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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Mbuna set up, 300litre tank which has been running for around five months. Added all juvenile mbuna at the same time. At present given their age there doesn't seem to be much in way of aggression.

I have noticed over last few days though that one mphanga and one albino socolofi seem to be loitering in one corner of the tank. All the other fish race to the top at feeding time but these two make no effort at all. I carry out water changes weekly and also test parameters just before weekly change to make sure nothing untoward happening.

Tank is currently made up of yellow labs, mphanga, red top hongi and the socolofi.

They are predominantly fed on Vitalis Green Algae pellets which have a low protein count, and spirulina flake. One day a week I allow them to fast. They aren't showing the recognised signs of bloat but something isnt right with them, more so the socolofi.

I don't have a spare hospital tank at present, the tank is heavily hard scaped so I think catching them would be a challenge also. I did take out and rearrange all the rockwork at the weekend, but I am sure they were acting like this beforehand. I dont think either of them could be "holding" as too young? Bought them in May and they were around 5cm long then at a guess so not sure what age that would possibly make them? I will continue to monitor, I could try and get a hospital tank as it was on the list but not sure if they would need one each? They are both loitering in same vicinity.
 

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If you have had them five months they may be old enough to start being competitive and preparing to spawn. When they lurk like that it is evidence of harassment.

What are the dimensions of your tank? Both the hongi and the mphanga are blue barred and aggressive fish. I would keep them at a ratio of 1m:7f. I would also eliminate one of the species, especially if this is a 48" tank.

If you have more than one male socolofi and mphanga, this may just be the fishes natural behavior to eliminate competition.

The yellow labs commpnly spawn at 1.5" including tail...the mphanga may take longer to spawn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As they were all bought as very young juveniles the breeder attempted to sex but no guarantee. 4 socolofi in there and also 4 of the Hongi and mphanga.

I realise I may need to rehome one species, I hadn't picked up on the barred issue until had purchased.

Generally as tank is in living room I don't notice too much in way of aggression at the moment but I'm not watching it constantly so guess it's more than likely behaviour.

It's a shame if is thT and also not willing to come out to feed either as that will only mean one thing.

Aquarium is 48 x 22 x 22
 

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I would remove the hongi and add females for all the other species.

It is not unusual for unsexed juveniles of aggressive species like socolofi and metriaclima to reject extra males. I would rehome either the fish that is lurking or the dominant fish among the socolofi and mphanga. What is the rest of the scientific name of the mphanga? I have been thinking Metraclima, but there are others from that collection point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Elongatus.

It's difficult to pick out any dominant fish I have to be honest. With the mpanga there is one with real strong colours but they don't seem to be pushing anyone around and likewise with the socolofi.

I will see if I can get 8t out if tank and feeding if I can pick up a cheap set up with a view to rehoming.

I guess placing it into a community tropical tank as an interim measure could be equally as bad?
 

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The colors indicate dominance. The problem with rehoming the harassed fish is just in case it might be a female...you would not want to get rid of it.

You are rehoming one whole species as well. I would not put mbuna in a tropical tank. For an overnight emergency you could do a breeder box in the African tank.

Shoot for 20 fish in a tank that size. Having too few fish can also cause harassment issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The socolofi died sadly but had been pecked at so was not worth taking any pics to try and identify anything.

I managed to catch the listless mpanga and have got it in a breeder net for now. Some mbuna keeper I chat to on insta suggested it could be mycobacterium?

I have googled that and whilst the stomach of this one hasn't shrunk to that extent if it is refusing to eat I guess they will lose shape anyway. See attached pic from in tank and then when I caught it.

I don't really want it dying and getting hidden in rock work.Im going to head to my local fish store tomorrow for some guidance too. Did another 50% water change today again from Saturday as was worried the dead fish may have spiked ammonia or nitrite (nitrite was showing a little over acceptable level)
 

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