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Clown Attacking Another Clown

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Hottsauce23 View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 05 2016 at 11:10am
Hey as of the other day I started to notice that one of my clownfish was attacking the other and tearing up it's fins and tail. They have been together for six months now and have never been like this. I bought them together and were together even longer just not sure how long. The smaller one is attacking the bigger one. It had gotten to the point the clown would lay on the sand bottom because it was hurt so bad. I quarantined him so he could be safe for now but I am curious why this is happening and if they will ever be able to live peacefully together again. Hope to hear some advice. Thanks
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Hogie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hogie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2016 at 1:17pm
When you say they've been together for 6 months, were they paired off or just in the same tank? Also, we're they introduced when they were little or adults?

Typically in a pair, the larger will be the female and the dominate one. However, if they're weren't paired and just together, or if they were introduced together in their junvi stage, then the smaller could be trying to establish dominance and trying to be the female. Several things can upset the hierarchy balance or make the clown become aggressive. They range from introducing new fish to just the fish getting larger. Or it could be the fish is just being down right mean. Any changes in the tank regarding putting stuff in or feeding schedule?

Bottom line is sometimes they work it out and will become peaceful again, and sometimes they don't and it will keep going after it until it's dead. If the clown is already laying on the sand bed, safest best is to keep them separate, but if you want them to be together, one suggestion is to move the smaller clown (the aggressive one) into a different tank or the sump to "reset" its behavior. Then after a few weeks, put it back in the display inside a quarantine box for a couple weeks so it can get use to the other fish. (all this time will let the other clown heal up as well.) Then let it out and watch it to see if it still goes after the other clown.

What type of clown is it as well? Some are meaner than others (I know a couple really grumpy maroon clowns...)

Edited by Hogie - February 05 2016 at 1:22pm
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Hottsauce23 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 05 2016 at 2:28pm

I would say they are both your typical ocellaris clowns except the injured one has a black face (I can't find another clown online that is similar) . They are both very similar in size except the aggressive one may even be a tad smaller. But yes I cannot guarantee they were paired or just together since I bought them off someone along with a tank. The only changes to the tank is introducing a small piece of live rock and a frogspawn coral a few days before I noticed the behavior.

As of right now the aggressive one is quarantine within my tank inside of a large clear bottle with netting on top. The injured one is swimming around in one corner and attacks food when it comes.

Not sure if any of that information helps much but from what I've read other places is if a clown is becoming a female it usually won't attack to the point of killing another fish. But I guess it's possible. Thanks.

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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 7:51am
I agree with what Hogie said.
Looks to me like the dynamic of their relationship has changed. Sometimes a larger clownfish becomes sick or for some reason its desire to dominate fades. The same thing happens in humans, btw.

I agree with your action. Keep the newly aggressive clownfish in the bottle for a week and then release it. Upon release, if necessary, use the fish training technique found here, copied from the thread linked below in my signature line, Secrets of an affordable reef aquarium and Reefkeeing Tips :

*******
Adding new fish, Fish Training and the Miracle of Garlic Oil to keep fish free of disease: http://utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=34014
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Training may seem ineffective but it will make a difference. This seemingly bad behavior can turn out to be positive.  I once had a group of locally bred and raised Tomato Clownfish. The most dominant clownfish almost ripped the lower jaw off of one of the males in her "harem." The jaw eventually healed and the injury was practically unnoticeable. Later on that male paired up with the female that had injured him. Below is a pic of him watching the eggs. I was able to raise a couple of the babies. Big smile

Aloha,
Mark  Hug


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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 7:59am
Oh, here is a trick that can help. Introducing another Ocellaris clownfish(color/design makes no difference) will change the relationship dynamics and spread the aggression between two potential mates, possibly lessening the degree of injury to one individual.

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Mark  Hug
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Hottsauce23 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hottsauce23 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 11:11am
Sounds good. Thank you for the input I will keep it in the bottle for a few more days and try some of the techniques. If I keep running into the same problem I'll post something. Thanks.
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