My Clarkiis are playing up - need some advice!

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  • Graeme
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Here's the story so far...

I bought two Fiji bluestripe clarkiis a few months ago.  They were in the same tank in the lfs.  Although not a pair when caught, they were from the same region, so the lfs put them in together and they seemed happy.  I bought them, and put them in my QT to find after a few days the much larger female chasing the male.  That continued when I added them to my main tank.  She never did any damage, and he never seemed stressed, so I left them to it. 

Last night the female was nipping at her nem, which I've read is a pre-spawning activity.  It makes the nem withdraw its tentacle in that area, which is where the eggs are then laid (normally on a flat bit of rock/weir/glass nearby).  The tentacles then extend back over a few days and wave about over the eggs, which my be something to do with how the babies pick up their preference for a particular nem (apparently).  I didn't get too excited about this as the male was still over the other side of the tank - no sign of them pairing up.

Today, when I came home, I found the two of them together in and around the nem, circling, the female mouthing, and darting about.  I got excited then, and filmed this:


However, an hour later, the small male was attacking the female, and tearing her fins to sheds!!!

I decided to catch the female and sump her.  Here are some photos of the damage.

I want to confirm with you guys that this does all appear to be damage, as I have also been wondering if she could have Brooklynella  :O  These clowns are known to be susceptible to that.  I wondered if maybe the male could tell she was weak, and took the chance to fight his way into the nem.

Another thought was that the excitement of breeding set the male off on his rampage.

What do you think? 

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #1

Update...

She's dead  :cry:

I thoroughly checked the body, and I'm pretty sure what looked like white marks in the picks above is damage, rather than a parasite.  I've also rewatched the video, and I don't think she has any marks at that point, so it appears it was the male just flipping out that did it  :angry:

mav469

  • Ashley
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Reply #2

Sorry to hear that mate. You gonna keep him for a few months then get a small male? All is men flip at women at some point. They need putting in their place!! Looks like he went a bit psychotic though.

Mike

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Reply #3

Wow that's a big Clarkii! My "bulldog" is about the size of your recently departed.  :(

It did just look like damage to me. They've got teeth so they can easily shred the membrane from between the spines leaving it looking like that.

I have a feeling you'll end up with other troubles with a Clarkii that large. They're like bulls in china shops and rarely give in to a fight.

I'd keep my eye on the big guy. If he does cause other problems, then maybe he'd be better in someone's "big fish" tank, with triggers, angels, and others who can look after themselves.
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HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #4

It's the little one that killed the big one!  Nuts, as she's always bossed him about until today.

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #5

Sorry to hear that mate. You gonna keep him for a few months then get a small male? All is men flip at women at some point. They need putting in their place!! Looks like he went a bit psychotic though.
Never say never, but I'm happy to stick with one for now.  I would love to see them breed, but not sure I want to risk introducing another, with this one being so aggressive just now.  I have my anthias to introduce (I might do that tomorrow, as I'm thinking I can then move one of the little pumps I have in the QT in temporarily whilst I sort out a new powerhead.  I'll move the coral and brittle star too, so the QT will remain with just LR for now - therefore only need a small pump to keep the water moving for a few days.

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #6

This was just before I took her out and sumped her :huh:

carlcall

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Reply #7

Sorry for the loss Graeme!

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Carol

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Reply #8

Im so sorry to hear this but ive got a theory...


Looking at the way she was circling and the twitching which is more of a seizure than  the m8ing dance id say it was a parasite eg worm in the brain , tumour there or even a problem with the liver which will cause seizures .


He can smell this or sense this in some way  and thats why hes attacking her.


Fish do this exagerated circling prior to death  in many cases, in the first few moments of the first video look at her its almost as if shes losing balance  . He swimming is not spawning behaviour but IMO illness bless her . Sadly nothing could have been done  ,as im sure she has had this brewing a long time its just tipped over.

In the very last moments of the last video shes doing the death dance and she was doing that in the first video , before she was attacked ,although not so obviously . Maybe ive seen too many fish die  :cry:

Like us we dont all make old age.


If she was mine thats what id think, difficult to prove tho and im still so very sorry for you and her .
Last Edit: Feb 15, 2015 8:18:23 am by Carol
Do not mock the snake because it has no horns.For who is to say that one day it may become a dragon,as one just man may become an army...Water Margin.

HK_Fuey

  • Graeme
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Reply #9

Thanks Carol.  That's an interesting theory.  I'm sure you have way more experience of this than me  :O so happy to take your word for it.  In hind sight, and looking for the signs you've described, it does look less like a breeding dance, and more like something's wrong.  Also having since watched a few clips of Clarkii breeding dances, there are a lot of standard things that are missing.  Well, she was huge when I got her, so I've no idea how old she was.  It could've been all sorts of things, as you say.  She seemed perfectly normal until the night before last.  :( 

Carol

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Reply #10

Yes bless her they do keep it together very well till the end ,they have to , its that funny circling thing that is the danger sign . Why he attacked her is she became a liability and in a way its a mercy of sorts. Also how she curled when he went in , normal behaviour would be to run or defend .


I seem to remember Mark Flynn-Ryan of TMC saying they had a 25 year old Clown there? or had had it 25 years ,im sure if it wasnt him it was some one , but I bet it never bred much or wasnt female . 



If a wolf becomes ill quite often the rest of the pack will go in  , the sick wolf brings the pack down  , the needs of the many  being more important than the one if i can  quote Star Trek. Its the same instinct that makes us  or many of us dislike things that are not the same , eg kids will pick on the one ginger kid , or the fat kid. We are programmed and have less free will than we would like to think  :O


Im quite positive this is the problem but what exactly she had is debateable . Shes free now and it was quick .
Do not mock the snake because it has no horns.For who is to say that one day it may become a dragon,as one just man may become an army...Water Margin.

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