Need help identifying some Clown's behavior

Discussion in 'New to Reefing' started by Wes888, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Wes888

    Wes888

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    I have 4 False Percula Clownfish and they are all about 2.2-2.5". The day we got them, they immediately swam all around the tank all together. Then the biggest one became the bully. And then another one join her gang. Let's give them some names:

    A: Bully A
    B: Bully B
    C: Victim C
    D: Victim D

    Scenario 0: When we first got them, at night, A likes to clean up an area in a rock that shape like a chair with a flat surface and a straight clean wall right next to it. Another Clown (couldn't identify who is who at the beginning) kinda takes turn clean up that area.

    Because of the bully, we've tried a few things and try to understand what's going on with them:

    Scenario 1: When all 4 clowns together, Bully B seems to go around with Bully A. Not closely, not all the time, but you can see them go together like a gang. C hide in the upper left corner, D hide in the upper right corner. A & B from time to time go to harasser C& D at their corner seperately. When C comes out to the open, either A or B attack them. Sometimes even A and B both chase C together. (My guess is that it is just a general aggression against others, but are both A & B like a couple?)

    Scenario 2: Put A & B into the 30 gal quarantine tank. Both A & B kinda swim around together in QT. C and D both came back to the open but they both do their own thing. They don't seem to be together. (My wife said since C & D don't fight and don't go together, one of them must be gay. lol.)

    Scenario 3: Put A & B back to the main tank. Both immediately swim around the tank. Once they meet, C & D immediate tilt side way and kinda vibrate the whole body. I think A & D also do the similar motion. And then C & D runs away. Another day pass, C & D are hiding at their corner again. From time to time A/B swim to where C/D at, and C/D would do the same tilt side way vibrate thing while A/B do some kind of very short stroking motion. (what are those actions mean?)

    Scenario 4: Put A & D in the QT. Bully A occasionally bothers D and D do the tilting thing and swim away. B & C in main tank both get along well and do their own thing. No bullying, but C still like to hide in the corner from time to time. (I guess without A's backing, B doesn't quite dare to cause trouble?)

    Scenario 5: Put D back in the main tank and keep Bully A in QT. All B, C, & D and hang around together just fine. No fighting. Neither C nor D hide any more.

    Could you help analyse what happened to them in each Scenario?
     
    Wes888, Jun 17, 2009
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  2. Wes888

    mblack VIP Member

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    Bully A is either becoming or already has become the female. Bully B is becoming/ already is the male. The other two are either sexless or lesser males (not quite sure which). A and B will likely kill C and D if left much longer. The vibrating is a common submissive behaviour, known as the clownfish wiggle or something like that.

    My advice would be to take C and D back to the shop, you really shouldn't have more than one pair of clowns in a tank. It usually ends in tears.
     
    mblack, Jun 17, 2009
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  3. Wes888

    Wes888

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    Right now, Bully A is still serving her jail time in QT. I was considering just give Bully A away since B, C, and D are fine in the main tank...

    So, keeping A & B would be better?
     
    Wes888, Jun 17, 2009
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  4. Wes888

    tankedchemist

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    So, clown biology is fun and interesting. They all start off as males, which are typically smaller than females. When you have a group of clowns, the largest/most aggressive will become the female. I would say that's "A" in your case. The other clowns stay male, unless one of them (B?) decides they might be able to out-compete the leading female for dominance. So, basically, what you've got is 2 clowns too many, and not enough space for those extra 2 to run away. If you only take clown A out, in a couple weeks or days, clown B will start acting exactly the same to C&D.

    My advice will probably surprise you, bu if it were me, I would keep A or B and C or D. A's behavior will calm down with only 1 clown in the tank, if she accepts him as a mate.. the hard thing to predict is which one she'd accept. Clown fish have very high standards. :D By the way, when you say "cleans" an area, are they shimmying in the sand, flinging sand up? If so, that's a mating behavior. Whichever 2 are doing that in the same spot (A and..?) have probably paired up.

