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Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:06 am

In my fish tank I already had 4 cichlids, out of which one was suffering from ich, I added two more cichlids in the same tank yesterday evening and shifted the sick one to another quarantine container. The two newcomers are behaving very weird since today morning. One of the newcomer is constantly hovering in near vertical position facing upwards at on eof the top corner of the tank. The second newcomer is also on the top side but not in the corner rather it is near the wall. Both of them are staying there since hours, the older fishes aren't bothering them. I have checked the water quality is optimum, and the tank capacity is 30 litres. The tank doesn't has any sand or substrate and has a normal Sponge filter. I want to know why the new fishes r behaving like this and is it a worrisome? The new fishes were exploring around the tank when I added them yesterday but since today morning I they r at one fixed spot only.
Attachments
IMG_20210107_113221.jpg
The second newcomer.
IMG_20210107_113207.jpg
The newcomer which in vertical position in the top corner of the tank.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 8:51 am

Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

Yes it is worrisome. They are feeling harassed and are trying to stay invisible to the existing fish. Aggression or harassment may be present even if it cannot be observed. Lurking under the surface is the #1 observation that provides evidence of harassment, even when the fish seem to get along. Sounds in this case like things might have been happening overnight while you were sleeping and unable to watch.

So how to manage aggression?

Aquascape and stocking. What are the dimensions of the tank? I don't see any rocks and mbuna need a lot of rocks. What is your stock list, including gender. Just to rule it out, what are your test results for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Use test tubes with reagents for your testing.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:00 pm

Is the tank really 30 liters ? If so that would explain why these fish are terrified.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:24 pm

I checked again the tank is 45litres.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:33 pm

DJRansome wrote:Welcome to Cichlid-forum!

Yes it is worrisome. They are feeling harassed and are trying to stay invisible to the existing fish. Aggression or harassment may be present even if it cannot be observed. Lurking under the surface is the #1 observation that provides evidence of harassment, even when the fish seem to get along. Sounds in this case like things might have been happening overnight while you were sleeping and unable to watch.

So how to manage aggression?

Aquascape and stocking. What are the dimensions of the tank? I don't see any rocks and mbuna need a lot of rocks. What is your stock list, including gender. Just to rule it out, what are your test results for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Use test tubes with reagents for your testing.


There were 3 males which are older ones the new entrants are females. There r rocks but not for hiding, they r just lying on the floor, for hiding there are 2 artificial plants and 1 decorative submarine(quite good for hiding). The ph was 6 when I tested it a week ago, then I added some baking soda and now it is 7.4. Ammonia is 0.12,nitrate is 0.3 and nitrite is 0.25

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:34 pm

Is this a quarantine tank? You can't successfully keep mbuna in a tank that small, not even one by itself would be happy.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:37 pm

No it is not a quarantine tank. And I don't think the size is insufficient as the shop from where i bought them had much more cichlids in just 50 litres tank that too without any rocks, grasses or substrate with only a Sponge filter.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:59 pm

If I told you that there isn't one person on this forum that would tell you that tank is acceptable for your fish, would you listen and take our advice?

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:38 pm

mmvs2022 wrote:No it is not a quarantine tank. And I don't think the size is insufficient as the shop from where i bought them had much more cichlids in just 50 litres tank that too without any rocks, grasses or substrate with only a Sponge filter.


Your tank isn't big enough.

The shop's tank was kind of successful, because there were more fish, and they are there temporarily. Often shops like that, lose plenty of fish to aggression. To successfully keep mbuna, you need a minimum 200l tank, and even that is a bit small.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:50 pm

Fogelhund wrote:
mmvs2022 wrote:No it is not a quarantine tank. And I don't think the size is insufficient as the shop from where i bought them had much more cichlids in just 50 litres tank that too without any rocks, grasses or substrate with only a Sponge filter.


Your tank isn't big enough.

The shop's tank was kind of successful, because there were more fish, and they are there temporarily. Often shops like that, lose plenty of fish to aggression. To successfully keep mbuna, you need a minimum 200l tank, and even that is a bit small.


Personally, I don't keep mbuna in anything less than a 120cm x 45cm x 45cm tank... 75 gallon, approx 300l.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:54 pm

The change in pH could have given them a little shock, as normally you would want to change it gradually over a period of many days, maybe 0.2 per day.

Assuming they are OK after that, I would fill the tank with rocks at least 1/3 the height of the tank to help with aggression right away, and start working on the upgrade to tank size if you are going to keep these fish.

You can tell your existing aquascape does not offer sufficient hiding places because the fish are lurking at the top. They like a stack that covers most of the bottom and has tight nooks and crannies between rocks. The fish don't always agree if you have 5 fish and 10 hiding places (by your reckoning) that they have sufficient hiding places.

Re: Unusual cichlid behaviour.

Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:55 pm

I realize my responses haven't helped your situation at all. I'm not trying to be rude or give you a hard time but your fish are in big trouble. You have them in too small of a tank with poor water conditions which could be caused by not having a fully cycled tank or not enough beneficial bacteria in there to process the amount of waste being produced. On top of that you have ick. Normally, I would tell you to return all the fish to the store you bought them but I dont know if they'll take sick fish back. If you want to keep these fish long term (if they survive or you wind up getting new ones) you need a tank with a minimum of 200 liters, length of 122 cm and width of 31 cm. Need to have the tank fully cycled before adding the fish using the fishless cycling method on here. Also, need to make sure the water out of your tap is good for keeping African cichlids. If your pH is low you might be better off with a fish that does well in it instead of having to play with your values all the time. I'm not sure if this is your first tank or if this is your first tank with African cichlids or how old you are but if you came on here and did some research BEFORE you added fish, most if not all of your problems wouldn't be happening. That being said we all learn from our mistakes and we have all been in your shoes to some degree. All we can do is move on with more knowledge than before and do better. If you are able to buy a bigger tank right now and move all the fish in there even better but you still have the problem of an uncycled tank and the ick to deal with. There are articles on here dealing with both issues and you can also use the search engine to find more discussion on these topics. Hope this helps a little but you have a tough road ahead to keep these fish alive right now.
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