teaching your fish to be less shy - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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teaching your fish to be less shy

I have a large shoal of sparkling gouramis, and they're REALLY shy. Whenever I approach the tank, they dart back into hiding. The set up is perfect for them: low, indirect light, lots of broad leaf plants, floating plants, and driftwood for hiding, gentle water flow.

If I sit really still, they'll eventually come out and do normal fish stuff, but if I even move my arm, they dart back into hiding. This is difficult because whenever I want to feed them to teach them that person = feeding time, they are too afraid to come out to eat, and I have to leave the bloodworms for them to scavenge.

Is there a better way of feeding bloodworms that still requires interaction? I was thinking of maybe putting the food in a net and then hopefully they'll learn that net = feeding time.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 02:56 AM
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I have the same problem with my firefish (SW fish). He has gotten more and more shy and now only comes out of hiding to eat (and only barely then). I think some fish are just very skittish and theres nothing you can really do about it unfortunately. Ive tried everything with my guy...adding fish to make him feel safer ..... moving slowly when I approach the tank.... I always feed using tongs so he knows im coming to feed him but will never change his ways I fear.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:22 AM
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Do you have other fish in the tank with them? It might make them feel safer if you add a small group of non-shy fish such as neons to draw them out?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:29 AM
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RE: teaching your fish to be less shy

Dither fish are a good idea. Let me put my education to use for a minute. In psychology we learned about classical condition of animals. Its quite simple. I've done it with all sorts of fish. You have to remember that fish are always watching you even if you can't see them. What I did was before I fed my fish I would tap on the glass once (gently of course). Everytime you feed them just gently tap the glass. Eventually they'll learn to associate that tap with food, then they'll associate YOU with the tap and come out when they see you. It takes time, but it works. I've done it with SW and FW fish.

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Do you have other fish in the tank with them? It might make them feel safer if you add a small group of non-shy fish such as neons to draw them out?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:50 AM Thread Starter
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I used to have a betta in there, and they did quite well, but he was dark and not very easy to see. Eventually he started bullying them, so now he's gone, but he did teach them to come to the surface for floating food.

I will use the tapping suggestion, and maybe I'll add some other fish. My friend has Endlers, would that be a good choice?

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:56 AM
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Yip, guppies would be perfect.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 12:43 AM
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I had shy Discus for awhile. The tank location was too active and bright, and I used an automatic feeder. Tank got moved to a quieter location and I feed them myself every evening. Now they are always at the front of the tank begging for food like pups!
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 01:40 AM
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dither fish and conditioning are both good ideas, having ur hands in the tank often prove to the fish ur not a threat, especially when ur hands bring food

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 01:44 AM
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teaching your fish to be less shy

My fish get excited when I open the bottom door. It makes a noise that they hear/feel and they know food is coming. Just noticed that recently. My fish also swim out when I approach now.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:04 AM
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teaching your fish to be less shy

I used to rattle the food bottle back and forth on the top before feeding. Now when every I even open the lid all the fish come up to the surface.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 02:38 AM
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I have one clown loach that is very shy and skittish, but over time he/she became less shy with my dither silver dollars school, blood parrot cichlids, sharks fish.. So it definitely helps a bit to have dither fish. But he/she is still the most skittish among my other clown 5 loaches.. meanwhile one out of those five clowns is very unskittish and not shy lol. Loves to come out and play/eat most of the time.. He/she turned out to be the very healthy and a little bigger of all the loaches; the others are just plain healthy and eat well but still shy.. In my opinion, I think it may depend on fish personalities too and takes time for very shy fish to trust and adjust.

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