Odd Behaviour In Schistura Mahnerti

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Odd Behaviour In Schistura Mahnerti

Post by soul-hugger » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:46 pm

There are 2 Schistura Mahnerti in my 55 Gallon tank. I have had them for over a year, and they are now adults, close to 3" long each from tip to tip. When they were younger, they seemed to enjoy one another's company, but now that they are older, they have divided up the territory in the tank, one under a log on each side. We have nicknamed them "Lefty" and "Righty."

Once in awhile, they'll have a quick skirmish and then dash away back to their own sides of the tank. Everything they do is fast. They eat fast, move fast, and fight fast.

However, last night, after having done a large water change and raising the water level, both individuals came out and approached each other. Neither of the two would back down, and though the other fish were swimming around and even on top of them, they refused to be interrupted. They were staring each other down, face-to-face. Then one would make a quick move and so would the other. Their gills were moving so rapidly in and out it was visible from all the way across the room. It appeared as though they were nipping each other and then lining up to face off again, but no injuries occurred. They may have been making false dashes while not actually touching. They were also circling eachother at intervals, moving quickly backwards and forwards towards each other. One went back to the other side, and the other waited for it to come out again. After a few seconds, it did, and the bahaviour continued. It went on for a good several minutes.

During this whole time, both Lefty and Righty were coloured right up; tails red, stripes bold white, bodies so dark they were nearly black. At other times, I have been able to tell the difference between them, as they have appeared to take turns with one being light and the other dark. At one point, Righty had a wound on one side that was no doubt inflicted by Lefty during a territorial battle. At this point, Righty turned very light and Lefty was dark. Last night I couldn't tell the difference, as they kept switching sides and were both equally brilliant in colouration.

I have heard you can tell the difference between males and females by a "suborbital flap." I have tried to look this up, but haven't been able to find out what this is or how to look for it. I am assuming it is around the eyes?

Has anyone ever observed this type of behaviour before? I have realized how little I actually know about these fascinating fish. Any experience any one can offer would be great!

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