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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had fish in my tank for just under 2 weeks. 3 of my Perlmutts appear to have sunken bellies. One is the largest fish in the tank and they all appear to have been getting food, so I don't think it's down to lack of food/aggression even though the other four perlmutts are by far the smallest fish. None of the fish are mature adults. The stocking is 5 Perlmutts, 5 P.Saulosi, 5 Maingano, and 6 Syno Petricola. All fish were added at the same time. Params are 0 ammonia and nitrites, 10 nitrates. I feed either New Life Spectrum Cichlid Pellets, or Omega One Spirulina Flake once a day. I also feed the synos a catfish pellet once a week which the cichlids do eat some of. I've also been keeping the lights on 12 hours a day so they have algae on the rocks to graze on. The other fish all have a filled out (but not bloated) belly.

Other fish in the tank seem fine it's hard to get good pictures though but I can try and get some.

Now I have a spare tank so I can throw up as a hospital but I am wondering if I should just treat all the fish in the main tank since if a couple of fish have a parasite then they could all have it? I was going to treat their food with Seachem Metroplex and Focus.
 

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What do the feces look like? Thick and food colored or thready and white or clear.

Do the skinny fish ever lurk under the surface or behind filter intakes or heaters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Mostly normal, they swim around a lot, although they're less boisterous than the other fish in the tank. They swim under the rock work sometimes but that seems like normal Mbuna behaviour.

The big guy did look a little lethargic yesterday and sometimes his/her? bars are less defined.

I haven't seen any unusual poop, but I watched them for a while yesterday and didn't see any of them poop. I will watch again after work.

I have ordered the medication, it's supposed to be pretty mild, is there any harm dosing the food just in case?
 

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I would not. It is one of those overused antibiotics that becomes less effective with overuse.

Plus if feces are normal then you should be treating with something else.

These fish are uncomfortable. Do you have extra males? Maybe removing extra Perlmutt males?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I thought it was a treatment for parasites as well as bacteria, so not just an antibiotic?

At most I should have 1 male. I ordered them from<vendor name removed>. 4 were specifically labeled as females, the other was an unsexed juvenile but I asked if they could do their best to give me a male (they will try). The large one has a sunken belly and is much bigger than the others, but I think that's the one that was labelled as unsexed. It has no problem getting food.

The Perlmutts are less boisterous than the mainganos and saulosi but I have been watching for aggression a lot and haven't seen anything bad, however this is my first time keeping Africans so the aggression may appear more subtle than I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I could isolate them in another tank for monitoring and see if they improve. If it is a parasite I am worried everything in the tank is infected though.
 

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Metronidazole is used for humans as well as fish...it is a good cure when feces are thready and white or clear.

Other parasites have other medications. I have never had a parasite on a fish.

In one day you will have the answer to the feces and you can decide.

To me it seems it's just the perlmutts and it is a dominance issue. The coloration is a good indicator. Don't expect fish sold as sexed to always be what they were labeled as.

Two weeks is kind of fast to have sunken bellies...were they delivered to you that way?

Also if they are eating at all then it is not bloat and no need for metronidazole.

If you isolate them and they don't get better, at least it will maybe give you a chance to diagnose so you can pick an appropriate med.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Two weeks is kind of fast to have sunken bellies...were they delivered to you that way?
I did not notice it until yesterday, and I have been watching them a lot.

To me it seems it's just the perlmutts and it is a dominance issue. The coloration is a good indicator. Don't expect fish sold as sexed to always be what they were labeled as.
The website has a good rep, but they all look like females to me. Only the largest I am not sure about.

I think that I have possibly been underfeeding them because I was worried about overfeeding. I fasted them Sunday because I read a lot that it's good to fast Mbuna once a week. Maybe that triggered this?

I can isolate them, but I am wondering if that will cause more stress, should I try just feeding more first? Just worried about overfeeding the other fish.

Thanks for your advice.
 

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I would take more than one day or two weeks for something like that to develop.

The fish will be happier on their own because no one to dominate them. The stress is what they are feeling now.

Overfeeding does not cause bloat...just a dirty tank. If the fish are getting all they can eat for 30 seconds that should be enough unless the perlmutts are not in the competition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have set up the hospital tank but I just realized the pH is going to be different because it's buffered to 8.2 with aragonite sand in the main tank, but 7.2 out the tap. Are there any safe/stable ways to buffer the pH for a few weeks using products/salts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I did notice that the large Perlmutt was fighting off a lot of aggression from the Saulosi and Maingano. Within minutes of removing him the male Saulosi was colouring up, still yellow but solid black bars and lines on fins instead of the pale bars he had before. The tank is definitely calmer now. I have the large (male?) Perlmutt and the smallest 2 females in the Hospital tank. I was able to notice that even the smallest pellets were too big for the small Perlmutts without him being able to break them down, so hopefully they will get more food now. The other 2 Perlmutts look good, so I won't remove them unless I notice them harassing each other more now there's only the 2 of them. Hopefully once the 2 smallest are larger I'll be able to re add them, I don't know about the big guy though. This is definitely a learning experience (first africans, and cichlids other than rams and angels).

The tank they're in is set up as a hospital, I just have 5 flowerpots in there as makeshift caves. Since they might be in there longer term will the fish benefit from a substrate as it currently does not have one as I wanted to easily observe their poop. I threw a little aragonite in their to buffer the water as in the main tank, but it's mostly clear. It's on cinder blocks, so has space below.
 

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Use baking soda to match parameters. Also consider using existing tank water in the hospital tank and add clean water to the existing tank.

No need for substrate in hospital tank.

If you have the most aggressive and the least aggressive in the same small tank...watch them closely.

What size pellets were you feeding? I like 1mm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
DJRansome said:
No need for substrate in hospital tank.
I was just thinking if it has to be more of a grow out tank they'd be there a bit longer right? As long as they're happy I don't mind how the tank looks though.

If you have the most aggressive and the least aggressive in the same small tank...watch them closely.
I have been, the big one has mostly been hiding, the little ones are more active. The large one is much calmer now that he(?) is not constantly challenged by the Saulosi and Maingano. I'm worried about how thin the smallest is though, she(?) is not very active either.

What size pellets were you feeding? I like 1mm.
New Life Spectrum 1mm. In the hospital tank they can spit them out and eat them again until they're broken down but they couldn't do that in the main tank. Also feeding spirulina flake to be sure.
 
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