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Old 26 February 2017, 10:34 PM
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Sfam Sfam is offline
Join Date: 06 April 2012
Location: Linköping, Sweden
Posts: 4
Goldfish Police/soldier fish

Hello, everyone! Long time lurker here. Looks like the last time I've posted was actually about me deciding to post more - and that was five years ago! But never mind that - on to the post!

I’ve been an aquarist since I was five. During this time I've heard many fishkeeping myths, many of which are very widespread and not looking like they're going anywhere anytime soon. This one, however, I've only heard twice, from two sources very far apart.
The claim is that a certain species, which they referred to as “police” or “soldier" fish (red eye tetras (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae) in one case and giant danio (Devario malabricus) in the other), can “police” the other fish in the aquarium and prevent or punish fighting/fin nipping. The first time I’ve heard this it was from a friend of mine when I was a child (1990s in Israel). The second time was a few years ago, from an adult who heard it in Romania (though that may have been when he was a child).

Now, I'm not thinking there is any truth to red eye tetras being peacekeepers that aren't afraid to use force to keep their aquariums harmonious . But I find it interesting that I've only heard it twice, and from areas so far apart. That makes me wonder what the origin of this idea is.
I assume it could have come about by people experiencing problems with fin nipping and then complaining to their fish store, the staff then advising that they buy new fish (kaching!) instead of getting a good mix to begin with. Otherwise I suppose it could be based on a misunderstanding of "target fish" used to distract certain aggressive fish.

Have any of you heard similar claims, or know more about the origins of this?
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Old 26 February 2017, 11:10 PM
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crocoduck_hunter crocoduck_hunter is offline
Join Date: 27 May 2009
Location: Roseburg, OR
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That is a very odd thing for a fish to do. I could see a situation where a fish was aggressively territorial enough in chasing another fish to prevent it from biting the fins of other fish, but "punishment" is too abstract a concept than I'd believe aquarium fish to be capable of.
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