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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I'm new here. I've been reading all over the forums and trying to absorb as much information as I can. It's been interesting reading everyones stories.

I would like to start off and tell you what I have:

-75gal tank (LFS told me to go as big as I can)

-I really like the look of the white sand substrate so I purchased two bags of the CaribSea Aragonite reef sand.

-Decoration, I started with two large waste rocks and piled a few small ones on top. Lots of nooks, and caves. I add a dark blue background.

-Eheim 2075 G160 canister filter. I couldn't get the prime to work on the first attempt but finally got it to work

-Lighting, I'm using LED day/night switch.

-300W heater

Now, for my short story. I've been for a month looking at fish and trying to decide what to stock (hopefully I'm using the right term here). Been to LFS every week to look at fish and looked at a lot of pictures online. I made my decision; African Cichlids!

I was suppose to go to the LFS store this weekend to buy fish but I came across a local breeder. He was helpful and got me started with the following:

2 jewel cichlids (hemichromis?) about 2inch (adult or juvenille?)
2 golden cichlids (melanochromis auratus?) females - 1 inch long
10 yellow labs (labidochromis caeruleus) -fry
4 yellow tail (pseudotropheus acei?) -fry
6 Saulosi (pseudotropheus saulosi)? -black and purple stripes? 2 are very dark and 4 are light in colour (1-2" long perhaps juveniles?)

You all are probably thinking this is a terrible mixture?

I think I made a mistake. My concern is I've mixed all these fishes in my tank. It it possible the fry will get eaten? I do see some fry hiding under the rocks just above the sand. But I think I had a lot more a few days ago.
 

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Hello and welcome :)

I'd say take a deep breath, and search through the species lists (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/) or get some pictures of the fish you are unsure of up on the unidentified fish's forum. Then you'll know what you have, and can fiddle with stocking after that.

Your Jewels will probably get beaten up by your Mbuna from lake malawi (all the rest) eventually. Perhaps not the best inclusion.

The fry may or may not get eaten - can they fit into the larger fishes mouths?

Next thing that people will say will be to try and keep them in harems (the mbuna, I mean) which is one male to four females. Now you won't be able to sex your fish any time soon, so relax about this at first. Before any crisis arrives, you can figure out who is what, and either add more to try for more females, or fish out males.
The auratus, if that's what it is, will be too agressive in these numbers as a general rule. Many, many females to one male, or not at all, would be the normal advice. There are exceptions (people have kept auratus in different situations), but their mutant, killer fish reputation is rather pervasive.

Finally, just to make sure, your tank is cycled, yes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response Nina_b.

Looking more closely now, I do not have Saulosi. They look more like Afras. I will let the fishes grow some more and try to ID the fishes later.

I'm so disappointed to hear about the Jewels. I got a second opinion yesterday from the LFS; they said the same thing. I really like the patterns and colours these Jewels show - almost similar to Discus. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them now. Perhaps separate them into a 10g tank for now and see if anyone will want them. :x

I purchased a breeder tank/net cube and managed to fish out 8 of the fry. There's still about 5-6 fry hiding. At least I know I will be able to save some from getting eaten.

The tank with filter had been running for 72 hours with out fish. Beneficial biological bacteria supplement was used along with water conditioner used twice before fish was pull in.

Shame on me, I have no patience and probably put fish in way too soon. Should I be concerned about an ammonia spike? Even if majority of the fish are fry am I putting them at risk? If this is a concern, I do have another tank that's been running for a few months. Perhaps I could mix water from that tank with this new tank? I'm only feeding once every 3 days for now.

Also, noticed last night parts of the rock are getting this furry looking slim. Is this just algae?
 

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The tank with filter had been running for 72 hours with out fish. Beneficial biological bacteria supplement was used along with water conditioner used twice before fish was pull in.

Shame on me, I have no patience and probably put fish in way too soon. Should I be concerned about an ammonia spike? Even if majority of the fish are fry am I putting them at risk? If this is a concern, I do have another tank that's been running for a few months. Perhaps I could mix water from that tank with this new tank? I'm only feeding once every 3 days for now.
Test for ammonia/nitrite. Hopefully the bacterial additive will work for you. If ammonia spikes, then yes, the fish are at risk. Water changes and a detox product like Prime or Ammolock would be a good thing to have on hand. You're on a good feeding schedule. Don't increase it until you see if you're going to experience spikes. The slime is probably algae and is a good sign. Don't touch the filter or make any changes right now. Stay the course until you see what comes. Water from the other tank won't help, but some filter media will, if needed. Run the tests first to see what's going on, and decisions can be made then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the prompt response Tim.

