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Breeding or Bullying?

Subject: Breeding or Bullying?
by maccy_g on 18/5/2010 8:59:25

Hi everyone,

My girlfriend and I have a 215l tank which we purchased some time ago which now houses 3x Orandas (A Redcap, A Blue and a Red) and they have been happily living together in the tank for almost a month now with no problems.

I have no idea of their age but they were purchased from a LFS and are approximately 1" - 1.5" in length now so still very small for Orandas, so I would assume they're relatively young.

My girlfriend was in a frenzied panic this morning as she noticed the Redcap Oranda darting around the tank, chasing the Blue Oranda relentlessly and in her words "sticking his nose up it's bum". I took a look myself and sure enough this is eactly what's happening and this is very out of character as they have been very docile up until now and not aggressive to each other at all. She was quite upset by this as the Blue looks exhausted and to make matters worse the Red Oranda has also joined in with the chasing as well, although not to the same extent as the Redcap.

My instincts tell me they are breeding, as no fin-nipping is taking place, just nudging & chasing (albeit rather fast & aggressive) and I've told my gf not to worry and that's it's just nature taking it's course - the Blue's belly also looks rather podgy so the clues are definately pointing to breeding I think.

Does it sound like breeding to you guys? I didn't actually think they would be mature enough yet but perhaps I'm wrong. And if they ARE breeding, is it going to be a problem long-term keeping what appears to be 2x males with 1x female? Will their relentless attempts to mate exhaust her and possibly kill her? And what about competition for the female between 2x males?

The tank has around 4 plants and I'm running an Eheim Classic 2217 filter.