Courtship or aggression?

Courtship or aggression?

Postby ShannPeach » Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:51 am

In October of 2007 I traded a couple of corals for two pajama cardinals. After owning them for several months, and watching their interactions (or lack there of) I assumed that I had two females. They mostly ignored one another, but one would chase the other for a short distance every once in a while.

Lately, one of them (the slightly larger one) has gone through some behavior changes. First, its head got a little darker, but is hardly noticable. Second, when it is around the other fish it will puff up its lower jaw for a few seconds. It doesn't attack the other fish (at least not while I am watching), and the other fish really doesn't even seem to notice. So for a couple of days one fish puffed out its jaw and the other ignored it. So, then the larger one started to do a little fin flicking in addition to the jaw puffing, and the smaller one still ignored it. Every once in a while the larger one will chase and even nip at the smaller one. During one night it took a small chunk out of the smaller one's fin. Then last night, the larger fish added a new move. It tucks all of its fins in close to its body and then swims towards the smaller one in a weaving pattern, makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and swims away in the same fashion. Of course, the smaller fish is still oblivious to all of this.

I have only noticed this during "dusk," when the day lights go off and just the actinics are one. The remainder of the day they behave like they always have--indifferent to one another.

Because of when the larger fish does these strange things, and because it doesn't seem like the larger one actually wants to kill the smaller one I was thinking that it may be courtship. However, the smaller one doesn't seem at all interested and has some battle wounds to show for it, so maybe it isn't courtship at all.... My husband says I just have wishful thinking :D

Anyone have any similar experiences? I don't plan on removing either fish from the 125 gallon display, unless it is aggression and it starts to get out of hand.
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Postby FuEl » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:43 pm

Sounds exactly like the courtship of Banggai cardinals. If it's aggression it should occur all day long, and not only at dusk. :wink:
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Postby ShannPeach » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:22 am

Well, I am still hopeful that it is courtship, but I am not so sure anymore. Saturday night was rough on both the fish--Sunday I woke up to find them both slightly tattered. The larger fish is less beat up looking, but it looks like the small one got a few fin rips in. The larger one still does the jaw puffing thing though, and I saw him doing it this morning when he previously only did it at dusk.

So I think that I either have two males, or one male and an unreceptive female. Hmmm
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Postby William » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:07 am

I purchased a group of 5 XL pajamas a while ago. I had a really hard time pairing them off. At first they beat each other up, nearly killing one of them.

After separating them and nursing them all back to health. I finally ended up with what I believe to be 2 (somewhat) compatible pairs but I won't know for sure until I get eggs.

Here is how I paired them off. I put all 5 in a 20 gallon aquarium. After few days later it was obvious that one fish was receiving the bulk of the aggression. So I removed that one to a second tank. This keep repeating (one fish was clearly the target of the aggression) until there was only 2 fish left in the tank. I then repeated this process with tank #2; I removed the most beat up fish.

Although now the pairs don't fight nearly like the origional group did where the target was beaten nearly to death. They still don't get along that great. It is clear that one fish is dominant and it frequently bumps the belly of the submissive fish with it's mouth. This mostly happens right after I feed them. In both "pairs" the lower fins of the submissive fish are always a bit tattered. The submissive fish never or vary rarely fights back or even tries very hard to get away. It just sits there and takes the beating.
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Re:

Postby ShannPeach » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:55 am

acroporas wrote: The submissive fish never or vary rarely fights back or even tries very hard to get away. It just sits there and takes the beating.


That seems to be what mine are doing also, but sometime during the night it must have fought back because both fish were tattered. Well, hopefully things will calm down rather than get worse.

Acroporas, how long have you had your pairs together? I think I remember reading your thread (or a similar one) about pairing pajamas....
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Postby William » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:06 pm

Yep that other thread was me.

(looks back at old thread for dates)

They have been together in their current pairing for ~3 months now.
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