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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had fish tanks for some time now but decided to do it right with my last tank. I did tons of research and decided on a 75 gallon malawi tank. I did a fishless cycle. I ran my two filters in other tanks for 2 months, did filter squeezes and used ammonia. I made lists of the fish I wanted and searched for info on them. Then I went shopping without my lists. I had two lists. I remembered everything that was on them, but forgot which was on which list. I ended up getting fish that should no be in the same tank. So far (4 months) no aggression troubles. The fish are breeding like crazy. I have 2 red zebra fry in the tank. They are now big enough to swim around looking for food without getting eaten. I have 2 albino socolofi holding. The third female has been doing the circle dance with the male for about 2 weeks with no eggs. She then started sitting on the bottom all the time. She would swim if I came up to the tank but always went back to that spot. She was still eating, but very little. She died yesterday. I am now worried about bloat. Is this for sure what this is? Could she possibly have had eggs inside her that she couldn't release? I tested water and I did have a nitrite spike .25-.50 Ammonia was zero and nitrate was 10. I had just done a 30% water change so I found this odd. After another water change nitrites are ok. I thought everything was fine because I also have two yellow labs holding and two saulosi's holding. I have a cycled 10 gallon that I intended on using for holding fish but have not come close to being able to catch them when they are holding. I just don't know what to do.

I know I will probably have problems in the future with my stock, but so far all is well. There is no aggression at all.

I have 1 male and 3 females of all of the following (minus one female albino)

red zebra
yellow lab
kennyi
saulosi
albino socolofi
golden cichlid
demasoni pombo rocks

I read that I should not have the demosoni with the saulosi or the kennyi, but right now all three of them swim together at all times.
 

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First, that "circle dance" isn't limited to male and female, so what you witnessed could have been a stand off between two males.

If you are unable to vent these fish to sex them, it can be really difficult to know what sex you have. How did you determine that? (I can't vent...The more I look the more they all look the same!)

The nitrite spike may be what killed the socolofi. I wouldn't start adding bloat meds to a relatively new tank. Just keep an eye on things, watch for reclusiveness, white stringy feces, or any other signs of illness. Usually the first sign you see with bloat is refusal or spitting food.

Now, I'm assuming all of these fish are pretty mature if they are already breeding, so aggression could be your problem, as well. A stressed tank is often a problem tank, so you might need to take a look at your stocking for long term success.

IMO, that's too many species for a 75G tank, especially if you plan to breed or distribute fry from it. (And there will be a ton of fry, believe me! Once mature, they can produce 20-60 fry at a time...)

Are the "golden cichlids" Melanochromis auratus? If so, both those and the kenyi are potential problem areas as far as aggression goes. Many times, they just aren't worth the trouble.

The Yellow labs and red zebras can crossbreed.

Do you only have 4 of the demasoni? They should never be kept in that size group...They should always be kept as singles or at least 10. 4 will eventually become 1.

And, you might have crossbreeding issues between the saulosi and demasoni...

What's working for you now won't work once they all start to sexually mature, and the stress can show up in the tank in really strange ways that you might not recognize immediately.

I would take it back to 5 species max that are likely to get along long term, and get rid of the rest. If you want to breed and distribute fry, this will also affect your stocking.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with everything you said and yes, the golden cichlids are Melanochromis auratus. I know I really messed up with my tank. If I got another tank, would there be a way to split them between the two without getting rid of anyone? So far, I have had zero aggression and the ones that I expected to fight act like best friends. If I move some of my other tanks around, I could free up a 30 gallon and move the demasoni, but if I need to add more of them, would the 30 be ok? I have been planning on getting another large tank, just don't know where I would put it just yet.
 

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What are the dimensions of the 30G? If it's 36" long then it can house the Demasoni, but you still need at least 12 of them.