I did my first water test this morning. Nitrate level is 0 (white on the strip), the pH level is some where between 7 or 7.5 more orange than peach. I recall chlorine at 0 (white). From memory I believe the Alkalinity was 180 (green). Hopefully, I'm not colour blind. :)

I don't think my test strips had a section for ammonia? Is there a different way to test this?
 

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You can get the API liquid kit, but I believe you can also buy strips that'll test for ammonia/nitrite. The 0 nitrate isn't a good sign, as you want to see that rising. It'd be a sign that ammonia and nitrite are being converted. But, it's a new tank, so may be low.

I'd suggest getting to a local shop and getting some kind of test kit for ammonia and nitrite. And pick up some Prime or Ammolock while you're at it just to be prepared. Fish may seem fine up until things hit a certain level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
prov356 said:
You can get the API liquid kit, but I believe you can also buy strips that'll test for ammonia/nitrite. The 0 nitrate isn't a good sign, as you want to see that rising. It'd be a sign that ammonia and nitrite are being converted. But, it's a new tank, so may be low.

I'd suggest getting to a local shop and getting some kind of test kit for ammonia and nitrite. And pick up some Prime or Ammolock while you're at it just to be prepared. Fish may seem fine up until things hit a certain level.
Okay, I picked up ammonia test strips and did a test. It's at 0.25 (one colour shade from safe).

I now have Prime and added a cap full after doing about 2 gallons of water change.
 

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I made a similar mistake as you when I started my aquarium. I just could not find the patience to wait and the deals I was getting at the time were too good to pass up.

I ended up using prime and doing a water change a day (about 5 gallons of water). It worked out great and all but a few fish survived. Do not be discouraged as many people make similar mistakes. You just need to tough it out and do your best to fix the problem.
 

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des said:
prov356 said:
You can get the API liquid kit, but I believe you can also buy strips that'll test for ammonia/nitrite. The 0 nitrate isn't a good sign, as you want to see that rising. It'd be a sign that ammonia and nitrite are being converted. But, it's a new tank, so may be low.

I'd suggest getting to a local shop and getting some kind of test kit for ammonia and nitrite. And pick up some Prime or Ammolock while you're at it just to be prepared. Fish may seem fine up until things hit a certain level.
Okay, I picked up ammonia test strips and did a test. It's at 0.25 (one colour shade from safe).

I now have Prime and added a cap full after doing about 2 gallons of water change.
A series of tests over the next few days will tell where things are headed. You also need the nitrite test kit, as it's just as important. .25 ammonia isn't too bad, but tests over the next few days will tell if it's rising/falling, etc. Get a nitrite kit too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nina_b said:
Hello and welcome :)

I'd say take a deep breath, and search through the species lists (http://www.cichlid-forum.com/profiles/) or get some pictures of the fish you are unsure of up on the unidentified fish's forum. Then you'll know what you have, and can fiddle with stocking after that.

Your Jewels will probably get beaten up by your Mbuna from lake malawi (all the rest) eventually. Perhaps not the best inclusion.
I'm 90% sure of what I have now except I can't ID the sex of all of them.

2 jewel cichlids (hemichromis) - I really want these two to adapt with the Mbuna's
2 golden cichlids (melanochromis auratus) females
6 cynotilapia Afra (1-2 two appear to be dominant and the others female by their pale colour)
1 pleco

10 yellow labs (labidochromis caeruleus) -fry have been separated into a breeder
2 yellow tail (pseudotropheus acei) -fry have been separated into a breeder.

Where do I go from here? Ideally, I guess some would say get rid of the hemichromis and the auratus and work with the Afra's and Lab's (purple/yellow combo), but there's so many fish that I enjoy seeing such as iodotropheus, nimbochromis venustus, demasoni, and those sp44. *sigh :drooling:

Help?
 

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My buddy has 6 Jewels in his 125 gallon tank that has peacocks, haps and Mbuna. However, there is no organization to the tank and I consider it a bit of a war zone. Fish die all the time with about 15-20 dying in the past 3 months. The Jewels seem okay, but there are tons of distractions in that tank.

If I were you I would identify the fish at risk and the fish who could cause problems, which is obviously the JEwels and Aurutus. I would add at least 4 more aurutus to give spread out the aggression

If your are completely attached to the Jewels then you could pick up a 30-40 gallon tank to house them in.

