Lake Malawi Species • New to all this...New tank...Bad results

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New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Wed May 16, 2012 1:00 am

Hi guys,

So here's the full story leading to present day: my gf, last sunday and while i was out of the country, bought a small aquarium with a yellow lab at a local but shady fish store. Since she has no experience with fish, she immediately put the poor guy into the tank (brand new, no cycle, no de-chlorine...nothing) with even no filter running.

Much to my surprise (and it was supposed to be a surprise because she knows how much i like fish although I'm not experienced) I got home really late that night and found a 2" yellow lab in those conditions. After that, I ran to a local shop to get de-chlorine, Ph tests, ammonia tests, etc...got hold of a friend to give me some of his old-used substrate to put into my tank. 3 days have gone by and the little yellow lab is going strong although levels are #%$&!!!

Since I'm new to cichlids, and fish for that matter, my question is: what are his chances of surviving? i've read in the forum that they are really strong fish and so on...but given the circumstances. What do you think? Also what can I do to improve his chances of surviving?

I'm going out to buy a larger tank later today (70g) cause in case he makes it, i wanna start a cichlid tank. any ideas about that?

Thanks for your help... (love the forum...you guys are really helpful)
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby ILCichlid » Wed May 16, 2012 2:13 am

If he's still looking good after 3 days he'll probably survive. Generally 1 small cichlid or what i use are typically a small school of tetras are a good way to cycle a tank, I've never had my cycle fish die. The conditions aren't ideal for him yet but a strong healthy fish to start will be fine, it would be different if she bought 3-4 cichlids in there then you would probably see a decline in some of their health.

You'll get the water to the levels it needs and then you'll be ready to go!
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby DanniGirl » Wed May 16, 2012 2:16 am

Welcome to Cichlid-Forum! :thumb:

So far, you're doing a good job. Unfortunately some damage has already been done but there's a chance he can still pull through.

The tank is going through a cycle so water changes are going to be key. Begin doing daily water changes (make sure the temperature is the same) and dose with a dechlor such as Prime (or similiar product). It was good that you were able to get a hold of some substrate. By chance, are you able to get a hold of any filter media or sponge squeezings? If so, add that to the tank. Right now, you're going to want to monitor ammonia and nitrite readings. Try to keep them below 1ppm though water changes. Once readings hit 0ppm, you should have a nitrate reading, which indicates a cycled tank. In the meantime, it would be helpful to read up on the fishless cycle, nitrogen cycle as well as practical water chemistry located here: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/c ... y_list.php

As for the 70gal., it would be good to purchase the tank now and begin the fishless cycle listed here: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/f ... _cycle.php
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Wed May 16, 2012 2:24 am

ILCichlid wrote:If he's still looking good after 3 days he'll probably survive. Generally 1 small cichlid or what i use are typically a small school of tetras are a good way to cycle a tank, I've never had my cycle fish die. The conditions aren't ideal for him yet but a strong healthy fish to start will be fine, it would be different if she bought 3-4 cichlids in there then you would probably see a decline in some of their health.

You'll get the water to the levels it needs and then you'll be ready to go!



Thanks!!!

I hope he makes it...he's a funny little fish! :D
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Wed May 16, 2012 2:27 am

DanniGirl wrote:Welcome to Cichlid-Forum! :thumb:

So far, you're doing a good job. Unfortunately some damage has already been done but there's a chance he can still pull through.

The tank is going through a cycle so water changes are going to be key. Begin doing daily water changes (make sure the temperature is the same) and dose with a dechlor such as Prime (or similiar product). It was good that you were able to get a hold of some substrate. By chance, are you able to get a hold of any filter media or sponge squeezings? If so, add that to the tank. Right now, you're going to want to monitor ammonia and nitrite readings. Try to keep them below 1ppm though water changes. Once readings hit 0ppm, you should have a nitrate reading, which indicates a cycled tank. In the meantime, it would be helpful to read up on the fishless cycle, nitrogen cycle as well as practical water chemistry located here: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/c ... y_list.php

As for the 70gal., it would be good to purchase the tank now and begin the fishless cycle listed here: http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/f ... _cycle.php


Thanks...this was really helpful.
I tried to get some filter media but couldn't at least not at the time I needed, so substrate seemed like the best option.

Regarding the 70g, I'll start the cycle process today but i thought that it should be done with some basic and strong fish. I'll take a look into the no-fish method.

Thanks again!
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby DJRansome » Wed May 16, 2012 6:47 am

What are the dimensions of the 70G? Is it a rectangle? 55G is 48 x 12 and 75G is 48 x 18 but I am not sure about 70g?

