Lampeye Killifish Bully

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Flubberlump

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I have a problem with my lampeyes. There's a bit of a story so apologies in advance...

I had a few already, and a few months ago I bought some more, as I only had one of my original ones left - they were about 5 years old which I believe is a good age for a lampeye. A couple of days later a lot of the the new ones developed a fungus and died :( leaving me with 1 original male, who had always clearly been the dominant one, as well as four of the new ones, which were all male, and much smaller than the old one.

After a while, the old one died, presumably of old age as nothing seemed to be wrong otherwise. The new ones all suddenly put on a growth spurt and began chasing and flaring at each other, seemingly vying for dominance now that the old one had gone. One of them grew faster than the others and all settled down.

Over the last couple of weeks, this big one has been chasing the others and flaring. A lot. I noticed the other day that I was now down to 3, and could find no sign of the others. The bully then started chasing the rummynose tetras. I've been wondering for the last couple of weeks why the rummynoses have been hiding at the back of the tank where the plants are the thickest. This morning I found a dead lampeye. The bully was swimming all over the tank quite happily and the other remaining one was hiding in the water lettuce frankly looking terrified; fins clamped, fast breathing, and no lamp above his eye. The tetras were hiding at the back. I believe that the dead lampeye was probably stressed, and it dawned on me that the tetras must be hiding from the lampeye. There are 9 of them all hiding and they only come out to eat!

I think that I should try to get some more females. I can't think of any reason for this aggression other than that there are no females. I have tried to get only females before and ended up with more males, but I do appreciate how difficult it will be for the LFS to separate them. Is that the right thing to do?

Thanks in advance.
 

Girlwithwethands

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I have a problem with my lampeyes. There's a bit of a story so apologies in advance...

I had a few already, and a few months ago I bought some more, as I only had one of my original ones left - they were about 5 years old which I believe is a good age for a lampeye. A couple of days later a lot of the the new ones developed a fungus and died :( leaving me with 1 original male, who had always clearly been the dominant one, as well as four of the new ones, which were all male, and much smaller than the old one.

After a while, the old one died, presumably of old age as nothing seemed to be wrong otherwise. The new ones all suddenly put on a growth spurt and began chasing and flaring at each other, seemingly vying for dominance now that the old one had gone. One of them grew faster than the others and all settled down.

Over the last couple of weeks, this big one has been chasing the others and flaring. A lot. I noticed the other day that I was now down to 3, and could find no sign of the others. The bully then started chasing the rummynose tetras. I've been wondering for the last couple of weeks why the rummynoses have been hiding at the back of the tank where the plants are the thickest. This morning I found a dead lampeye. The bully was swimming all over the tank quite happily and the other remaining one was hiding in the water lettuce frankly looking terrified; fins clamped, fast breathing, and no lamp above his eye. The tetras were hiding at the back. I believe that the dead lampeye was probably stressed, and it dawned on me that the tetras must be hiding from the lampeye. There are 9 of them all hiding and they only come out to eat!

I think that I should try to get some more females. I can't think of any reason for this aggression other than that there are no females. I have tried to get only females before and ended up with more males, but I do appreciate how difficult it will be for the LFS to separate them. Is that the right thing to do?

Thanks in advance.
Hi there! I’ve just registered with this site just so that I could get in touch about your message above, I’ve been searching the web for advice as I’m in a very similar situation to the one you describe above.
did you ever come across any advice?
im down to 4 lampeyes now. There’s a lot of flaring and chasing going on and one seems to be bullying the others .. I think I have ended up with 3 males and one female and she is now looking very stressed -clamping.
im guessing I should buy a few more but I’m scare because ive lost 6 now. I’ve been checking my water parameters regularly, all seems perfect.
do you know if clamping in lamp eyes is symptomatic of some issue in particular or is it just generally a sign of stress?
I have them in with a very chilled out Beta fish who’s been fine throughout and I’m pretty posetive he’s not bothering them at all.
any advice or pointers would be sooo good to hear. Really hope your bully mellowed and alls going well in your tank now?
 

Rocky998

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Hi there! I’ve just registered with this site just so that I could get in touch about your message above, I’ve been searching the web for advice as I’m in a very similar situation to the one you describe above.
did you ever come across any advice?
im down to 4 lampeyes now. There’s a lot of flaring and chasing going on and one seems to be bullying the others .. I think I have ended up with 3 males and one female and she is now looking very stressed -clamping.
im guessing I should buy a few more but I’m scare because ive lost 6 now. I’ve been checking my water parameters regularly, all seems perfect.
do you know if clamping in lamp eyes is symptomatic of some issue in particular or is it just generally a sign of stress?
I have them in with a very chilled out Beta fish who’s been fine throughout and I’m pretty posetive he’s not bothering them at all.
any advice or pointers would be sooo good to hear. Really hope your bully mellowed and alls going well in your tank now?
Could be stressed. Betta fish are not good community fish and are territorial. This could cause issues.
How big is the tank?
Even 6, while that is a good school number can be small. I would say for red eye tetras (another name for lamp eyes), to do about 9 minimum but 11 would be a good amount.
The smaller the school and the higher amount of males it will definitely get aggressive.
So the larger the school is always better and you always want more females than males in the group.

