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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, folks.

I need the collective wisdom of the CF.

I have a 36" 65G Malawi tank. Ammonia, Nitrite 0; nitrate a bit high (40); ph 7.8-8.0. Eheim 2217 filter. The tank is barely 3 months old but I jump started the cycle from an old tank / filter, and never had any ammonia in it. It's mostly a male hap/peacock tank (stock list on a prior post). But per that post, I have had trouble with mysteriously dying fish. This weekend I did a 30% water change and added a bunch more rocks / hiding places, and my albino peacock is literally dying. I saw no signs of distress prior to today, but he was hiding out in the back. Nobody was bothering him. Here are a couple of pictures, and you can see a short video here:


To my eyes, there's red near / behind the gil on one side but I can't see any signs of physical damage. Does this look like anything you've ever seen? LFS owner is baffled.

Any thoughts? I am not adding fish to this tank until we can figure out what's up.

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Plant Nature Terrestrial plant Organism Aquatic plant
 

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Do you remember if the fish was eating last week? Being inactive, hiding, and not eating are signs of a fish being sick. Does the breathing seem labored? How long have you had this fish?

You could have added some chemical when you added water and rocks, but it is very hard to determine that. Sometimes the weakest fish are bothered. If the other fish are fine over the next week or so, probably not a plaque to worry about. Just watch and make sure they are all eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That poor albino died and was removed tonight. As best I can remember, this fish was eating but often hiding Last week - I’m told albinos tend towards the more timid end of the specturum. Breathing did not seem labored, and the fish has been with me for maybe 3 weeks. There is a dragonblood that was added at the same time - seems very active/healthy. The sunshine peacock added at the same time has been hiding a lot, but does come out to eat. Anether albino (I think a female) added at that same time eats and seems healthy but is definitely on the shy/timid side.

This fish also has what may be some redness behind the gils. Does that indicate anything to anyone?

Thanks,
~S
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
After discussion with my LFS, we thought that the reddening behind the gils might be signs of a bacterial infection, and those are sometimes caused by a parasite. I dosed the tank with Seachem Polyguard and am watching closely. The sunshine has shown himself a bit more, but a Eureka Red Jake seems lethargic. I'll dose the tank again in a couple of days, and will keep an eye out. Again, any advice or thoughts appreciated.
 

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Hope all goes well. Keep in mind your LFS is in the business of selling.
 

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After discussion with my LFS, we thought that the reddening behind the gils might be signs of a bacterial infection, and those are sometimes caused by a parasite. I dosed the tank with Seachem Polyguard and am watching closely. The sunshine has shown himself a bit more, but a Eureka Red Jake seems lethargic. I'll dose the tank again in a couple of days, and will keep an eye out. Again, any advice or thoughts appreciated.
I think that LFS guy is right about the bacterial infection, but that's where it ends. I think it seems super suspect that he would say that a parasite can cause a bacterial infection and then sell you a "Cure all." Cure-all's don't work. When you mentioned the red behind the gill I immediately thought of a bacterial infection - for which there is only one prognosis. You must get the fish to eat antibiotics. Antibiotics in the water will not work, they won't get into the fish. Fish don't drink. This is easiest to do with repashy, but I'd feed everything that was in the tank antibiotics for a week or two. Since it's an african cichlid, I'd actually put general cure in there as well, as the metronidazole and praziquantel will actually cure MOST parasites that can cause a fish to get sick.

A fish with an immune system weakened by a parasite could actually lead to a bacterial infection, but the bacterial infection would be secondary to the parasite infection and not likely caused by it directly. Charitably, this is the reason he sold you polyguard and not a broad-spectrum, gram-negative antibiotic like Maracyn Two.
 

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I'm so sorry for your loss! I would proceed with feeding antibiotics ASAP to anything in the same tank.
Good luck!
 

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I think it may be stress related due to the number of fish, the species you've chosen and the dimensions of the tank. Harassment can occur while you are not looking and during the night.

Check out his other topic Here
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What type of antibiotic do you all recommend for this sort of thing? I’m that sunshine is exhibiting that same lazy/lethargic behavior…
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure it’s not stress due to aggressive behavior. That was the original thought but at this stage there is very little if any aggression in the tank, and none of the fish show any physical injuries. I worry that the original theory of aggression distracted me from realizing that the pattern had been hiding -> lethargy -> death. I'm not saying that this is the perfect combination of fish for that tank - just that aggression really doesn't seem to be a factor in the deaths.
 

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Why are they hiding, lethargic and dying? If it is a disease or a parasite you will see a symptom that can be diagnosed and medicated. I can't stress enough that the fishkeeper often does not see the harassment. It is possible for the fish to just FEEL intimidated and be stressed. What is the position of the fish in the tank...higher up or at the bottom under rocks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lethargy is a symptom of course. And upon death, I have twice seen slight redness near the gils. But to your question: The Jacobfreibergi seemed fine. He was not ever (that I saw) getting hassled by anyone. He was one of the larger fish in the tank, and had a cave that was clearly "his" smack in the middle of the tank - and nobody (that I saw) was challenging him on. Then, I think he started hiding on the side of the tank, about midway up, sometimes hiding in the plants, and not coming out to eat. After a few days (maybe a week? Not sure...) of that he started was hanging out on the very bottom of the tank but in front of all of the decorations/rocks, in plain sight, not moving much, not eating. Later that evening, he died. This is a picture of him about 3 hours before he died.
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On this fish I could see no discoloration behind the gil, no signs of physical trauma.

The Albino above had died two days prior - similar progression although I think he spent more time hiding in the back of the tank near the bottom.

Four days prior, an OB Peacock had died. That one surprised me because he had been swimming around, not hiding ever (I even have a pic of him as recently as 4 days prior to death). It's possible he was hiding for a couple of days and I missed it.

~S
 
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