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Should I let them duke it out?

I have six parrots in a 75 gallon tank. I have a tunnel, a large corner cave and a pot with many holes to swim through. My water perameters are good except my ph is low. It goes up with my weekly water change and back down a day later. I have tried adding stabilizer but it does not seem to be working. I have had this problem since the end of December. I have had my parrots divided in half with three on each side becuase they have been fighting or trying to breed or something. I have three large parrots that keep picking on my medium parrot. It starts with with one large parrot bullying him and than the other two large ones join in. They hunt him down into all the caves they can fit in or wait until he comes out. They push him and when he swims away the chase him. They almost killed him 3 weeks ago, which is why I divided them. Today I lifted the divider to see how they do. They went right back to picking on him and they single him out and gang up on him. Sometimes the one getting picked on fights back, (they are trying to be dominant by pushing on each others lips). The bullies sometimes push the other smaller two parrots I have too but not as much. I don't know what else to do. I do not have the option of setting up another tank and I don't want to sell my parrots. Also, I know it has nothing to do with there size but it is a little strange that my three largest ones are beating on the smaller ones. I believe The one they single out is a male, and I think the one that starts the bullying is a female but I am not sure. Should I divide them again or let them duke it out? Or would it be a good idea to get a school of small tetras to distract them? If yes would neons work?



Since getting rid of some of them or setting up a new tank isn't an option you are limited on solutions. You can try to get a school of dither fish to distract them and see how that goes. Another option is to take the fish out of the tank and rearrange the decorations and then place them back into the tank and everyone has to find a new territory. If neither one of those options work you may lose some of your smaller fish due to stress and possibly hunger if the other fish don't allow the smaller ones to eat. There is also the possibility that your larger Parrots will eat your tetras and you will be back to square one. Well you can always continue having a divider in your tank.

Everyone is able to eat the same, at least no one has bullied when it is time to eat. I have rearanged the tank at least five times. I have the one that bullies the most in time out now using the divider. I got some neon tetras, so far the parrots are not trying to eat them but are curious. I dont want to use the divider for the rest of their lives, it is not fair to them to not have the swim of the whole tank. It has almost been a month since this has been happening. If it was a spawning thing would it be over by now? How long does that last and why do they single the one parrot out the most? All the parrots are kind of picking on each other but they really torture just the one. I just do not want them to kill each other. I might sell them to the store even though I do not want that and start over with just two parrots and than add some fun schooling tetras. I dont want to sell them to a store because I am afraid they wont get a good home. I am just really frustrated about it at this point and whatever I do nothing makes them stop.

Danni don't get frustrated when it comes to keeping cichlids it is a trial and error thing. Most Cichlids are territorial their aggessiveness ranges from passive to just plain terrors, but each fish has its own personality. It sounds to me like it is a territory situation and if you have already rearranged your decor with no success then it just may be the particular fish you have may not want the new visitors in their territory. One of the parent species of BP's is the midas and when they want an unwanted fish out of their territory they will beat it to death. Your fish due to their mouths deformation can't do alot of damage but they can stress out your baby BP's. You can either replace the largest bully and see if things settle down or you can replace the young BP that gets picked on and see if everything settles. It would be nice if you had an extra tank so you can remove certain individuals and see how the dynamics of the tank change so you can make a more informed decision on which BP or BPs to get rid of so you can have a balanced tank. JMO

Yeah it is kind of goofy because they have lived in peace for the last four years all together. The one they pick the most is my oldest fish. He is six years. I might sell the main bully back and see what happens, but right now he is in time out divided from the rest. The rest of them poke at the other one but not as much or as hard as the one in time out did. I kind of want to sell the three large ones and get a smaller red parrot I saw. I am not sure what the fish store would think if I sold three and bought one more. Than my tank would only have four. Or my other thought was to only keep two parrots and get a pair of rainbow cichlids. It is heartbreaking to bring them to the store. But when they almost killed one parrot and wont leave him alone i am afraid it wont stop until that parrot is dead. I wish I had an extra tank but I am currently living at my parents and should be moving out soon and I dont want to move two tanks and my parents dont want me to set up another tank. I have a 29 gallon that I might be able to talk them into letting me set up but I doubt it. Plus I would only want to to keep one parrot in there. I guess I just want them to be happy and safe from each other. Not sure what my other options would be other than to sell some back.

