Cichlids dying off

Discussion in 'Africa' started by AHA!!!, May 21, 2017.

  1. AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    Hello everyone

    I need some advice from the experienced guys and gals around here.

    I started my tank about 2 months ago. Stock, water parameters, feeding and cleaning schedule will be listed below. I started losing fish in my 3rd week. Initially, I lost 2 acei. My prognoses was that those 2 were just duds but this morning I found a dead Red zebra (one of the smaller ones).

    All the fish were bought from the same place at about 2-2.5cm in length so they are still babies. They are currently between 2.5-3cm so still small.

    Initial stock list.
    7 Electric Yellow labs
    7 Red zebras (1 dead)
    7 Acei (2 dead)

    I tried as best as possible to get a 2male-5female ratio on all of the species.

    I have not noticed any sort of aggression as of yet. I did notice one of the Yellow labs chasing another one around for like 10seconds and then the larger one left him alone but this only happened once. Other than that nothing aggression-wise. ( I do spend about 2 hours a day just staring at them absolutely love them)

    Feeding schedule at the moment is twice a day for 6 days one-day fasting. I usually give them about 2 pinches of food.

    Water parameters
    Ph: 7.8-8.2
    Gh:9-14
    KH:12-15
    Temp: 28
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: 10-30ppm

    Water changes are done 50% once a week.

    On all of the dead fish, I did not see any signs of ick, bloat or any other strange things (to the best of my knowledge)

    Any ideas
     
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  3. SalmonAfrica

    SalmonAfrica Batfish

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    Sorry to hear about your losses.

    I'd like to throw out a few questions before I make some guesses. Did the two Acei die at the same time? Were there absolutely no external signs of aggression on the dead bodies (incomplete fins, missing scales, abrasions etc.)? Why a 50% change each week, as opposed to a little less? Why is there a range of pH values - are these over time? And what kind of food are you using?

    Aggression may be occurring outside of your viewing hours, perhaps even at night. What does your setup look like? I'm asking because if the area is not large enough, if a pursued fish has nowhere to hide, or if you do not have enough decor to define territories (or break lines of sight), this may be an environment where weaker fish can be bullied - with no escape. This is largely why large (and intricate) rockscapes are very important in Malawi tanks (besides the aesthetic value).

    That's all I can think of for now, but I hope it's at least a start in helping this situation.

    Kind regards,
     
  4. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    Assuming this is in your 5ft tank?

    Are the deaths precede by a WC ?

    Later Ferdie


    BTW please updated your location under your profile.
     
  5. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    Tank size is 5ft
    The 2 acei died 3 days apart from each other
    No signs of aggression that I could see on the dead fish
    The range on the Ph is due to the fact that my tap water has a low Ph at 6.8 and I buffer it using Bicarb. So I try and keep it as constant as possible
    I have allot of rocks in the tank that breaks up line of site as well as giving ample hiding space
    The Red zebra died 2 days after a water change but this was not the case with the acei
    I do 50% water changes weekly to keep nitrate and hormone levels as low as possible to speed up growth.
    I am currently using the store brand food for cichlids. This food sold by the shop itself and branded with their logo. Not sure if I am allowed to give the shops name but they are a well know shop. The fish seem to love this food as this is the exact stuff they were fed before I got them.
     
  6. iamdieter

    iamdieter

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    Food should be low protein, high fibre, algae/vegetable based.

    How is your aeration? What symptoms or behaviors did you see?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. f-fish

    f-fish #unspecified

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    Only thing that stands out is the mastering of the pH, every looked into adding crushed coral? Maybe a WC drum with crushed coral and then you have some in the tank, pH shock is at bad for fish as temperature. If you can get your WC water closer to your tank water it should help with those BIG changes. Having prepared water might even help in doing smaller changes more regularly.

    Way back guys used an algae scrubber .. basically an out the tank panel with light on it ... helped with improving water quality.

    Later Ferdie
     
  8. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    Im not sure about the food parameters but I will be changing food at the end of the month anyways.

    Aeration is fine. My tank outlet, weir and sump inlet breaks up the water.

