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Author Topic: Goldfish bully. Help!  (Read 2119 times)
mum2703
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Goldfish bully. Help!
« on: June 17, 2011, 09:14:50 AM »

I have a 165l tank which has 4 small goldfish: (largest to smallest)1 fantail -possibly male - has dots on gill plates, 1 black moor, 1 rusty coloured moor, 1 panda moor/butterfly. Also have 5 gold medakas & few ramshorn snails.
This tank is fairly new (set up begining of May).
Have had 3 of the fish since early March in a 40 l tank no problems.
Rusty moor was new fish added to big tank by itself 13/5. Other 3 were added progressively (smallest to largest) over week from 28/5 to make sure they socialised ok. They've all been in there together for over 2 weeks and there's been no problems noticed until today.
This morning the fantail was hassling the rusty moor badly pushing it around into plants & tank ornaments so much so I thought it would injure it. The other fish also joined in on the bullying. I was so worried I took the rusty moor out and put it in a small emergency tank. As soon as it was gone the other 3 went back to normal foraging in the gravel and behaving as they always have. After about an hour I hoped they had calmed down as this behaviour was out of the ordinary, I put the fish back in, but it started again straight away. So out the poor thing came again.
Does anyone have any ideas why this behaviour has suddenly started? Could the rusty moor be female & the others male? Am I going to have to keep them seperated permanently? I really don't have room for another goldfish sized tank. Plase help.


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Goldiegirl
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 10:08:56 AM »

If your fantail has breeding tubercles (those little dots on the gill plates) that means he is definately a male, and now has the notion that he wants to spawn with your other fish, which is natural behavior so don't worry. The spawning proceedure involves the male fish ruthlessly chasing, pushing against, and sometimes tearing the fins of the female. The rusty moor is obviously the female your fantail wants to court! Unfortunately, your female is likely to get hurt and stressed out if this continues. You will want to separate the male fish if you have no intention of breeding goldfish. If you don't have room for another tank, I would advise putting him in a floating basket or the use of a tank dividor.

The breeding season of goldfish only lasts for a portion of the year, usually in spring/early summer due to warmer water temps that trigger spawning, so perminant separation is not nessesary...just until he calms down a bit. 
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mum2703
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 07:30:50 PM »

Thanks for your help.
You are most likely right but I'm in Australia & its winter here so shouldn't be spawning season.  Although our winters are pretty mild compared to some places if they spawn in warmer temps what temp triggers that behaviour? I have a themometer in the tank & the temp is a fairly constant 22C (71F) & not likely to get any colder. Our winter temps here are approx 18/16C max - 6C min.  Would this mean he will be at it all year?

Also the other 2 fish in the tank, neither are showing any signs of tubercles to indicate they're male yet & one is larger than the rusty moor he chases. Does the fact that he leaves them alone indicate that they're immature males? So if I were to seperate the fish would it be best to move the rusty moor female?
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Goldiegirl
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 08:01:21 PM »

A temperature change is only ONE of the things that can trigger breeding, though it is not the only one. Perfect water quality can also do the same thing, which is great for you!  Wink And no, the goldfish won't be at it all year. The tubercles should leave after a bit, and then he will return back to being in a non-spawning state. However, the cycle typically repeats itself annually.

The fact the larger fish leaves them alone indicates he just isn't in breeding season...if it is a he. The other fish that partake in the fiasco are probably like most kids...they see somebody picking on someone and want to join in the fun. When the bully who creates the whole trouble goes away, they give up and go back to doing other things.

I would only remove the one doing the chasing, not the chased, so long as the other fish settle down when the charged male is removed. If the others continue to bully, then I would remove the female.

Hope this makes sense  Smiley
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mum2703
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2011, 03:08:21 AM »

Thanks for your help.
I've had the female out of the tank for over 24 hrs now (she is easier to catch!). I'll try her back in tomorrow but if our fella plays up again it's his turn in the sin bin! (if I can catch him).

How long does it normally take for males to get out of breeding mode?

I'm trying to avoid getting another tank as I don't know where to put it & don't really want to have to maintain another one. Already have 4! (2 x male bettas in 20l; 40l - old goldie tank- with guppies & platies plus this goldie tank). Can't give the troublesome fish away as they are my daughter's babies & she would be heart broken.
Who said fish were easy pets!?!
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Hanna
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2011, 03:14:56 AM »

Hi, this is definitely spawning behaviour.
I am in Australia too and our goldies spawned today the 3rd ( !!!! ) time in 4 weeks. It lasts for a few hours, then they settle and are quiet darling angels again. The time they chase each other looks pretty rough, this is how they do it, our girl is fine, no shredded fins, she eats and swimms all fins errect again.
As Goldiegirl said, perfect water quality and good varied diet triggers spawning.
If you leave the eggs in the tank, nature will do what ii normally does. If you whish you can also rescue some eggs and raise baby goldfish, providing you can either keep them or give them to a LFS. Most times they will give you credit and you can get food or other things for your fish.
I rescued eggs from the first spawn, which was very surprising for me and now i have to look after I dunno how manny fry. I didn't expect them to be so randy again in such short time, so I just leave the other eggs in the tank.

