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Old 07-15-2011, 04:32 AM   #1
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Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to quickly introduce myself. I am a new Malawi cichlid owner from Portland. My husband and I love our fish, but it's been an interesting process setting them up. I hope to learn about keeping aquariums and appreciate the wide range of experience available in this community!
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lilcris View Post
Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to quickly introduce myself. I am a new Malawi cichlid owner from Portland. My husband and I love our fish, but it's been an interesting process setting them up. I hope to learn about keeping aquariums and appreciate the wide range of experience available in this community!
Hi Newbie from PDX,
I'm from McMinnville, just a bit south west of you, that was dumb, I'm sure you know where Mac is.
Welcome to AA, your going to love it here. It's as addictive as the fish are.
It's great to have someone near by that loves Cichlids like we do. No matter what your level of knowledge is you can still learn something here, and some times newbies even teach us a thing or two.

What size tank do you have and which type of Malawi's? How many are boys & how many girls?

For now I have a 55g with Yellow labs, White Labs, Cobalt Blue Zebras, 1 Red Top Zebra (trying for more),some Kenyi & Acei White Tails. I also have 1 adult standard Bushynose Pleco and 2 baby Green Dragon Bushynose Plecos, one because they are small and sweet and 2 they eat all the algae. So I don't ever have to clean Algae from my tanks.
A 10g with 16 hybrid fry, 2 Yellow Lab fry and 1 White lab fry.
I have another 55g Angelfish tank, they are also cichlids, not sure why. But I have 6 Angels, 2 pair Koi, 2 pair Gold Veil tail and 2 pair Half Black Blushing Veil tail. There are 4 Hifin Black Skirt Tetras (a schooling fish) and 3 baby Long Fin Bushynose Plecos that are already beautiful and they keep the algae away too.
Although I am searching for a 75g for my Mbunas (Malawi's) and a 90-100g for the Angels. The Mbunas need more floor and the Angels need the taller tank.
If you PM me I will share my email with you. Your close enough that if you need help, I'd be willing to help in person. I'm not as big an expert as some, like HUKIT, he's awesome. But I'm no slouch, I can hold my own pretty well.
Welcome to an awesome hobby that will calm your nerves and fill you with joy.
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Old 07-15-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WendiDell View Post
Hi Newbie from PDX,

What size tank do you have and which type of Malawi's? How many are boys & how many girls?

For now I have a 55g with Yellow labs, White Labs, Cobalt Blue Zebras, 1 Red Top Zebra (trying for more),some Kenyi & Acei White Tails. I also have 1 adult standard Bushynose Pleco and 2 baby Green Dragon Bushynose Plecos, one because they are small and sweet and 2 they eat all the algae. So I don't ever have to clean Algae from my tanks.
A 10g with 16 hybrid fry, 2 Yellow Lab fry and 1 White lab fry.
I have another 55g Angelfish tank, they are also cichlids, not sure why. But I have 6 Angels, 2 pair Koi, 2 pair Gold Veil tail and 2 pair Half Black Blushing Veil tail. There are 4 Hifin Black Skirt Tetras (a schooling fish) and 3 baby Long Fin Bushynose Plecos that are already beautiful and they keep the algae away too.
Although I am searching for a 75g for my Mbunas (Malawi's) and a 90-100g for the Angels. The Mbunas need more floor and the Angels need the taller tank.
If you PM me I will share my email with you. Your close enough that if you need help, I'd be willing to help in person. I'm not as big an expert as some, like HUKIT, he's awesome. But I'm no slouch, I can hold my own pretty well.
Welcome to an awesome hobby that will calm your nerves and fill you with joy.
Thanks for the warm welcome, Wendidell! My husband set up our first tank a few months ago, but it's not going well. We have 3 adult Auloncaras who refuse to eat and I can't find anyone who can offer any useful advice. At this point the trail and error component is proving to be so costly that I'm about to give up all together!

Right now we have about 5 different Auloncara, an otopharynx lithobates, some electras, some yellow labs, and a few scattered mbunas in a 55-gallon tank.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lilcris View Post
Thanks for the warm welcome, Wendidell! My husband set up our first tank a few months ago, but it's not going well. We have 3 adult Auloncaras who refuse to eat and I can't find anyone who can offer any useful advice. At this point the trail and error component is proving to be so costly that I'm about to give up all together!

Right now we have about 5 different Auloncara, an otopharynx lithobates, some electras, some yellow labs, and a few scattered mbunas in a 55-gallon tank.
Don't give up on yourself or them. Trust me it will work out.
1st, did you cycle your tank before you added your fish? If not, don't worry we can fix it. It sounds like they may have ammonia poisoning.
What are you testing your water parameters with? How often do you do PWC and what type of dechlorinator are you using when you do your PWC?
What are you feeding them, how much and how often?

