Aquatics Unlimited: Articles: Trouble in Two's
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Trouble in Two's

for the week of 1/15/98

Many hobbyists like to purchase fish in "pairs," but this often leads to problems. Unless the fish are of a very peaceful species (e.g. white clouds or Corydoras catfish) or a known "mated pair" of monogamous American cichlids, one fish soon dominates the other, keeping it constantly intimidated and often chasing it away at feeding time. At best, the outcome is usually one strong, healthy specimen with a stunted "companion" that spends most of its time in hiding. At worst, the result is one fish for the price of two.

This can happen with almost any species of fish, but is commonly seen in some of the more active community fish, like redtail sharks, gouramis, barbs and even some of the more feisty tetras. A "pair" of African cichlids means almost certain death to one, and even picking a known male and female American cichlid is no guarantee of success.

The solution? Keep three, four, or even more of each species. Even if one fish has a tendecy to bully the others, he'll have several targets, and won't spend enough time in pursuit any one individual to intimidate it.

Submitted by: Jim Kostich

"Tip of the week" appeared regularly in 1999 and 2000.

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