Could we see a picture of the tank and the fish? This would help us A TON more with seing if there are other issues.
Also could we have exact numbers on the test results you got?
 

GaryE

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So, stage one. I have been a lampeye breeder for years, and first problem is I don't know what a lampeye is here. There are a lot of different species called lampeyes, and their behaviour can be radically different. You may not even have the same species.
So what do you have?
And in both cases, how much filtration do you have creating current in the tank?
 

Girlwithwethands

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Thanks so much for your messages and queries! took me a while to realise my message had really received 2 reply’s. amazing! I’ve only just registered here - now a thrilled first time forum user! Thanks again, I’ll try to explain…

Apologies for not clarifying the fish.. I’m talking about the Normans Lampeye killifish, with the most beautiful blue eye., apologies I don’t know the technical name.

re the tank
I’m afraid I don’t actually know the filters flow rate and I’m a bit scared someone is now going to tell me off because… the tank is a BiOrb (bowl)
its 30L
‘planted‘ with epiphytes and Valisenaria(?) and some floating rooty stems,
ill attach a photo, lights currently ‘off‘ - but i do have concerns and wanted to query the blue light which the BiOrb uses at night… I should tape this up shouldn’t I? Could it be stressing the lampeyes out? i can’t think of a good reason for it.
I set up the tank last October with mostly new biological media and a handful from a canister filter from my other lg. established tank.
(Have been paranoid that I could have brought something bacterial/fungal in with that handful as have had those issues in other tank recenlty 🫤
cycled the Biorb for 5/6 weeks, went through little diatom stage, but then I didn’t properly re-fit the [annoying] biorb filter unit when I changed the cartridge on that 6th week *- I think this may be why I lost the first 4 out of my first group of 5. (Purchased on that 6th week 😔😥.
After 2 weeks just 1 male Lampeye remained, seemingly strong/resilient throughout.
(But awfuly lonely
I lost the 4 in relativly quick succession, after making the mistake wrongly re-fitting the annoying filter cartridge.

Nitrite level went up to 1.0 before I realised the filter wasn’t clicked into place 😔
Ammonia has been at 0.
ph was 8.0 in Nov but more like 7.75 now
temperature was lower then around 22c -23c
around a month ago I raised the temperature slightly and now it’s usually between 23-24c
20-30% water changes roughly weekly, matching the temp with the tank temp.
I did do around a 50% change back when there was a nitrite spike. Always use declorintor and have been adding a bit of beneficial bacteria occasionally. Transferred plants and some Malaysian wood from my other tank when I set it up but the spider wood was new and grew the white fungus so (back in Nov.) I added 2 male neocarida shrimp and some bladder snales., and I also added half a sterile Magnolia Grandiflora leaf.

Have been feeding with a micro granual that the Lampeyes seem to really like (and beta flakes) tried them on mixed frozen food and bloodworm but most went to the bottom of tank.
ive only just heard of ’micro bloodworm’ On this page, will try to find them at LFS.

I’ve only siphoned the biological media once since set up.. Maybe not enough. Unfortunately it seems necessary to almost completely take apart a Biorb to check the build up and siphon the base and clean the media.

just after Xmas all parameters seemed perfect so I purchased 5 more lampeyes to accompany my 1 remaining male. They were reminders of the same batch at the same LFS as my previous 5.

noticed straight after putting them in tank that one had a white patch across his/her upper lip.. and was clearly much weaker than the rest though was eating.

the new group of 6 seemed to be doing well at first, settling in and working out that beta fish wasn’t being threatening, then they were shoaling together beautifully in the afternoons and evenings and I saw breeding behaviour the next morning.

then (next day) I realised I was down to just 4 Of the 6. (Tricky to tell if the original male is one of those remaining but i think so.

… Betta fish remained healthy and placid throughout, he is a long fin so the lampeyes can easily wizz away from him but because they often now get very close to him yet don’t seem threatened I don’t think he’s the problem. Atm they seem more scared of each other.

