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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I've had a JD for about 6 months now. He was a beautiful fish when we first got him and he quickly became my favorite in the tank. Over time my partner would bring home new fish, various other cichlids. It was some time after a Jewel was added, among other species, that I noticed the JD was starting to look ragged. His color would pale and he'd hide away from me. A little while after that, he started to get picked on heavily. It got to the point that the other fish in the tank had bitten off most of his tail, down to the stump, and dorsal fin. He was looking very bad. Even his pecs took a beating. We bought a new tank afterwards and moved all the bigger fish. Keep in mind the JD was the second biggest in the tank originally. We left him with the smaller guys and he was fine. He kept to himself a bit, would respond when i'd come near the tank. After a few weeks, he started to get his tail and other fins back and he gained a little weight. However, one day he decided to eat the small algae eaters I had bought for the tank, my mistake there I guess, so my boyfriend moved him to the bigger tank. I didn't agree with the move, but it was done. The first hour he was in the new tank, he was again heavily beaten on by the other fish. At one point he was cornered and the other fish took turns with the abuse. The lights to the tank were turned off, Stress Guard was added and food also to take the attention off the JD. A day or two later the war had subsided. A few days after that, he was out swimming around in the middle of the tank again. And now again, he looks the worse for wear. I was told it looks like he has no scales left, and his fins are almost all gone again. I guess my question would be, why did he stop standing up for himself? A few days of being picked on and he started to have face offs with the Bumblebee. Then 2 days ago, he just stopped. Why?
 

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I guess my question would be, why did he stop standing up for himself? A few days of being picked on and he started to have face offs with the Bumblebee. Then 2 days ago, he just stopped. Why?
Well I guess the short, obvious answer is that the Bumblebee won. But we're using human terms here with fish and that doesn't fit.
These fish are just trying to do what they would normally do in the wild but they can't. In the wild the Bumblebee would 'claim' a certain territory and the Jack Dempsey. . . --well in truth the Jack Dempsey wouldn't be there at all, he'd be in a totally different lake, different continent all together, but let's say another bumblebee also wants to lay claim to the same territory. They might get into a tossel and one would come out the 'winner' and the loser would swim away. In your tank the same thing happens but the loser can't swim away far enough and the winner continues to defend his territory and the loser keeps taking hit after hit and then sometimes the other fish in the tank join in and the only thing you can do is remove the JD.

My advice to you: Take the JD out, put him in a hospital tank and let him recover from his injuries and then NEVER put him back in that tank again. His injuries are not only bad for him but also for your other fish because being injured the JD is more susceptible to disease and once one of your fish gets sick they are all at risk.
Then: go to the central american folder here on this site and ask for help there in putting together a tank that will work for your JD. Some species of cichlids just can't be housed with other species of cichlids and generally speaking the smaller your tank is the more careful you need to be in the stocking selection of your tanks. I don't know enough about Jack Dempseys to advice you but they probably got named after the famous boxer which says alot.

It's tempting to just go out and buy cichlids that appeal to you at the fish store and they may get along fine for awhile, until they mature, and then you're very likely in for major trouble.

How's the JD doing today?

Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I know that not all cichlids get along. We have a mish mash of every kind you can get. And I know they claim territories. Thing is in our tank, the only one who has a territory and fights for it is the demasoni. All the others just co-exist. And its not that the bee won, cause the JD did fight for himself, then he just stopped. He bolts from all the other fish now but the Pike. Its like he just gave up. As for creating another tank, not really an option. We have very limited space. The 25 gallon tank we have is going to be used for my nonaggressives and I'm almost willing to try the JD with them. I'll leave the smaller ones in the old 10G tank. If he's not gonna defend himself with the cichlids, he should lay off the nonaggressives.
I don't know how he's doing today. The tanks are at my boyfriends and he's not home from work yet.
 

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And its not that the bee won, cause the JD did fight for himself, then he just stopped.
Well to try to answer your original question better, why didn't the JD stand up for himself--sounds like he did and he repeatedly got the stuffing knocked out of him, which no doubt weakened him for future fights and in the end he accepted his lowered position in the tank.

Most cichlid tanks have a tank hierarchy with one fish at the top and the others fitting in as best they can below. The fish at the top can swim where he likes, may be the only fish allowed to spawn and while it may allow other fish to have a cave or a corner, he in fact has claimed the entire tank. The top fish can be male or female and isn't necessarily the largest or oldest.

When you have species that are not considered compatible the fight for the top can get brutal and if some of those same species are the more aggressive types then the tank never gets to a point where everyone settles into a position in the hierarchy. The more aggressive fish just keep coming after the other fish and will often kill them. (I had a tank once where it appeared like I only had one fish because all the other fish never came out of hiding :( )

Sounds like what has happened with your JD is that he has -reluctantly-accepted his lowered position in the tank--whether that's just because he's too weak to fight I don't know--but the other fish still see him as a threat and so he may continue to get picked on.

Please let me know when you know if the JD needs anything in the way of treatment. I think you are wise to remove him but if I were you I would post a question in the CA folder and ask whether or not he is likely to get along with your 'nonaggressives'. JD's are very popular fish and someone there will be glad to help you

Robin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He's in bad shape. I saw him today myself. He's back to hiding in the old skull. Too bad he's gettin too big for it. He tried to come out the eye hole before and realized he couldn't lol I'll post in the other forum, see what answers I get. Thank you :)
 

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Barrett56 said:
I know that not all cichlids get along. We have a mish mash of every kind you can get.
If you know that not all cichlids get along, then maybe it would be a good idea not to house a mish mash of every kind you can get in one tank. It might be helpful for you to let us know how large your tank is, what fish you have in it, and how old/large they are. That would allow us to advise you what fish - if any - will end up like the JD, unless you find a new home for them or return them to the LFS as soon as possible.

Barrett56 said:
And I know they claim territories. Thing is in our tank, the only one who has a territory and fights for it is the demasoni. All the others just co-exist.
Well, the JD and the bumblebee obviously don't just co-exist. From what you write the JD is about to expire. Regarding the territories, the demasoni is the only fish where you can see that he has established a territory. That could be because he is the true top dog in your tank, or because he made do with a smaller territory that the others let him have. What the JD and the bumblebee are doing is in fact fighting for territories of their own. Unfortunately they never quite make it - and it might well be that each of them needs a territory the size of your tank or larger. As Robin has pointed out, in nature the sub-dominant fish will just move away and live somewhere else. In a fish tank they need you to make that possible for them, and that is a very important part of looking after your fish.

If fish are labeled as 'aggressive' in a store, that doesn't mean they will necessarily eat each other's fins down to a stump, and nothing can be done about it. It means there is potential for them to do that, if they are placed in a tank that is too small for them to establish territories. The word 'aggressive' at an LFS very often just means 'territorial'. If you give those fish large enough living quarters, they will behave in a non-aggressive way, and you might have a chance to observe some of their natural behaviors - which in my opinion is one of the greatest rewards for keeping fish :thumb:

Barrett56 said:
The 25 gallon tank we have is going to be used for my nonaggressives and I'm almost willing to try the JD with them. I'll leave the smaller ones in the old 10G tank. If he's not gonna defend himself with the cichlids, he should lay off the nonaggressives.
I think your experience with the small algae eaters has already shown what will happen in the smaller tank if and when the JD recovers.
 
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