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Thread: Bullying

  1. #1
    Sansai
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    Bullying

    My pond hasn't had any new introductions for the past 6 months. They're all between 20 and 26 inches in that pond. Today I put in a nice little 8" ginrin Kohaku as a grow on. They are bulling it terribly. Two of them were chasing it along the pond edge and throwing it out of the water like sealions playing water polo. He's looking miserable.

    I've not had this before. I've netted the pond as he's likely to jump out (so would I) but wonder how long this normally takes to settle down?

  2. #2
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pondlife View Post
    My pond hasn't had any new introductions for the past 6 months. They're all between 20 and 26 inches in that pond. Today I put in a nice little 8" ginrin Kohaku as a grow on. They are bulling it terribly. Two of them were chasing it along the pond edge and throwing it out of the water like sealions playing water polo. He's looking miserable.

    I've not had this before. I've netted the pond as he's likely to jump out (so would I) but wonder how long this normally takes to settle down?
    He needs a friend his own size to school with. Adding one runt to a pond full of mature fish isn't generally a good idea. If he had a pint sized running mate they would school together away from the other Koi until they put on enough size to "fit in" better.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    wish i could tell you for certain. depends on all the players. last time i slipped a lil asagi into my big group, it took forever to quit acting afraid which seemed to
    encourage the others to chase.

    On the other side of things, I put a lil crow into the mix and it kept sidleing up with my biggest koi's side, which just freaked the bigger koi out. I don't know if it thought it was like a leech or lamprey, but it ran for hrs with the lil one along side till it wore itself out and realized nothing bad was happening, other than it was plum tuckered out!

    good luck
    Dick Benbow

  4. #4
    Sansai
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    Thanks for replies. I like the idea of buying him a buddy. I'll use your reply as evidence to persuade my wife that the expenditure is vital.

    My other pond has a school of small koi and a couple of larger and they generally ignore each other. I just quite like the look of a bit of a mix.

    I'll give him a few days then rehouse if he is still miserable.

  5. #5
    Sansai almostgeorgia's Avatar
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    This is an interesting topic you bring up, and one I don't see as a thread very often, the 'art' of introducing new fish to one's pond. I personally prefer the look of a pond where all the fish are of a similar size -- purely an aesthetics choice as other koi keepers I know like a 'mixed' look as you allude to, or at the very least, have no opinion about the relative size of their pond inhabitants.

    When I have added a small fish to my pond where all the fish are over 25" I've often noted a rather comical 'lamprey' affect as Dick alludes to, with the larger, 'host' fish growing quite annoyed at his little 'shadow' tagging along, sometimes swimming in rapid, ever tighter circles to shake the unwanted attention. I've never seen or even heard of the overt bullying you've mentioned, but large fish will quickly push a much smaller koi out of the way at feeding time, often intimidating them to the point of making the little guy decidedly less enthusiastic about eating. True confession time here. Who else has also sat and patiently flicked one pellet at a time to a smaller, shyer fish, hoping fervently to 'get him up to size' so he or she can join the big guys?

    While on the subject of introducing new fish, I've also observed a tight schooling behavior where the new fish are followed very closely by a group of existing inhabitants, racing around the edges of the pond, almost as if escorting the newbies on a rapid tour of their new environs. This behavior can go on for quite a while, and just when it looks like the new fish are being pursued and harassed, the whole school 'turns' and the new-comers 'chase' the old ones in the same, frantic action.

  6. #6
    Sansai
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    I have been a little surprised to see a fish being repeatedly head butted out of the water by several 20"+ fish. Poor little thing looks miserable. They're actually really nice to each other, so I expected them to ignore him at worst.

  7. #7
    Tategoi
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    Speaking of fish in general -- and not necessarily Koi specifically -- I have noticed size and status hierarchy when introducing new fish. In my limited experience, if the *established* fish were smaller, introducing a *new* fish which was a bit larger usually went without problems. Even if the established fish population was feeling a bit territorial, they were not going to pick a fight with the larger (new) fish.

    The problems occured when the *new* fish was on the smaller side, and the established fish were feeling bold.....then the bullying was more likely....

  8. #8
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post
    Speaking of fish in general -- and not necessarily Koi specifically -- I have noticed size and status hierarchy when introducing new fish. In my limited experience, if the *established* fish were smaller, introducing a *new* fish which was a bit larger usually went without problems. Even if the established fish population was feeling a bit territorial, they were not going to pick a fight with the larger (new) fish.

    The problems occured when the *new* fish was on the smaller side, and the established fish were feeling bold.....then the bullying was more likely....
    yes, that part in true, fish know their school mates. But bullying is not a koi behavior. But investigation by the school IS a bahavior. If the fish is small, it can look like bullying ( a human emotion) but in truth the fish is being check out for hormones/pheromones and sents of protein/amino acids. After a while the big ones will ignore the small one.
    I do agree with Larry's comment in that small fish are not just small- they are prebuscent fish. And as young fish they are also fish of the surface. Whereas sexually mature fish are fish of the middle water and floor ( if we didn't feed them with floating pellets you would see them less often!). So in that regard, Larry is correct-- he may need his own school of youngsters that share the same area and behavior as a baby koi. JR

  9. #9
    Nisai
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    When I first restarted my pond with one fish and added a smaller doitsu, I witnessed the same racing around the pond edges. Months later, all of my similarly sized medium fish huddle under or around my larger chagoi and you can often find the smaller fish aligned in a perfect formation like a can of sardines when they swim together.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyFL View Post
    When I first restarted my pond with one fish and added a smaller doitsu, I witnessed the same racing around the pond edges. Months later, all of my similarly sized medium fish huddle under or around my larger chagoi and you can often find the smaller fish aligned in a perfect formation like a can of sardines when they swim together.

    yep, they have a strong instinct to school and operate as a group. Scientists say it goes beyond protection strategy and involves food location ( by a linked group over a large area). One just has to put a net in the water to see this behavior grow.
    One of the most interesting observations I have made witnessed is when you expose koi to eugenol while treating them, injecting them etc. The sleeping koi, when returned to the pond, will be mobbed by the school. They show great interest in the immobilized individual.
    I have several theories as to what they are so interested in--
    1) the odor of the eugenol ( that cloves smell)
    2) the sleeping fish releasing pheromones
    3) the 'curosity' of the school ( people often see this as human concern)

    Another interesting behavior is when a NEW adult koi is added to a school. The interest among the residence is as strong as the interest shown in a group of dogs when a new dog is introduced. Very interesting.
    The resident fish first check the sex of the new comer and then inspect the odors coming off the new comer ( as well as the reaction to alarm cells from the new comer and adreline presence). Then the entire school can go into tighter schooling behavior as a defense but soon as an invitation to the new comer. It is fascinating and easy to see if you are a good observer of natural things. JR

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