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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I need your help please. I've got a 5 inch male angelfish that I've had since he was little and I just added a female angel to the tank of about equal size. At first, the male angel just swam real close beside the female and didn't do anything but look. I assumed He was wondering, who are you? But now he's started to chase her around and pick on her. She doesn't look hurt or anything but now just hides in the plants. I'm starting to get a little worried about her. She went from a tank full of Angels at the fish store where nobody bothered her to an all-new tank full of different kinds of fish she doesn't know where a big male is constantly picking on her. I've been keeping the lights off which keeps the fish kind of asleep so there's no trouble in the hopes that when I do turn the lights on the male angel will have gotten a little more used to the idea of there being another angel in the tank with him and mellow out. No joy yet. I know it's only been 2 days and I can't expect a miracle but you know, angels are kind of sensitive so...
Here's my tank and Friends: 125g community freshwater tank with a 5 inch, male angelfish, ( I got him when he was little about a year and a half ago.) two Chinese algae eaters, a molly, three white skirt tetras and a rainbow shark. Everybody gets along fine.
2 days ago I added 10 rummy nose and a female angelfish about the same size. A little smaller, 4-in Maybe. Anyway, the rummies are having the time of their life and are not being bothered by anybody, including the angelfish. My male angel however, is not happy. He's constantly picking on the new female. Now I get that it's been his tank forever and it's only been 2 days. So far the female just hides in the plants. This evening, after leaving the lights off and curtains drawn since last night, I lit the tank up and fed everyone. (They say keeping them well fed helps.) The female was hiding in the plants like always but then the food started to slowly draw her out. Everybody, male angelfish included, was happily gobbling up food. After the male angel had had his fill he noticed the female angel had come out and immediately went over and began to pick on her. Okay, this is still all normal, I get that. I'm just worried about this being too much for the female. New tank (transfer shock), new fish she's never seen before, getting picked on... it's got to be tough on her. Any suggestions on how to make this go easier? Thanks in advance. 馃檪
 

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Hi, two things. Angelfish are cichlids, despite not looking like most of the rest of the family, and like all cichlids they establish territories. Until now, your male has had the whole of your tank as his territory and will want to defend it. Secondly, a male angelfish's second priority is to breed. Part of the breeding process is to establish whether his potential mate is fit and strong. He does this by showing aggression towards a potential mate to see if she is strong enough to stand up to him. This aggression will often take the form of lip locking where both fish will pull and push each other to assess each others strength.
The problem you have is that you have introduced her into his environment as it has always been. One way to reduce the aggression would be to take all of the decorations out of the tank to remove any territorial boundaries that existed previously and leave the tank like that for a week or so before re-decorating the tank in a completely different way to how it was before. By doing this all of the fish, and especially the angels, will make new territories. Bear in mind though, that if your angelfish then become a compatible pair and decide to spawn they will make all of the other fish in the tank's life a misery. An adult pair of angelfish need a very large territory to raise their family and in your case it will likely be the whole of your tank.
Hope that helps.
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you trevor.greenfield and susankat for your wise advice. Just what I was looking for. I'm going to take all the decorations out of the tank tonight and see if that helps. Am I sure it's a male and a female? Well, my mails got the bump on his head, one split fin and is Tiny underneath so I'm as sure as I can be there. The fish store said she was a female and she looks like it I suppose. No bump on the head, no split fins and a little larger underneath. But I'm sure you're right, you never know till you know. My female isn't fighting back at all if that means anything. She just lies on her side and does nothing. Maybe that's normal, don't know. Keeping my fingers crossed. 馃 Thanks again. 馃檪
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I don't think so. She only does that when he's picking on her. When I tempt her out with food she's fine and if he leaves her alone long enough she straightens up too.

Later on in the day

I thought I posted the above earlier but I guess not. Anyhoo, I just got home after leaving the lights off in the tank all day. When I turned them on both fish were swimming in the middle of the tank, happy campers. I guess when they can't see each other they're fine. Didn't last long, I fed everybody and when the female started to have an interest in the food he drove her back into hiding. She's found a good hiding spot behind the hob pickup for the moment. I'll remove all the decor in the tank tonight.

I took a closer look at the girl and some of her Tails been nipped off. And since I've looked closer I'm not positive it's a girl. She/he has that head bump! The LFS guy was sure but who knows.
Yeah, yeah... they can't always tell either. 馃檮

And even later now...

After sitting another half hour with the tank lights off (they're downstairs) I went back down and turned a lamp on providing just enough light for me to see into the tank. There they both we're, side by side at the top of the tank peeking out at me. Not a care in the world. I guess as long as it's really low light, all is well.
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, okay. The dirty deed is done (all decorations out of tank) and the fish are not happy about it. Oh well, the gravel needs a good cleaning anyway. I'll do as suggested and give it a week, then put things back. Differently of course.
One question I have. I did not move any of my live plants. Should I move them too?
Wish me luck! 馃崁
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No need to wait or move plants. Excellent, thank you!
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After taking all Decor out for a day and putting some back in, I am cautiously optimistic. As long as I keep the lights down low my angels get along great. Swimming around side by side like they've been together forever. When I turn my light bar on high though, the male still picks on the female but I can live with low light until they get their new territories established. Makes me wonder if maybe the higher level of light agitates the male angel? I wouldn't think so, it's not super bright just medium level. Still, nice to see them getting along. 馃檪
 

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2 5-in angels, 3 white skirt tetras, 2 Chinese algae eaters, 1 Molly, 1 rainbow shark, 20 rummy nose
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thought I'd post the outcome.. I've turned the tank lights back up on high and all is well. The angels are best buddies now, the rummy's pretty much own the middle of the tank and the rest of the fish are back to their normal old selves. Even the plants are happy now. Thanks to everybody chimed in!
 
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