Next, what are the gender of your fish. For every male of each type of fish you need a minimum of 2 females 3-4 are better, but you don't want to over crowd your tank. So 2:1 works OK in a 55g tank.

I looked into the type of fish you have right now and there may be some personality and environmental issues happening.
Such as your Aulonocara, also known as Haps, are more than likely being picked on, a lot, by the Mbunas. They aren't always a good mix.
Figure out which type you prefer and give the others back to the FS. It's the simplest fix for your Haps not eating.
Then there is the fact that Haps like a sandy bottom with nice places to hide and your Otopharynx like large rocks with a lot room to swim around in.
When it comes to African Cichlids, it pays to stick to 1 type. Your Mbunas and Labs are OK together. But I wouldn't mix in the Haps or Oto's.
Depending on where you buy your fish, they should let you know these things. A lot of places like Petco & Petsmart won't tell you anything you really need to know, unfortunately.
So where you buy your fish is as important as what fish you buy.
I go to a family owned store called Critter Cabana. They have 2 stores, one in Newberg and one in Wilsonville. They are so good I choose to drive over to Newberg, rather than waste my time in any of the places in McMinnville.
I don't know how far you are from either store, but it may be worth the drive to get good advice on what works and what doesn't. Plus they are great about taking their fish back if there are any personality problems in your tank.
I'm leaving for Ca. in the am, but I'm bringing my Computer with me. I'm going to be busy but I will squeeze in the time to do what I can to help over the next few days until I get back. Then I will have a little more free time. This isn't a trip I want to take I'm being forced by the insurance co., but it will be quick.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:40 AM   #7
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Thanks for your response! I was out of town for over a week and had infrequent internet, so I apologize for the slow reply.

We did cycle the tank properly and we have been testing the water frequently. pH, ammonia, nitrates, temps all seem fine. We have been doing PWC about once per week, a bit more frequently if parameters are off or if fish are acting strangely. A bit less frequently if all is well.

We're feeding twice a day, cichlid flakes. We have fed them brine a few times, but that's a rare treat.

I'm not sure about the gender of our fish, since many are still juveniles. We seem to have mostly males, with at least two females. We know that our species and our gender ratios are all wrong, which we're attempting to deal with. However, we do not know how to get rid of unwanted fish, since our fish store does not take fish back. Is there a local fish club in the area?

I just got home tonight. Of 5 original Auloncaras, 3 have died within the past 2-3 weeks (one died just yesterday). One looks sick, hasn't been eating, and probably won't last much longer. One juvenile mbuna also went missing this afternoon. We can't find him in the tank, so I assume he died. He looked and acted perfectly healthy the last time I saw him.

We started treating the whole tank with an antibiotic because so many fish seemed sick with few symptoms, but we're still losing fish.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by lilcris View Post
Thanks for your response! I was out of town for over a week and had infrequent Internet, so I apologize for the slow reply.

We did cycle the tank properly and we have been testing the water frequently. pH, ammonia, nitrates, temps all seem fine. We have been doing PWC about once per week, a bit more frequently if parameters are off or if fish are acting strangely. A bit less frequently if all is well.

We're feeding twice a day, cichlid flakes. We have fed them brine a few times, but that's a rare treat.

I'm not sure about the gender of our fish, since many are still juveniles. We seem to have mostly males, with at least two females. We know that our species and our gender ratios are all wrong, which we're attempting to deal with. However, we do not know how to get rid of unwanted fish, since our fish store does not take fish back. Is there a local fish club in the area?

I just got home tonight. Of 5 original Aulonocaras, 3 have died within the past 2-3 weeks (one died just yesterday). One looks sick, hasn't been eating, and probably won't last much longer. One juvenile mbuna also went missing this afternoon. We can't find him in the tank, so I assume he died. He looked and acted perfectly healthy the last time I saw him.

We started treating the whole tank with an antibiotic because so many fish seemed sick with few symptoms, but we're still losing fish.
With your species and your ratio's being off your fish are probably extremely stressed.
Also did you say what it is you are testing with? With all those deaths the ammonia would rise.
Plus I'm not sure what you mean by your parameters are offish. if your tank is cycled your parameters should be stable, that's what cycling does it keeps the water stable for the health of your fish.
It would really help if you could post what you test with and what the actual results are.

As far as getting rid of the mix of fish that the FS sold you, that they shouldn't have, you can post them on craigslist. You can't sell them but you can ask for a re-homing fee.

Next, you should change your FS to one that does take their fish back. If your going to have Africans you need to exchange some as they get older, because they may not get along with each other. So you can let them fight to the death or get rid of the biggest bully.
Do you have a Quarantine Tank? At this stage it's very important to have one. You can use it to put the fish you need to get rid of. So they aren't causing you trouble in your main tank. Or if 1 of your fish are acting funny, you can isolate it so they don't infect the others while you treat it. It doesn't need to be fancy, just a heater, filter and a couple of rocks for them to hide behind. A 10g will work but a 20 Long would work better you can find them from Craigslist really cheap.

