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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 29 with 6 africans in it. I have 3 red zebras and 3 yellow labs. One of the female red zebras is getting beaten up pretty bad. A good portion of her fins are ripped and shes just kind of floating up near the heater. The male is chasing her around and wont leave her alone. The weird thing is, he is also chasing the other female, but he isint beating her up like this one. Any suggestions? i dont have another tank to put her in. I would put her one of those floating container things, but i have a bunch of her fry in it right now.. i was thinking maybe go get one or two more female red zebras? would that help? new here so i appreciate any help!
 

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The tank is too small to keep Red Zebras long term. If you cannot upgrade, take them all back.

Second, even if you get a bigger tank, the mix isn't advisable as these two species hybridize very easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i can upgrade, just not right now. I dont plan on keeping them in here long term. They are small right now, and doing fine.

Also, i understand some people are very opinionated about hybridization. I am not trying to breed these fish, and sell them. One yellow lab has had 2 batches of fry, and both female red zebras have had 2 each as well, all with out hybridization. So for now, that is not a problem either. My question is still the same.. what can i do to keep this one from getting any more beaten up?
 

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colby2330 said:
i can upgrade, just not right now. I dont plan on keeping them in here long term. They are small right now, and doing fine.
One is getting beaten up? That isn't doing fine. They are getting beaten up, because the tank is too small.

Also, i understand some people are very opinionated about hybridization. I am not trying to breed these fish, and sell them. One yellow lab has had 2 batches of fry, and both female red zebras have had 2 each as well, all with out hybridization. So for now, that is not a problem either. My question is still the same.. what can i do to keep this one from getting any more beaten up?
What you can do, is get a larger tank. It's that simple. Hybrids between these fish are not easy to detect all the time... Especially for inexperienced breeders.
 

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Without getting a larger tank, there is very little you can do. Think of it like one of those eye spy or where's waldo books, the bigger area you have to search, the longer it takes to find what you're looking for.

With a smaller tank, you can come close to approximating this effect with *a lot* of rock work. If the male is larger, specifically design certain places that only she can reach. In my 75, my Texas would beat up on my pink convict relentlessly, but the large footprint gave her some rest between attacks. The Texas is now considerably larger than the convict so I have designed several tunnels in my rock work that are too small for the Texas. These tunnels lead to one of two considerablely roomy chambers against the glass so I can still observe "Chubs." Approach your layout like the bullying fish, figure out where the open areas are and create an out close by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Im asking for help. I shouldnt have written that they are doing fine. That is the only fish that is getting beaten up. How is a 29g too small for 6 small fish?

I already said that i cannot get a larger tank right now. That isint an option. So no, its not that simple. Also, im not a breeder like i said. But either way, i dont mind them hybridizing in my tank. Its a personal preference. So without bringing them all back, or upgrading to a larger tank (which once again, is not an option right now) what can i do?

Thank you!
 

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29 is too small for 6 because it has a 2.5 square foot footprint. When stocking cichlids, footprint is much more important than gallonage. Compared that to the suggested smallest size which is a 55 with a footprint a little over 4 square feet. There's simply very little real estate to hash out territories and disperse aggression.

The rules can be bent though, a 29 could house 6 of a single species with a single male, or 6 all male different species with similar temperaments (but I would not tempt fate), or 6 all females of similar temperament. I had luck with keeping four sub 2" males and a pictus catfish for 6 months in a 10 gallon but there was plenty of rock, I fed sparingly, and I stocked carefully. This was only a temporary set up until I found a good used 55 to move them over (for all of the people screaming at their computer :D ).

See my above post about what to do with your situation at hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JoelRHale said:
29 is too small for 6 because it has a 2.5 square foot footprint. When stocking cichlids, footprint is much more important than gallonage. Compared that to the suggested smallest size which is a 55 with a footprint a little over 4 square feet. There's simply very little real estate to hash out territories and disperse aggression.

The rules can be bent though, a 29 could house 6 of a single species with a single male, or 6 all male different species with similar temperaments (but I would not tempt fate), or 6 all females of similar temperament. I had luck with keeping four sub 2" males and a pictus catfish for 6 months in a 10 gallon but there was plenty of rock, I fed sparingly, and I stocked carefully. This was only a temporary set up until I found a good used 55 to move them over (for all of the people screaming at their computer :D ).

See my above post about what to do with your situation at hand.
Thank you! This is what i was looking for. I did not understand that the footprint is more important than the gallons. Maybe i will go with all females or all males like you said. I am not looking to breed so that would not be a problem
 

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Just bare with me through this (there are options at the end):

The fish look small now, but they have big personalities. Cichlids are beautiful and interesting, but they have specific needs. Each one of those fish will get 5". Think about 30" of fish in there!

These fish also create a pecking order within themselves (a ranking system). To create it, they fight--it's natural. No matter what you do, they'll do that. :roll: The weaker ones will continually get chased (especially females and subdominant males--extra males who are not the "top dog"). Usually, you get a semblance of order eventually, or some of your fish die. Stocking is essential, as is picking the right tank.

