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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wondering if you all could help with this one....

I noticed last night that my psuedotropheus elongus is exhibiting un-normal behavior. He looks as if he is gasping for air and sort of bouncing up and down a little bit too. He also keeps resting his belly on a flat rock, but he does not lay to his side.. His colors are great, he came up for food and ate and it doesn't look like he's been in a fight. I'm not sure how old he is because I bought him as an adult. I've had him for about a year and 6 months. The other fish in the tank all are looking and behaving normal.

It's a 55 gal. The fish are listed below, and add about 6 (1/2 inch) hybrid babies to that list.
pH 7.8
Nitrates 3
Nitrites 0
Amonia between 0 and .25

Last water change was 20 gallons on 6/3/08.

Should I set up the hospital tank?????
 

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Sounds like you may need to do some frequent water changes with a good dechlorinator!

What is your usual tank maintenance routine?

You should have a solid zero for ammonia. Any trace of it can stress the fish out horribly.

Are any of the other fish acting abnormally?

Any higher than usual stress levels in the tank? I'm asking because that's a pretty volatile mix of fish, and if you've had them all the same length of time, they are likely all sexually maturing, so the aggression will increase.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, the ammonia was just above zero which is usually not normal for my tank. (it usually is dead 0) I generally do a 20-25% water change every 3 weeks because my reef ready tank takes care of keeping my tank extremely filtered. The fish are all different ages, and yes, I have notice a little more aggression lately.... in particular, my oldest fish, a female hybrid, has obviously been in a fight. This hasn't happened in over a year. As far as I know there are 3 mature females in the tank. Most of the fish in the tank reached sexual maturity over a year ago.

As for decholorinator... I use Prime. Is there something better? The rest of the fish are really not acting any differently except I've notice a couple of nipped fins here and there. I've been thinking about eliminating the females... but as it always happens, I'm particularly attached to one of them and feel that having 3 in there has balanced things out and aggression has been minimal.
 

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There is nothing better than Prime!

I would suggest eliminating females and going with an all male tank, if you like to keep alot of different species. You wouldn't want to have two males of one species, and you would want to focus on getting males that don't look similar to each other. The Tropheus really shouldn't be kept with these fish at all - they are highly prone to bloat, and the stress of this tank could be a huge contributor to that. The kenyi is also an iffy species, and should really be kept in a 75G minimum. However, if it is a lone male and there are no others, he might do okay long term.

I would do the water changes for now, and see if you notice any improvement.

What do you mean about the reef tank? Is this an old reef tank?

Regardless, I think you aren't doing often enough water changes. SW tanks do without water changes because of the biological set up of the tank, it's not the same for freshwater.

HTH

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, what I mean by reef ready is that it's filtered through an over flow with a sump pump and a wet/dry. It's ultra filtered. The kenyi is one of the females, and really, the fish get along as well as they can. I was told 2+ years ago that the Tropheus may develop some problems down the road... so I have been diligent about keeping an eye on him.... he's awesome and doing wonderfully. The psuedo elong. is really what I'm most worried about. I will do more frequent water changes for the rest of the month... I was just wondering if anyone has seen these symptoms before (the gasping, bobbing and resting more often)

Thanks,
Mara
 

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The gasping, bobbing and resting are all signs that something is wrong...Bad thing is, they can indicate almost any fish disease or water problem...

Since you have an ammonia reading, my first choice of action would be to clean the tank up. I suspect you may need to up the frequency and amount of your water changes once you get things under control.

Once you get the water cleaned up, let's see how the fish are doing and we'll take it from there.

I would never advise putting meds in a tank with an ammonia reading above zero.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Will squeezing out the sponge in the filter help with this too?? It's really packed....

Thanks,
Mara
 

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Squeezing the sponge in the tank at this point isn't going to help, if that's what you're asking.

If your filter needs cleaning, clean it outside the tank, but use tank water to clean it.

How many water changes have you done? How is the ammonia reading now?

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i've done 1 change of about 18 gallons.... The reading is the same. .25 The fish are still doing ok... I was planning on doing about 16-18 more gallons tonight.... what do you think?
 

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cichlidaholic said:
Sounds like you may need to do some frequent water changes with a good dechlorinator!
By "frequent", I meant you may have to do several a day until you get the ammonia level down.

Right now, your fish are marinating in their own waste, and it can do long term damage to their internal organs.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
oh man! I thought you meant like 1 a day for a week or so! Can you give me the exacts??

How many a day? How much water and for how long!

Thank you so much!
Mara
 

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Sorry, I should have been more clear. :oops:

I would do 3 a day, at 25% each water change. I bet you'll clear it up within a couple of days. I know it sounds like a pain, but it will help the fish immensely long term.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks! I'll get started on this immediately!

Mara
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok, good news. After 4 WC's, we have Ammonia at 0, Nitrates 5, Nitrites 0 and pH 7.8. All fish seem back to normal, but there is still evidently some bullying going on. The weirdest part is, that the 2 biggest and usually-untouched zebras have nipped tails, and the other fish, look fine. The Psuedo elongus is no longer resting on the rocks and is back to his usual behavior but still is opening and closing his mouth more than normal. I think I've identified the bully to be my female kenyi. I wanted to keep her in the tank because she keeps the other females from getting beat up, but I think she's gonna have to go to someone else. I'll have to see how the other 2 do with out her, because I'm not ready to part with one of them until I absolutely have to. Any other suggestions? Should I do any more water changes this week?
Thanks so much!
Mara
 

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That's great, Mara!

Honestly, if the stocklist in your signature is current, removing one fish may not change a thing. Sometimes, the aggression stems from the fish you're trying to keep together. Removing or adding one fish can lead to other problems, worse than the ones you were trying to correct.

I would decide where you want to go with the tank. If you like having one of this and one of that, then I would suggest going with an all male tank - this would mean removing ALL females and getting more males, focusing on those who don't look like each other.

If you're interested in some breeding, then I would pick 3 species max of the mbuna (you don't really have room for a colony of adult Tropheus, which is how they should be kept) and get rid of the other mbuna and Tropheus, then build breeding groups out of those 3 groups - 1 male and 3-4 females of each species.

Those two options are about the only way you're going to see any changes in the dynamics of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks,
I'm most likely gonna stick with the all male idea... which was of course the goal from the start... but sometimes, you just get a female. No one around here knows how to vent a fish, and I really can't tell either.

Thanks for your help, and I'll let you know when I update the tank...
 
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