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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have a 38 gallon with fairly extensive rock work (you can check "my tanks" if you want to see). I'm filtered with an Emperor 280. I believe my water readings are acceptable: <15 nitrates, 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia, GH ~160, KH ~150, pH 7.9, weekly 25% water changes, and twice daily feedings of spirulina flakes and the occasional cube of frozen brine shrimp.

My stock list was:
3 Yellow Labs - unsexed but I've never seen one hold - I suspect all male
4 Tropheops sp. red fin (Two adult females and two 10 week old fry)
1 Demasoni - suspected male
1 Ps Acei Ngara - male
1 CAE

This past week I had to net my dead Chinese Algae Eater from the tank. While doing that I discovered one of my Yellow Labs dead behind a rock - neither fish looked like they'd suffered any violence or obvious disease - like rock stars, they left nice corpses.

I can't rule out any diseases, but the remaining 8 fish all look healthy. Both Yellow Labs seem spend a lot of time cowering - usually hanging out together in a vertical position. I've seen my Demasoni and my largest Lab circle and lip lock on occasion, and the two Tropheops females aren't so gentle either - so I have isolated the Labs in my 10g hospital tank to lower their stress.

Anyway, I feel like my beginner's luck has run out now that most of my fish are reaching maturity. If I could start over again I'd do a Saulosi species tank, but I feel beholden to the fish I have.

Right now I'm leaning towards removing the 4 Tropheops (I've listed them in the Trading Post) and getting a few more Labs in the hopes they can spread their potential stress through greater numbers. or maybe I've just got some really bad male/female ratios.

So I'm asking for advice and thoughts with the caveat that "You need a bigger tank/you should have bought a bigger tank" isn't helpful; while I will be upgrading to a 75/90 as soon as I can, it won't be soon.

Thanks,

kevin
 

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If I were to guess... the tropheus are probably the biggest trouble starters and I think that getting rid of them is a great start.

Did the two dead fish have signs of being beaten up? or just dead without any sign of anything?

How's the oxygenation in the tank? With just the one filter there may not be enough surface agitation for the stock list you have...

One more note... I would stop feeding brine shrimp. All of the species you have would be better off on a spirulina only diet or get something that is an all around good food for algae grazers like NLS or something.

All of the fish you have are very prone to getting bloat (which can kill them) from too much protein (i.e. brine shrimp).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No more brine shrimp is easy enough to do, although I've seen no signs of bloat.

The water feeding back from my filter does a pretty good job of splashing and agitating, so I doubt that's my problem.

The two dead fish showed no obvious signs of anything. I'm sure that's often the case.

And just to be clear, I have Tropheops, not Tropheus. http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/s ... php?id=979

thanks for the tips.
 

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And just to be clear, I have Tropheops, not Tropheus.
haha woops... guess I was reading too fast... that explains why you weren't complaining about their obnoxious agression!

Either way even with tropheops I would avoid brine shrimp. But that's me... a lot of people feed brine shrimp and swear by it. In my experience, mbuna will thrive off of NLS pellets. That's what I feed my mbuna plus an algae wafer for them to fight over every once in a while (that's really more for my entertainment... but it's packed with spirulina and great for them as well)

Another thing... is sometimes fish just die... and you will never know why. However, it's a little weird that you had two die at the same time... hmmm...

I would just keep an eye on all the other guys. Hopefully they will be fine!

One thing you didn't list is water temp... where's that at?
 

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I think you're on the right track. I'm really surprised you got away with having the Tropheops in this tank for this long. I've never kept them myself, but I've heard they can be highly aggressive.

If you don't want more yellow labs and want more colour in the tank, you could always go with a group of 10-12 demasoni once you remove the Tropheops. (I'd probably remove the acei, too, just because a lone acei probably wouldn't be too happy in with that mix.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tank temperature is 79 F. (I've spent my whole life with the metric system and now you fish people are dragging me back to the stone age!)

Kim, is a 38g big enough for 4-5 Labs + 12 Demasonis (and 1 BN)?
 

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ridley25 said:
Tank temperature is 79 F. (I've spent my whole life with the metric system and now you fish people are dragging me back to the stone age!)

Kim, is a 38g big enough for 4-5 Labs + 12 Demasonis (and 1 BN)?
Don't blame me, I'm American! I have to set my Weatherbug on a Buffalo zip code just so I know what to wear every morning!

What are the dimensions of the tank? If it's 36 inches, you're fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
36x12x20.

I look forward to joining all the "how many Demasonis does one need to stop the killing" threads...
 

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Both Yellow Labs seem spend a lot of time cowering - usually hanging out together in a vertical position.
Hanging vertically is a good sign that there is too much stress in the tank and someone needs to come out. I think you are on the right path suspecting the tropheops. Please update us with how things work out.
 

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You are fine for demasoni and Yellow labs!
 
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