Cichlid fights in nature

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Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Topielec » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:54 am

Hello everybody,

It is quite common that cichlids do kill each other in our aquariums if we do not saperate the on time - it is often a result of fights between males for a territory, a result of guarding the nest/fry or simply overcrowded or too small tank. It is obvious that such battles happen also in the wild because it is the part of cichlid nature - they are driven by strong instincts.

However, I'm wondering if the fights in nature are equally hard and tragic in consequencess? Do cichlid fight in their natural habitats untill one of them is eliminated or rather the weaker ones just goes away to search for another place to live. I know that most probably it is just a roulette, some fish get killed, some of them swim away, but baybe there is some tendency towards one of those results?

Regards :)
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby blackghost » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:51 am

I think the tendency is for the one that feels it is losing to run away. The survival instinct will surely kick in. In a tank sometimes one will try to run away, but has nowhere to go, and cannot escape. So I think many fights in tanks continue longer than they would in nature because the loser has no choice but to continue fighting or die. :( I might be wrong, but I dont think it happens very often in nature at all. I think it is our 'fault' for keeping them in tanks too small for their territorial needs.
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Topielec » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:28 pm

I share your point of view Mark, but maybe there is someone who have heard or read about the phenomena of cichlids eliminating themselves in the wild. If there are reports that such things actually take place, please share with us. The reason why I'm asking about this is controversial but recently popular theory about so called "natural reduction/selection" in the cichlid aquarium. Many aquarists buy a noumerous group of young fish and wait until the fish reduce their number by themselves. Those people often say that this is a natural selection but personally I really doubt it. I tend to think that there are no dead fish after territorial fights in the nature at all. That is why I'm searching for relable sources of knowlegde in this matter that will clear the situation.

Regards,
Adam
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Dan Woodland » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:59 pm

An interesting question but easily answered.

I've been to a good number of rivers watching, studying, and catching Cichlids. Mark is dead on. I've never seen a fish hang around to fight. Once dominance is established by one fish in the fight, it could literally take only one second, the other fish runs.

The only fishes I’ve ever seen beat up were either sick or dying or as in South America there is no such thing as a fish in perfect condition fending off Piranhas and other predatory fishes.

I’m not a fan of “letting them thin the herd” or killing each other to form a pair either. Personally I’m taking steps to avoid that by reducing the number of fish kept in a tank and increasing the size as much as possible. Four 180 gallon tanks were delivered to my house last weekend for this purpose and my intention is to keep no more than two to four adult fish in each. In the future I’ll be trying to acquire even larger tanks for this project. ** My original plan was to build a 1600 gallon tank but my basement floor will not bare the weight without the addition of pilings etc. That’s when I decided to opt for flexibility by adding a few larger tanks instead of one.
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Topielec » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:23 am

Thank you Dan for sharing with your knowledge, that was very interesting :D

In few "smaller" tanks you will not observe the interactions bewteen species but I think probably you'll be able to keep more species that in one big tank and the second advantage is that you will have more possibilities with controlling the stock, trying different combinations, operating etc. More fun! I would also choose this solution :)

Getting back to the topic, we heard about riverine and SA cichlids from Dan. What about gregarious cichlids of African Rift Lakes which are infamous for killing their herdmates? I suppose that the answer is similar, but again, I would like to be sure about this.
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Topielec » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:53 am

Hi again,

Any African Cichlid expert to share his/her point of view upon this topic? :)

I'm also curious about big Central American cichlids - they are so powerful fish that maybe they do kill each other in the lakes?

Regards,
Adam
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby blackghost » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:08 am

I'm not an African cichlid expert, but the aggression seen in tanks is, I think, because it is usually advised for 'normal' sized tanks to overstock to 'share out' the aggression so that individual fish dont recieve too much of it. In the wild, and in very large tanks with fewer fish, they will simply move away, and everyone is able to keep a large enough territory.

