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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago I stocked a 90g with 10 yellow labs, 9 yellow tail acei, 9 rusties, and 8 pearl zebras. Most of the zebras and acei are are around 1.5-2 inches. Most of the labs and rusties are around 1-1.5 inches. I am worried about some of the fish not eating enough and/or dying off. In particular the smaller fish. I have already found 1 dead lab that was almost completely devoured and my count of rusties has always been at least one short. I guess one of my questions is are you supposed to tear down your tank every time you suspect a fish may be dead to take the body out? Or is it common to not find a dead fish until its been snacked on by the others? I'm hoping my fish didn't get any sickness from feeding on the dead lab. I am occasionally seeing some stringy white poop floating in the aquarium. Should I be worried about this? During feeding time most of the fish are crowding near the top of the tank but I notice a couple small labs that hide in the rocks at the bottom. I've been feeding about an 1/8th tsp of NLS cichlid pellets twice a day and this seems to keep most fish at a healthy size except some of the rusties have fat bellies and some of the labs are looking thin. Do you think I should try feeding a little more for the small labs? Thanks for the help.
 

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Do not feed more. How did you cycle the tank? What are the test results for ammonia, pH, nitrite and nitrate?

It is a good idea to locate any dead bodies, but if you try and can't find it, the tank will likely survive. You should not have to completely tear down the tank but checking around the piles and removing a couple of rocks until you locate the victim should do it.

Key is watching the fish eat and ensuring every fish eats at every feeding. As soon as a fish does not eat, watch for disease.

Are you able to see the stringy white poop attached to any of the fish that have fat bellies or look thin? Either could be sick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did a fishless cycle as recommended in the forum library. Ammonia and nitrite are 0, Ph is 8.2, and nitrate is currently 10ppm. It gets up to 40ppm if I do 50% wc once per week. But for now I'm doing twice weekly water changes because I'm afraid of toxins from possible dead fish.

Thanks for the advice, I'll try to keep track of them while they are feeding. Its just hard to tell if some are maybe just hiding deep in the rocks. I did notice that when I throw a little extra food so it reaches the bottom that some small fish come out of the rocks to catch it.

I haven't seen any stringy white poop attached to the fish yet. Only seen a few short strings floating around occasionally. Do I start treating when I see that it is staying attached?
 

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You look for voracious feeding and normal poop on all fish daily, and act when a fish does not eat and any have poop that is white and thready on a particular fish. The fish will not hide in the rocks at feeding time when they are healthy.

I would remove enough rocks to eliminate the possibility of dead bodies and put any fish that do not come out to eat in a hospital tank for closer observation.

You have a high fish count so when you can ID extra males to get down around 20 fish overall, you will want to start rehoming some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You look for voracious feeding and normal poop on all fish daily, and act when a fish does not eat and any have poop that is white and thready on a particular fish. The fish will not hide in the rocks at feeding time when they are healthy.

I would remove enough rocks to eliminate the possibility of dead bodies and put any fish that do not come out to eat in a hospital tank for closer observation.

You have a high fish count so when you can ID extra males to get down around 20 fish overall, you will want to start rehoming some.
I'm noticing a zebra with stringy white poop, is rejecting food, and it seems to stay at one spot at the bottom of the tank. It doesn't look bloated or especially skinny. But he is looking weaker than the other fish. Should I begin treating him? If so, how should I treat him?

Also how bad is it if I don't regularly see all of my fish swarming at the top during feeding time? I feel like some fish are just not aware or prefer to hide in the rocks sometimes. They don't seem sick like the zebra I mentioned above. Thanks for you help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also I'm considering just dosing the entire 90g with api general cure. Would this be effective in just killing all the parasites? I'm not entirely sure why my fish are getting sick because I've been careful feeding them and my water quality is not that bad (0 ammonia and nitrite and around 20ppm nitrates).
 

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I would not use meds unless the particular fish you are dosing has been diagnosed with an illness that is treated with that particular med. You want the med to work effectively when a fish is really sick...as opposed to being something the fish is accustomed to as a preventive. Some organisms are present in a healthy tank, but will multiply in a fish that is stressed to the point it will make him sick.

Rather I would focus on removing the dead bodies and shoot for 10ppm nitrates after a water change. And removing extra fish to manage aggression and water quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I ended up treating the whole tank with api general cure (full dose, wait 48 hours, full dose again) because I suspected a chunk of my fish were dealing with parasites. I also dosed the tank with some epsom salt. Today most of them are eating again and hiding less. I'm still worried about a couple of them though.

One acei has been really bloated for like 4 days but is still eating and acting healthy. I haven't seen any white stringy poop from him/her. For the last 3 days I've been feeding lighter with flakes instead of pellets but the belly isn't getting smaller. I've also been trying to soak the flakes in epsom solution. How long would it normally take an mbuna to thin out?

One zebra that was previously looking sick seems to be recovering after the treatment. He is hiding less and looks like he is nibbling at food, but he still has stringy poop. Should I continue treatment with medication?

Also I agree I might need to remove extra fish. How should I go about this? I'm not sure if my mbuna are old enough to be sexed. I'm not aware of any troublemakers in the tank. I could possibly remove the 2 fish that seem weaker and/or sick.
 

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I would allow a month for the acei to thin out. Are you sure he is not eating more than his share? These fish can easily get fat.

I would remove the 2 fish that seem weaker plus the zebra (if that is not already one of the two) to a holding/hospital tank and see if the zebra improves without so many tank mates.
 
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