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Shahbazin

Bullying -Thinking of Separating

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My single tails often frolic around & chase each other, but I've got one fish who is a lot more aggressive than the other three, & I'm becoming increasingly worried about his behavior. When Clownie (the original fish) was the benign leader, everyone pretty much got along, but in the last 8 months or so, Lotus has gotten to be the biggest/bossiest fish, & he's not as nice about it as Clownie was (the 2 long finned fish are uninterested in being bossy). Rainbow used to be mostly ignored in their scrambles, although I did sometimes have to put him in a floating colander for a few hours for his protection. But Lotus is really after him now when they get going (he was doing it before Rainbow became sick too, it's not just recent), & repeatedly being put into the colander for time outs calms him down for a while, but I'm worried he'll start something when I'm not home - & I'll be away for several days next month for a camping trip with my kids (husband will be caring for the critters). 

I do still have the 100 gal. stock tank outside that the fish were originally in - I'm thinking of getting it fixed up & cycled & just keeping Lotus by himself in the garden - I won't be able to see him as well, but he'd still be around, & I wouldn't have to worry about him hurting one of the other fish (Rainbow particularly, who I just spent an immense amount of effort getting him well after he was ill last month.) Is this a bad idea? It would actually give everyone a better gallon per fish ratio, & he's really supposed to be a pond fish anyway, but I really like having all of them together. But maybe it's not the best solution for the fish, & separation is the answer here?

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I think if the bullying is so constant and is hurting/stressing out the other fish separating could be a good idea. I'm sure he will love the space in the 100g

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What does a bullying goldfish do?  That's a serious question.  I've never seen anything I could call bullying among my fish.  

How big are the fish and how big is the aquarium?  He may feel crowded.  Sure, you can put him in the stock tank.  You shouldn't have to do any cycling in preparation for one fish in 100 gallons.  Just put a little bit of cycled biomedium in the pond filter and use Prime daily until ammonia and nitrite read zero.

In the meantime,  you can get or make a tank divider to separate Lotus from the other three.  His behavior when separated from the others may give some indication of why he misbehaves.

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It's primarily spawning behavior - Lotus chases, nips at the vent area, & tries to bodily squash the other fish against the walls/floor of the tank. He doesn't do it constantly - it's about once a week (sometimes twice), usually within 24 hours of their water change (but not always), & goes on for hours. Separating him for about 6-8 hours in the colander gives him time to get over it (until next week). Nobody else is as persistent/vigorous about it - I think he just has higher drives, & he tends to pick on the fish that are slower/rounder & can't get away as well.

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It could be crowding, too - they're getting up to about 5 1/2 -6 inches SL, 4 fish in a 75 gallon - I was hoping the plants might help a bit, & I think they do, but it's not the total solution. My husband thinks I should try to rehome Lotus to a pond - if the local person who took our 1 female fish 2 years ago is interested, we might do that. I do think he would prefer to be around other fish, but in a much larger space.

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Whatever the cause (maybe breeding?), if one or more fish are getting stressed, then someone has to go.  I'd remove the "bully" first, and see if that settles it.  With a 100 gal spare, maybe separate two fish, so they all have company?

Good luck with it.

Edited by Distaff
typing w/o eye glasses

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Honestly I've never separated for spawning behavior unless a fish is showing symptoms of stress, and even then it's brief and I usually just rearrange the territories in question.

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In my experience, an overcrowded tank will definitely cause aggression. They are probably feeling cramped/claustrophobic. 

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