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Interspecific aggression in Mandarinfish
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Joined: 14 Apr 2003

PostPosted: 2003.04.14(Mon)23:41    Post subject: Interspecific aggression in Mandarinfish Reply with quote

I have a 75 gallon (US) mini-reef tank, into which 3 Synchiropus picturatus and 3 Synchiropus splendidus are introduced recently. I found out that the 3 S. picturatus consist of 1 female and 2 males - the latter fought within 2 days of introduction. It seems that the dorsal fin extensions in males vary in length - what I thought is a female turns out to be a male. Hence, any hint of a dorsal fin extension, even the slightest, can potentially indicate a male. Subsequently, I removed one of the male S. picturatus to another tank.

I could not confirm the sex of the S. splendidus - I thought I had bought 2 females and 1 male. One of them (call him A) had a very long dorsal fin extension, hence should be a male. The other 2 are problematic to sex because of the slight (none?) dorsal fin extensions. Anyway, splendidus A and one of the other two were discovered one day with wounds on their bodies. I presumed they had been fighting each other. But then, more observations led to the discovery that the female and male S. picturatus were attacking all 3 S. splendidus. Splendidus A died a day after suffering extensive injuries. The other injured splendidus escaped into the rock works. The last intact splendidus appear occasionally, but gets chased by S. picturatus if it ventures too close.

I will like to find out if anyone knows or has encountered problems with this form of interspecific aggression. The solution will probably be to remove the S. splendidus to a tank on their own, but it is difficult to catch them, especially if they stay close to, and disappear beneath the rocks. All of them appear to be in good health (except for the injured one), hence I don't think food is a problem. I supplement the tank with live newly-hatched brine shrimp daily.
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003
Location: New Jersey, USA

PostPosted: 2003.04.15(Tue)0:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gobies are very aggressive torwards conspecifics (other gobies) and compete to the death in most cases for territory. If there is sufficient rockwork two would probably have enough room. With a third the weakest will quickly take the brunt of the fighting.

I also think 3 would decimate your pod population in a 75 within weeks without a sizable refugium or pod farm.
Don't buy the fish before you know the fish.
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The Old Salt

Joined: 01 Apr 2003
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: 2003.04.15(Tue)13:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the bad news is that it's hard to keep these two species together. These are not reef-dwellers, but lagoon dwellers, and their natural territories are pretty big for such a small fish. The good news is that if they're interested in fighting THAT much, the winners may well spawn, assuming you don't starve them first.

SoS is correct in that you're going to have to get cracking on the supplemental feeding. Baby brine can't do the job alone. Get some Mysis going and a refugium as well for amphipods. They might even like some Cyclop-eeze.

By the way, they're not gobies. They're dragonets. Big difference, and one which causes problems. people often buy them, expecting them to be as easy to keep as "other" gobies or blennies, and then they find too late that they've made a big mistake.
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Joined: 07 Feb 2003

PostPosted: 2003.04.23(Wed)14:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

they could well be fighting over food. Even one of the mandarins can decimate a 75 gallon by itself. To support one it takes at least 85 lbs of lr for one of these fish. If by chance they take to other foods your lucky most do not. These type of fish have a very poor survival rate in the aquarium and maby about 20% of what is sold live. I would try and return one or get him in his own tank and if gets to bad narrow it down to one of these fish.
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