I think both Kenyi and Auratus are best in a 75G tank minimum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes, my 30 gallon is 36 inches. I could put that many demasonis in it? I just need to move the other fish and change the substrate. All that is in that tank is a bristle nose, 5 bronze corys and 7 neon tetras. I have been planning on moving the BN to the 75 gallon anyway. I have a mature 10 gallon I could put the neons in. Not sure what to do with the corys. My daughter can get me great deals on full tank set ups, so I could get another 75 gallon. I would have to wait until she moves out in August and turn her room into a fish room lol It would be easier to send the 30 gallon (it is in her room) to her new apartment and replace it with another 75 gallon. I just wouldn't have a clue as to how to divide the fish between the two tanks.
 

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JessiLou said:
I just wouldn't have a clue as to how to divide the fish between the two tanks.
If that is what you plan to do (go with two 75G) just let us know and we'll help you out!

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
cichlidaholic said:
JessiLou said:
I just wouldn't have a clue as to how to divide the fish between the two tanks.
If that is what you plan to do (go with two 75G) just let us know and we'll help you out!

Kim
That really would be the easiest thing to do. The only problem with it is that it cannot be done until mid August. My daughter goes back to college in August and she signed a two year lease on an apartment. The only space to put another 75 gallon would be in her room once she moves out. I told her a few weeks ago I wanted to turn her room into a fish room so I could have a frontosa tank, she didn't look to happy with me taking over her room lol The tank stand in her room right now will hold a 75 gallon tank. If she took her 30 gallon with her, all problems solved. I know I should never have bought the demasoni. I didn't know that when I bought them though. They really are beautiful. Ok, two questions. If I didn't get another tank, what would have to go from my current tank? If I do get another tank, what would be the best way to divide the fish I have?

I am afraid I have MTS. I love my malawi's but............I want HUGE cichlids too lol If I sold all my livingroom furnature, I could have a lot more tanks lol
 

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For one tank, I'd probably do saulosi, socolofi and the zebras. But those are my favorites...which are YOUR favorites?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I love all of them but my favorites are the red zebras, the demasoni and the yellow labs. My male red zebra is the biggest fish in my tank and he makes me laugh. He tries to be so tough but no one is afraid of him. The golden cichlids are my least favorite in the tank. They do not interact with me or any of the other fish and look very mean. If I had to pick two to get rid of, it would be the goldens and the albinos. That really wouldn't take care of my problem with the saulosi, kenyi and demasoni issue.
 

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Build one tank around Demasoni/labs for your blue/yellow and for the other, start with the zebras and choose between Saulosi and Kenyi as your blue/yellow. You only need a 75G tank if you keep the Auratus or the Kenyi. Maybe you can get away with a 55G for your second tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
for now, could I move the demasoni and labs to the 30 (and add some more demasoni) and take the goldens back to the lfs? That would leave me in the 75 gallon:

3 albino socolofi
4 Kenyi
4 red zebra + 2 fry (maybe only one, have not seen the other in two days.

edit: I forgot I have 4 saulosi in the 75 gallon
 

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I'd say even with the Kenyi and Saulosi in the same 75G tank it would be an improvement and might hold you for a month or two until you get the other big tank.

Keep testing the nitrites every day until it's zero for a week, and then weekly before every water change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
quick update and a few questions.

The nitrites are back to zero now. The male albino has stopped making big circles in my substrate and he looks bored. Both of the females in the tank are holding. He was making a circle and trying to get the other albino's attention. When it didn't work he would make another circle and try again. That albino died, so now he has nothing to do. The zebra babies are now brave enough to swim around together in the open tank and don't even try to hide from the bigger cichids. Everyone looks happy and healthy. Aggression is still at zero.

Now the questions. My rockwork did the normal brown in the beginning then green. It is now greenish black and fuzzy. Is this bad? The fish seem to like it, but is is ugly. I don't think it is from too much lighting. I turn my lights on at 5:30 pm and off at 10:30 pm. I do have an internal air pump that has a blue light on it that runs 24/7 but the light is not very bright unless the room is very dark.

