So 24 hours later, not a new scratch on the smaller PNG Male, and the larger PNG female White Stripe Maroon has been tolerating her new mate. They both share the Red Bubble Tip Anemone that is in the tank (Entacmaea quadicolor). Big step forward indeed. The biggest change I noticed when observing them this evening? The smaller male is now really chasing those 6 Percula culls around. None are showing damage, but they are definitely getting his attention, whereas before he largely ignored them. The larger “female” seems uninterested in any of her tankmates now…a dramatic change from times gone by.

But what was responsible for the attitude change? Was it the 6 culled perculas that I added to the tank? Or was it the isolation of the female, allowing the male to roam “her” territory freely? Or both?

While hardly a scientific study, the best course of action might be to sequester the Lightning Maroon in a breeder net or drilled specimen cup (like the one I’m currently using for the male), and allow the smaller PNG male to roam the Ecoxotic for a while. After maybe 2-3 days of that, freeing the Lightning and careful observation should suggest whether it works or not. This is hardly a “new” technique, but in fact it is standard practice to isolate overly aggressive fish for a short period of time, allowing newcomers to settle in. It works with mean Tangs and Angelfish, and so to, it now seems with a mean female PNG White Stripe Maroon. Will it work with the Lightning?