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Clown Loach and Bristle-nose Pleco Spines

Posted By: Mr Leadfoot <leadfoot@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Monday, 30 September 2002, at 1:21 p.m.

I saw something fascinating the other night.

My clown loaches are the bosses of their tank, and are always the ones to eat first. However, my bristle-nose pleco has become very brave. She used to only eat algae and hang in the background during feeding time, since the clowns always chase away other fish until theyre good and stuffed.

Well, two nights ago, as I was watching during feeding time, the pleco pounced upon a spirulina tab a little early. While munching on it, my alpha clown loach came over to push her out of the way. To my surprise, the pleco held her ground this time, and flexed the spines near her gills. Now, I've never seen this before so it was fascinating to watch her turn those spines out. It was almost like one of those cars in a James Bond movie where spikes come out of the hubs of the wheels.

Anyway, when the clown saw those spines, he backed way off. Later, he tried again, and again the Pleco showed her spines, and warded him off. The interesting thing is that one of my corys later came by and sort of nestled up next to the Pleco, but the Pleco did not flex her spines at him. In fact, the Pleco actually let the cory share the tablet with her. When the Clown saw that, he came back again, only to be refuted a third time. He finally got the message and left, never to return.

It reminded me of a schoolyard, where the Clown was always the bully, always pushing and shoving the Pleco out of the way during feeding, but when the Pleco finally called the Clown's bluff, the bully ran away. The Pleco was now the hero, looking out for one of the weaker kids, the cory. It way too cute! :-)

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