female con around the same size as him (assuming male if it's this aggressive) and remove the angel, gourami, and the cardinals (they're just too small) and add a few cories (make the group like 5).

But remove the fish before you add, and when you add the new fish, be sure to completely re-scape the tank so that the FM doesn't know what's going on and isn't already claiming the tank once the convict comes in...

IF that doesn't work, remove the FM and start over. I hated bringing back my FM, but he was destroying my tank too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent, thanks for the input.

The girlfriend is attached to the gourami to the point that I won't be able to switch that one out.

The larger male firemouth was intended to be the showpiece fish in the tank so without him in the picture I'd really like to replace him with something interesting. I'm open to just about anything that'll fit in the tank and get along relatively peacefully.

Pretty much anything reasonably priced I'd be willing to order online so there must be something out there that can work...
 

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Look into rainbow cichlids. This might work with your set up. They are pretty peaceful and don't get too big.
 

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I would trade the Aggresive Firemouth in. I dont see any way to change him. He needs to be with something like an Oscar that wont put up with his ****.

For CA as said a Rainbow would be nice. Any type of breeding in that size tank would not work out well for the other fish.

For SA Bolivian Rams may work, or 2-3 Keyholes.

....Bill
 
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