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Firemouth help

Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:17 pm

I just bought 2 firemouth cichlids about 2 weeks ago. One, the male, is very active, healthy and shy. The other, female, is barely active and she is constantly laying on her side. She eats and allows me to "pet" her but I'm concerned about her laying on her side or propping herself up against things. I have isolated her in a breeder box that allows water flow from the main tank. Levels/water conditions are 6.8 and 75F. I have a few plants in the tank and its a tank I've had for about 1 year, doing 50-75% water changes. I haven't done a water change in about 3 weeks, but have added room temp distilled water when the water level gets low. No other fish are exhibiting any signs of illness or swim issues. The tank is 29gal with 2 firemouth, 1 sailfin, 1 molly, 2 black skirt tetra, 6 emerald corys and 2 chinese algae eaters. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Re: Firemouth help

Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:31 am

Welcome to C-F. Sorry about your troubles.

Take a look at this(viewtopic.php?f=23&t=29339) and provide this info.

First, stop adding distilled water. If your tank water level is dropping that quickly from evaporation, either get a top or perform more frequent water changes with water from the tap. What is your pH out of the tap? Do you know your gH and kH? What was the female's condition when you bought her? If a fish is laying on it's side and allows you to 'pet' her then I'd say it's days are numbered.

Firemouths(Thorichthys Meeki) come from Central America and often very hard waters. The ones you bought are most definitely tank raised and most likely will adapt to your 6.8 pH water, but I'm wondering if it's 'altered' due to the distilled being added.

Re: Firemouth help

Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:18 am

I have well water and not sure about the levels in that. I also have a top for the tank. need to get a better testing kit as the one I had was just the "sticks." After posting this, my filtration system ended up dying on me so I went and bought a really nice one instead of the Walmart cheapo I had. In turn, according to the "sticks" my levels went to 7.2 and changing the filtration system was the only thing I did differently. After keeping her in isolation for awhile, she became a lot more active. I just returned her to the main tank and she has continued to be active and overall appears healthy. She's eating well. She swims in short bursts at times and then lets herself sink to the bottom. I see her resting on the bottom still but nothing like she was before. At times, I see her chasing around my male sailfin or at times I see my male Firemouth chasing her around so she's a lot stronger then she was (which gives me hope but I know sometimes things just happen). I have stopped adding the distilled water and just keep adding water from the tap. I only add water maybe every 2 weeks or so. Is that a lot? I'm really hoping for the best with my little Firemouth, fingers crossed.

:!: What is the size and dimensions of your tank and what SPECIES of fish do you have? Don't know the dimensions, but its a 29gal (tall) Walmart tank. I have 1 sailfin, 1 molly, 6 emerald corys, 2 black skirt tetras, 2 chinese algae eaters and 2 Firemouths.

:!: How long has it been set up? Is it CYCLED? (This can rule out cycling issues.) Tank has been set up for a year and a half

:!: What are your water parameters: Temperature, ammonia (NH3/4), nitrite (NO2), pH, GH, KH and nitrate (NO3)? Temp is a consistent 76F. I do not have a great test kit, which will be remedied today, 7/23/15

:!: How long have you had the fish and what symptoms do they have? Have had Firemouths for less then a month. No other fish have sysptoms. My Firemouth was lethargic and constantly laying on her side.

What do you FEED them? A wide variety of flaked foods (wardley brand), frozen bloodworms, dry bloodworms, cichlid floating pellets, shrimp pellets, dried baby shrimp, bottom feeder tablets (not algae tabs).

Have you introduced any new fish recently? Firemouths were the newest added fish.

What is your MAINTENANCE schedule, and what product/s (if any) do you use to neutralize chlorine or chloramines in your TAP WATER? Water is well water so does not contain chlorine/floride. I use freshwater aquarium salt and start zyme monthly. My filteration system has 2 filters and a biowheel (new as of 7/19/15). I was topping off the tank with distilled water but have stopped as of 7/19/15. I typically do 75% water change bimonthly and 25-30% change monthly.

Re: Firemouth help

Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:02 am

Thanks for all the info.

Please post back the readings from the new test kit.

With cichlids and all fish, nothing is better than fresh water. Regardless of your water tests, a weekly change of 30% or more would be a great way to go and the norm for cichlids.

Re: Firemouth help

Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:47 pm

Ok got an API master test kit. Ph is 7.2, Nh3/4 is 0, No3 is 0 and No2 is 0.

Re: Firemouth help

Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:59 pm

The nitrate test for the API kit can be a bit tricky. Be sure you're following the directions exactly; shaking the bottles and vial for the specified time. Triple zeros indicates an uncycled tank.
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