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Strange Angel Fish behaviour

Bazouteast

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Around 7 or 8 months ago I raised a brood of Angel Fish. They are now almost mature and beautiful though they are, I need to think about moving some of them on. Within the group there is one fish that has shown some remarkable behaviour that I haven't seen before.

I have two filters running, one which sends a strong jet of water across the surface. Most of the fish seek out a quiet area where the current isn't very strong, but there is one little fella who spends his whole life right in the fast water, swimming furiously to stay in one place. He must be the fittest little Angel Fish ever! But I wonder why this behaviour? Both pumps go off during feeding time and he feeds normally but as soon as the pumps go back on, he resumes his position, swimming frantically. He is smaller than most of the fishes. I'm not sure if that is because he is a runt within the shoal or if all his energy goes on swimming. None of the other 40-odd fishes are remotely interested in struggling in the fast water.
Most odd. Any thoughts?
 

SeanTrollope

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Most certainly is odd. Might I suggest slowing the flow right down. See what happens.

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Bazouteast

Bazouteast

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I'll try slowing the flow and let you know. I did wonder if perhaps the little fella has a problem with his gills. Maybe the extra water pressure forces water thought his gills and helps him get his oxygen. But when the pumps are turned off, he floats around like his brothers and sisters, eating well, and showing no sign of distress. Hmmmm..... Love your profile pic, by the way. Really lovely picture. Those fishes look great.
 

SeanTrollope

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Mind you I had behavior of a similar nature with one of the little fellas I raised. It would hang around in the stream of bubbles from the undergravel filter.

Thank you. I really love angel fish.

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Byron

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I cannot offer much as to possible health or physical problems, but this behaviour is certainly not normal for the species. One would assume this fish is aware that he can escape the current, though there is the possibility that he was/is under bullying from one of the others so unable to join them? Something you might observe perhaps.

This species, Pterophyllum scalare, occurs in several rivers in the Amazon basin including the Amazon itself (in portions of Brazil, Peru, and Columbia) and in the Rio Oyapock (French Guyana) and Rio Essequibo (Guyana). It is found in swamps and flooded forest where vegetation is thick, and in slow-flowing streams where they remain close to the banks around aquatic plants, roots, branches and/or overhanging vegetation. Water flow along the banks of a stream are much slower than out in the main channel.

It is not an active swimming fish, more of a cruiser that likes to almost drift along. Water flow should be minimal. The fact that the others remain out of the filter current is indicative they do not appreciate it.

Byron.
 
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Bazouteast

Bazouteast

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Most certainly is odd. Might I suggest slowing the flow right down. See what happens.

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I turned the pump down to its very lowest setting. It sent a much-reduced currtent of water (no longer a squirty jet) across the tank surface - no bubbles, no turbulence. It took the little fella a while to find it, but when he did he was straight back in there, swimming like crazy against the flow. I'm thinking he can't live very long like this. Swimming day and night at such a furious pace, his energy consumption much be huge.
 

Byron

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Have you observed any bullying toward this fish?
 

SeanTrollope

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Did he actively go looking for it.

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Bazouteast

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Can't tell if he was searching, he just swam around and came across the current as far as I could tell. When he found it, he started sswimming again. Why did you ask if he searched for it? What's your train of thought there?
 
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Bazouteast

Bazouteast

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Byron - there is no apparent bullying towards this fish. The density of fish is quite high - it's a brood of juvenile Angels that I really must begin to disperse now (would you like some?!). When density is high, I have noticed bullying doesn't happen the way it does when there are just 2 or 3 fishes in a tank.
 

Byron

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Byron - there is no apparent bullying towards this fish. The density of fish is quite high - it's a brood of juvenile Angels that I really must begin to disperse now (would you like some?!). When density is high, I have noticed bullying doesn't happen the way it does when there are just 2 or 3 fishes in a tank.
True (your last comment), because angelfish are shoaling fish that live together in small groups. They will form an hierarchy within the group; this is why you cannot add more fish to an existing group. Sometimes a male does become very dominant, and weaker fish can be picked on. In nature this is rarely problematic because the weaker fish can just swim away, and the overly-dominant male is not at all interested in chasing after it. But in an aquarium there is no place to run to, and the pheromones released by the fish remain in the water which only intensifies the behaviours of both the dominant and weaker fish. The male becomes more and more frustrated because what he expects (to see no more of the weaker fish) is not happening. Result is usually a dead weaker fish.

My initial question was thinking that if this fish was being picked on, it would not find solace in the shoal, and may resort to the water flow out of desperation. There still could be other reasons for this behaviour. It is certainly not normal for this species. In their habitat angelfish occur in slow and sluggish water, flooded forest especially, and avoid strong currents. They are not "built" for currents.
 
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Bazouteast

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Very intresting Byron and thanks for your input. I have (I hope...) attached a pic of the valiant little fella, still non-stop swimming. As you can see he is significantly smaller than his siblings - one appears to the right of the picture. Perhaps he thinks he is swimming away from a larger, more threatening fish.
 

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Bazouteast

Bazouteast

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I decided to move him to another tank. This one also has a shoal of juvenile Angels, but it doesn't have such a powerful jet of water. I'll let you know how he gets on. Just wanted to point out that in both tanks, although there is turbulence in some areas there is plenty of non-turbulent areas too.
 

SeanTrollope

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Well I was thinking that it could be something psychological or it is looking for oxygen. Or something like that

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