Definitely a fishless cycle is the way to go.
125G Aulonocara, Malawi Haps, Vics (trial), S Polli
75G Demasoni, Labs, Cyno hara, Met estherae, S Multipunctata
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Cyp Kerenge, S Petricola
33G Neo omnicaeruleus; 33G Flameback Kisumu; 33G P nyererei Igombe; 33G Hap ruby green
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Thu May 17, 2012 9:47 pm

DJRansome wrote:What are the dimensions of the 70G? Is it a rectangle? 55G is 48 x 12 and 75G is 48 x 18 but I am not sure about 70g?

Definitely a fishless cycle is the way to go.



You're right, it's a 55g tank...as far as I can see here in the forum it's still mbuna capable, right?

:fish:
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby brinkles » Thu May 17, 2012 11:20 pm

55 is a great tank for mbuna! I'd put him in it asap - the solution to pollution is dilution! Just move all the filters/substrate/etc over from the small tank, and the increased volume will dilute what little waste he produces.

Once the tank is cycled, I'd strongly recommend at least a half dozen yellow lab friends for him. Most mbuna are easy to keep in breeding groups of 1m/3+ females.
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Thu May 17, 2012 11:39 pm

brinkles wrote:55 is a great tank for mbuna! I'd put him in it asap - the solution to pollution is dilution! Just move all the filters/substrate/etc over from the small tank, and the increased volume will dilute what little waste he produces.

Once the tank is cycled, I'd strongly recommend at least a half dozen yellow lab friends for him. Most mbuna are easy to keep in breeding groups of 1m/3+ females.



Thanks! I was also thinking of around 6-7 y labs in that ratio...but here's a newbie question: how can I be sure that I pick up the right ratio? I find it hard to identify males from females - at least from the pictures I find. Given my location (China), communication isn't always easy. Got any tips in identifying them while they're young?

Thanks again!!! :fish:
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Fri May 18, 2012 12:20 am

Ok...I guess i have figured out: So, female yellow labs have no black on their anal fins. Is this right?
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby DanniGirl » Fri May 18, 2012 1:03 am

There are two ways to sex them: either you vent them or witness a female holdings eggs.
A good starting point is 8+ juvies.
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby nmcichlid-aholic » Fri May 18, 2012 1:58 am

fernas77 wrote:Ok...I guess i have figured out: So, female yellow labs have no black on their anal fins. Is this right?


Most mbuna prefer ratios of 1m:3-7f, but yellow labs are usually pretty tolerant of other males in the tank. As mentioned before, the best way to get the ratio you want when buying young fish is to get twice as many as you ultimately would like to end up with, then weed out extra males as they become apparent. Yellow lab males usually have black on their anal and ventral fins, but not always, so you will just have to watch behavior to see if there are any fish that are constantly being harrassed - these are probably sub-dominant males. But for now, don't worry about adding any more fish until the tank is completely cycled, which could take 2-4 weeks.
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Fri May 18, 2012 2:03 am

nmcichlid-aholic wrote:
fernas77 wrote:Ok...I guess i have figured out: So, female yellow labs have no black on their anal fins. Is this right?


Most mbuna prefer ratios of 1m:3-7f, but yellow labs are usually pretty tolerant of other males in the tank. As mentioned before, the best way to get the ratio you want when buying young fish is to get twice as many as you ultimately would like to end up with, then weed out extra males as they become apparent. Yellow lab males usually have black on their anal and ventral fins, but not always, so you will just have to watch behavior to see if there are any fish that are constantly being harrassed - these are probably sub-dominant males. But for now, don't worry about adding any more fish until the tank is completely cycled, which could take 2-4 weeks.


Yeah..I'm gonna wait until all levels are good. But it doesn't hurt to start thinking of a nice and balanced stock. What would you recommend? :thumb:
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby nmcichlid-aholic » Fri May 18, 2012 3:45 am

Check out the cookie-cutter setup recommendations in the library section for other ideas, but in a 55 I would go with 3 species groups of 1m-4f. It kind of depends on what's available in your area, but you could do the yellow labs you're already thinking of with Rusties (Iodotropheus sprengerae) and Pseudotropheus socolofi. Or, maybe one of the Cynotilapia species if you want something with barring instead of the rusties or socolofi. How is the cichlid selection in China, anyway?
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Re: New to all this...New tank...Bad results

Postby fernas77 » Fri May 18, 2012 3:53 am

nmcichlid-aholic wrote:Check out the cookie-cutter setup recommendations in the library section for other ideas, but in a 55 I would go with 3 species groups of 1m-4f. It kind of depends on what's available in your area, but you could do the yellow labs you're already thinking of with Rusties (Iodotropheus sprengerae) and Pseudotropheus socolofi. Or, maybe one of the Cynotilapia species if you want something with barring instead of the rusties or socolofi. How is the cichlid selection in China, anyway?



We have a lot of yellow labs, demasoni, rusties, albinos, socolofi and not a lot more. But i still need to walk around a little bit more and maybe go to Hong Kong where there's more selection.

by the way, I keep finding yellow labs with red eyes? is that normal?
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