I've been keeping my buttikoferi for five years now with other fish. He's about 38 cm. I keep him with a 70 cm arrowana, a 38 cm paroon shark, and also an oscar. They have all lived quite peacefully, with the aro being the boss. Unfortunately my arrowana died recently, I'd had him for 8 years. Now the buttikoferi has crowned himself king of the tank and beat up the oscar. They've been together for 5 years and it turns like that. Watch out, that's all I can say. They are a very nice fish and a lot more clever than any other fish I've known.
I have an 18 cm buttikoferi that shares a 550 liter tank with a 22 cm festae, a 16 cm trimac, a 16 cm dovii, two jewels, one convict, and two suckermouths catfishes. Every now and then, I come back to find the buttikoferi, the trimac and the dovii pretty scarred up. I used to think it was the festae, but I have watched from a distance that the buttikoferi tries to take anybody on when I move away from the tank. He behaves when I get close and he can see me. Damn clever fish.
I have had a pair of these wonderful fish for over a year now. Currently they are housed with a pair of convicts, a pleco, ID shark, and a red tailed blue loach. I got the two when they were roughly 3 cm, now the male who is the boss of the tank is approaching 15 cm, and female about 10 cm. Aggression is minimal. The male will chase the female, but ignores all other fish. Definitely not a communitly fish, but so far has done well in my mixed tank.
I have a 30 cm Tilapia buttikoferi which I just recently learned what type of fish it was. I have had him for 16 years - longer than my wife! He was fish-store small when I bought him, along with 10 other various cichlids and a catfish. Brutus grew much quicker than the others in his tank, hogged the food, and within a couple years killed all but one albino convict and an armored catfish. He let those guys live for about 3 more years and then killed them. He's been living alone ever since in a 110 L tank. I always thought fish weren't supposed to outgrow their tanks, but when he turns around now his nose touches the front and tail touches the rear. A fish with a real personality, he kisses the kids when they put their mouths on the tank (little do they know he's trying to eat them!). He gave up biting my arm when cleaning his tank a few years ago - perhaps not so sporting anymore. Brutus will soon be moving into a new 280 L home where he will be able to turn around without gouging himself on the rocks or wood. Unforturnately after all this time alone, he'll have to live out the rest of his life (4-14 more years I'm told) stag, maybe that's how he likes it.
I've had my Zebra Tilapia for almost two years now, and I have to say by FAR he is the most intelligent and enjoyable fish I've ever owned. He was insanely aggressive when I first got him, trying to bite people through the aquarium glass when they walked past, and I was worried about him since he seemed constantly stressed. I moved his aquarium to a lower traffic area and it did the trick! Speaking of tricks, this is one smart fish.. I'd heard people talking about their tilapias moving gravel into piles, and I was delighted to see that mine did the same. Not only that, but I added in some smooth polished rocks for decoration, and he sorts them! All the big rocks have to go in one pile, and all the gravel has to go in another. I gave up on trying to keep the tank decorated since the Tilapia has his own ideas about interior design, but I always add in the smooth rocks for him from time to time to give him something new to do. This is a very aggressive fish to keep, but incredibly rewarding if you get to know and understand their personalities. VERY smart, very fun to have around.
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