Red Devil pairs: Disaster waiting to happen?

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tino giardina

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Dec 5, 2002
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hi,

I just bought a pair of red devils a couple of days ago the female is around 15cm long whilst the male is twice her size. Anyway the male keeps on pushing the female around and nipping on her fins.
There in a 55g with no other fish

I was wondering if 1) i should separate the 2 by a barrier that is big enough for the female or 2) get rid of the male and find one that is smaller or the same size.

Is it hard to rematch up a pair? Also the male is very scared of me when i come near he swims away. Do u think that he is timid or itll just take time for him to get his agression back.

Regards tino
 

AikidoGuy

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Jul 3, 2001
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if they are a true pair keep em, they arent easy to get a pair out of , they usually kill each other before that. i would HIGHLY suggest a divider, mine used to beat my female in a 220gallon tank! click on my www below and you can see what he did to her.
 

Rare Cichlids

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Dec 2, 2000
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A 55g is on the small side for fish of these size, and if you can give them something larger like a 75g or bigger, it would help with aggression and make them more comfortable.

But until that happens, (if it ever happens), you probably should put in an egg crate divider. You can by egg crate diffuser for flourescent lights at most hardware stores. Just cut it to shape and place it in the tank. You can hold it in place with gravel, rocks, suction cups, twine, just whatever gets it to stay put. You can cut a whole big enough for the female but to small for the male. That way if she is being picked on she can get away. But this will take even more space away from the larger male.

So ultimately, you will probably have to either move them to a larger tank or keep only one of them (and that may still be cramped).

Good luck
 

Mcdaphnia

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I would suggest the divider method and keep them in the small tank. Use a thick glass divider siliconed in to the tank, but with about half an inch open at the bottom. (It may help to have a "roof" of glass glued at the top to prevent the fish from forcing its way over the divider.) Give the female at least half the room, regardless of the size difference. Set up a power filter so that water is taken from the female's side of the tank but returned to the male's. This will cause a current under the divider from the male's side to the female's. Put a flat rock or whateever the female likes to spawn on right by the divider up against the open slot at the bottom. When the female spawns the male will see what is happening and be able to fertilize some of the eggs through the slot. Some is usally more than enough red devil eggs to overload most hobbyist style fry-raising systems.

Keeping the tank small increased the odds of the male being able to fertilize more eggs. He is more likely to see and react to the females' spawning activities. The small volume keeps his milt from diluting as quickly while it circulates toward the eggs. Excellent filtration, and meticulous water change and maintenance habits are important to success with this method.
 

STUNNA

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Dec 4, 2002
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I wouldn't use a glass divider(I never had fantastic results with it, plus it's not easy to size and it's more permant than egg-crating once you silicone it in), I've bred jaguars and other large cichlids before (chocolates, rd, gt) and I think that the plastic egg crating works the best(cheap, strong, and easily trimmable to fit any tank). It's available at just about any hardware store, plus it is well ventilated and solves the filtration and water movement issue.
 

Mcdaphnia

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For aggressive fish like red devils, red terrors, and T. buttikofferi, the glass divider is more permanent than an egg crate divider. That is a good thing. These fish can make an egg crate divider a lot more temporary than you thought it would be. Also once the eggs hatch, the egg crate will allow the fry free reign of the whole tank. If the male is not a good father, the fry will dwindle in number. Fast!

If you do use an egg crate divider, they will still shatter it unless you double it a certain way. If you just double it with the two panels touching, they will shatter one piece at a time. Put two together laced with airline tubing so that there is about an airline tubing's space inbetween the two panels.When they bend the panel to shatter it, it will bend slightly and touch the other panel, gaining support, and not break. Lace it to a piece of egg crate like a floor along the tank bottom, and to a piece like a ceiling that is either laced to a center brace or cut to fit the whole top with access cutouts.

Breaking things is their hobby, so unless it's a permanent divider, it's not much of a divider at all.
 

Rare Cichlids

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For this guy to install the glass divider he would have to empty all the water in the tank and remove the fish for a few days for the silicone to dry. Then that would only be giving a 12" fish 1' x 2' of space, permanantly. I've use the egg crate divider a lot. Egg crate is recommended by the pro's and I've found it to be very good, even for very large very aggressive cichlids. And if the Red Devils are really a bonded pair, it's doubtful they will hate each other enough to be trying to break down the divider.
 

Mcdaphnia

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RC, if "this guy" only has one 55, you're right, he'd have fish living in buckets or something while the silicone dried. However if he is serious about breeding red devils, he's going to need some tanks to grow out fry anyway, so getting a new tank ready for them and using the old 55 as a fry tank later would work.

I probably fit your definition of a "pro", and I have used egg crate dividers and I suggest them when the fish are appropriate. If you have aggressive cichlids that can break egg crate, it's risky.

Egg crate used to be a full half inch thick with the grid crosspieces on half inch centers. It is now thinner and more flexible and the grid is on wider centers, so there is much less strength in it than there used to be. Ten or twenty years ago I would have used egg crate with pairs that today would smash it in no time.

I too have some concerns about giving a fish some space. However if you want that males' attention on the female, and you want him close to the breeding site, keeping that space to a minumum is going to help. He still enjoys the water quality of the whole tank he is in, since it is being filtered.

I also gave a caveat that this method is for someone with good water change and tank maintenance habits. Not all of us have the inclination or the opportunity to take that kind of care. Bigger tanks and central systems help out those of us who have little free time or a schedule that can mean we spend some work days each month on the go, perhaps out of state, or even abroad.
 

Rare Cichlids

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But thats the thing. He didn't say he was serious about breeding them.

And have you had fish break through Egg crate? I keep some pretty large fish divided with egg crate, and know of people with really large breeding pairs of cichlids such as Umbie's that are divided useing egg crate, and we've never had problems.
 
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