Aquarium Setup • Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

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Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Frankyboy303 » Mon Apr 13, 2020 1:34 pm

I just set up a new 50 Gallan tank. Cycle completed. PH is around 8. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, all at 0. Temp is 78-80. The only fish in the tank are the juvenile cichlids I bought a week ago. Mix of 5 and they are smaller than 2 inches. Still don’t know if they are male/female. The price sign said “pseudotropeus and/or melanochromis”. I don’t understand why my new juvenile cichlids are all very active yet all they do is glass surf by the heater. Sometimes it’s a cool looking choreographed dance (doesn’t seem stressful).. They swim by the heater 80% of the day and only nibble at food but mostly ignore it. I’ve done flakes, algae crumbles and even tried peas. My question is;

1. Why are they spending so much time next to the heater even though they are super active and temp is at 78-80?
2. Is it normal for af juvenile cichlids to ignore food at first? It’s been about 5 days since I brought them home.
3. Any good website/book/reference I can use to identify and sex my African cichlids?
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby DJRansome » Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:14 pm

Sometimes new fish will pace up/down the corners of a new tank. Usually it is not all the fish like you have.

What are your test results for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

Another reason for fish to lurk under the surface or behind a heater is harassment. Harassment is often not seen by the fishkeeper.

It is not normal for new fish to ignore food. Do not feed different foods, and siphon daily whatever they do not eat. They will not starve in the first 30 days, but not eating can be a sign of illness.

The Cichlid-forum Library has articles about sexing fish...yours may be too young to sex.

The Cichlid-forum Profiles have picture of many mbuna but with fish sold without a scientific name, you can assume they are hybrids and you may never know what they are. Check out Lake Malawi mbuna Labidochromis caeruleus for the yellow ones.

I don't see any typical looking melanochromis types...do any have horizontal stripes? The ones at the bottom may be higher in the pecking order than the ones near the surface.
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Deeda » Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:24 pm

Hi and Welcome to C-F!!

How did you cycle the tank as a reading of zero nitrate usually means it isn't cycled yet?

Q.1 The fish are new to the tank so they are exploring their new surroundings. I don't think there is any worry that they are spending time next to the heater. A temperature of 78F is just fine
Q.2 Are you seeing the fish eat any food at all? Flakes sometimes get broken up by filter flow output but pellets are also good. What brand and size food are you feeding? No need for peas!
Q. 3 Small fish are difficult to determine gender so you will have to wait until they are larger. There are a lot of species in the genus you posted so it can be difficult to figure out what they are. You can try posting clear individual pics of each fish and it might help but waiting until they are larger will be better.

Check out the Species Profiles tab at the top of the forum page, choose Malawi cichlids and then the genus. You may spend hours though trying to match up and ID at this point.
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby BlueSunshine » Mon Apr 13, 2020 8:07 pm

I don't see a single fish by the heater, in the pic you provided. Don't crowd them, let them explore and learn their new hone. It's theirs now...not yours. And don't over feed them, gonna be very important, seeing as their tank isn't cycled yet.
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Frankyboy303 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 1:47 am

Wow I’m speechless. Thanks to everyone who responded. I was not expecting that solid of information so quick.

DjRansom- for the last week my Ph has been at 8.0 (high range ph test). No harassment that I’ve seen (yet)...thanks to corona I’ve been staring at my tank a lot lately. They’re very young but so far they all swim together and do this trippy choreographed dance around the heater. Occasional fin fflare but they kinda shimmy at the same time which might be more playful or flirtatious. But then again, I dunno

Deeda- when I set up the tank I poured some quick start and conditioner in there. Recommended amounts of everything. 5 days later my clear water got crazy cloudy. I freaked out looked it up and apparently it was a nitrogen bloom. Totally normal. Went away 2 days later. Waited an extra few days and my levels were all perfect so I bought my baby cichlids. Water Parameters are fine everybody, promise :) . I test it everyday. Levels are all 8.0/0/0/0. I live in Denver so my water is hard plus I have rocks that keep ph up supposedly. Btw, all the research I’ve done confirms what you said. New environment, normal behavior. Sorry about the terrible picture, I’ll post some better ones. Ps- I’ll stop with the peas lol I thought that was good for herbivores

Sunshine! You’re totally right. That was a terrible picture AND example. Lol not one single fish was by the heater. But that was a rare occasion. I’ll post better pictures. My tank IS cycled. I hope...and yes, I need to give my fish some more alone time. It’s been kinda boring around here lately :)

Thanks again everyone for the info. Much appreciated
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Frankyboy303 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:33 am

Better pics! Now they won’t go by the heater at all lol go figure. Like sunshine said, it’s their home now..
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby DJRansome » Tue Apr 14, 2020 7:44 am

If your nitrate is zero you tank may not be cycled. A cycled tank produces nitrate.
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby BlueSunshine » Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:36 am

Frankyboy303 wrote:I just set up a new 50 Gallan tank. Cycle completed. PH is around 8. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, all at 0. Temp is 78-80. The only fish in the tank are the juvenile cichlids I bought a week ago. Mix of 5 and they are smaller than 2 inches. Still don’t know if they are male/female. The price sign said “pseudotropeus and/or melanochromis”. I don’t understand why my new juvenile cichlids are all very active yet all they do is glass surf by the heater. Sometimes it’s a cool looking choreographed dance (doesn’t seem stressful).. They swim by the heater 80% of the day and only nibble at food but mostly ignore it. I’ve done flakes, algae crumbles and even tried peas. My question is;

1. Why are they spending so much time next to the heater even though they are super active and temp is at 78-80?
2. Is it normal for af juvenile cichlids to ignore food at first? It’s been about 5 days since I brought them home.
3. Any good website/book/reference I can use to identify and sex my African cichlids?


This is why the other members and I are questioning your tank cycle.

I'm not as polished as the other members, so you will have to bare with me sometimes. :)
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:26 pm

Readings as of 6/7
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Deeda » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:48 pm

See my comment regarding ammonia reading in your other topic.

I will suggest that you be more exacting in filling the test vials to the 5ml mark, I noticed they appear lower on the pH and nitrite vials which can skew the results.
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Re: Cichlids swimming around heater set @ 80

Postby Frankyboy303 » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:51 pm

thank you. i actually posted that pic under the wrong forum.
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