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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2 female Dempseys that are 5" and 7" that were raised in my community tank with various mbuna. In spite of their size, they were peaceful and didn't bother anybody. Figuring it was just a matter of time before the Dempseys decided mbuna were edible, (my largest is 4"), I thought it would be a good idea to move them to their own tank.

3 weeks ago, I moved them to their own 75-gallon and they have been hiding behind the rocks ever since, only coming out when I feed them. In the community tank, they were never shy and were always in plain site. Now, I hardly ever see them. Their tank is in a fairly dark room with the door kept shut most of the time.

My community tank is only a 55-gallon and the Dempseys were really happy in there.

Is it normal for them to take this long to acclimate to a new environment?

Could they be depressed?

What can I do to make them happy again?
 

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I would say those other fish were dither fish. When fish see other fish swimming willy nilly without a care in the world, they feed off of this. Also scary dark room doesnt help. get them some ditherfish.
 

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Yes jds need more time to adjust. Most of my jds take a week to two weeks to adjust. Bodenhimer is correct dithers will help. A school of large body tetras would work or some larger tiger barbs. Maybe some yoyo loaches. It's up to you. They will come out to investigate.
 

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I have a 6 inch bala shark in with my 2 jack dempseys and it seems to keep them active.

the JDs are only about 4 inches so the shark doesnt quite look like a meal to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bodenhimer said:
I would say those other fish were dither fish. When fish see other fish swimming willy nilly without a care in the world, they feed off of this. Also scary dark room doesnt help. get them some ditherfish.
Aaaaahhh...dither fish, why didn't I think of that? I forgot to mention that there is a 3" red tail shark with them that is out and about all the time, but I guess he doesn't offer enough encouragement, lol.
 

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My remaining JD is acting up after the majority of his tank mates were moved out. Maybe I'll put in my Yoyos....they will be active enough. :D
 

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If your dithers dont work you can always classically condition them. Its actually pretty fun to do.
I trained mine to relate dinner time to when I splash two fingers at the top of the water.
They learned really quick and now if i walk to the front of the tank they come say hello (and Im hungry lol).
For those of u who dont know, classical conditioning involves a Unconditioned Stimulus (UCS), Conditioned Stimulus (CS) Unconditioned Response (UCR) and Conditioned Response (CR).
UCS=food UCR=feeding CS=splashing CR=look for food/not hiding

Example stimuli for conditioning: Everytime you walk in the room and right up to the tank give them just the tiniest bit of food. Or you could do like I did and while tossing in their daily food splash the water with your fingers.
I worked better with Brine Shrimp than pellets.
Some times theyll even eat from my open hand!!
 

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mine come out expecting food when I'm at the tank. Heck, even my fry started to see me as a food source when they were a few weeks old. Now when I stick my face in front of the tank they all go to the front...and I just have to give them a little food. :lol:
 

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my fry are all looking at me when I come to the tank, never had so much eyes pointed on me :lol: it is hilarious to see a bunch of small fry all looking in the same direction!
They kind of eat in my hand too. I crush adult pellets for them, I crush those in the water it is easier, they come and get it right off my fingers, while im still crushing the food lol, they related the tips of my fingers moving in water, with food in no time it is quite amazing!
 
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