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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All... I have a 180 gallon African Cichlid tank that is fairly heavily stocked with mostly peacocks, haps, mbunas and a few other random fish. My water parameters are all good and all the fish look good and healthy. Today, when I came home, I found both of my 3-4" Clown Loaches dead. Neither looked as if they were injured or picked on - they were just dead. All of my other fish are fine and I have other scaleless catfish that are fine as well...

Any ideas?
 

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So your pH=8 and your ammonia=0 and your nitrite=0 and your nitrate=10-20ppm?

What are the tankmates?

Is there anything you can think of that you did differently last night or this morning? Water change? Tank additive? For example, I had a problem recently and I realized I dosed Excel while the water level was low.

Were the clowns swimming and eating as usual last night/this morning?

How long has the tank been set up and were any fish added in the last couple days/weeks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry it took so long to get back on... I've had this particular tank set up since about early November, but I started it with cycled filters and water from my old tank. My ammonia and nitrite are 0, my nitrates are below 20 and my temp is about 79. A couple of days before the two Clown Loaches died, I had done about a 50% water change, which dropped my pH a little lower than I like. So, I did add a half dose or so of pH UP a day or two before that. The Clown Loaches were looking and acting fine the day before.

Now, for the worse news... I've lost one cichlid a day since the loaches died. My water is still testing great and looks fine; all the fish are acting fine, eating fine, colorful, and there are no obvious signs of disease. Even the four or five fish that have died were fine the day before they died. None of them appear to be injured.

I concede that I may have some fish mixed in that aren't the usual match, but I've never seen any signs of overt aggression. I have a few more than what's listed, but these are the major ones.

Aulonocara Dragons blood
Protomelas taeniolatus Red Empress
Yellow Labidochromis
cyphotilapia frontosa
Altolamprologus calvus
Synodontis multipunctatus Catfish
Protomelas Spilonotus Tanzania (I think)
Nimbochromis fuscotaeniatus (I think this is right - he's about 8")
Bristle nose pleco
3 Rubber nose pleco
Rocio octofasciata Jack Dempsey
a bunch of random mbuna
two 3" red devils
 

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With so many other things eliminated, it's sounding more like aggression. It is often not witnessed and I've never seen bodies with mortal-looking wounds.

Is it primarily the mbuna that are dying? Anyone lurking under the surface or behind filter intakes and heaters?

Since the dying ones are eating and pooping normally 24 hours before it does not sound like bloat.

For lack of any other solution, I'd probably start removing suspect fish until the deaths stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you have any suggestions on which of the ones I listed to sell off first?

I had another dead one this am... a rubber nose pleco.
 

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This is like putting a revolver to my head with only one chamber empty. With nothing else known I would be inclined to remove the big "pred" Nimbo and the 3 new world guys-the Dempsey and Red Devils. I take it you have seen no evidence of fin nipping or scale loss, which I would expect if the aggression was coming from smaller cichlids, or we wouldn't be having this conversation.

I love Central American cichlids. I guess I just don't like them mixed with rifters. Seems like they speak different languages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks... That was what I was thinking, too. I've not seen any sign of aggression with the Jack Dempsey, but he's only about 3-4" inches now. I have seen the Red Devils and Big Blue chasing fish, but I assumed that the Nimbo would actually eat them.

Would the Red Devils be less aggressive if there were only one of them in the tank? Or should I remove both of them... in your opinion?
 

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Toss a coin on that question about the Red Devils. I would remove both. You said the RDs were 3" - puberty. If the remaining fish wants to mate he/she will try to send the message to tankmates which, to use an example, would be like asking in english and your "partner" only spoke swahili. Like I said, they speak two different languages. The result :-? - more aggresion :x .
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All good info... Thanks. Now I need to find the best way to ship this 9-10" Fusco! I have someone willing to buy it...
 
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