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Tough Fish Vs Tough Fish

Mixing fish isn't a straightforward matter. Some experienced hobbyists do manage to combine rather nasty sorts (eg cichlids, big catfish), while others wind up with a solitary, super-aggressive fish with a big grin on its face!

Here's How You Can Keep The Tough Guys Together?

  • Pick companion fish that are equally aggressive.

  • Less aggressive fish should be somewhat bigger than more aggressive ones.

  • Start with young fish - they will get accustomed to each other's presence before they mature and become more territorial.

  • Rearrange decorations before adding new fish to break up established territories.

  • Watch new additions closely for a few days and remove them if they are constantly being harassed.

  • Get a tank that's big enough for all to co-exist peacefully. Fish that get along well in a 100-gallon aquarium might turn enemies in a 40-gallon one.

Will They Be Buddies Or Enemies

How doss a fish hobbyist determine the compatibility of different species of fish when stocking a community aquarium?

Size Matters

One of the most obvious clues is to go by relative size. Very small fish like neon tetras are prone to becoming victims - they have those nice, easy-to-swallow, torpedo-shaped bodies and they aren't particularly good at getting away.

The general rule of thumb is: "If it fits in the mouth, it goes into the mouth." Most fish, even peaceful ones, have no aversion to making a meal of their smaller tankmates if given the opportunity. 

Species like the long-whiskered catfish, which are kept for their scavenging habits are actually rather efficient predators. Many of these not only have rather large mouths, but also feed at night, when many of the other fish are resting at the bottom.

Meek Or Mean

Aside from looking at the comparative sizes of the fish, we also need to know their "personalities" to gauge whether they'll be the "buddy-buddy" or "bitey-bitey" types. Many popular and harmless-looking tropical fish get their kicks from chasing and nipping their tankmates. Schooling fish like barbs, tetras and danios also have a tendency to nip each other occasionally.

Angelfish , fancy goldfish and guppies, with their long fins and slow movements, are likely targets of fin nippers. They make excellent community tank specimens, but putting them into a small tank with aggressive types like tiger barbs is asking for trouble!

To avoid fin-nipping problems, combine fish that are equally aggressive and fast moving or which hang out in different areas of the aquarium. You could also try housing them in a bigger tank. Fin-nipping will also be much less of a problem if fish are kept in bigger groups - tiger barbs may be quite content to chase around a dozen of their own kind, instead of hassling the other fish.


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