The tank re­design trick

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Advice -

One ap­proach that can work with prob­lem cich­lids such as an­gelfish is to re­set the fishes’ ter­ri­to­rial in­stincts by re­ar­rang­ing the tank decor.

Take the an­gels out, and place them in a bucket filled with aquar­ium wa­ter and cov­ered with a towel to keep it dark and warm. Now re­ar­range all the rocks and plants in the tank so it looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

Af­ter about an hour has passed with the an­gels out of the tank, care­fully rein­tro­duce them as if they were new fish you’d just brought them home from the shop. Ac­cli­mate them to the new con­di­tions care­fully, adding some aquar­ium wa­ter to the bucket to min­imise tem­per­a­ture or wa­ter chem­istry dif­fer­ences. Leave the lights off for the rest of the day, so the fish can slowly ex­plore the tank in the dark – this will be less stress­ful for them by mak­ing them feel less ex­posed.

The fish will treat the tank as a new bit of the river, and fig­ure out a new so­cial hi­er­ar­chy from scratch. With luck, it’ll be a hi­er­ar­chy with dif­fer­ent ter­ri­to­rial bound­aries that might make it eas­ier for other fish to co-ex­ist with them.

The big­gest risk is that any mated pair bond will be bro­ken, but un­less you were plan­ning to spawn your an­gels some­time soon, that shouldn’t be a prob­lem. Sooner or later the same or an­other pair will form.

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