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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I cannot keep these things alive long enough to start murdering each other.

Background: I recently bought a 75 gallon tank to keep some mbunas (on the advice of someone warning me not to do it). I did a fishless cycle and waited until the cycle was complete to add 6 yellow labs, 6 yellow tail aceis, & 16 Demasoni. They were all less than 1.5 inches. We were a week in when the deaths started: 1 then 2 then 1 then another 3 every day, the demasoni stopped eating, started spitting out food, and died until two were left. There were one or two that looked a little beat up, but for the most part these were very healthy fish with no scales missing and full fins that were dying.

Fast forward 2 weeks, and I bought 12 more hoping that I could start over. At this point there was a very healthy (and now larger) Demasoni, so I rearranged the rocks so that he would have to re-establish his territory and I added the 12. There was a little bit aggression from the big guy, but he would not chase for more than a foot or so without getting lost in the numbers. 5 days later, and the new demasoni are spitting out food and the big demasoni is dead. No ripped fins, no notable damage, just dead.

Now I'm stuck with 12 baby demasoni that are almost all lethargic and spitting out food. There is minimal aggression (I set up a camera outside the tank in case there was something I was missing), and the now-huge yellow labs & aceis are fine and always hungry. I'm afraid they're all going to die, but I don't know what to do. I've considered bloat, but their diet is low protein and like I said the non-demasoni are fine. Could it be just affecting them? If so should I treat the whole tank or try to fish out all of the spitting ones? I really want to own a group of these buggers, but the outcome is looking grim so far.

Info:
4 ft 75 gallon with fx6 & biowheel 350
Pool filter sand substrate
Loads of rocks
0 nitrites, 20-40 ppm nitrates, very hard water
~8 pH
Weekly 20-30% water changes with substrate vacuuming
Spirulina Flakes and nls cichlid food 2x per day
6 each healthy yt acei / yellow labs
Lots of dead demasoni
 

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Well I certainly wouldn't buy them from wherever you got them again. If fish don't eat then something is wrong, and generally all you can do is treat for parasites with metro and hope for the best.

It amazes me how often people have these problems, there must be some really bad places for buying africans. They are such a bulletproof group of fish there is really no excuse to be selling off stock like this.

And yeah I have had them before in a small group. Never had a single issue with them though they are a bit mean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I buy them through an lfs where I pick them up within an hour of shipment from the vendor. I was hoping that maybe the first group died as the result of an unexpected tank re-cycle or something. I don't know if they were spitting food when I first got them but within 3 days when the first died I noticed it. These guys seemed to be eating when I first got them, but again after just a few days in the tank they are spitting and lethargic.

I guess I will order some Metro, treat the whole tank, and hope for the best. If this group dies then I will have to start looking up online vendors or going through the local Petco to restock.
 

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It would help to get the nitrates down too. Shoot for 10ppm after a water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmm. I checked my nitrates after yesterday's water change and they were high at 40. I will switch to the more frequent water change schedule for the time being and cut feeding down to once a day. I might have over fed them a little being concerned that the little guys weren't eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In spite of water changes, almost all of the demasoni died within a few days. I Look to be down to 3 from the 12 that I bought days ago. I can't imagine that they would have killed each other in that length of time. And it seems odd that the water parameters would only affect one species of fish. The labs and acei are still active and eating with no problems at all.

I may try an online vendor after a few weeks if I can build up the confidence to buy another $200 worth of fish.
 

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I don't think the nitrates killed them, but if you are having other troubles, may as well not add toxins to the mix.
 

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Whew! What a nightmare, sorry for your catastrophe.

I would treat the whole tank anyways just to be sure, then if you try again go for some other source. Some of the online sources seem pretty good, though some not so much. Best of all is when you can get something directly from the tank of another hobbyist, which is what I usually try to do if possible.
 
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