These ideas are not a formula for 100% success and to be honest, 30 gallons may be too small for the Jewels. However, online sources say it will work for 2 jewels
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
prov356 said:
des said:
prov356 said:
You can get the API liquid kit, but I believe you can also buy strips that'll test for ammonia/nitrite. The 0 nitrate isn't a good sign, as you want to see that rising. It'd be a sign that ammonia and nitrite are being converted. But, it's a new tank, so may be low.

I'd suggest getting to a local shop and getting some kind of test kit for ammonia and nitrite. And pick up some Prime or Ammolock while you're at it just to be prepared. Fish may seem fine up until things hit a certain level.
Okay, I picked up ammonia test strips and did a test. It's at 0.25 (one colour shade from safe).

I now have Prime and added a cap full after doing about 2 gallons of water change.
A series of tests over the next few days will tell where things are headed. You also need the nitrite test kit, as it's just as important. .25 ammonia isn't too bad, but tests over the next few days will tell if it's rising/falling, etc. Get a nitrite kit too.
Okay, it's been exactly one week. Here are my water test results.
Ammonia 0.5 ppm
Nitrite 5.0 ppm
Nitrate 5-10 ppm
pH 8

So, if I'm on the right track I'm guessing the ammonia and nitrite levels should decrease? Nitrate should stay the same?
 

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Test again tomorrow, and every day, but looks like ammonia is dropping and nitrite is rising. If you haven't used anything to 'seed' the bacteria colony, then it could be a few weeks before cycling is complete. Don't test for nitrate right now, as the result isn't meaningful with nitrite in the water.

What I'd suggest is that you do daily water changes to keep ammonia/nitrite down. 1ppm or less is best if fish are in the tank. Keep using the Prime to help detox ammonia/nitrite. When nitrite and ammonia read 0, your tank is cycled. At that time test for nitrates and get on a regular water change routine. Don't clean the filter for at least 30 days after cycle is complete. I like to wait 60. Feed sparingly right now, like once every other day. The more you feed, the more it'll drive up the ammonia/nitrite levels and you could end up killing them with kindness.

Get a KH test kit and check that, both tap and tank. KH stabilizes pH. If KH gets too low, pH could crash.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did something silly yesterday and could have cost my fries. I have a net breeder attached to the top corner inside my tank with lab fries in it. I was doing a gravel clean and took out about 20% of the water which brought the water level down to the bottom of the net breeder. I didn't notice this until I got to the other end. :oops: I'll have to be more careful and stick to 10-15% water change.
 

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des said:
I did something silly yesterday and could have cost my fries. I have a net breeder attached to the top corner inside my tank with lab fries in it. I was doing a gravel clean and took out about 20% of the water which brought the water level down to the bottom of the net breeder. I didn't notice this until I got to the other end. :oops: I'll have to be more careful and stick to 10-15% water change.
Been there and done stuff like that. :) I think we all have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Today's test

Ammonia has reduced to 0.25 ppm
Nitrite has stayed the same at 5.0 ppm or higher
Nitrate is some where between 20 to 40 ppm
pH at 7.5
KH at 120
GH at 180

I continue to do daily water change with the use of Prime
I've added API aquarium salt hoping to reduce nitrites as recommended by API suggestion
 

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Do water changes instead of adding salts. Get the nitrites down. Adding API salt only benefits API. There's a limit to how much salt can effectively detox nitrite, and most tap water already carries these salts. Adding more does nothing. Let the Prime handle that. And feed very sparingly or you could kill them with kindness. Once every 2-3 days would be about right. This phase of waiting of nitrites to drop could take three weeks. Don't test for nitrates right now, as results aren't valid with nitrite it the tank, and the worry and focus should be on ammonia/nitrite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I discovered this morning rocks had toppled and fallen to the front of the glass. My first concern was any fish hurt? Fortunately, they are all safe. My second concern was the glass. I moved the rocks ever so slowly and did not find any major crack. There is a tiny pin scratch that can only be seen if you put your face up close to the glass. Even that pissed me off and ruined my morning.

People were not kidding when they say cichlids will dig. It's too late for me at this point to install 'egg crate' since I already have reef sand and rock in the tank, am I right? I'm going to re-arrange the rock so that it's centered and not stack high. Essentially, leave about minimum 3 inches space around the perimeter of the tank. Any better suggestions?
 

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Just start the first row on the glass bottom instead of on the sand. Egg crate would not have done anything to prevent what happened if you still put rocks on top of sand and they dug under it. I've stacked rocks many times in many ways without egg crate. I'm not sure how it would have helped. Just stack your rocks securely. I push on them and wiggle them a bit to make sure they're stable.
 
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