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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tank
What is the water volume of the tank? 40gal breeder
How long has the tank been running? At the current bioload, about 3 weeks
Does it have a filter? Yes, currently 2 hang-on filters, aquaeon 50 gal
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 87.1
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 7 total fish, all Labeotropheus fuelliborni, currently 1 male and 6 females.

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? 1-2x per week
How much of the water do you change? 40%
What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime, carbon filter
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I tried to, but had an emergency with these fish in another tank and jumped them into a different tank that was cycled to a much lower bioload
What do you use to test the water? Mix of API test strips and freshwater master kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just "fine" or "safe".
Ammonia: under 0.25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: under 10
pH: 8.4

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 2-3x a day
How much do you feed your fish? About what they can eat in 1-2 min
What brand of food do you feed your fish? 1/3 yolk and 2/3 spirulina algae
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? About 8 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? This fish, today. Other fish have been dying in this tank for a few weeks now
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Fish bloated, not eating much, hanging out by airstone and low in the tank
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Yes, I dosed with Pimafix and Melafix and turned off the UV filter
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Yes, they were shipped from afar and had some issues with ammonia poisoning during shipment and possible choloramine contamination in my tank after shipment. The chloramine issue was resolved over two weeks ago.
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Bloating, loss of appetite, reduction of swimming behavior.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

I got these fish from a store far away (I am a researcher using cichlids to study developmental biology, this is my first experience setting up a fish room on my own - I am replicating my old boss's Aquaneering setup from scratch on a much smaller budget). I need specific species & generations (as close to wild caught as possible) for my research. I sourced these fish from someone I'd worked with in the past. The fish arrived more stressed than usual, and when I went to acclimate them the issue only got worse. I eventually netted them into my tank from the bags because I discovered such high levels of ammonia the fish were spinning out and clearly in distress. They recovered and appeared to do better for a while, at which point a spike in chloramines (I think I forgot to add Prime to my tap water on that water change) set them back. They have been very hidey and skittish since, and now I've had four die in the last two weeks with another appearing ill this morning. The last one that died was very bloated for over a week, settled on the bottom, not eating, and overall seeming in distress. The one currently sick appears to have some of the same symptoms, though not nearly as bad. I have isolated it in a large breeder basket in the communal tank (I do not currently have a quarantine tank ready) and I have dosed the tank with Pimafix and Melafix. Any additional advice for me?
 

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The tank is too small for labeotropheus. It sounds like harassment with the fish hiding by the airstone. Do you have access to a 75G tank that is 48x18 inches?

I would stop the melafix and pimafix. What do the feces look like? Thready and white/clear or thick and food colored? Are they eating?

I would feed less and change water 50% weekly or more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've kept Labeos in 40gal tanks successfully before at higher densities. I'll know more about feces & whether she's feeding tomorrow. It looks like she ate a bit today, but it can be hard to tell when they're not isolated. I'll be able to see feces very clearly if it's food colored given the isolation in the basket.

Better pics of her from above - she's nowhere near as bloated as the last fish that died. I do suspect dropsy given the apparent opportunism and the symptoms, hence the pima & melafix treatments. I also did a salt bath on her.
 

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She does not look bloated at all in the pics...which is a late stage symptom.

If you have kept them before in a 40BR then you should be fine. Your test results are OK. Maybe they are just too damaged from shipping and chlorine to recover.
 
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