Hello all! Just joined the forums tonight and had a topic I would appreciate some insight on.
I recently joined the cichlid world after months of planning. In a few years time I plan on keeping a Tiger oscar, Blood Parrot, Green Terror, Jack Dempsey, Earth-eater, Albino or Lutino Oscar, and perhaps more as I learn further. I wanna start off by saying I am aware that with that selection of fish I will need several big tanks and a lot of time to devote. I work at the local Petco as an aquatics specialist and have received much training in the past few months on keeping freshwater fish.
So here is my topic, I dove in this past month with my first cichlid tank. It is only a starter tank that I plan on replacing fairly soon as it is only a 29 gallon. I chose two juvenile fish for my first set. A Green Terror (roughly 2in in length and 1in tall), and a Jack Dempsey (2 1/2 in length and 1 in tall). I was originally cycling the tank with a few comets about a week ago, all the comets survived the cycling and are doing very well as they still have their energy and no gill damage. They are going back to the store soon and will be returned with their friends. The reason I stopped the comet cycling is because I got my hands on a Microbe-lift starter instant cycling kit. I brought the kit home today, removed half of the water and the comets, replaced with fresh water and added the 3 step bacteria doses to kickstart my nitrate cycle. The water looks good at this time and I will be continuing the rest of the small bacteria doses.
Anyway I added my two cichlid juvis. Now in the store today I thought I bought similarly sized fish but upon releasing into my tank, I can see the JD is slightly bulkier. Not by much, but enough that obviously he is behaving as the dominant fish. I have given them adequate hiding spots and many green plants to block and seclude spots in the tank. I plan on adding more hiding spots (maybe a piece of driftwood) in the coming weeks.
My problem is that I have read that GT's grow slightly slower then JD, I wanna know from anyone's experience if im doomed because the Jack already has a minor head start in growth. I do not plan on keeping these fish in this tank for more then a month or two and by the time they reach the 3 in mark I prefer to have them in a 55gal. JD is already following the terror around. Not really bullying per se, not flaring, but just following close once about every 4 min or so and the green terror is backing down or just avoiding him. There are plenty of times where they just do their own thing as well. I do not want the GT to be stressed and have his health suffer.
Is this normal for fish who just got placed in a tank together?
Is this a bad sign considering they are juvis and will only get more agressive?
I will be keeping an eye on them in the next few days to monitor their color development as they become less stressed and more acclimated to their new home. I can return the JD and exchange it for one of his smaller buddies, but if this is mostly normal I would prefer keeping them as is. I do not however want my GT to suffer and live unhappy. He is a bit mal-nourished from being the submissive eater in a tank of africans and other GT at petco and im working on fattening him up at the moment. I also heard lower temps may slow aggression.
If anyone can help me out with some insight I would greatly appreciate it! I know a lot of foundation in the fish hobby but am still getting there in some parts, and am learning more about cichlid behavior daily. Thanks in advance!