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Nannacara anomala aggression! Advice needed.

ghotilurk

New Member
Messages
10
Hi all! I am new here. I've had a 20 gallon for the past couple of years with a male nannacara anomala, and a group of endlers. When I bought my first nannacara, he was all alone and was being bullied by a betta at my local fish store, so I took him home. However, despite constant searching over the past year, I was never able to find more nannacara companions for him. I finally found some last week (they were mislabeled as an apistogramma species), and bought a pair of juveniles to take home. All seemed to be going well, but then my endlers kept dying, and I soon realized that my new nannacaras may be the culprits. I have not seen them outright attack the endlers, but there is definitely a lot of chasing going on. I have isolated the two new nannacaras in a breeding box for the time being while I figure out my options.

My original nannacara male has been extremely peaceful, and is actually on the timid side. I have had absolutely no issues with him being aggressive toward other fish, and have also read that nannacara anomala are one of the most peaceful cichlid varieties, and this has been my experience until now. However, my only experience has been with a singleton fish, so pecking order behaviour/male to male aggression/breeding behaviour etc. is all new to me. I've also read mixed information about the best pairing for these fish; I've read that they are best in a harem of one male to two females, but have also read that they do better in pairs. So I'm a little at a loss as to what the situation is in my tank, and what to do. My hope was to wait until both fish were old enough to properly sex before making a decision about which pairing I would keep.

Since my new nannacaras are juvenile, I can't sex them with 100% accuracy, but I'm pretty sure one is a male and one is a female. Based on this, I was told in another forum that the presence of another male may have caused some aggression to the endlers as the males are trying to "show off" their strength to the female. Another theory is that the female may be more the culprit if she is in breeding mood. But I'm thinking because these guys are just juveniles that they would not have exhibited that type of behaviour just yet. Am I wrong on that? Does this behaviour start when they are still young?

Anyway, I think my main question is the following: if I remove one male, and only keep one male and one female, should aggression toward my endlers dissipate? Would aggression become a thing again if the pair bred? Or would I be better off getting another female and creating a harem? Would that balance aggression better? I'm hoping I will be able to keep a small schooling fish variety along with my nannacara group, but don't want to subject them to constant terrorization! Any advice appreciated to help me figure out the best balance in my tank.
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Messages
10,464
Location
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I haven't kept/bred N. anomala for the last 30 years, but when I did I found them more 'out-going' than most apistos. Your original male seems to be more mellow than most males. Females tend to be quite assertive. I also found that females can be nasty, especially when protecting fry. Just how small are your juveniles? I always bred this species as pairs. As long as there was somewhere for the male to hide when the female was brooding fry I left the pair together. Still, I always kept a careful eye on aggression from the female. If there was, then I would pull the male. One of the most interesting things I witnessed was when a pair bred. The female died shortly after the fry became freeswimming. The male not only took on the duty of raising the fry, but also developed a paler version of the female's brood pattern.
 

Aquazone

New Member
Messages
1
Mike makes a lot of good points. When breeding and then afterwards, those little females can become firecrackers. Males run for the hills. Depends on the tank size, too. I give mine plenty of room to hide when he's not wanted around. I've never had them pair off as harems, they've always been one-on-one. I'd keep one pair together and get the others somewhere else. You'll see when two start taking affinity to each other. Those Endlers will actually help keep the peace, as dithers give the parents something else to concentrate on rather than each other.
 

ghotilurk

New Member
Messages
10
I haven't kept/bred N. anomala for the last 30 years, but when I did I found them more 'out-going' than most apistos. Your original male seems to be more mellow than most males. Females tend to be quite assertive. I also found that females can be nasty, especially when protecting fry. Just how small are your juveniles? I always bred this species as pairs. As long as there was somewhere for the male to hide when the female was brooding fry I left the pair together. Still, I always kept a careful eye on aggression from the female. If there was, then I would pull the male. One of the most interesting things I witnessed was when a pair bred. The female died shortly after the fry became freeswimming. The male not only took on the duty of raising the fry, but also developed a paler version of the female's brood pattern.
Thank you so much for your response! It's good to hear feedback from someone with experience breeding these guys. Good to know about pairing them, I think it makes sense then that I should take my other male back to the store, and keep the new female with my original male as a couple. Maybe I'll try that first and see how the endlers do without the added aggression in the tank of an extra male. If there's continued aggression from the female to the endlers, maybe I'll trade them in for some bigger top swimmers or something. Thank you!
 

ghotilurk

New Member
Messages
10
Mike makes a lot of good points. When breeding and then afterwards, those little females can become firecrackers. Males run for the hills. Depends on the tank size, too. I give mine plenty of room to hide when he's not wanted around. I've never had them pair off as harems, they've always been one-on-one. I'd keep one pair together and get the others somewhere else. You'll see when two start taking affinity to each other. Those Endlers will actually help keep the peace, as dithers give the parents something else to concentrate on rather than each other.

Thank you for your response! Some helpful advice there. I think I'm going to keep the new female juvenile and take the new male juvenile back to the store, and see if that helps. Good to know about the dither fish too - hopefully my female won't be too aggressive toward them. If she is, I think maybe I'll see about trying a different breed for dithers, maybe some bigger tetras or something. Thanks!
 

anewbie

Active Member
Messages
279
I have one male with two females. I frequently see the male trying to court both females but don't have any confirmed eggs though I'm pretty sure one has laid eggs but never seen frys. This is a 40B that is extremely dense making it hard to see in nook and corners esp in the back. It is not a breeding tank - but a community tank with some cockatoo and various surface dithers (kubotai rasbora and similar) as well as a school of orange laser cory and pygmy cory. The two females do not exactly like each other but will tolerate each other. The cockatoo females have chosen their corners and mostly there is harmony.
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The only thing i'm really adding is the male willingness to court both females.
 

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