Hi, I am having a similar problem! I have a 55 gal tank with one 6 inch blood parrot and one 6 inch oscar. I was advised that the fish would get along fine but literally all day the parrot rams the oscar and smashes him into the sides of the tank. Oscar is not fighting back, I kinda thought this would be the other way round if anything.

Is there any way they will stop behaving like this or will I have to rehome the parrot? I have tried re-arranging the tank and currently have a divider in there which is not ideal for growth. Any advice?

Many thanks, Klare.

Klare, Do you have any other fish in the tank? How many hiding places do they have? I have rearanged many times added different hiding places added tetras to distract them, nothing has worked. I am afraid I am going to have to sell some of my parrots. My guess is your parrot is territorial like mine are. Was the parrot there first? he probably thinks the whole tank is his. I dont think I have much adivce for you since I am in the same situation. Maybe give them each a few hiding places on each side of the tank with the divider, let them get settled in them and than remove the divider maybe than they will establish territories. I just have three parrots that think the whole tank is there territory. It is quite frustrating since I do not want them to kill each other.

Klare it is recomended that oscars have a 55 gallon all to themselves because of the amount of waste they produce(urine,feces,and food). Also oscars are fish that are happier being the dominant fish and if they aren't the dominant fish they tend to get stressed out. There may come a time as your oscar grows that it may become more aggressive once it reaches sexual maturity but you never know. I think around 8 inches your oscar should be sexually mature and then you may have an all out war on your hands and you may have to make a decision on who you would like to keep the most. JMO

Okay well I called the trusted fish store and they said they dont take blood parrots but they take everything else pretty much. I have been going there for years and have traded fish with them. Maybe I just caught the wrong person. So now I am going to be on my way to get some black widow tetras, I hope this works! Otherwise if no one will take them and they dont stop fighting I fear they will pick each other off one by one.

I would try adding some dither fish to your tank. I was having a similar problem to this when I first got my BPs, they were constantly picking on each other. I added 3 Black Widow Tetras to the tank and since then they have been getting along just fine. BW tetras worked really well for a couple of reasons.

First, they are VERY fast and the BP's can't catch them. My parrots would chase them around for a while but didn't get close, this seemed to tire the BP's and they eventually chilled out.

Second, the tetras seem to prefer open water in the middle or top part of the tank and as such they don't wander around the BP's hiding places. This is good because the BP's can be territorial and hate it when other fish invade their space.

After I added the tetras and everybody mellowed out for a month or two I was able to add some angelfish that look really good in the tank. As of this writing everybody is happy, healthy and curious and don't fight each other at all (even at feeding time!)

I tried adding some neons. Maybe I need bigger tetras. It distracts them for a second but then back to the chasing and ramming. Maybe I should try some black widows. Or maybe a couple need to go back to the store. I am torn. I love my parrots, but I dont want to worry about there safety when I am not able to watch. Adding a few tetras would be good for Klare probably since she as the two fish. Might distract the Bp from the oscar.

yea, I tried some neons first too but they didn't work. I think they are just too small for the BPs to take seriously. Based on my tank I'd recommend getting 3-4 medium sized black widow tetras and see how that works. Since black widows have big flaring fins I think it sort of intimidates the BPs a little bit because they think the tetras are bigger than they actually are, and the tetras are so fast that the BPs have no hope of ever catching them, just using up all their extra energy trying :)

Thanks maybe I will try that. I also like the congo tetras but I dont know if they are fast enough.

driftwood and boglog lower ph. any real wood will lower it. ph isn't very important when dealing with parrots. they are good in 6-8 ph. what you don't want to do is cause ph swings by adding chemicals to raise your ph quickly. these chemicals are a very short solution they last about 24 hours. for a more stable ph and to raise it you could fill a filter bag with crushed coral and put it in your filter. they do make buffers that will make your water harder and that will make the chemicals work better, but then you are spending too much money on water changes and causing ph swings. limestone, texas holey rock, and some others will raise your ph slower and without adding too much to your expense.

