South American Cichlids • 50% Water Changed 55 gal/Moved Tanks Room-Cichlids Twitching

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50% Water Changed 55 gal/Moved Tanks Room-Cichlids Twitching

Postby Chillin1988 » Tue Feb 16, 2021 12:46 am

Hey I am new to this and did a 50% water change today to be able to move my 2.5 month old tank into another room... Saved approx 10 gal of old aquarium water in buckets to re-add with new water after relocated... I have 3 bumblebees, 3 cobalts, a convict, a fire belly, a Pleco, and 2 unknown south Americans... Now they seem to be almost seizing and Twitching/dancing or seem to be maybe challenging one another/guarding something, flaring fins. Never seen this before. Fire belly is flaring fins and expanding under it's neck, cobalts seem to be rapidly changing colors. I only have stick water testers but will try to include results. Having a bad winter storm here and can't get to store to get a better test kit. Help PLEASE
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Re: 50% Water Changed 55 gal/Moved Tanks Room-Cichlids Twitc

Postby fishboy75 » Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:41 am

It sounds like the water change invigorated them to me. Hard to tell from the picture but it looks like your pH is pretty low. What is it out of the tap?
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Re: 50% Water Changed 55 gal/Moved Tanks Room-Cichlids Twitc

Postby Auballagh » Tue Feb 16, 2021 9:47 am

That's a lot of fish, in what is a pretty small tank. When you moved this aquarium, did you also move some/all of the items inside the tank? Cichlids, esp. New World types can be very territorial. Moving things around inside an aquarium can really shake things up. That could cause some of the behaviors you mentioned...
Your water parameters look interesting, and thanks for posting up the pictures. Lot of info!! What has me a little concerned is the Nitrate indication. It looks like it is reading at least 40 PPM, on your test strip? And, if you had just done a 50% water change prior to the test - that would indicate a 80+ PPM Nitrate reading in the water.
That's way too high! And, there is a possibility you caused some shock in your fish with that big water change. This is because over time your fish can build up some tolerance to high Nitrates. They don't like it, and it is hard on them... But then, slamming them with a huge influx of clean water like you may have with that big water change, can cause a massive amount of stress. When an aquarium tests high in Nitrates, it is best to perform a lot of smaller water changes over a few days to slowly lower the PPM level, than one big water change to immediately get things back down again.
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- Test and measure the water more frequently for Nitrates. With the seriously high amount of fish you have stocked in this aquarium, Nitrates are going to build up on you fast in there. The ideal number is to keep Nitrates down below a maximum of 20 - 30 PPM. Any more than that, and stress will build up rapidly in your fish making them susceptible to all kinds of trouble.
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- Water Changes: The only way you are going to keep those Nitrates down, is to conduct more water changes. And, once you get things back down to around 20 PPM, you can start doing higher percentage water changes, with more frequency to dilute those Nitrates out of the water. Your fish will adapt to this, and will definitely appreciate the cleaner water conditions. Conducting 80 to 90 percent water changes for a heavily stocked aqaurium is not uncommon. Seriously! And, if you maintain the high level of fish in this tank, you may wind up conducting those high percentage water changes 2 to 3 times per week to keep the Nitrate level down to 20 - 30 PPM.
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- A bigger aquarium will provide more water volume, slowing the build up rate of those Nitrates. So will stocking with less fish.
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- You have a mixed bag of Cichlids from very different regions of the world. It would be a good idea to possibly get another aquarium (75 gallon?), and move your Africans over to it. Setting something up (with MORE African Cichlids!) that is specific for them that way, would make them a lot happier and would make the fish more interesting to observe in the aquarium.
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