Just short recap: Goldies spawn ONLY with perfect waterquality, ideal water temp and varied diet.... and of course they must be sexual mature, lol

@Goldiegirl: the breeding tubercules won't disappear on the males gills, they will be there all time, maybe not as much pronounced
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Hanna
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2011, 03:17:28 AM »

(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
Thanks for your help.
I've had the female out of the tank for over 24 hrs now (she is easier to catch!). I'll try her back in tomorrow but if our fella plays up again it's his turn in the sin bin! (if I can catch him).

How long does it normally take for males to get out of breeding mode?

I'm trying to avoid getting another tank as I don't know where to put it & don't really want to have to maintain another one. Already have 4! (2 x male bettas in 20l; 40l - old goldie tank- with guppies & platies plus this goldie tank). Can't give the troublesome fish away as they are my daughter's babies & she would be heart broken.
Who said fish were easy pets!?!

LOL, nobody said they are easy pets, rofl, WELCOME TO MTS ( Multi Tank Syndrome ) we've got 8 tanks bwaahahahahah
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mum2703
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 03:35:52 AM »

Thanks Hanna.  It's comforting to know it will probably all turn out fine. I'm probably a worrywart who doesn't want to freak her daughter out when she sees her babies playing rough!

By the way, it's the pet shop staff that tell you it's easy. They suck in newbies with small 40l tanks & say you can fit 6 goldfish in there. Great birthday present for my daughter who was nagging for a new pet after our 17yo cat died. I was an id*ot & believed them (although I didn't get 6 goldfish!). Then I did my research after it was too late hence the new big tank. I must admit I am enjoying the fish but I wish I had done my research first! Lesson learnt!
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Hanna
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 04:49:19 AM »

You're right about the pet store staff, most likely in bigger chains. But in small privately owned stores it is just a joy to go there.

And surely you are not a worrywart ( LOL ) you just want to know about things and explain it accordingly to your daughter. BTW I send you a message in Aqu. DownUnder  Wink
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Nossie
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2011, 12:31:58 PM »

I don't think it's spawning behavior. Mostly because you said that they're "small" fish. Just because one of them is showing breeding tubercles doesn't mean that that's the only reason for bullying! I didn't quite catch if the "victim" is the newest fish in the bunch, but if it is, that's probably the reason. The others don't think it belongs there. It may also be smaller and weaker than the other fish.

I would, like mentioned earlier, remove the bully and see if it stops, then you at least would know where the problem starts! If it won't stop, it may be a good idea to simply keep the "victim" separate from the others to avoid further stress and possibly disease.

However, if it is spawning behavior, it's just a good thing. Then it'd most likely stop soon. But don't rule all the other possibilities out before you've observed them.
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Goldiegirl
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2011, 05:43:56 PM »

Hanna: Thanks, I didn't know that!  Wink When a red cap oranda of mine got breeding tubercles once, they seemed to leave completely after about half of a year. However, he was white, so....  Tongue kinda hard to tell.

Like Nossie said, the other smaller fish are probably just bullying...not spawning. I think the one with breeding tubercles probably is trying to, however, but that's just my opinion, listen to the wiser ones on this forum, not me  Grin

It's easy to end up biting off more than you can chew when the petshop's staff brings you malinformation. The staff around where I live says that a goldfish will do fine in a 5 gallon tank, so that shows how much they reallly know about fish  Roll Eyes
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mum2703
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2011, 01:15:42 AM »

Just an update.
Our bully victim was left in the small tank by herself for over 24 hrs.  Decided to try her back in the tank again last night so slipped her back in just after lights out when everyone looked calm. Our bully fish gave her a bit of a chase when he noticed her then lost interest. Now 3.30 pm following day all is still peaceful so let's hope they're over their little hormonal episode or whatever it was and it stays that way.

And to Nossie: Yes it is the newest fish on the block, but not the smallest. It's 3rd smallest but only by a little bit.

Thanks everyone for your help, it's been really appreciated. I'll keep you posted in case anything changes because being a total noob at this I need all the help I can get!
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Goldiegirl
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2011, 10:36:51 AM »

Great to hear! Keep us posted.  Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: Goldfish bully. Help!
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 03:58:33 PM »

In the future, try not to move the fish back and forth that much, it stresses them incredibly much, and especially if you move the one getting bullied and he/she would have to be chased allover the tank when he/she gets back :/

But, glad things turned out nice Smiley My own bully calmed down a little after I had separated him for a few hours and he hasn't bit anyone ever since Wink So it's probably a good sign that everything's in order! Smiley Goldfish are social and happy fish after all Smiley
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