…it looks to me like I now have 3 males and either 1 much smaller male remaining /3 males and 1 poor female.

particularly one of the males was flaring to all the others and chasing. 2/3 of the males all then seemed to be having a serious ‘flare-off’ And even nipping at each other. And now no more shoaling is going on. Since then the smallest male / female has been looking terrorised and now is clamping especially her tail fin And trying to look small whenever particularly one male comes near.
my gut tells me the group has never been large enough(at all). Nowhere near enough females.

i would love to think that a slightly larger group of 10/11/12 could be happy, but very conscious that may be more than enough bioload for this biorb And perhaps there’s not enough space For them With their streamline shape.
doesn't come across in the photos but there is a much more open area at the back and some ‘floating plants’ / large leaves for shading.

Considering letting Mr Betta have the biorb where he seems so happy and moving the lampeyes somewhere else.

also considering modifying the filter unit of the Biorb so that it can hold a different kind of substrate system. Want to add more Neocaridinas / some other larger clean up crew.

perhaphs should also note the flow in the tank seems generally calm but with high surface agitation. I have a valve on the air inflow pipe and ive been turning the flow right down during feeding But generally air flow is on full power.,

If it wasn’t for the few days when they looked almost perfectly happy (except for the white patch on one of their upper lips) I’d have given up on the Biorb plan already. Still really hoping I don’t have to.

If it hadn’t been a relatively new set up I would have tried starting with a larger group from the start.
Nervous to add more especially unless I can be sure of lots of females.
Hope you don’t mind me explaining ALLL of this detail.🙏🏻

re. Photos
light is still off atm. hope photos are insightful enough? Day light is quite low level I think., on for 8 hrs, I also add a bit of light from a desk light in the evenings, perhaphs I shouldn’t do that?
Also I have been wondering ; maybe I should tape up/ find a way of getting rid of the blue night light which biorb puts on at night? maybe that’s really not helping? Surely can’t be ideal for fish. I have made sure there are lots of very shaded areas but guessing I should tape over it as much as poss/ replace the light unit and lid maybe?

I didn’t mean to write an essay 😬 apologies!
 

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GaryE

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That's a difficult one. If I had that biorb, I would not have fish in it. That's my first fundamental to bear in mind as I continue.

Why? It is beautiful, but the surface area is really small, and there 'side bulge' areas stand to be low oxygen, as oxygen exchange at the surface will be minimal. Norman's lampeye (Poropanchax normani) is a flowing water fish that needs oxygen. Mr Betta is a swamp fish and air breather because of it - its ancestors came from low oxygen waters.

I don't know whether the shape and size of that container dooms your fish, and your project. The Betta, as mellow as he is, will grab that surface opening as it will be his breathing spot, and in time, that will make life very difficult for any tankmates. As you have seen, the myth that Bettas will attack all tankmates is that - a myth. But having a fish 10 times your size owning the surface area will keep a fish like normani away from the surface. I can't imagine any fish other than a single Betta doing well in there, as fine looking as the magic ball is.

it is possible the normani group died down to the size the environment could support - one fish.

I would take a cloth and gently rub the sides of the biorb. Then wave your hands over it, wiggling your fingers. What do you see? Right, a beautiful planted aquarium in your future. The magic 8 ball has spoken.
 

sharkweek178

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That's a difficult one. If I had that biorb, I would not have fish in it. That's my first fundamental to bear in mind as I continue.

Why? It is beautiful, but the surface area is really small, and there 'side bulge' areas stand to be low oxygen, as oxygen exchange at the surface will be minimal. Norman's lampeye (Poropanchax normani) is a flowing water fish that needs oxygen. Mr Betta is a swamp fish and air breather because of it - its ancestors came from low oxygen waters.

I don't know whether the shape and size of that container dooms your fish, and your project. The Betta, as mellow as he is, will grab that surface opening as it will be his breathing spot, and in time, that will make life very difficult for any tankmates. As you have seen, the myth that Bettas will attack all tankmates is that - a myth. But having a fish 10 times your size owning the surface area will keep a fish like normani away from the surface. I can't imagine any fish other than a single Betta doing well in there, as fine looking as the magic ball is.

it is possible the normani group died down to the size the environment could support - one fish.

I would take a cloth and gently rub the sides of the biorb. Then wave your hands over it, wiggling your fingers. What do you see? Right, a beautiful planted aquarium in your future. The magic 8 ball has spoken.
Another issue is how do you heat a container like that? Most aquarium heaters aren't going to fit in there very well.
 

GaryE

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The good news with heating is I have had normani breed at 18c. They like cooler indoor temps, although 21-22 is better for them. Thinking about that biorb, it's probably great for shrimp (since I don't like shrimp). It's a beautiful piece, but limited in function.
 

wasmewasntit

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Specific Biorb heaters are available at all good aquatics retailers and via Amazon or ebay


As for the light, you can get replacements for Biorbs that are MCR or standard. The standard is just white, or blue and white and the MCR is remote and has various colours to choose from

 

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