Since they're in a small tank, they'll probably grow slower, but you'll be more prone to aggression. The more dominant fish (the larger ones, and the males) will feel that their territory is being constantly threatened. They'll chase, nip fins, and generally cause trouble (kill tankmates too). And when it comes to feeding, often the dom fish will keep others from eating.

The footprint is important (its surface area) for oxygen. Cichlids require lots of oxygen, and are also very dirty, which is why you need a big tank, do frequent large water changes, and overfilter your tank (by a lot). Overstocking like you are also makes your fish more prone to disease, so watch for that (excess waste--ammonia, nitrates, etc.).

As another example, goldfish have these kinds of problems all the time because people think they're OK in bowls. They're not. The fish doesn't grow, but their organs do and eventually, their bodies rupture and they die.

So, what can you do?

Prepare to upgrade, #1. I got my fish last August as juvies. They were 1". Now, they range from 2.5-3". These fish grow fast! You need to have a plan.

#2, remove the injured fish. Set up a hospital tank. If you don't have one (and don't have the means to set up a permanent hosp tank), I use home depot/lowe's buckets (5g). They're temporary, and like $3. You'll need a filter and a heater though. Hosp tanks are temporary because, obviously, they're too small. Your fish could last maybe a week in there.

Leaving the fish in your tank won't solve the problem. They might settle down, but you risk losing more fish while you wait. However, removing this particular fish won't solve the other problems, but one less fish might calm down the dom fish. You probably won't be able to re-introduce this fish though. In a bigger tank, maybe, but it's risky even then.

OR

Remove the fish that's picking on the injured fish. If there's an obvious aggressor, you could try putting him a bucket (instead of a hosp tank, we call it a quarantine/time out tank). However, another fish will take that one's place (this one might not be as aggressive though, but that's a gamble).

These fish are aggressive, vicious in comparison to tropical fish like tetras. They aren't community fish. There are some species that we say are peaceful, like your labs, but that is only in comparison to more aggressive African cichlids.

#3 up your water change schedule. Do it more frequently. Clean water isn't a cure, but it always does fish good. Since you're overstocked, I'd plan to do bi-weekly water changes, 50% each time, so you're changing all the water every week. It'll give them more air, reduce the amount of waste in the water, and hopefully reduce aggression. It might work :?

#4 check the tank temperature. Higher temps make their metabolisms faster--it makes my fish more feisty. DON'T just lower the temp thinking it will fix everything, but make sure it isn't too high. 78 is usually ideal for most species.

#5 Try rearranging your decorations. It will confuse the aggressor. Also, don't leave the light on as long. Sometimes, leaving the light off can calm them down--I've heard. However, my fish do most of their fighting "at night" ie when the light's off. SO, that could go either way.

#6 make sure you have lots of hiding places--not just a plastic plant or a sigh post in there. :lol: Get some rock, build a structure/pile of some sort. Try to get two piles that don't touch in the middle. The dom fish will pick one, and hopefully the outcasts can share the other. This gives your weaker fish places to escape to.

Just some things to try.

When I first got my fish, I didn't know about footprint either. I got a 40 breeder (3ft) tank which I thought was a good size. I put (5) y. labs, one socolofi, and one red zebra in it. My female red zebra quickly ate the socolofi, but, and I have no idea why, gelled with the labs. However, since I put in lots of rock for them, that displaces water (less water, less air), so be aware of that. Within 3 months, I upgraded to a 55.

I don't know if you have a petco near you, but they routinely do a tank/gallon sale--you pay $1 per gallon for the tank. Just the tank, but still a 55g for $55. Or check craigslist. There are always ads up there.

You're doing the best thing for your fish right now--you're researching, asking for help, and you're caring about their welfare. I know so many people who don't.

(I have a friend with a bumblebee in a 5g tank--makes me absolutely cringe. I've tried to tell her this stuff, but she's uninterested. She cares more about herself than the fish. Those people shouldn't keep fish, you know?)
 

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JoelRHale said:
a 29 could house 6 of a single species with a single male, or 6 all male different species with similar temperaments (but I would not tempt fate), or 6 all females of similar temperament.
I think there are probably a couple of more criteria if these are going to have really good odds of success.

A single species of dwarf mbuna might work. But Metriaclima estherae is not a dwarf and it is a pretty aggressive mbuna as well. I would not put even one of them in a 29G for more than a 3-week quarantine period.

I'd be really surprised if 6 males worked in a 29G. Six females? Maybe if they were dwarf and peaceful.

When a tank is not working, IME, it is always one fish that is picked on. Once they have killed that one fish, they will start on the next.

Even worse is if the one fish gets sick from the stress of harassment and makes the whole tank sick.

The problem right now is how can you return the estherae when it is beat up? If you can't do a hospital tank or bucket, you may have no choice other than a breeder net.
 

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Tank is too small for zebras. Sooner or later you will see agression and not the type of aggression you are seeing now but territorial aggression. Fish will die. That one zebra does not stand a chance and soon will stress out and bloat mebbe taking others with it.

Zebras need more room than you can provide in that tank, consider rehoming them until you can get a suitable sized tank to keep them. The labs can survive inna 36" tank though that 30" tank could hold them if you provide enough sanctuaries.

Mebbe get a few pieces of PVC fittings in there and the beat downs will lessen.
 
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