    As for symptoms on the acei I did not notice anything. For the red zebra he was eating less than the rest but still eating. He was also one of the smaller ones out of the batch
     
  9. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    Thanks for all the imputs thus far. Just wanted to add I did not notice any fish gasping for air at the surface
     
  10. SalmonAfrica

    SalmonAfrica Batfish

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    Hmm... difficult to say what's going on from what I can see in this thread, although @f-fish might be onto something with the pH.

    Bear in mind that aggressive behaviours can do more than leave the weaker fish injured. Even in the absence of scarring or injury, the stress factor of being bullied/harassed can kill a fish, too. Excessive stress may be something at play here as well, but again it's hard to find definitive evidence here, unless you can see your fish shying away, feeding less, etc.

    Regards,
     
  11. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    I am starting to think that the problem might be aggression. I noticed yesterday that the fish are sneaky little buggers. Their personality changes day and night depending if I am standing close to the tank compared to far away. When I am standing close they seem very peaceful but I watched them on Sunday from a distance and could see some aggression but this is aggression did not last more than 5sec at a time.

    I will rescape the tank this weekend as well as increase my numbers. Let's see if this helps.
     
  12. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    Quick update

    I lost another Red Zebra on sunday. I inspected the fish and could see no signs of illness or any aggression. I did try and vent the fish to the best of my abilities and it seemed like it was a male. The exact same fish was also not really eating for the past 2 days, so I was expecting him to go.
     
  13. Pezulu

    Pezulu Moderator Comp Coordinator

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    A difficult one, particularly if you are losing fish for no apparent reason.

    Try and add some driftwood to further demarcate possible territories.
    Also, trying to buffer pH is notoriously difficult. Rather let the fish get used to the pH of your water as it is.
    A stable pH is much more important, that getting the pH at the right level.

    If all else fails, you may have to identify which fish you prefer to keep, and move the others to another tank, or get rid of them.
    Good luck.
     
  14. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    Acei and Yellow Labs are relatively peacefull Mbuna
    Not quite sure what the red zebras are? There could be more than 1 species. Most likely Pseudotropheus estherae
    They could be causing the problems.

    Tbh, found a rescape doesn't do much.
    It just changes the look, but the more aggressive fish will always fight for the prime terratories and harrass the weaker or less aggressive fish.
     
  15. OP
    AHA!!!

    AHA!!!

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    My research has shown that the Red Zebras are supposed to be a less aggressive species.

    Currently, my total stock is 17 fish. According to a few articles, ballpark stocking figures for a 400L tank is around 50. So I think I should increase my stocking.
     
  16. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    It's all relative. The less aggressive species are less so than some of the others, but they are still cichlids after all

    Yup, you could add a lot more fish. And that seems to be the general thinking.
    I have seen an interesting article that suggests the complete opposite, a male and 3 females for every foot or so of tank. But few people follow this line of thinking

    When you add the new ones, do so in big batches.
    If you add them in ones or twos they will potentially get badly bashed or even killed.
     
  17. Pezulu

    Pezulu Moderator Comp Coordinator

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    You can use the handy calculator to determine what your stocking levels are, and what you can keep in a tank:
    http://aqadvisor.com/
     
  18. Hendre

    Hendre Polypterus freak

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    AQadvisor is more of a guideline. With Mbuna the low protein diet leads to less waste which let's you stock more ;)
     
  19. Discusnut

    Discusnut

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    What are u feeding in particular. I'd drop the temp a little.as high temp increases metabolism and aggression. 28 is a bit high for them.

    Sent from my HUAWEI Y360-U72 using Tapatalk
     
  20. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    Over stocking has nothing to do with this.

    The idea is that with so many fish in a relatively small space, there is less opportunity to form a terratory
    And also, there will be one tank boss, and the more fish their are, the agggression will be spread between more fish
     
  21. Hendre

    Hendre Polypterus freak

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    @Reedfish it's just the diet will let you stock heavier with less concern on terms of nitrate and such. there should be less waste than the same density of carnivorous fish for example right?
     

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