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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have gotten back in the hobby after 30+ years. I restarted a 65 gallon tank I had all these years. I struggled with getting it cycled, but did. Started with four goldfish, everything fine. Then I bought some juv africans from a couple of the big box stores. Most of these died off one at a time. I have two of these left after a couple of months. After I met the close to expected water standards I started buying what I hope to be my show tank future juv fish, concentrating on male peacocks and haps. I am still losing at least a fish a week. My question: is losing fish just part of the hobby or should I not have this? It is a bummer.

Details: Water is close to 0 on ammonia, zero on nitrites, ph is over 8.2, nitrates close to zero, temp is 80-82. I use tap water, non softened, substrate is the cichlids sand substrate. Various rocks, lace rock and granite...all boiled once or twice. Plastic plants. I use a Penguin 300 and an Aqueon 50 and recently added a foam filter. I have questioned the cholla sticks I put in the tanks, they are boiled as well. Another practice I don't know is proper is adding tap water straight in. It is cold. Also I squirt in Prime, don't really measure it. I also add Tetra safe weekly and salt when I add new water.

I will be installing a 210 tank in two months, already built the stand. I have three other tanks set up for quarantine, fry, and breeding (though that is not my priority.). My 65 will be the grow out tank.
 

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You should not have deaths...measure the Prime...it is controlling the chlorine and chloramines that come from your tap water.

When changing water you either need to do very frequent small changes with cold water, or better would be to change 50% weekly with 78 degree water.

What are the dimensions of the 65 gallon tank...is it a rectangle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. If I do small changes are you thinking a couple times a week? The only way to get 78 degree is to use hot and cold out of the tap. The hot water is all softened unless I hire a plumber to give me a seperate line. The 65 is 36 by 18 by 21 high. The future 210 is six foot...Aqueon. On the Prime, I read some people dose only for the amount added and other dose for the full tank size. What do you think?
 

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In the absence of any other cause, I would dose the full tank size.

Better to wait until you have the six foot tank to buy the Africans...there is not enough room in a 36" tank to manage aggression unless you stock just 5 yellow labs.

Africans usually do better in large groups...with a small number you could also have aggression (often unseen) that has caused an illness that is now sweeping the tank. It is common with this scenario to have a death every month.

If you are going for a six foot tank, I would also get the water situation set up so you can change 50% weekly or more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Noted, thanks. With the input received so far I find that there are a couple of things I need to do differently. First, I was never concerned with the temperature of the new water when doing a water change and there is about a 13 degree difference. I didn't want to use the softened hot water coming out of the tap, but am not reading that is all that bad so I will now add new water at the tank temp. Second, I was not cleaning the gravel with each water change and the gravel was pretty bad. I cleaned about half of the tank today. I have been trying to put the right combo of Africans together but didn't do too well with that either. I moved one trouble maker out and tried to move two other bullies, but I suck at netting them, so I gave up on that. I was able to move two docile ones out and into a different tank. I have my first mail order of three new ones coming tomorrow that I will add to that tank and then wait until the 210 is installed and cycled before I do anything else.
 

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I would not use the softened water. The 13 degree difference is between new and old water, right? Not the entire tank drops 13 degrees? Not the cause of your deaths.

If your nitrates are low, the lack of gravel cleaning is not causing your deaths.

With an all-male tank you will have to make changes and net fish fairly frequently over the first 2 years...you want to be willing to remove all the rocks and half the water to net a fish. If that is not for you, maybe reconsider the all-male tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Forgive my ignorance, I am learning. I can get unsoftened cold tap water, but all hot water has gone through the water softener. If I do a 20% water change on a 210 gallon tank I am going to need 42 gallons of water. How do people get 42 gallons heated up, even somewhat? Or are you saying 42 gallons of 67 degree water going into 168 gallons of 80 degree tank water won't drop the final total enough to present a problem? I read today that maybe the fish weren't dead just in shock and I should let them lay there and they may recoup. Sounds "fishy" to me. They sure looked dead to me. So if not the temp difference, not the dirty gravel, that leaves aggression as the cause???
 

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At this point, aggression or chlorine from incomplete dechlorination. What do the feces on your fish look like? Does every fish eat every day?

I think most people run a hose to hook up with a hot-cold tap. Mine is 50 feet long and runs from one level to another in my home. Some do have storage tanks and store the cold water until it can come to room temperature before doing water changes.
 

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DJRansome said:
I think most people run a hose to hook up with a hot-cold tap. Mine is 50 feet long and runs from one level to another in my home.
I'm with DJ. Use both hot and cold tap and try to get it within one degree of my tank temp. No stress/shock due to varying temp that way. I also have a 50ft hose. Makes water changes a breeze without having to use a different water source to reach farther away tanks throughput the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lost another one last night, Taiwan Reef, pretty one. If it is aggression it must be the largest fish, an otopharynx. It will be tough catching him and I will have to figure out where to put him. He must go crazy at night when the lights are off. I had my water tested yesterday and all was good. I was told to cut back on the feeding. It might be bloat, but the fish that are dying are eating fine. I read a bit on Malawi bloat and the choice of meds was one called Bloat. It isn't available anymore. What else should I use? I think it might be a good idea to just dose the whole 65 gallon tank because I don't really see any sick ones. I have had at least one or more fish that goes up and down the corner of the tank over and over, today three are doing it together. What's that all about?
 

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If they are eating it is not bloat. You do not want to medicate for bloat if you have not diagnosed.

Up/down in the corner is pacing...fish getting used to a new tank...seems to go on forever but not harmful.

What do the feces look like? For bloat you will see no eating at all, and the feces are thin/thready and white or clear. Normal feces are thick and food colored...at least parts of the material.

When you are putting together an all-male tank you definitely need a holding tank to remove victims or aggressors...plan on having one available for first 2 years...even after you switch to a larger tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One of my LFS had me video the tank. They tested the water as well. After watching the video they said it was some type of parasite, due to the lethargy and gasping for breath. I have treated the tank with Ich-X since Thursday. I raised the temp to 82 and added a bit more salt than normal as well. I will bring in a new video tomorrow. They said I may need to treat for gill fluke. I took the carbon basket out of the Penguin 300 and put quilt batting in its place. Same with the Aqueon 50. Current problem is the smell, sulfur like. Is that the Ich-X or salt? I did a 50% water change and cleaned about 2/3 of the gravel. It was reallllll bad. Tank still stinks though. I am doing a water change now every three days,
 
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