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QandD

Duchess is terrified of her new friend

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Hi all,

 

At long last, I have introduced my established fish of at least 6 years to her new friend, Victoria, who is a little juvenile oranda (2 inch body length). However, after matching all of the water parameters, etc. , Duchess seems to be 100% freaking out about this blind friend-date. Vickie keeps coming up to her in what seems to be a non-threatening manner--no biting, no charging. She just kind of seems to be trying to swim with her, but Duchess is having none of it and hiding and swimming like a bat out of hell.  She is so discombobulated that she's having trouble remembering how to swim it seems like! They were circling each other a little but now D has had a total meltdown and is hiding and bottom sitting. I didn't think they'd be like betta fish for God's sake!

 

Is this normal? I shut off their lights ad they've gotten a 60% happy water change today with the tank at .1% (for both of them until I taper it down). Duchess has been fine lately other than healing up some scrapes (they are all healed). Vickie otherwise has always seemed friendly, passed QT with flying colors, etc. 

 

I'm not sure what to do. I guess I could put Vickie back in the QT/holding tank, but I bought her to be a companion for Duchess after her tankmate of her whole life died in early March. When I had introduced D to her former tankmate, she had admittedly just come from a Petco where she had been living with friends. Is she just a weirdo solitary fish now whose heart will always pine for Queenie? Is "new friend anxiety" normal for goldfish? I feel bad for upsetting her and Victoria just seems to want to hang out. 

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I think if you give them some time, she will adjust. She is probably just not used to having anyone else in the tank with her yet since it's been a while. Unless one of them gets aggressive I would just leave them be and let them get acquainted. Having the lights off and clean water is helpful. :)

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A tank divider might be a good idea until Duchess gets used to this intruder.   How big is the tank?  

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The tank is 30 gallons with two cycled. AquaClear 70 filters on it. I realize that I'm going to have to monitor water quality while the filters get used to both of them. Neither of them is super large. 

 

I don't have a tank divider, but I will be home for most of the day so I'll try to keep an eye out for any aggression.

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I wouldn't worry - they'll figure out a pecking order soon enough :)

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Do you have plants or anything in there?  Maybe having something she can keep between her and this new comer until she's had a chance to get used to another fish?

 

I think most goldfish are fine with new friends, but like anything, adjustment time varies from personality to personality.  :)  

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Reds brought up a great point. When introducing new fish it is always a good idea to rearrange the habitat a bit and break up the old territory, so the newbie is starting out on fairly equal footing. That and plenty of hiding spots will make the transition go more smoothly than dumping a new fish into a totally established setup. Even friendly, peaceful community fish have territories :)

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Update: Duchess seems to have reconciled herself to a new friend and is showing her the ropes. They each found a hiding spot to go to sleep last night (there are plants in there, but they have roots in the sand substrate so I don't want to upset them too much. I hadn't thought of rearranging their tank but that's a great idea!) I have a piece of driftwood that I guess I could move, but Duchess hasn't been acting territorial so far. The java ferns and swords (opposite sides of the tank), etc, give them a "hiding walls." I might add more live plants in the future--AKA when I get my next few paychecks!

 

I wrote about this elsewhere, but I tried giving them some activities to do together, which calmed them both down after having the lights off for a few hours (I put some nori in the vegetable clip and Duchess taught V how to eat it). So perhaps for moderately bigger and then littler fish, this might be an option to encourage acquaintanceship? Duchess is now tolerating having Victoria follow her around and mimic her activities (plant tasting, wall tasting, etc).  Duchess already seems happier to have a friend and Vickie has also shown herself to be quite mellow compared to her intense boredom in QT. I have seen no subsequent spazzing out.

 

Thanks for all of your suggestions! I am much more confident that finding Duchess a friend was a good decision. I am hoping that she will be less stressed and that her tail and scales will heal faster now (this is in reference to previous skittish adventures). 

Edited by QandD

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I'm glad things got better and Duchess is getting used to her new friend. :)

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I'm glad things have settled with both your fish.

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