Central American Cichlids • New tank issues

Discussion regarding only Central American Cichlid species. (Guapotes, Jack Dempseys, Red Devils, Firemouths, Convicts, Texas Cichlids, etc.)

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New tank issues

Postby Jbehan20 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:20 am

Hello everyone, new to the forum. I have questions that I’m sure someone can help me with. I recently got a 65 gallon tank off a fiend who’s been a cichlid owner for years. Set everything up, ran water tests and everything was good to go. Asked him the next step and he said add a couple fish that you would want to keep in there assuming they survive. I added two un-sexed very young convicts because I had heard they are hearty and tough and would likely have no issues surviving the cycling. Well they’ve had no issues surviving, one is even thriving, but it is incessantly bullying the slightly smaller one. There are plenty of places to hide and the smaller one has found a small place the larger one won’t go into but the second it comes out it goes back to getting picked on. It comes out to eat, eats a bit then immediately gets chased back there. It’s not sustaining any noticeable damage but it’s getting very skittish.i understand the concept that one has to establish dominance but dominance has been established, unquestionably, and its continuing. My questions are 1) does it sound like I have two males? 2) when I start adding more fish (GT, JD, Acaras, still deciding) and I rearrange the tank will the issues get better or worse. I get the feeling that with more fish they won’t be focused solely on each other. I guess it’s just a wait and see situation. They’ve only been in the tank for 4 days now so maybe time will help. Any information would be greatly appreciated
Jbehan20
 
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:00 am
Location: New Jersey

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Re: New tank issues

Postby ken31cay » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:03 pm

For the cycling I would test ammonia level everyday and do 50% water changes as needed, up to every other day until your ammonia & nitrite are 0 and you are getting positive nitrate readings. Regarding the aggression, more fish should disperse the aggression, perhaps even removing the smaller convict might also help. But I would wait until the cycle is established before adding more. And remember individual cichlids all have their own personalities where one convict might be an incurable psycho and another may be among the calmest fish you've ever seen, so there's that to also consider.
450gal male peacocks & haps, Frontosa
180gal Trewavasae Chilumba & Kenyi
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Location: Cayman Islands

Re: New tank issues

Postby Jbehan20 » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:40 pm

Thanks a lot for the reply. Yeah I’ve been checking my numbers pretty regularly. Everything is holding pretty well. As far as the fish, I’m hoping adding more will disperse it. I know they are just fish but I feel bad for the smaller one. He’s just minding his own business and is getting roughed up. He’s not even going into what appears to be the other ones established turf. He’s staying on the opposite side. I’m gonna check the numbers tomorrow and if everything is right where it needs to be I’m gonna slowly add some more fish.
Jbehan20
 
Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:00 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: New tank issues

Postby ken31cay » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:08 pm

If the cycle has started then I would try adding more fish, testing water and doing large frequent water changes if necessary. It could be that the large Convict is the problem and needs to be rehomed.
450gal male peacocks & haps, Frontosa
180gal Trewavasae Chilumba & Kenyi
ken31cay
 
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Location: Cayman Islands

Re: New tank issues

Postby Majestic » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:13 am

Iv put most of my convicts in a breeding net to protect them from a breeding pair that had babies and are
Belting up the rest, but the biggest one was harrasimg the little ones withing the net so today I put the two smallest ones in with my Platys, and they all are getting along fine!! So I guess not all convicts are psycho, te little ones are definitely ‘the bosses’ over the Platys but no crazy aggression like I was worried about (so far) maybe just put in a divider? So the little one has some freedom
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: New tank issues

Postby Majestic » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:15 am

oh and my two little ones are both male and don’t fight with eachother so it may not be a gender thing either
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:37 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: New tank issues

Postby BC in SK » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:09 am

Jbehan20 wrote: 1) does it sound like I have two males?

I suppose it sounds more likely, though there is no assurance male and female will get along to begin with. Generally, only 2 cichlids is an unworkable number. I've had male and female that took many weeks before they paired up, with the male chasing the female fairly excessively before they finally paired up. And pairs that get along fine in the community tank have always had to be separated with a divider after a few months when kept by their lonesome.
Anyways, at the stage that convicts are sold, the're usually easily distinguishable by the females having yellow dots on their belly and the males lacking this coloration.
Jbehan20 wrote:2) when I start adding more fish (GT, JD, Acaras, still deciding) and I rearrange the tank will the issues get better or worse. I get the feeling that with more fish they won’t be focused solely on each other.

I think that is a start. More fish would at least give you a chance for a functioning cichlid community. But if both your convicts are males, it's usually a matter of time before they stop getting along. Initially, more fish should help significantly but over the long term, usually 2 males will grow more and more intolerant of each other. Looking 2,3, 4 years down the road, seldom do 2 males of the same aggressive cichlid species co-exist very well. If one doesn't out right get killed, it can end up living a terrible, stressful existence. IME, having females in the tank sort of puts the males on more even terms (by being paired up with a female(s)), but even then in 3-5 years, some males eventually have to be removed and down to a single dominant male. And that's in larger 6 ft. tanks. I've also attempted to keep groups of male convicts (like 4 or more) with no females. All I can say is that it works better then just 2, though IME and IMO it's really not a good way to keep them as it is a #%$& existence for the more subordinate males.
Majestic wrote:oh and my two little ones are both male and don’t fight with eachother so it may not be a gender thing either

I'd keep them a little longer then a day to draw any conclusions. Fish can take weeks or months to even get used to a new tank. Think more like 2-5 years, as things can change all the time in the life of a cichlid. Young and small, they are more likely to get along then larger and older. True, there are always exceptions, and no way of predicting the future with certainty, but 2 male convicts, especially in a tank with out other cichlids, is generally not a good bet to work out for very long. Also the smaller the tank, the less likely to work out but IME, even in a 6ft. 180 gal. it's just a matter of time before male convicts eventually become completely intolerant of each other. I base my opinion on having had convicts for close to 45 years. Every fish is a particular individual and maybe even more significant, every situation a fish is in is usually quite different (pecking order, tank mates, size of tank, age, size ect.) but I think one could generalize that male convicts generally won't get along well, over the longer term.
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