The same goes for large CA's. Give them enough personal room and they are peaceful. They dont go 'looking for fights'. It is all territorial.
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby SergeS » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:02 am

I have to agree with Dan, and I don't think it's any different for African cichlids (Malawi, in my case). Yes, they are agressive, but no further than the next male competitor that is too close to their territory. Especially with Malawi Mbuna it's really easy: if the competitor is not able to move away far enough from the dominant male, he will usually die - either swiftly or slowly.

Some agression can probably not be avoided in any tank with more than one cichlid, but continious or extreme agression is usually due to a tank being too small for what you want with it (keeping species that need a large space for their territory), mistakes in the stocking of the tank (putting species together that shouldn't be in the same tank), or even a mistake in decorating the tank (two species and only one obvious place for a territory), or a combination of the above.

Overstocking a tank with African cichlids is common, and it does allow you to keep more fish than you would ideally be able to, as indeed the agression will spread over multiple fish. However, if behaviour is what you want to see, overstocking is not the right way to do it, as overstocking will (at least partially) surpress the natural behaviour. And behaviour was - at least for me - one of the reasons to keep cichlids instead of 'normal' tropical fishies (with all due respect) :) When I am done re-organizing my tank, I will only have 3 or 4 species in a (approx.) 170 gallon tank, and none of these fish is larger than 7". I started with 6 or 7 species, and less is really more in my opinion.

If lots of species & lots of colour is what you want, overstock your Malawi tank. If you want to see their actual behaviour, keep your fish in a configuration like you could encounter in lake Malawi itself, and make sure they have enough room to show it! But I realize that this is probably a very 'European' view of keeping cichlids. I am not saying one way or the other is better or worse, but I do know what I like best myself :)
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby rostratus » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:28 pm

I also join me. I am exactly the opposite view. Rather, I put into the tank 10 pieces of one kind, as soon as the final two pieces. Oppressed individuals removed from the tank. I will put them into a new one. Then I left a couple who is accustomed to each other. Look at my tank: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8992

Musím sa aj ja pripojiť. Ja som presne opačného názoru. Radšej vložím do nádrže 10 ks jedného druhu, ako hneď 2 konečné kusy. Utláčané jedince vyradím z nádrže. Vložím ich do novej. Potom mi zostane pár, ktorý je na seba zvyknutý. Pozrite sa na moju nádrž: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8992
Sorry for the translation. Translated from: Translate.google.com

http://www.cichlidportal.sk - Slovak portal cichlids from different regions of the world
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby rostratus » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:06 pm

Why am I doing so?

When I need to have at least one adult pair so I have more pieces to the top of one species. Or do you say that you insert into the aquarium now two pieces of one kind and then you wait long as the adult. Then you find that it is not a couple ... And then what? Hmmm?

Prečo to takto robím?

Keď potrebujem mať v dospelosti aspoň jeden pár tak musím mať na začiatok viacej kusov z jedného druhu. Alebo chcete povedať, že vy vložíte do akvária hneď 2 kusy z jedného druhu a potom čakáte dokým bude dospelá. Potom zistíte, že to nieje pár... A čo potom? Hmmm?
Sorry for the translation. Translated from: Translate.google.com

http://www.cichlidportal.sk - Slovak portal cichlids from different regions of the world
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Re: Cichlid fights in nature

Postby Bas Pels » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:44 am

Rostratus

You don't tell the whole story.

You didn't start with 10 fishes of 1 kind, you started with 6 or 7 species - each with a lot

Normally, I start with a group of small fishes, and then I select a pair, or I keep the whole group - Vieja, Astatheros are better kept in groupes. Parachromis not

But to get a pair of dovii, a pair of managuensae, a pair of motaguensae and so on, you will face a lot of agression. Frankly, too much agression.

And if you keep threse pairs together, than they will kill each other

in my 4 meters tank, 2800 l I have 1 pair of P loissellei. They did breed a few times, and I did not manage to get all the fry out. No the juviniles are approx 10 cm, and are starting to be suppressed by dad

Mind you, the tank is more than twice your size, and loissellei is the most peaceful of the Parachromis
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