For those of you who don't know, I'll start from the beginning
After a week in quarantine, the female Borelli started hiding behind the filter, in the darkest part of the tank. When I saw her at all, she was just a dark silhouette. I became increasingly concerned about her stress levels, so on Thursday night, I moved her and the male (Sherlock-Shakespeare - one of them will be dropped when I decide which one he's more like ) over to the 44gal.
I left the lights off until yesterday to give them time to de-stress a bit. When I turned them on yesterday, I was happy to see first the male (but he's the more adventurous and daring of the 2 anyway), who, after the barbs demonstrated that the bloodworm I placed on the gravel actually WASN'T poisoned, chased a barb away from some of HIS bloodworm polished it off, and went off on a wander - and then, about half an hour later - I saw the female, looking much more content and relaxed. She was at the front of the tank, just above the java fern, and apparently felt right at home
This morning, when I turned the lights on, I was surprised to see the female was pale yellow with no black marking, and swam right in front of the male in what I now think was courtship behaviour. Didn't think anything of it until now - I just put it down to the lights just going on and the female showing pale colouration from the night, but now I'm wondering if it was courtship behaviour because she and the male have just enjoyed an apparently pleasant little swim in the bogwood together
Maybe I should just call them Romeo and Juliet and be done with it
Yep, I've still got them They're settling in very nicely now and I'm starting to relax. Sherlock the male is beginning to colour up, and he's often at the front of the tank (especially when I'm there. He stops swimming, and turns to confront me with a staring competition - he invariably wins, too ). Seems to me like he's chosen the middle of the tank as his territory, spanning from the edge of the A. Swords on the left, to the Cabomba forest on the right.
The week started off with the barbs nudging him out of the way to get to food (the females - never noticed Hannibal doing anything like that), but that's stopped now. Sherlock just lets them feed in peace and gets out of their way, (I feed him seperately while the shoalers are too busy feeding to notice) while the barbs don't try and get anything that's underneath Sherlock, lol.
As for Hannibal, I witnessed such a treat today. (For those of you who don't know, Hannibal is my male cherry barb, and he's far too aggressive for his own good. He and his unruly females are the reason why Ramses is in his own tank - after they nipped my veiltail Ram Aries to death, and then started attacking Ramses - who stood there and let them ).
Anyway, back to the update. 2 female barbs were hanging around Sherlock. Hannibal being Hannibal, he chased them . . . then turned to take on Sherlock. Sherlock flared his fins . . . and Hannibal stopped in his tracks and turned away, finding the activity on the other side of the tank so much more interesting that a fight with a cichlid
Meanwhile, the female's taken up residence in the mopani wood that borders Hannibal's Corner. I hardly see her - just for the odd moment before she disappears again. I had one such lucky moment when I turned the lights on this morning. She was in front of the mopani wood, foraging, but when I went to get the pellets, she was gone. She appears to be doing well. I tried to feed her on Tuesday or Wednesday - deliberately putting food a few inches from her, while Sherlock was busy giving me an evil look from the left hand side of his territory, lol, but as soon as the food was released, he came in and nicked it before she had a chance
About time, huh dw? You could almost see Sherlock thinking "Just try it, pal" and Hannibal thinking "Hmmm . . . maybe not"
He's asking for trouble though because while he defends his corner, he's often in the middle of the tank and hanging around Sherlock like an annoying insect. He might have been put in his place (finally), but I seriously think he's deliberately pushing his luck, lol.
Maybe I should have called it Borelli versus the Barbs?