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Behaviors? Normal or weird

I recently rescued   3 parrot fish(Larry, Moe and Curly) from Walmart.  They were in tiny tiny tank with many shark fish .  I had been fighting with this Walmart because the conditions were so horrible and one of the original 4 parrots ended up dying. The manager of the store said she would donate the fish if I got the tank for them, so I got a 30 gallon tank for the 3.( they will be upgraded to 75galloon soon)  They have been doing great in the 3 weeks that I've had them.  They are growing and colors are getting brighter, but I did notice that one has developed blackish spots along spine and tips of fins are blackish. I added stresscoat to the water yesterday.  The water is checked daily and is fine.  They have caves and plants to hide in , so I'm not sure why Larry is getting black spots.  Today I noticed that Larry and Moe are circling each other and then will eventually ram each other,  I'm not sure if this is fighting (they look more like dancing and kissing).  Its been about 16 years since I had Parrot Cichlids so all this behavior is new to me.    I am so glad this community exists,  any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Okay, first-off: Are you sure they were placed-in with a true, shark-like predator--such as Oscars? Or was it just a species that resembles sharks? As some catfish & minnow geniuses do. Being familiar with Wal-Mart's practices of stocking live-fish, I'm betting it's the former... I have never seen them place Parrot Cichlids in with any type of "shark". Angelfish with Tetras, yes!... But I'll go into that later.

So you've seen a pair circling each-other? And you say they're "ramming" one-another as well? And the ramming is head-on, and appears as if they're kissing? Well, have I news for you!... If you watch closely, you'll see they aren't rinming, but attempting to lockdown on each-other's lips, with the "captured" one trying to break-away. This is how the Parrot Cichlid pairing dance goes... which means Larry or Moe might be a Laverne or Maureen, respectively, and they will soon be mating. And if their attempts are successful--a rare chance at the hobby-level--then you will have effectively won the lottery, as purebred Parrot Cichlids are a scarce strain... and worth allot of money! Just look what they sell for at even your common superstore, compared to what other species they sell--it's insane!!

A few black marks, you say? Is the water alright? If so, it could just be a matter of minor-level stress, much like what my male--Zipper--recently showed, which passed with an adjustment of diet: placing enough pellets and flakes in the tank to satisfy the entire community--2 BPs, 3 Glo-Fish Tetras and 2 Iridescent Sharks--without there being wasted food.

Finally, I'd like to commend and congradulate in winning your fight with Wal-Mart in regards to ethical & conscientious stocking of live-fish. It is all-too-often that both management and employees of such places are ignorant of proper fishkeeping, and it's the fish that pay for it. I myself have a Wal-Mart fish-rescue story of four juvenile black-marbled Angelfish found placed with Tetras... TETRAS!! A know fin-nipper, that reduced the beautiful finnage of these babies to nubs! I pointed this out the the man attending to the tanks at that moment, and he agreed: they way less-knowledgeable employees treat the stock is a shame! Fortunately, because I was low of money at the moment, I was able to convince him to bag & price those "wounded" angels for me at the [much-lower] price asked for Tetras. But sadly, only one survived quarantine... And little Chop-top's fins fully grew back, and he reached full-maturity by the time I gave him away--to a reputable live-fish shop, that is. 

May my feedback serve you and others well... and may my story strengthen all whom strive for proper fishkeeping in their fight to see it done, at all levels.


Thanks for your feedback...this was some interesting information.  As of Sunday, the circle dancing and kissing has stopped, Larrys black spots are almost gone, just small one one his tail remains.  Curly is socializing with both of them again (he stayed on one side of the tank while this was going on).  I will be upgrading them to an 80 gallon tank soon. 

   Your walmart story sounds so familiar, it is really sad how these fish are treated.  At least at this store the manager has put a new person in charge of the fish area and he seemed to care about the care and treatment of the fish.