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My First Cichlids...Fry and Fin Rot

1010 Views 12 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  cichlidaholic
Hi there, I'm new to this board, just thought I'd say a hello, and tell you about my cichlid keeping so far. I'm Joe, and I keep electric yellows, cobalt blues, and red zebra's. (before anyone says it, I did my research on the cobalt blue's, and have kept the ratio 3 females to one male!)

I've been keeping Cichlids for about 4 months now, and I've just had my first batch of fry!

Unfortunately I stressed the mother when moving her to a brooding tank I just set up, and she spat out 4 very young fry that were still mostly egg sacs. I managed to rescue two of these and put them in a tube with netting on the bottom, and set up an airstone to bubble underneath cos I've heard that they are at great risk of getting fungus infections etc if they are not kept in motion.

Well, it paid off, and the two survived! I thought that because the mother is a young fish (3 to 4months?) that there wouldn't be many left in her mouth, maybe another 4 at most.

To my shock she spat out the baby's about 2 weeks later, and there are now 18 of them!

How she managed to fit all those in her mouth is beyond me, is this a lot for a first time mother? Especially seeing as she isn't full grown?

The fry are all happy and free swimming, and have their own warmer tank to themselves.

One final question, one of my fish appears to have fin rot...I have medicated the tank with TetraMedica Fin Rot Treatment...but a bit worried it's not going to work...should the fish be removed to its own tank, can fin rot spread?



Pictures to follow...
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First, I have a question, what is your water changing schedule like and what do you have in the tanks? Fin rot is most often associated with poor water conditions. That is the reason I'm asking.

18 fry for a first time mom is pretty good. Most first time moms don't even hold the entire time. Just imagine that soon she'll be able to hold 40+. I had a 3" saulosi who always had 30+ fry for years.
Welcome to CF, Joe!

Are you housing all three species in the same tank?

If so, I suppose the first thing to do is to make sure you know that these 3 species can crossbreed with each other, so fry should not be distributed from any of them. (Yellow labs can cross with red zebras, and red zebras can cross with Cobalts.) So, unless you witness a spawn from beginning to end - and they can last hours, I wouldn't allow any fry to leave my tanks.

I really think those 3 species would make an amazing looking tank, though. It's just not something I've done because of crossbreeding issues.

chapman76 is right...The fin rot could be from water quality issues, or it could be from aggression.

Are all of your fish mature? What is your male/female ratio for each species?

If it's really fin rot and not just tears from aggression, you may need to treat the tank, but it would be important to know how long the tank has been set up, and what the water parameters are before advising on any meds.


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First off, thanks for the quick replies, very informative and helpful.

I'm going to guess its an injury rather than fin rot, as she has a bit of a scar on her side too...I'm going to take some pictures now, I've just been waiting for camera to charge.

I try to change quarter of the water once a week and I over filter the tank, with a big external and a larger internal filter. The tank has been up and running for about 6months now as a cichlid tank. none of the fish are fully mature, well I don't think they are. I'm really gutted about this because I like to think I take great care of these fish.

I've been away at university so it's hard for somebody in my family to take as much care as I do over them, but I'm back for the summer and I'm pretty upset to find an ill fish.

Cobalt Blues x 4 (3 females 1 male)
Electric Yellows x 3 (2 females, 1 male, dominant)
Red Zebra x 1 (just one female)
Scieanochromis fryeri x 2 (female) i think, thats what they've been identified as by people on here anyway. Possible hybrids

Though I didn't see the spawning, I'm pretty sure the male cobalt didn't have anything to do with it, and even if he does, fine by me, because the fish are going no further than here! I never sell on or give away fish, I just get more and more tanks, I'm sure many of you suffer from the same addiction.

Well, if they do turn out pure, I will eventually sort all my fish into species tanks, as I have a load of spare setups at the minute.


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Well here are the photo's:

Here's the recent batch of fry:

Here's a fry I found a while back, last of his batch to survive I'm afraid. Rescued him from the plants. He looked like this when I first found him:

now, 3 weeks later on:

and here is the suspected fin rot:

This is the first time I've looked at it up close, it looks really awful. Am I going to be able to save my fish? any help would be greatly appreciated, I don't want to lose her.


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okay, looking at that close up confirms it is fin rot, yes? I'm treating it, but not sure when I'm expected to see results...i did a 25% water change before applying the treatment, and the fish is isolated in a breeder trap so as to stop any picking of the wound by the other fish.


I believe it needs treatment, Joe, and I believe it's fin rot, but it may be due to stress/aggression.

The best way to treat it is to isolate the fish in a small hospital tank, and do daily water changes. I would use Melafix daily for a week, but should you see any red streaks on the fish or worsening of symptoms (such as more deterioration) you may need to use antibiotics.

It's a pretty bad case of it...

You're also going to have to be really careful adding him back to the main tank. If it is aggression, he might not be well received. But we can talk about that later.

My guess based on my experience is this is aggression related. I've had more than a handful of mbuna end up this way from an overly aggressive male.

Like Kim said, isolate, treat with melafix, and keep up the water changes. Don't panick. I've had fish this bad about a dozen times the last year and haven't lost a single one by going what Kim suggested.

Also, like Kim said, you might not be able to put her back into the main tank. With the first few of mine I tried to put them back after rearranging the tank and adding some fish and it didn't help.

Good luck!
Maybe add a little salt to the water with the Melafix too, in the hospital tank? Hope Kim or someone can tell you the proper amount first. That's what I did for my auratus and it worked. His tail grew back nice. Be sure to do lots of water changes while it's healing too. Glad you got right on it. :thumb:
cool I went and bought some, just got back in now, got her in her own little tank for the time being, watch this space. To be honest she's looking better already just being on her own not gettin any more bother.

Yeah its always tough to introduce or even re-introduce fish the tank, I just put the mother of those little fry back in now, after re arranging and adding new rocks etc, but she's gone into hiding...i think the male is particularly up for it at the minute, he's in full colour and going crazy!

As for the fry - too early to tell if they're pure? Daft question actually cos I've bought yellow labs that have later developed black stripes and turned out to be some kind of subtle hybrid. I Never see clean lines of fish in the shops round here, dunno about you guys?
I would never hazard a guess as to whether the fry are pure or not. I don't see any black on the dorsal, but that could just be the pic.

I had a breeding group of what I believed to be very nice quality yellow labs - right up until they had a clutch of fry that were half orange with no black on the dorsal. Obviously, there was red zebra somewhere back in the lineage, but you would have never known it by looking at my adults.

Hey cheers for the help guys...she's healed up very well...I'll post a picture soonish. Also, I'm picking up three more females this Thursday (setting up a breeding colony of just yellow's, going off your advice!)

I feel this is the best thing to do because my cobalt Blue's are not getting on with the yellow's now that they are I'm going to keep it pure from now on!
That's great news!

You'll have to post pics soon.

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