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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 75g with 16 dems, 6 yellow labs and 6 labeotropheus ochres. The biggest fish are 3-3.5". The lab in question is the biggest lab, male and probably 2.5"-3". Tanks has great parameters, food is given consistently and I haven't had any extreme aggression. All fish have been together for over 2 months.

In the back of my tank I have a sponge over my filter intake, opposite side from the heater and this guy swims circles around it(vertically) pretty much all day long. He always eats, comes to the glass if I'm near but goes straight back to his laps once I stop looking at the tank. Anything to be worried about or is this just the best entertainment he's found for himself?

For the tank cleanout question, I have a few dem fry that have survived in the tank for a few weeks now. I want to remove rock work and do a deep clean of the gravel/reestablish territory now that sizes have evened up. The surviving fry are under 1/2", will they get swallowed whole at this stage, beaten to death or left alone if I remove their hiding spaces?
 

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What color is the ochre male? If he is orange, it could be they don't look different enough from the yellow lab male to eliminate competition. Or you could have a bunch of yellow lab males. Seems like a harassment position. Lots of rocks in the tank? When you say vertical you mean head down?

Does he claim a territory on the substrate and just go to the intake to play? Or is the intake his territory?

You usually don't get much aggression for the first 6 to 12 months, so 2 months is too soon to tell.

For the fry, it is a toss up. If they are out-about then they may be left alone. If they hide the adults may snap them up as soon as you remove the rocks. Include the tail when you measure, so these are like 1/4" long in the body?

Know that rearranging the tank can make things better or initiate WWIII. I had the latter happen to me.

If you put your rocks on the glass first, then added substrate there should be nothing to clean after 2 months. Maybe after 12 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·




I tried to link images, not sure if they worked but here's a link, . Guy in question is behind the intake tube in the picture focused on the filter intake sponge.

Two ochre males I believe, both maroon no yellow or orange yet.

Vertical as in he swims up the glass, over the filter, down the glass and under the filter. A vertical circle on repeat. No one in the tank displays any sort of directional issues swimming.

The fry come out during feeding but stay in their holes where big fish can't get to them. Tail was included, more like 3/8 body.

I've set off a couple wars so far trying to add/change rocks/environment so the aggression is dispersed. It's been as peaceful as I assume these animals get since the fake plant addition.
 

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I think it is 50/50 on the fry. I added 1.5" juveniles to an established tank and they all got eaten instantly. I think it was the sudden darting movement that triggered the predator instinct.

If the babies swim with the big guys to compete for food at the surface they should be OK. If they just dart out for food, not so much.

The lab behavior sounds like pacing. It should go away in a month or two. Watch him daily for eating and thick, food colored feces.
 

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I've changed the rock set up several times, it's always been fine for me, no additional aggression. The babies on the other hand is a different story. Once I didn't know I had them in there and finally got to see them, but another time I lost a few that lost their hiding spot and got eaten. I'm in the same dilemma now, I want to change the rocks again but I have 3 cobalt blue babies hiding and I want to keep them. They are only 1/4" so I'm going to wait.
 

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I think the fish react better to aquascape changes if you do them frequently than if you do them rarely. They are used to having their territories disrupted and not locked in to any particular arrangement.

That said, you also may miss some of the territorial behavior you would otherwise be able to observe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is a lot of behavior I get to witness, the dems were larger upon stock than the labs or ochres so they immediately took territory. They are also very quick to scape the substrate, I haven't remodeled the rock work in a month and initially all the substrate was flat but they've shaped heavily as seen in the photos.

Anyone have experience with designating territories? As you can see in the photos my rock work has visibility through most of the tank and I think it causes some fish to be quite greedy. Does limiting the vision cause fish to only protect what they can see? Or will they hover around the entrance and guard it from all angles regardless?

Also ironspider how are handling the integration of the fry? Removing males/females as they get forced out of the community or are the fish handling the extras for you?
 

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The fish want a territory on the substrate. I usually create piles shaped like pyramids with points going front/back/sides. This leaves triangles of substrate between the rock points.

They will hover over the substrate and chase anyone who approaches. No need for a roof.

Some fish are greedy, sometimes you have to rehome a particular individual.
 

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Trademark27 said:
There is a lot of behavior I get to witness, the dems were larger upon stock than the labs or ochres so they immediately took territory. They are also very quick to scape the substrate, I haven't remodeled the rock work in a month and initially all the substrate was flat but they've shaped heavily as seen in the photos.

Anyone have experience with designating territories? As you can see in the photos my rock work has visibility through most of the tank and I think it causes some fish to be quite greedy. Does limiting the vision cause fish to only protect what they can see? Or will they hover around the entrance and guard it from all angles regardless?

Also ironspider how are handling the integration of the fry? Removing males/females as they get forced out of the community or are the fish handling the extras for you?
I'm not handling it well at all. In the past year I've had about 6 Rusties turn into "small adults" and one cobalt blue is now a "teenager" my tank is overstocked at this point. However, it's not that aggressive in there, only one mean fish and he really doesn't mess with anyone in particular. I really can't tell who is male or female, the rusties all look the same untill they get bigger and some turn a little purple.
 

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L. Trewavasae 'Chilumba' Ochre males start turning a rusty orange at a small size. As small as 2." Most of the females in the hobby are peachy in color, with black spots/OB morph. However there are the brown females as well, which look kinda purplish.

I wouldn't personally rescape with demasoni.
 
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