I increasingly encounter social media posts where fellow hobbyists have moved an aggressive fish to a separate holding tank or “pen” within a tank. These hobbyists then claim that the “***hole” fish has been moved into “timeout” because he is beating up on other fish.
Unfortunately, what the hobbyist is unknowingly accomplishing is 1)potentially inducing greater stress on that isolated fish and 2) “punishing” that fish for something it’s instinctually predisposed to do.
Cichlids, as a rule, are territorial and protective fish. As such, they exhibit behaviors that are construed as aggression when they’re largely defensive in nature. Yes, and some species are much more bellicose than others.
The notion of “punishing” a fish for something it’s naturally born to do is silly, frankly. Good fish keepers shouldn’t introduce fish into an environment that is going to exacerbate natural aggression.
When hobbyists take on the responsibility of keeping fish, they need to understand the innate behaviors of the species they keep and what the risks are. Doing otherwise disrespects both the hobby and the fish themselves.