Yeah, I just got a few more medium sized tetras and let the bully out, now the big ones are bullying each other, which I do not mind as much. Hopefully it will all stop soon. I have one tunnel and one blue pot with multiple exits and enterances. The small ones get through easily the bigger ones can get through but they have to go on there side and back out, they dont go through all the way. It is too uncomfortable for them. The funny part about it is the medium one getting picked on doesnt hide. He kinda floats at the top waiting for someone to pick on him, I am sure it is stress. And he runs so they chase. I am not sure how too sex them exactly. I have read things on it. I cant really tell by the fins and they get so excited when I come close to look at them underneath. The other thing is they do poke him underneath by his private area if thats what you want to call it. I guess I would have to net them to look. Most of them have the pointy dorsal fin. Except the one that does most of the chasing. I think it may be a female. I will try turning down the temp see if that helps.

parrots have big breeding tubes. if you look next to the anus, you should be able to see the breeding tube. males have pointy breeding tubes V shaped. females are wider and rounded U shaped.

Should I have a certain amount of females for every male? What combinations work best? I will try and sex them tomorrow. I was all ready to exchange some at the store. But they did not have room for them. I can’t find anyone who wants to help find a couple of them some good homes. I feel even if I removed two from the tank things would settle down. I have a 29 gal I could possibly set up temporarily but not welcomed in the house I live in now. Maybe I will do that. If I set up another tank should I move one or could I move two, 29 gallons is not very big at all. I know the original rule is 30 gallons per fish and ten after that. Thanks, for your advice.

I checked for mail and female parrots this morning, based on what you told me I think I have 3 mature males and one female. I also looked at the two I have that are just a year or so old, I couldnt tell as well but I think on is male and one is female. But they are not they problem and they are not really involved. I have a corner cave which is big enough for two parrots. I believe one male and the female are staying in there. If anyone gets close they fly out and nudge them until they are at a distance they like. The other one I believe is a male is the one that is the main bully and usually starts all the fights. He wasnt really picking on the "corner cave couple" but on my other medium sized parrot, I call Bennie. Now any time he tries to pick on bennie the male from the corner cave comes out and defends bennie (who I also believe is a male). The strange thing is that bennie doesnt hide. Also, I was watching them last night in the dark when they were relaxing and everybody looked like they had a comfortable territory. Bennie was in the blue cups pot and the bully wasnt far in the strawberry clay pot. the bully would chase Bennie out of his cups and over to the corner and the couple would chase him out of the corner and it was like he couldnt stay anywhere, that all the other fish said no room here. I feel like there are plenty of hiding spots and small places he could go to. I will try adding a large plant or two in the middle, since they are at it again this morning.

the reason i asked about the sex of the fish is that it sounded to me like male cichlid pick up lines. the males try to prove they are strong so the females will pair up and breed with them. some of the more aggressive species can actually kill the female trying to impress her. with 3 males, they are all trying to get her to pair up with them instead of the compitition. this is just a theory. new world cichlids are monogomous. they don't pair for life, but they don't jump from one partner to the next. you could trade one of your males for a female and that might solve your problem. or get 2 females. i have 2 males together and they are good friends. it just depends on the fish. they are hybrids so their personalities vary alot between fish.

Yeah I think you maybe right. Because the female doesnt get involved has much as the three males, but it seems to me that only two males actually want to mate with her. The one be bullied the most kind of minds his own bussiness. I just called my fish store and they wont even trade with me. No room. I guess. The clerk said to give it away on craigslist. No thanks. I would rather give him up for adoption on this site, if anyone wants a male yellow parrot let me know. Wink wink. Except I am not sure how they do in shipping. I live in the U.S. I would love to have them all but is it for there own good to part separate ways? Will they kill each other or do you think eventually they will stop? It has been going on about a month now. It is like a sea of yellow orange shoving all day.

they can be shipped. maybe your lfs will package them for you. they put in a heat pack and oxygen. then you have to ship overnight. i don't have any room:)

Thanks for all the help everyone. Just in the last hour things have settled down. Still a little nudging but the bully is tired and hiding. He got a taste of his own medicine. Hopefully he continues to behave and they put him in his place. I will keep you updated.

do you know how to sex parrots? could the three big ones all be male and the little one female?
anyway, you could put a small cave of some sort that is too small for the big ones to get into. make sure there are multiple exits. plants help to get victim fish out of the direct line of sight. one thing to remember is that each fish needs a territory or hideout. keeping your tank temp below 80 will reduce aggression. 76-80 is fine.