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Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:10 pm

Hello all,

Tough day today and making some hard decisions. My tank (25g) had two issues - too small for my cichlids and an ammonia level that stays steady with no nitrites/nitrates. essentially, the bio filter did not establish. Separate post where all of you have been super helpful.

Lost a sunburst to unknown causes (probably aggression) last week and today, I came home to see my tank's #3 (in the pecking order) Otter Point looking mortally wounded :( :( (in a fish net now hanging around in the tank).

I am now left with - albino Lab. yellow, Benga gold, N. livingstonii, P. electra and S. fryeri.

Here are my two questons:
1) My LFS will take them back to house them until I get a larger tank. Should I leave 1-2 behind to keep the Nitrogen cycle active? I was hoping for an "eventual" biofilter setup

2) I found this link for fishless tank cycling. http://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycli ... st.421488/
Can I follow this for correctly setting up my 25g for maybe a tropical fish setup? Any other link or procedure?

New to the hobby and feel terrible that I havent done much of anything right so far. Thank you all for the advice/support.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby CraGunner » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:03 pm

If you're going to fish-in cycle go with some cheaper fish, but in my opinion fish-in cycles are fairly inhumane. The water quality if going to suck for that poor fish. On top of that, you're introducing un-needed stress in your own life because you're going to have to worry about water changes and keeping that fish alive, in addition to monitoring your nitrogen cycle. Fish-less cycling is much more humane, and much less stressful. But that's just my opinion.

That being said, don't get discouraged. Sure you made some mistakes, but you're already doing better than many would-be aquarists for the sole reason that you are willing to accept advice. You came to the right place for help and the great people here have you pointed in the right direction.

I was going to chime in on your other thread, but I'll do it here instead. The best advice for a beginner is: Buy the biggest tank you can afford (that still fits in your house). I know you're already pointed in that direction, but there are 2 reasons for that advice and I didn't see anyone explain why. 1- The obvious reason= We all get insane about this hobby and want to house as many fish as possible, because its so stinking fun, so the bigger the tank= the more fish you can house. 2- And this one is probably more important, a larger tank is much easier to balance when it comes to water parameters/nitrogen cycle. More room for errors, etc... If you get a nitrogen spike in a 25g tank, say goodbye to those fish. A larger tank is much more forgiving. So go big or go home baby! And don't get discouraged. I had a couple deaths right when I got my tank running as well, and it really sucked. But now that the tank is stable it's awesome, so don't get discouraged. This hobby has it's ups and downs.
75g Mbuna/ Afra Blaze, Lime Nkhomo Mbenji, Rusties, Saulosi, Green Dragon Pleco, Acei, OB Peacock, Cobue, Perlmutt, Maingano
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby DJRansome » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:27 pm

The ammonia may have played a role. Great that the LFS will hold them, but really so that you can do your fishless cycle and not have the toxins.

I'd use the fishless cycle article in the Cichlid-forum Library and allow six weeks.

If you have ammonia and no nitrites or nitrates, you are not very far along so maybe not much of a nitrogen cycle to maintain. I'd get all the fish into a healthy environment and cycle the small tank with ammonia. If you get the big tank before the small one is completely cycled...you can just move the filter and continue.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Petricola
55G Chrysonotus; 38G Demasoni
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Maingano; 33G Cobue
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:47 pm

Thank you.
The fish went back to the LFS just now. They are great and I now have the credit $s as well for future fish purchases. Just before I drove them back, my water tested like so:
Ammonia: 2-3 ppm
Nitrites: 0.25-0.5 ppm
Nitrates: 5-10 ppm

I will follow the cichlid-forum article on fishless cycling as well. Thank you again to everyone who read and responded to my questions. It was a stressful week but I think I came out wiser and happier for not having to fight the fish and their ecosystem.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby ha77 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:28 am

If your LFS was willing to take in the fish...ask them to sell/give you some seeded media they have in one of their tanks. That will help kick start the cycle.
55g Ruawre, Maingano, Caeruleus
55g Tropheops Sp.Chilumba, Perileucos, Demasoni
40g Aurifrons Sp.Mphanga, Nkali
33g Grow Out
20g Fry
10g Fry
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby engotski » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:34 am

ha77 wrote:If your LFS was willing to take in the fish...ask them to sell/give you some seeded media they have in one of their tanks. That will help kick start the cycle.


This. Or do you have a local forum for aquarist? I find hobbyist are very helpful in lending a hand. Get someone's currently in-use sponge filter and squeeze it in your tank to get the bacteria you need to get going.
135g male peacock/haps
180g F1 Zaire Mobas, calvus, and petricolas
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby punman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:04 am

I agree to the last two posts. When I start a new tank I take a sponge or Bio-Max or whatever and put it in the new tank with mostly new water from the tap (treated) and add a few fish immediately. I feed sparingly the first week and have never lost a fish or had stressed out fish - even with Tanganyika's.

The only tank I really ever cycled was 15 years ago.

