I'm looking for some advice to try and stop my pair of apistogramma panduros running riot in my tank. Bit of a long one this, apologies.
They're quite young but have been very boisterous since they arrived a few months ago. Since then I have created two camps at opposite ends of my tank to try and provide different territories for the other fish, with a no-man's-land in the middle. I have three different caves but the panduros don't seem to like any of them :( I have also added lots more plants and an extra big piece of bogwood, so with all the ornaments and plants there are no lines of sight between the two territories. I've rearranged the tank a few times but no effect.
The panduros are most aggressive at feeding time, chasing all other fish and shrimp away from any food. Feeding sinking food in the territories makes no difference as the panduros patrol the whole tank chasing any fish away from food. I've tried feeding more frequently, and less frequently, with no change in behaviour.
Away from feeding time they are less aggressive actively, but if they see another fish in the open they will go for it. They seem to actually be hunting: particularly the corys: they hover above the cory and then dive at it and chase it round the tank, not stopping even when the cory hides in a corner of its territory. They're even going for my 9cm Bolivian ram. All the fish are taking quite a lot of battle damage so I'm starting to worry. They've killed a small shrimp already and the others hardly come out of hiding anymore.
I do have a 60L tank that I could set up for the panduros, but I'd rather keep to one tank if possible.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I can't really afford to go crazy adding more ornaments and plants as my research funding is over and I have no income til I graduate ;(
Will do, I'm away tonight but will post as soon as I get back.
It could be that I need taller, denser plant cover? The plants are quite low (tallest is about 4inches) and tank is so there is a lot of open water... I could try creating more height in the barriers too?
I'm really worried I'm doing something totally wrong by them! I hope I'm not getting it all wrong :(
OK. The pic is only small, but there looks to be far too much open space for them to feel safe and no easy way for them to mark out and claim a territory.
To give you an idea of the level of cover and territorial boundaries needed, have a look at these photos of their parents.
This one shows the set up they had in a very small breeding tank. Initially I had some Ember Tetras in there too to act as dithers, but note that even in a confined space like this they need good cover:
When they'd bred so many babies I couldn't keep up, I moved the pair into a 4ft Juwel tank along with my Angels and Cardinal Tetras. I gave the Apistos two very clear territories in which to potentially set up home; in both cases with good boundaries and cover. There are caves at the far left and far right of the tank in amongst some rocks and with fast growing plants (they'd just been planted on this shot):
The plants grew in quickly and gave more cover:
In this pic of my Angels, the plants have grown so densely that you can't see the Apistos' cave underneath:
I have now added 6 new tall plants and a handful of floating ones, and things have calmed down immensely.
Still the occasional scuffle around feeding time, so I think I need to do some tank-scaping to create defined territories where each camp can eat without seeing the other, but that's for this weekend's water change.
Hopefully that will keep the tank guardians happy :)
Will post a new picture soon! Thanks for the advice!
Bumping this because tank wars are getting out of hand. My tank is fairly heavily planted, with lots of different zones that have no lines of sight, but the apistos killed a shrimp today, after killing a harlequin last month and are relentlessly chasing all other fish in the tank. They have a cave which they use for breeding which is secluded and heavily covered with java fern.
Water parameters are ammonia-0, nitrites-0, nitrates-20, pH 7, and have been stable for a long time. Nothing new has been added since last year.
I've been hoping things would calm down, but the murders this past month have driven me to resurrect this thread... Then I realised how long the poor cories have been terrorised for!
I have a spare 60L that I could move the cories into, but that won't stop the panduros chasing everything else. So I could move the panduros, but they are regular breeders and in a tank of their own they may be successful in raising fry... But I have no room for them.
Does anyone have any suggestions? Or recommendations? I'm getting so stressed by this, it's horrid to watch :-/
Edit: This is a link to a video showing the abuse.