There are somethings to undo in your tank before you do things to your tank.
But AA is a good place to start.
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Old 08-10-2011, 12:36 AM   #9
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Okay, we just retested:
pH 8.1
Temp: 80 degrees
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: 10ppm

We do a water change when nitrates get a bit high or when the water looks a bit murky. Our parameters have been very stable for a while now.

We are currently cycling a hospital tank, but it's not ready yet. Still high pH.

I have no idea what we test with - my husband purchased the supplies. Bottles say "Mars Fishcare" on them, but no other brand name. We are using Prime dechlorinator from Seachem.

Our two remaining Auloncaras are not healthy. One is a stuartgranti. His fins are starting to look tattered, with white dots on the edges. His scales don't look good either. The other is a jacobfreibergi - he looks fine, he's just not eating and not very active.

Everyone else looks very healthy - active, good poop, etc.

Stock list:

Haps
2 Nimbochromis venustus (juveniles)
2 Placidochromus electra (juveniles)
1Otopharynx lithobates (large male)

Peacocks
1 Auloncara jacobfreibergi “Eureka” (juvenile)
1 Auloncara stuartgranti (adult male)

Mbunas
1 Cynotilapia sp. hara (juvenile female)
4 Labidochromus caeruleus “Yellow labs” (at least 1 male, 1 female)
1 Pseudotropheus williamsi north “Blue Lips” (juvenile)
1 Metriaclima zebra long pelvic mdoka (juvenile)

Other
1 Common pleco

I have seen little aggression in the tank with these fish. The venustus and the electras were still schooling until this past weekend. There has been some mating behavior with the labs and a few of the others are moderately territorial.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lilcris View Post
Okay, we just retested:
pH 8.1
Temp: 80 degrees
Ammonia: 0
Nitrates: 10ppm

We do a water change when nitrates get a bit high or when the water looks a bit murky. Our parameters have been very stable for a while now.

We are currently cycling a hospital tank, but it's not ready yet. Still high pH.

I have no idea what we test with - my husband purchased the supplies. Bottles say "Mars Fishcare" on them, but no other brand name. We are using Prime dechlorinator from Seachem.

Our two remaining Auloncaras are not healthy. One is a stuartgranti. His fins are starting to look tattered, with white dots on the edges. His scales don't look good either. The other is a jacobfreibergi - he looks fine, he's just not eating and not very active.

Everyone else looks very healthy - active, good poop, etc.

Stock list:

Haps
2 Nimbochromis venustus (juveniles)
2 Placidochromus electra (juveniles)
1Otopharynx lithobates (large male)

Peacocks
1 Auloncara jacobfreibergi “Eureka” (juvenile)
1 Auloncara stuartgranti (adult male)

Mbunas
1 Cynotilapia sp. hara (juvenile female)
4 Labidochromus caeruleus “Yellow labs” (at least 1 male, 1 female)
1 Pseudotropheus williamsi north “Blue Lips” (juvenile)
1 Metriaclima zebra long pelvic mdoka (juvenile)

Other
1 Common pleco

I have seen little aggression in the tank with these fish. The venustus and the electras were still schooling until this past weekend. There has been some mating behavior with the labs and a few of the others are moderately territorial.
OK, it's really important what it is your testing with. I've tried a few different liquid test kits and the only consistently reliable test kit is API Freshwater Master Test Kit. As far as test strips are concerned, NONE are ever accurate enough to risk your fishes life on.
Then, can you describe in detail what your Stuartgranti's fins look like & what the white spots look like? Are there little bones sticking out the ends of his fins? Or is all of the fin rotting away? Are the white spots fuzzy? Or does it look like salt spots? That kind of stuff.
It could be parasites or a fungus or fin rot. All of which are highly contagious.
At this point though you need to treat your entire tank.
Start with slowly (over a few days) raising the tank temp. to 86*. Then add API Aquarium Salt, 1 Tablespoon per 5g of water. Add an extra Air stone to offset the increase in O2 consumption by the increased temperature.
Do 50% PWC everyday,replacing the salt after each change. If after 3 days you see some improvement, continue for 10 days. Then slowly the temp. to it's regular setting.
If you don't see any improvement, then we need to start treatment with medication. but we can worry about that later.

Do you know if you are going to keep the Mbunas? Or are you keeping the Haps & Peacocks?
And very important, how long is your Common Pleco? He's really going to need a new home or the smaller tank will eventually kill him, slowly and painfully.
I almost forgot, what is the nitrIte reading?
I've never heard of Mars Fishcare, but that doesn't mean much. There are all kinds of brands of fish care supplies available, some are good and some, not so much.
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