Find a fish store or buddy who will "lend" you some media in a container with fish water but have the tank ready to go so when you get home you can put it in. I am not sure how long that media stuff retains bacteria without being in an active tank but I always shoot for a 30 minute window between tanks.
135 Gallon: Frontosa 5 Wild Caught Mpimbwe
90 Gallon: Cyrtocara moorii, Labidochromis caeruleus
90 Gallon: Cyprichromis Mamalesa, Enantiopus Kilesa
10 & 20 Gallon: Fry Tanks
Fish tanks - betcha can't have just one!
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby bossanova9 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:31 am

I'd get a 55 as a minimum, and an old nasty sponge from the LFS!
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby stingertc69 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:18 am

next time being new to the hobby look up fishless cycling and it takes about a month but if you do you can fully stock a tank and no worries of fish health

Tough day today and making some hard decisions. My tank (25g) had two issues - too small for my cichlids and an ammonia level that stays steady with no nitrites/nitrates. essentially, the bio filter did not establish. Separate post where all of you have been super helpful.

Lost a sunburst to unknown causes (probably aggression) last week and today, I came home to see my tank's #3 (in the pecking order) Otter Point looking mortally wounded :( :( (in a fish net now hanging around in the tank).

I am now left with - albino Lab. yellow, Benga gold, N. livingstonii, P. electra and S. fryeri.

Here are my two questons:
1) My LFS will take them back to house them until I get a larger tank. Should I leave 1-2 behind to keep the Nitrogen cycle active? I was hoping for an "eventual" biofilter setup

2) I found this link for fishless tank cycling. http://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycli ... st.421488/
Can I follow this for correctly setting up my 25g for maybe a tropical fish setup? Any other link or procedure?

New to the hobby and feel terrible that I havent done much of anything right so far. Thank you all for the advice/support.
[/quote]
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby ha77 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:21 am

I would just start fresh. Being new to the hobby you will benefit and learn from doing a proper fishless cycle. Rehome the fish and get seeded media as we previously mentioned. Your fish will thank you for it.
55g Ruawre, Maingano, Caeruleus
55g Tropheops Sp.Chilumba, Perileucos, Demasoni
40g Aurifrons Sp.Mphanga, Nkali
33g Grow Out
20g Fry
10g Fry
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:53 pm

Thank you all.
I was out of town and came back to read all the posts. I had tried to keep going with current setup after returning the cichlids, but somehow after 4 days I cant get any bacteria to attack that ammonia (or something like that). I will call the LFS tomorrow to get me some cichlid tank media that I can use to kickstart the cycling.
As far as new aquariums go, are there reputable online retailers or do most of you work with your local LFS? At this time, I am converting my 25g cube to a small tropical fish tank (when properly cycled) and gettting a 75g or 125g Aqueon (for the 48" and 72" lengths). I only have Petsmart as an option that I could find and most of the LFS in the area have steep aquarium prices.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby DJRansome » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:16 am

Better to save up and buy the better quality tanks at the LFS. I order online almost exclusively.

Remember the LFS sell the bottled bacteria stuff (I'm not convinced it's worth anything) and may not want to provide cycled media.
125G Borleyi, Maleri, Astatotilapia, Multipunctata
75G Demasoni, Maingano, Msobo, Lucipinnis
75G Calvus, Caudopunctatus, Petricola
55G Chrysonotus; 38G Demasoni
33G Hara; 33G Kwanga; 33G Maingano; 33G Cobue
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:24 am

DJRansome wrote:Better to save up and buy the better quality tanks at the LFS. I order online almost exclusively.

Remember the LFS sell the bottled bacteria stuff (I'm not convinced it's worth anything) and may not want to provide cycled media.


Thanks DJR. Sorry but just to clarify, should I buy tanks online or through the LFS? If online, could you share some reputable sites? Since the warranty is from the manufacturer, how would the LFS have better tank quality? Aqueon 75 is the same regardless of source right? As opposed to a custom glass tank, that is. Appreciate any advice here because the spend is approaching a splurge level now :D

I agree with the bottled bacteria stuff - its like an inkjet printer cartridge for a free printer. Gets more revenue. I wouldnt mind buying them if it worked and have sadly reached the realization that they are just placebos at best. With almost $200 credit left at the LFS for the returned cichlids, I am hoping to get a more receptive owner for a media filter from her established tank, who would like to see me succeed and get both cichlids and tropical fish for 2 tanks!

Thanks again!
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby ha77 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:50 pm

Skip the LFS stuff and buy a bottle of ammonia a from a hardware store. I used old country ammonia (red bottle) which I paid like $2 for. It took a little over 3 weeks to cycle.
55g Ruawre, Maingano, Caeruleus
55g Tropheops Sp.Chilumba, Perileucos, Demasoni
40g Aurifrons Sp.Mphanga, Nkali
33g Grow Out
20g Fry
10g Fry
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Fogelhund » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:07 pm

ha77 wrote:Skip the LFS stuff and buy a bottle of ammonia a from a hardware store. I used old country ammonia (red bottle) which I paid like $2 for. It took a little over 3 weeks to cycle.


Surely you don't need to use that now do you? If you started a new tank?
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