Keyhole Cichlid aggression

Ravynn

Gambusia
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Apr 10, 2019
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I wouldn't go as far as to guarantee it, you can't always predict how crazy a fish gets with breeding hormones, but from my experience I'd try it, could make an interesting tank. For me, rams have been feisty enough to stake out a defensible nook in a reasonably peaceful SA community, including some larger fish, like Mesonauta, or a big angelfish pair. They were bigger tanks, but also larger and more fish.

Of course, with a keyhole pair, you could end up with some fry to deal with. I've had breeding pairs, such as geos, in community tanks, which meant I could choose to save fry and siphon them out to raise in a growout tank at some point, or let nature take its course, in which case a few might hide well enough to make it anyway, which may or may not happen with a BN and plenty of tetras in the tank.
Have you ever had any experience with Laetacara curviceps? Seems like an interesting tank mate for the Keyholes.
 

neutrino

Aimara
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Jan 22, 2013
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Have you ever had any experience with Laetacara curviceps? Seems like an interesting tank mate for the Keyholes.
Ages ago. Kept them with a variety of tankmates, discus, angelfish, rams, Apistogramma, Mesonauta, to name a few, also various characins, including emperor tetras, large schools of cardinal tetras, even chalceus. Mine were quite peaceful in such settings. Don't know how well your pair of keyholes would put up with Laetacara in their tank, a little too similar looking I suspect. Even in a juvenile discus tank, my curviceps were innocuous and retiring.

There's some discussion on whether or how often curviceps are actually curviceps and not dorsigera-- having had mine a good while, observed them in all moods, etc., mine weren't dorsigera.
 
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Ravynn

Gambusia
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MFK Member
Apr 10, 2019
33
5
8
Canada
Gender
Female
Don't know how well your pair of keyholes would put up with Laetacara in their tank, a little too similar looking I suspect.
Didn't even think of that. Here they are with their free swimming fry underneath them. No idea what i'm going to do with them though.

Male in front.


 
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duanes

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When there is a pair of cichlids in a tank, that are raising fry, any cichlid (maybe any other fish) you add (doesn't matter what kind), that new addition will be in danger from the pair raising and protecting fry.
And the smaller the tank, the more lethal the danger, because the new addition does not have a place far enough away to escape to.
 

Ravynn

Gambusia
Original poster
MFK Member
Apr 10, 2019
33
5
8
Canada
Gender
Female
When there is a pair of cichlids in a tank, that are raising fry, any cichlid (maybe any other fish) you add (doesn't matter what kind), that new addition will be in danger from the pair raising and protecting fry.
And the smaller the tank, the more lethal the danger, because the new addition does not have a place far enough away to escape to.
Yeah, I have no intention of adding any fish or any other cichlids (keyholes were really the only ones I wanted in this tank) right now. I quarantine all my fish for over a month and I still haven't decided what I want to put with them. 100% prepared to separate the pair if they get nasty as it's not a tank just for them. Babies will be moved out too. Just didn't expect anything to survive with a pleco in the tank.
 

Ravynn

Gambusia
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neutrino neutrino So today I decided to take the fry out and separate them as I didn't want them to get so big in the main tank that I couldn't catch them. As soon as I did that, the pair decided to start digging sand pits again (yay...). Twice however I noticed the male charged at the pleco but didn't continue chasing him. He wasn't even in direct sight of them (he's also barely 2" so not very noticeable in the tank).

I'm wondering what you think I should do. I feel like it's just going to be worse when I add more fish. I also still have the unpaired male/female in quarantine because no one will take them lol.
 

neutrino

Aimara
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Jan 22, 2013
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neutrino neutrino So today I decided to take the fry out and separate them as I didn't want them to get so big in the main tank that I couldn't catch them. As soon as I did that, the pair decided to start digging sand pits again (yay...). Twice however I noticed the male charged at the pleco but didn't continue chasing him. He wasn't even in direct sight of them (he's also barely 2" so not very noticeable in the tank).

I'm wondering what you think I should do. I feel like it's just going to be worse when I add more fish. I also still have the unpaired male/female in quarantine because no one will take them lol.
Yes, that's the question when you have a pair. :)

I haven't bred keyholes, but I have lots of other species, including SA cichlids. They'll probably do this every few weeks. In a larger tank community you could let the fry make it or not on their own, which would take care of most of them, beside the random individuals that survive... or what I've done is save as many as I want to or have room to raise and sell or trade them later on. If there's a lfs interested you can sometimes sell or trade some babies or juvies to them-- I've done a good bit of that over the years.

Some people will raise fry from one spawn, just for the experience, then keep a pair in a main community tank where most fry get eaten or separate or sell the pair, etc. Even when you separate fry to raise, not all of them make it (in many species). Another possibility is a school of some sort of dithers that would pick off fry. Or once a pair produce fry you can sell them as a "proven pair", which has value to someone looking for a pair. Some people with multiple tanks will catch fry and use them as home grown feeders for other fish. Don't know where you are exactly, but if there's decent lfs accessible to you, could be one would take fry or take the breeding pair...