    Also, keep in mind, that the bigger the size difference between the two fish you decide to keep, the better. They tend to fight less if there's a big difference in size.
     
    tankedchemist, Jun 17, 2009
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  5. Wes888

    Wes888

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    Yea, bully A was flinging sand up and also nip on the rock wall. Too bad I couldn't identity who was the 2nd one.

    One of the reason I still have all 4 of them is to observe their behavior. I found it quite interesting.

    I tend to agree with you either keeping A & B as well since they seems to have already paired up.
     
    Wes888, Jun 17, 2009
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  6. Wes888

    mblack VIP Member

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    you definitely don't want more than two imo, I would say keeping A and B is the best option, also rename them ;)
     
    mblack, Jun 18, 2009
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  7. Wes888

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    If you consider watching fish kill each other interesting, then keep all 4, but otherwise you really need to get two of them out of there. It's not going to end well. You should be able to take them back for a credit, and once things have calmed down a bit in there you can add a different species. Be selective if you do add anything else though as clowns can be aggressive in general and usually are added as one of the last fish, after the more submissive fish.
     
    mng777777, Jun 18, 2009
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  8. Wes888

    dcantucson

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    Tanked-
    That was a really nice explanation. Good job! I wish you could teach those guys who discuss water chemistry how to do so in such clear and precise manor! That way some of us would actually get it! :lol:
     
    dcantucson, Jun 18, 2009
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  9. Wes888

    tankedchemist

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    I could try, but my habit of using chemical terms-- instead of reef terms-- could end up just confusing people more :D
     
    tankedchemist, Jun 18, 2009
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  10. Wes888

    mm2meyer

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    hey Tanked, what kind of chemist are you?? I mean what do you do for a living I should say.
     
    mm2meyer, Jun 18, 2009
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  11. Wes888

    Wes888

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    Thanks for the explanation. I've put A back to main tank to make sure I got the right pair. A and C immediate had a big fight. Big fight like that never happened before. I then moved C and D to the QT and waiting for someone to adopt them. I got these clowns from liveaquaria. I don't think it is possible to return them.
     
    Wes888, Jun 18, 2009
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  12. Wes888

    tankedchemist

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    I'm a bioinorganic chemist-- means I study the chemistry of metals (inorganic) in biological systems. My specific research involves the chemistry of an anti-cancer drug, cisplatin. I've also got a hefty background in analytical environmental chemistry. I'm beginning my second year of graduate school, workin towards my PhD.
     
    tankedchemist, Jun 18, 2009
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  13. Wes888

    mm2meyer

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    ahh saounds really complicated. but now I know who to ask what chemcials are in meth and how best to deal with them the next time I bust a meth house...lol
     
    mm2meyer, Jun 18, 2009
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  14. Wes888

    dcantucson

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    She is very helpful on this site. She can explain things when others can't! Thanks Tanked!
     
    dcantucson, Jun 18, 2009
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  15. Wes888

    mng777777 Shark Wrangler Wannabe

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    Call your LFS. They will usually take them and give you a credit towards something later.
     
    mng777777, Jun 18, 2009
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  16. Wes888

    tankedchemist

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    it's only as complicated as you think it is. :) If you go into a house and smell massive amounts of ammonia... it's a meth lab. :D
     
    tankedchemist, Jun 18, 2009
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  17. Wes888

    mm2meyer

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    Oh yeah know that one first hand. Unfortunately I've been in more than one.
     
    mm2meyer, Jun 18, 2009
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  18. Wes888

    Bifferwine I am a girl

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    Even in a large tank like mine (240 gallons), I probably wouldn't be able to keep more than 2 clowns. In 99.99% of cases, they cannot coexist in groups. In fact, some clowns need to be kept alone. They are very aggressive fish, and will kill each other until only 1 or 2 are left.
     
    Bifferwine, Jun 19, 2009
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  19. Wes888

    dcantucson

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    Augh... I'm sorry to interrupt here, but ....... didn't you mean (218 gallons)? :mrgreen:
     
    dcantucson, Jun 19, 2009
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  20. Wes888

    dcantucson

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    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
    dcantucson, Jun 19, 2009
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