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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI! I'm new to the cichlid scene, have had fish forever, but not cichlids and I NEED HELP!!! :-?

I have set up a 55. It's been running for about a month. But my cichlids are dying quickly. It was almost a brackish tank with black sand. I removed that water and cleaned as best as I could and added Rift Lake substrate over it . Have some clay pots and lava rock, 2 hanging filters - one is Bio wheel the other is not, heater and air stone. I then ran it with the filter a coulple of days, after water cleared, I added about 6 fry and let it run for about a week. All's good, added a few more. Now they are just getting sick. Two have gotten a white fungus aroung the eye, looks like its being eaten, others get a fungus on the body, half way towards the tail. I lost my two females to this - an Albino White and a White.

I've tried Mela-, Pim-, and fungus cure, they get better, start to eat, come up and are happy and then again get sick.

I had test strips and read good. I decided to get a test kit. The test results came back fine, it think... :( pH 7.4, Ammonia 0, Nitrate 0 and nitrite 0??

I did notice white algae on the glass. I had the heater on and the water was at about 79-80 degrees, so I turned it off and added algae remover.

I couldn't get photos. I had one with the fungus one one side of the "face", died. I looked like it was spun in a spiders web. I have another with some kind of fungus, not sure. Half of the body, towards the tail is loosing it's color. I had another one that died from it, later lost its scales, grew a cottony-like fungus and died. And now, I have one that looks like something is biting the mouth. I don't understand. :x

Any ideas? What am i doing wrong? Should I change the filters? Should I do a complete water change? :(
 

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Well first of all welcome to the world of cichlids and sorry you've had such a rough start.

A couple of things stick out in the info you've provided. First: did you put the rift lake substrate over an existing/established substrate? This is usually not a good idea. Waste gets trapped below and without air anaerobic pockets of bacteria form and these are very harmful to your fish. Nitrate will also rise. Using a siphon hose siphon the gravel one small area at a time. Don't stir it up!! Push the siphon nozzle straight down, keep it there until no more brown is coming up and then move onto another section.

Sounds like your tank may not have been cycled. Impossible to tell without testing. It may be cycled now but if any of the fish were exposed to ammonia and nitrite spikes then this would put them at greater risk for illness and disease. You state that your tank currently has 0 nitrates. Either your test kit is wrong or your tank is not cycled. In a cycled tank you will always have some kind of nitrate reading. (unless its heavily planted). So you should double check your water parameters ASAP.

Stop using any kind of Algae killer. Later, when your fish are in good health you can consider using such products but really, there are much better ways to deal with algae and most of them don't involve adding anything to the tank.

Sounds like your fish have a bacterial infection--probably Columnaris so here's what you should do:

First of all make sure you're using a good quality declorinator. You need one that removes ammonia and detoxifies nitrite. (Seachem Prime is a good one but there are others).
Do a 25% partial water change. Wait several hours and then do another 25% water change.
Add salt--sodium chloride, (that's plain old table salt without any additives.) Aquarium salt from the fish store will work. Add 1-2 tablespoons per five gallons. Dissolve it first and add it slowly.

>Treat the entire tank with a combination of Maracyn and Maracyn-two, (used concurently),
OR Kanamycin.
>Turn the heat down to 76 while treating.
>Increase water movement/areation. Add a water jet and point it to the surface and/or drop the water level by an inch or two so that the filter return creates a waterfall/splash.
>Feed sparingly. Even better: fast them for 24 hours and then feed sparingly.

Don't change filters but you can check and make sure that the filters arn't clogged. If there's buildup then rinse the filters in a bucket of tank water and return them to the filter. (note: if your filters are less then a month old remove any carbon before using meds)

Please post back with any additional questions
Robin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! Finally someone has given me some ideas, insight and hope. :)

I have a post on another forum...different replies with different questions, but no possible solutions. :(

I will try this and get back with the results in a while. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Robin,

I sort of went a differnent way. :oops: I continued with the Mela- and Pim- because I couldn't get the Maracyn and Maracyn-two or Kanamycin. I can't believe they are so hard to get locally. :x Anyway, I have the tank at 78-79 degrees and I changed the hanging filters to a Magnum Canister I had laying around. I lost my Electric Blue the unknown fungus (it had died by the time you wrote to me and I got home :-? ) and the Peacock's mouth has healed. The fish that have survived seem happy. :fish: I pass by the tank and they come up for food. I can actually see them all, they are not hiding or staying at the bottom.

I will do another change to get the water a little better situated and re-test. If all is good can I address the algae on the tank. Can I treat with Algaefix or other? or just scrape it?

I think, for now, that is my only problem....I hope. Thank you!! :p :thumb:
 
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