Kind of depends what you want to do and what you want out of the tank. I'd mention selling online, but I'm guessing that's a rabbit hole that's not on your radar. :)

Just curious where you got them originally?
 

Ravynn

Gambusia
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Apr 10, 2019
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Canada
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Female
Yes, that's the question when you have a pair. :)

I haven't bred keyholes, but I have lots of other species, including SA cichlids. They'll probably do this every few weeks. In a larger tank community you could let the fry make it or not on their own, which would take care of most of them, beside the random individuals that survive... or what I've done is save as many as I want to or have room to raise and sell or trade them later on. If there's a lfs interested you can sometimes sell or trade some babies or juvies to them-- I've done a good bit of that over the years.

Some people will raise fry from one spawn, just for the experience, then keep a pair in a main community tank where most fry get eaten or separate or sell the pair, etc. Even when you separate fry to raise, not all of them make it (in many species). Another possibility is a school of some sort of dithers that would pick off fry. Or once a pair produce fry you can sell them as a "proven pair", which has value to someone looking for a pair. Some people with multiple tanks will catch fry and use them as home grown feeders for other fish. Don't know where you are exactly, but if there's decent lfs accessible to you, could be one would take fry or take the breeding pair...

Kind of depends what you want to do and what you want out of the tank. I'd mention selling online, but I'm guessing that's a rabbit hole that's not on your radar. :)

Just curious where you got them originally?
I've been stressed out since I made this thread, lol. I don't want them to charge after other fish I want to have in the tank. That's not a good life for them and I don't like watching it. Should I still keep this pair, separate them, keep 1 male? I really don't know what to do. I should've just gotten 1 to begin with. :thumbsdow

I live in a very rural area. Not a lot of fishkeepers. There's 1 Petsmart and 1 other pet store that is a "local" chain that does fish orders but they refuse to take in other people's fish or fry. I've called them 3 times. I've posted on multiple classifieds and no one wants the other 2.

I have absolutely no interest in breeding... I want a community, with Keyholes being the only cichlid in the tank. I got them from 1fish2fish, the store Joey Mullen goes to. Had to get them shipped 5 hours away.
 

neutrino

Aimara
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Jan 22, 2013
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Same here with rural area, not a ton of local sophistication with fish, 2 hours to the closest decent lfs, anything better is over 4 hours. Fewer lfs seem to take fish anymore, some still do, sometimes it depends what you have. If I want to sell fish to individuals, which I've done just recently, and not deal with shipping, I basically advertise to a nearby city-- which I have an option of a cichlid association in the region or something like craigslist-- and I offer to deliver or meet within a certain driving distance (with a reasonable add for gas). Don't know how feasible that is for you. There might also be the possibility of donating the fish to a school or office, etc.

Given what you said, in your shoes I'd separate the pair, then. Don't know how many tanks you have to work with or how long you'd want to house the extraneous fish that won't fit into a community, but I'd either plan on a single male, preferably the less aggressive one at this point, or attempt putting the two females together-- if that didn't work at first you might be able to divide them for a while with a see through divider, then put them together a little later. I've done that and had it work. Then, in time you might find takers for the remaining fish, sometimes it just takes a while.

Not perfect solutions, but a couple of ideas. :)
 
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Ravynn

Gambusia
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MFK Member
Apr 10, 2019
33
5
8
Canada
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Female
Same here with rural area, not a ton of local sophistication with fish, 2 hours to the closest decent lfs, anything better is over 4 hours. Fewer lfs seem to take fish anymore, some still do, sometimes it depends what you have. If I want to sell fish to individuals, which I've done just recently, and not deal with shipping, I basically advertise to a nearby city-- which I have an option of a cichlid association in the region or something like craigslist-- and I offer to deliver or meet within a certain driving distance (with a reasonable add for gas). Don't know how feasible that is for you. There might also be the possibility of donating the fish to a school or office, etc.

Given what you said, in your shoes I'd separate the pair, then. Don't know how many tanks you have to work with or how long you'd want to house the extraneous fish that won't fit into a community, but I'd either plan on a single male, preferably the less aggressive one at this point, or attempt putting the two females together-- if that didn't work at first you might be able to divide them for a while with a see through divider, then put them together a little later. I've done that and had it work. Then, in time you might find takers for the remaining fish, sometimes it just takes a while.

Not perfect solutions, but a couple of ideas. :)
Yes, so this is my next dilemma. I only have 1 quarantine tank. I can't get any new fish until someone takes the other keyholes (which is driving me insane, as i've been waiting so long to get fish for this tank lol). Also, if I move the pair out into the quarantine and move the not-so-aggressive male into the main tank, they will have to live with the female Keyhole. Worse case scenario I could keep her in a bucket.... :uhoh:

Do you think just keeping 1 male or 1 female from the pair would work? Or I should stick to the male I have in quarantine? I'd like to avoid mixing the 2 females or possibly using a divider.

Thanks for all the help. I don't really know anyone else to ask about this issue.
 
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