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Loaches TOO aggressive? (long...)

Posted By: amw5g <andrew.wright@reis.com>
Date: Friday, 14 April 2000, at 12:23 a.m.

Hullo,

Have 6 c. loaches in my 55 gal tank. They are various sizes from about 1.5" to approx 5.5" in length and I've had them ranging from about 3 years to just a little over a year and a half. Problem is that two of them have started fighting quite aggressively, as of late and I believe it to have gone beyond harmless.

Circus Boy (longest in the tank, middlest in size) and Hazzoo (next longest in the tank, a step up in size) have always fought. But ever since I put in a big ole conch shell (don't worry, I washed that thing down for days) in the tank, and Pwog (the biggest loach) moved into said shell, the fighting has gotten much worse. My theory is that when Pwog was out and about, Hazzoo and Circus Boy felt perhaps, less dominant. Now that Pwog's always hidden, these two are jostling for supremacy (such an ego these loaches can have!). Circus Boy ALWAYS instigates the fighting. But before long, both of them are a deep grey color, their dorsal fins are sky-high and they begin to take on a slightly curved posture.

Circus boy will go alongside Hazzoo and "flick" himself (can't see if the spines are out, but he does it wicked fast). They then butt heads, spinning as they do so. Hazzo eventually wanders off, but Circus Boy inevitably comes looking for trouble.

A few flakes in the tank tends to take their minds off of things, but the conflagrations start back up shortly. Sometimes they're just chummy, but for reasons I can't discern, sometimes they're bitter enemies. I wasn't worried at first, but I'm beginning to notice oddly-colored spots on Hazzoo. Can't tell for sure if they are cuts/scrapes or slime patches. They've recently disappeared, but I'm worried things could get progressively worse. There's plenty of room in the tank, plenty of food to go around and the other loaches seem to have no problems with each other at all.

Any thoughts? I'd hate to lose a loach to sparring..... Many thanks, Andrew Wright
 

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