Aggression, fin damage from Starki Damsel

Trever

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Sorry for the TL;DNR, thought I'd see what someone(s) might say about A and B below.

I introduced a final fish for my tank, a Starki Damsel.

The Starki is being an a**hole, that's for sure. But the Chromis and he worked out the bunking arrangements, Chromis basically gave up a cave for him.

In general, the tank seems fine. The Starki will randomly go after the Chromis every 5-10 minutes when things are bad, but mostly intermittently most of the time, sometimes poke the clown, and harass the wrasse a bit now and then. For some reason he seems to leave the Orange Dart fish mostly alone.

But the Starki is by no means running fish around the tank for any length of time, etc. In fact he will sometimes swim peacefully right next to the Chromis and certainly the others. When he is being a jerk, he nearly always quickly gives up chasing the Chromis and the wrasse, when he goes after them. In fact, after 7 days, he has functioned as a kind of dither fish. He swims at a point of the tank that I wished fish would occupy (now he does), and he has spread out the inhabitants, such that they aren't all just swimming in one corner into the powerhead.

Feeding is trickier, but very manageable.

He's slightly smaller than the Chromis, about the same size as the wrasse and Chromis though. I presume he will get bigger.

The Chromis is by far his primary target, as I feared if there were problems.

A. I wonder if he's going to start murdering as he gets older? The aggression has gone up and down. It was bad the first day or two, I thought I was going to have to try to get him out. But surprisingly, things calmed down. Some days are worse than others and I notice if I walk up to the tank, the aggression most often increases.

B. I also wonder at some of the relatively minor fin shredding I'm seeing on the Chromis. It healed up, but I notice today the Chromis's rear fin underneath is again relatively shredded. Based on past experience, I would expect it to be fully healed tomorrow (seem to heal in 24 hours or less). Still, how worried should one be about this? It seems to me it could be the Chromis doing that to itself by fast maneuvering and some of the reckless swimming he does near his cave (hitting the rock). I dunno.

I don't think the Starki is nipping at anyone, but it's hard to tell. When he goes after a fish, it does not seem like the kind of thing that his victim would be wise to be lazy about- he's a nasty bully- he could be nipping.


Google says this kind of intermittent fin damage is very common in reef fish.
 
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cd459

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How big is ur tank? Starcki's in smaller tanks tend to me more aggressive. I learned this the hard way...
 

Jbell370

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Mine is a prick, right from day one, still bites me any time I'm in the tank. He used to chase everything around until I introduced my Regal Angel, that guy settled the entire tank down.
 
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Trever

Trever

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@cd459 33 gallon cube. So pushing it. But I have a lot of rock work that creates different spaces and sections of the tank, which seems to help a lot.

@Jbell370 I wouldn't mind if he bit me (he doesn't- he's terrified when I go in the tank), it's more the destruction of the peace in the tank that kind of sucks. It was a very peaceful tank, with occasional spats between the wrasse and the chromis. We're all getting more used to the new reality though.

If the Chromis situation were to get worse and I lost the Chromis, I'd wonder if he'd find a next victim. I've read lot's of stories like that. He doesn't seem to be out for any kills though. At least not at his present age.

It seems like he's a serious ***** in the AM hours, then chills out from light peak on, with some friskiness as it gets dark.

He is a beautiful fish, that's for sure. Stunning. But given the ugliness on the inside, it detracts a bit. I love the looks of the Chromis too.
 
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Trever

Trever

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@Jbell370 the way the Starki and the Chromis worked out the cave situation was remarkable to see. At first it seemed like they were going to fight to the death. And the Chromis was acting like all the rock was all his, but then suddenly, just gave up a cave. That helped quite a bit.

The one cave is right above the other. So weird how they can fight but go right by each other and live right next to each other just fine. Quite remarkable.
 

ca1ore

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Starki is on the larger size for chrysiptera damsels and needs space. Usually OK when bigger fish are present but can become a problem if it decides it’s tank boss.
 

mstoneman17

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The way these fish progress throughout life is the worst of it. They become monsters. I had one that was would rip new fish to pieces and it was like 12 years old, things live forever. I had a solid crushed coral substrate in this tank (chunks of rock instead of sand) and this maniac fish had nothing to pick on so he dug it up all the way to the bottom glass. It took me 14 hours plugging every piece of live rock with filter floss to get him out, id had him so long I kept and he lived another 6 years in the sump.

I will let you make your own decisions from this story.
I loved the fish in the sump, great personality, like a large angel IMO, but it was ruthless with others.
 
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Trever

Trever

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I do plan to rehome everything to a larger tank, but could be 1 - 2 years.

@mstoneman17 yeah, it's the aging I'm worried about since they reportedly do get more aggressive after a certain age.

@ca1ore unfortunately he is indisputably the boss of the tank now. The Chromis sometimes attacks him, but the Chromis fights like a sissy. I'm surprised my wrasse runs, since he too will grow quite a bit and could theoretically bonk on the starki.

Most comically, the little orange dart fish doesn't take crap from anyone in the tank- including the Starki- and worst case scenario he always has a nearby rock hole he goes into faster than the eye can see (I have no idea how he does that!), and the other fish can't fit that hole. Maybe that's partly why he's so fearless- he can always make an instant getaway- though I doubt fish could reason or have a sensibility about that. He just seems to think nothing can hurt him.

The clown is weird. When the Starki attacks him he just turns and faces him dead on. The starki kind of doesn't know what to do with that. It's so hard to watch those incidents though because the little clown just tries to be everybody's buddy. Then the Starki suddenly just becomes a huge dick.
 

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