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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am fairly new to the world of African Cichlids and am looking for a little bit of advice?
I have 210 litre tank, setup with plenty of rocks and hiding spaces.
Eheim filtration system, heater that sits around 27 degrees... the tank is close to a window, however never in direct sunlight...

When I first setup the fish tank, I kept goldfish for 2 months to prepare the tank..
The tank has now been running for 5 months in total...

When I do water changes, every 2- 3 weeks... I take out around 40 litres of water.. Vacuuming the gravel as much as I can at the same time... the amount of rocks restricts the areas.
The water that is replaced, I treat with water ager & Bactaboost.
Once the change is done, I usually test the tank water and add KH & GH accordingly..

I have a hood on the tank and was a bit tired of having to take it off every time I needed to access the tank, so I removed the glass top about 2 months ago and now just have the hood sitting on the tank.
Because of this, the water evaporates fairly quickly, and I am finding that I have to replace 10 litres of water a week - once again .. treated with water ager and Bactaboost.

My current Water Quality..(tested with API test kits)
PH is approx 8.1
GH is 16 drops
KH is 10 drops

Feeding
Mon – Thursday Sinking Cichlid Pellets
Friday Blanched Zucchini
Sat either , frozen blood worms, frozen bio-pureSpiulina brine shrimp, or freeze dried shrimps. (this alternates every week)
Sunday De-shelled peas.

If I feed them a meat, I make sure they have greens the day before and after.

Fish (all juvenile, 5-10cm)

Nyererei (Flameback) 1 x male 2 x female
Electric yellow 1x male 1 x female
Cobalt Blue 1 x not sure. (Light electric blue, but has the egg spots... he\she is also the biggest fish I have in the tank.
Colbalt Blue 1 x not sure. (Darker blue than the one above)
Yellow tail Acei 1 x not sure.
Doogtooth Cobue Afra 1 x male 1 x female (just an assumption as there are no egg spots or vertical bars.. she is just one dark colour all over)
Lombardo 1 x male 1 x not sure.. (thought I bought a girl but he\she is developing darker areas)
Blue Dolphins 2 x not sure
Clown Loach x5
Bristle Nose x1

So.... the Blue dolphins are my latest editions to my tank..
When I first put them in the tank 2 weeks ago, the tank got very aggressive.. Everyone was attacking everyone..
After a couple of days, everything was fine and I had a happy tank again.
Yesterday I noticed that a blue dolphin was swimming still at the back of the tank..
It didn’t come to eat, it just stayed at the back and did nothing... it was like this for several hours but later disappeared (lots of hiding spaces it could be)
Everything physically looked OK with the fish, I suppose the only thing I really noticed when I had a good look was that the belly of it was lighter than the other blue dolphin. Don’t know if this is because it hadn’t eaten.. wasn’t feeling well. Or this is just how it was...
I’ve been searching on the internet, looking for other people that may have had a similar thing happen with their cichlid, but haven’t come across anything that I can relate too...

So if anyone reading this has any advice or on what may be wrong, or feedback on the water quality or the mix of fish I have in my tank, that would be great..
I really am relying on the internet to help me look after these fish because it seems that finding a good aquarium is a hard thing to do!!

Apologies for the long post :?

Thanks everyone :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No I don't have a quarantine tank setup... and depending on how fast this attacks, I might not even have time to organise one to save him??? :-?
 

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Post the medical symptoms in Illness, not eating is a symptom of bloat but you may want to look for other symptoms to confirm. If you can get metronidazole, you could treat the whole tank.

What are the dimensions of the tank? 210 liters is somewhere in the range of a 55G tank which is 48" x 12".

If that is the right size, to promote health ongoing I would redo your stocking. Decide all-male (one of each) which gives you the variety you have. Or if you want mixed-gender then choose three species, each from a different genus and none looking alike or maturing at more than 6".

The dolphin may be too large for your tank.

If you have mbuna in the tank, I would avoid the Saturday menu completely.

Lombardoi are also usually too aggressive for a 55G.

Water changes of 50% weekly will likely work better. What are your test results for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for replies everyone :) [/img] – I found the fish dead last night, it looked like it had been there for awhile, so it must have died that night.... It didn’t have any abdominal swelling though... Would Malawi Bloat kill a fish so quickly? One day it was eating, the next day, dead?? Is it contagious?

The tank is 48â€Â
 

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When measuring a tank that is not a rectangle, chop off the odd shapes.

Cichlids generate a lot of waste and 50% weekly is a good starting place for water changes. Get a test kit that has pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. If your nitrate is high you might consider even bigger or more frequent water changes. If your ammonia or nitrite were above zero or your pH was fluctuating, it could be causing fish health problems.

Yes bloat can kill that quickly and yes it can be contagious.
 

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The Dolphins are too large for your tank. I would suggest removing them.
The rest of your fish are fine but are all herbivors. You should not feed them bloodworms or any type of shrimp. You could feed them brine shrimp once or twice a month but Spirulina should be their main diet.
I feed my fish spirulina flakes 3 days in a row, then I feed them a seafood flake one day, then back to spirulina. I alternate NLS pellets for the seafood flakes. The Spirulina acts as an enima for them as it should be.
I don't think you need to keep all male fish either. I like to buy groups.
You can wait until they grow a bit larger and then decide.
Weekly water changes are definitely recommended.
 

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A couple of things. I agree with the above about the 50% weekly water changes as being a good starting point or regular practice. Always better to change more than the minimum amount necessary to avoid problems if you have to miss a change.
you might want to reconsider your water regimen in terms of all that you are adding. You don't need Bactaboost, and probably would be better off not messing with the other parameters unless your source water is very soft and acidic. The way you are doing things you are having fluctuations in water parameters every time you do a change. When you add make up water, you increase the Total Dissolved Solids in the water. You could probably simplify your water change regimen by using water from the tap and adding a dechlor, without any other modifications. Even if the parameters don't match the Lake, it will be easier to keep the parameters consistent, which is more important than "ideal".
As far as feeding mbuna, it is not true that they are vegetarian. While algae appears to be their main food source, the algae is full of animal life. They can eat a variety of items without a problem. Spirulina is a good food for them, but is a very high protein food, at around 60%. The Malawis I have kept on and off over the last 15 years have all been fed vast quantities of live daphnia, blood worms, and assorted aquatic insect larvae exclusively for a one to two month period every spring. That means food in front of them 24/7 for that period. The result for juvenile fish was rapid growth, and for adults, easy feeding. Regardless, I never lost a fish. The high roughage content of these types of live food, keep them cleaned out. As well, the high water content (90%) means you have to feed a lot more quantity than a prepared food that is only10% water content. The only downside is you need to change more water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to everyone for their input. The reason why I have to add hardness to the water is because my tap water is very soft. Our PH is alkaline, although I thought that KH was necassary? I will increase the number of water changes. Thanks everyone :)
 
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