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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey all,

Long time reader, first time poster. I've got a problem with primarily my Acei but most of my fish seem to be acting a bit shy as well.

Primary: Acei hasn't been eating of late, probably for a good week, and has been in a his hole (clay pot) laying on his side. Whenever I give him a gentle prod he goes for a small swim then goes to another place and lays on his side. I'm assuming he's sick, but I have no idea what it is. He's not swimming upside down though.

Secondary: my other 3 fish (red shoulder, e-yellow and a Protomelas spilonotus) seem to be very shy of late and just hiding in their respective places. They are all eating well.

Any tips / hints? I've been doing regular 40-50% water changes. I only feed once a day on sinking pellets as I find my fish never eat more than that anyway and I end up cleaning it out more often than not. Heater's on 22 degrees (celsius) as it's freezing cold where I am at the moment.

Thanks, Koj
 

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Welcome to CF, or at least to the posting side of it!

What size tank is this?

By "regular" water changes, do you mean weekly?

How long has the tank been set up?

What are the water parameters on the tank?

Are these the only 4 fish in the tank?

Any losses recently?

Have you added any new fish without quarantine?

Are the fish showing any unusual symptoms? (The behaviour you're describing definitely sounds as if something is wrong - we've just got to figure out what it is!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1. 36x15x18
2. I usually do fortnight, but have been doing it weekly for the last month
3. 3 years
4. Not sure, going to get it checked at the LFS on the weekend
5. Plus a bristlenose, but those 4 are the primary fish
6. Haven't had a loss for around 2 years now
7. Nop
8. Nothing unusual except being a bit shy, the Protmelas seems to have taken a bit of a more dominant role since the Acei's been sick.

Something similar has happened before now that I think about it, where I lost another fish because of fighting for the dominant position, and when I took the dominant one out the other one died from stress. In this tank the Acei has been very dominant for a long time (at least 2years) and has been fighting with the Protomelas about 2 months ago before all of this started. But of course now the Acei is sick and stressed while the others are shy.
 

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Well, that's a pretty odd stock list for this tank. Had the tank been bigger, I would have advised you to increase the stock, but you don't really have the space to do that.

If Malawi cichlids are your interest, there are many that would be more suitable in a 3 ft tank, and allow you to stock it properly...Many of the dwarf mbuna would work, and some of the more docile regular sized mbuna would work, such as Yellow labs and Rusties.

Aceis really need a 4 foot tank minimum, and also do much better in larger groups, but because of their full adult size (I've had them that were almost 7 inches as adults) and their schooling behaviour, you just don't have the space.

I'm thinking that you may be right. It may be all about a "power struggle" within the tank. But that doesn't mean the fish isn't sick...Stress from aggression can really take a toll on a tank.

Can you remove the acei to a hospital tank so you can observe it better, and see if it starts to behave normally?

Once you get this resolved, you might want to give serious consideration to changing up the stock of the tank. I think you'd be alot happier with more suitable fish, and you'd certainly be able to have more fish. With this tank being set up for 3 years with these fish, I'm really surprised it hasn't blown up on you earlier, but I can tell you that it would be very difficult to introduce new fish to this size tank if the big guy has taken over!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the response Cichlidaholic. Unfortunately I don't have a hospital tank so I may just have to put him in the freezer or see if the LFS will take him into their hospital tank. I don't want him infecting the other fish. I may just have to also take my red-shoulder and protomelas back to the LFS for some swappsies to fish you suggested. This was/is my first tank and never really knew exactly what to put in except for "fish I liked".

Can you suggest any dwarf mbuna's?
 

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Haps/peacocks struggle to hold their colour in small tanks once they grow large due to the space restriction. In a larger tank they would colour up alot more.
Get a bigger tank :D
If not 15 Ps. Saulosi would be perfect :thumb:
 

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Pseudotropheus demasoni are always a good choice for a 3 ft tank. You must keep them in larger groups, though, so you would need 10-12 of them, and then you could have a trio of Yellow labs for an extra colour.

Or...

Pseudotropheus saulosi

Or...

A breeding group of one species of Cynotilapia "afra"...

If alot of colour isn't a concern, you could have a nice breeding group of some of the milder mannered peacocks, with more than one male - but keep in mind the females are very drab.

Yellow labs and Iodotropheus sprengerae work well together, not considered dwarf per se - they just don't get as large as some mbuna, and they are two fairly passive species that your male/female ratio won't make or break you.

(I'm sure there are more but I'm still on my first cup of coffee! :lol: )
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey Cichlidaholic.

Well I did end up taking the Acei and the two haps back to the LFS. Got a small trade for them and ended up leaving with:

1 x Labidochromis sp. "Hongi"
3 x Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba"
3 x Iodotropheus sprengerae
1 x Pseudotropheus sp. "Kingsizei"

And my E.Yellow has started swimming around / eating a bit more now. So I would definitely think it was a tank dominance issue and size issue with the Acei causing a bit of stress in the tank.

The only one I think i'm going to have any problems with is the Hongi and he'll grow to a similar size as the Acei, but i'll play that one by ear.

Reading up on the profile the rest should only grow to about 3-4" (or 10cm) and are a bit smaller, while they're not all hugely peaceful, going off the profiles they should mix well (fingers crossed). Thanks for your help!
 
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