After reading all the new posts in the forum ( I read them in every catagory because I am nosy lol) I think I am not feeding my cichlids the right food. I keep seeing posts about not feeding them flakes that are mostly fish meal. I feed mine TetraCiclid flakes (first ingredient is fish meal), Top Fin cichlid pellets (second ingredient is fish meal), algae wafers and baby zucchini. Not all at the same time of course. They don't really like the pellets. What should I be feeding them? If my albino died of bloat, could this have been the reason?

edit: I just asked my daughter to bring a catalog home from work so I can see what fish food I could get from them. I hope they can get whatever is suggested here.
 

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For food many here (me included) recommend New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula a.k.a. NLS. I can't get it locally, but I wait for internet free shipping sales and buy a 6 month supply along with any filter cartridges or pads I need. They will eventually adjust to the pellets and pellets are cleaner...less algae.

For algae, (1) feed less, (2) be religious with your 50% weekly water changes. This will keep the nitrates and phosphates down so there are no nutrients for the algae? Any sunlight hitting your tank, even indirectly or for part of the day? Find a way to shade it. For what's left, get a bristlenose pleco. This fish will keep what's left under control (mine is never completely gone).

Keep checking the nitrites for a while. Since you don't know what caused it, you want to watch for it to happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I guess I will also have to find it online, because I cannot find NLS anywhere around here.

I have a BN in my 30 gallon. He has been there since he was a baby. He is very very shy. Would moving him stress him? I could just get another one if that would be easier. The tank gets very little sun light. I have dark curtains on the windows that are closed at all times and the tank has a dark back ground. I don't have an algae problem on the tank or even the substrate. It is just on the rocks. It used to be pretty.

After reading posts, I learned that auratus males change colors so I looked up the profile. All 4 of mine are still very yellow. They are close to 3 inches in size. All the other fish in my tank have their adult colors. All of my fish were added at once following a fishless cycle so they are all about the same size except for the demasoni. Does this mean my auratus are all female? If they are, should I still remove them from my tank?
 

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Female auratus can be brutally aggressive as well, but I never had any major problems with any of mine. It was always the males that were terrorist...

Of course, you wouldn't want to save any fry from any of them.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I gave up trying to save fry. I have a cycled tank that I had planned to move a female red zebra to when she was holding. I tried for hours and hours each day to catch her and finally gave up. She spit them in the tank and two survived. I tried again when the albinos were holding, no luck. I have a lot of rocks and really didn't want to tear the tank apart. I am just going to let nature take it's course and if the tank gets over stocked, I will take them to my lfs. I now have a cycled 10 gallon with no one in it. I cycled with ammonia, but I feed it with food now to keep it cycled while I figure out what to do with it. It is small, so I really don't have any idea. Was thinking QT but I have one of those already. When I was trying to catch the holding zebra, I couldn't keep the other fish out of the nets. I tried leaving nets in the tank so they would get used to them and they had parties in them. It would have been easier to remove all the other fish and leave her in the big tank lol
 

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I wouldn't remove any fry from the tank to take to the LFS.

If you don't have males and females of all species and you have species that are prone to crossbreed, you would only be distributing hybrids into the hobby.

Pick up a male betta to keep the 10G cycled. You can just move him back to a betta bowl when you need the tank for cichlids.

Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
other than the labs and zebras, what else could cross breed? I plan to move the labs and demasoni's to a new tank. I have one male and three female of all except for the one albino that died and the auratus. I was never able to find a male picture of them until today. I may still take them back in exchange for more demasoni though. I wanted to keep the 1/3 ratio of male/female if possible when I set up the tank. I asked so many questions and read all the links that were provided to me in another forum. They really had me thinking I was doing things right. It is really depressing to find out that I really did make some big mistakes after all.
 

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Any female or male mouthbrooder without the opposite sex of their species will crossbreed.

And, if you do have males and females of one species and another lone male of a different species is more dominant, they may interfere with your breeding group.

Kim
 
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