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Old 11-28-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
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125g cichlid problem :( - 3 deaths

hi everyone, kind of in a tough situation here...

last night i came home and found 3 of my fish dead, i think they were all severely stressed due to aggression issues in the tank

there is still 5 fish in the tank left and i want to save them

immediately when i saw that 3 fish were dead i took them out and did a 50% PWC... during the water change the fish slowly went from gasping for breathe to swimming normally... im not sure if the ammonia or nitrates was the cause but at the time i took a reading and it was .5 ammonia, 40-80 nitrates...

this is a 125 gallon tank

after i did the PWC i thought everything would be fine because they were swimming normally again, none of them were going to the top and gasping for air but rather swimming around and opening/closing there mouth abnormally...

so this morning when i woke up again they were doing the same behavior with opening and closing their mouth, i took another reading and i had 0 ammonnia, 0 nitrites, and 20-40 nitrates.... at this point i wondered if it was due to the surface agitation not being enough with the current...

i did a 25% PWC just in case... as i did the PWC this time again they started to "relax" more and not show signs of gasping for breath... im not sure if its the water quality or maybe they got some kind of poisoning... i never had problems until i noticed now...

just to be safe i cleaned out the filter (eheim 2260)

currently they are showing normal behaviors and swimming around ok, none are constantly opening and closing their mouth... but i just dont want problems to arise...

does anyone have any idea what this is? i angled the spray bar more upwards to create more of a current on top since i had it angled downwards so that i wouldnt hear it as much...

any advice is greatly appreciated
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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It can be stress make sure to check if the dominant cichlid isnt picking on the others what cichlids do u have?
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:46 PM   #3
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Do you have an air pump, I would open it up as much as possible. You can also try to move your decorations around in case it is an aggression issue. Try not to do too much at once (cleaning entire filter and water change can sometimes mess with the bacteria and cause a mini spike)

How do their fins look? Everything normal?
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:03 PM   #4
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thanks for the replies guys.. after the 3 deaths i redecorated the whole tank just to give a new scene and give the fish new territories...

the 3 fish that died were the only ones that had the aggression issues, they were an apollo shark (about 7-8 in) a female jack dempsey (about 5-6 in) and a borleyi... my large red devil cichlid is the one that caused the issues towards the borleyi and the shark really didnt fit in and the female jack dempsey was torchered by the bigger other female jack dempsey... none of these problems happened when i first had the tank for the first few months, but actually everything that happened was predicted by one of the fish experts on the forum, and the only reason i didnt do anything about it is because i didnt know where to bring the fish...

but right now the current stock seems to be all co existing happily...

i attached a picture of the fish... they are swimming around fine right now, they seem ok... when i cleaned the filter i left a lot of beneficial bacteria in it and rinsed out only a few things with the original tank water...

also to note is i use to have a common pleco that was about 5-6 in' and the red devil cichlid bit its tail off, and now i really dont know where it is and its been awhile i couldnt find it when i cleaned the tank

i'm hoping that this 25% PWC and surface agitation fixes their breathing... the water conditions seem to be really good after the PWC and the eheim 2260 definitely has loads of BB...

thanks guys

PS. the fish that died were rusty, Raggidy, and Sonic... i miss sonic, but i realize he should not have been in the tank all along... the other 2 fish are convict cichlid and jewel cichlid i believe... and i also added an addition jewel cichlid thats not shown in the pic...

thanks everyone!!


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Old 11-28-2011, 02:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Malawi Freak View Post
Do you have an air pump, I would open it up as much as possible. You can also try to move your decorations around in case it is an aggression issue. Try not to do too much at once (cleaning entire filter and water change can sometimes mess with the bacteria and cause a mini spike)

How do their fins look? Everything normal?
Their fins look ok, what kind of signs am i looking for? they all seem slightly tinted to a greenish yellow? but they look normal to me... not sure what im looking for
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:15 PM   #6
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It can be stress make sure to check if the dominant cichlid isnt picking on the others what cichlids do u have?
im pretty sure stress is no longer an issue because the current 5 in there never had problems with eachother, it was the 3 that died that had the problems... im guessing its a water quality issue right now or a oxygen surface issue, i really dont know im not a fish expert but it doesnt seem to be stress right now... since 3 fish were dead and left in there all day im guessing that had an affect on the other fish... if there was .5 ammonia im guessing it affected them, i just dont know why the 50% PWC would help them and then the next day they went back to gasping for breath... the water conditions seemed ok the next day.. hmm
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:17 PM   #7
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Also something important to note is:

i did not clean the eheim 2260 since i started running the tank 5-6 months ago... so basically it has never been cleaned, and there was a fair ammount of gunk when i rinsed everything

question: should i not feed them for a week or so?
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:33 PM   #8
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Aww that sucks they died but i bet one of them was the one provoking others to fight im guessing the red devil had a part of killing due to their aggressive nature
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:43 PM   #9
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Aww that sucks they died but i bet one of them was the one provoking others to fight im guessing the red devil had a part of killing due to their aggressive nature
yes the red devil is what was always attacking the burleyli and there was a lot of bite marks on them, i knew hed die eventually and im guessing after he died he polluted the water and the other 2 stressed out fish had weak immune systems from stress and they died too... the other 5 non stressed fish are fine
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:08 PM   #10
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Well hopefully now nothing will happen dont add new fish cuz they will juz kill them
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:54 PM   #11
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update: i fed a few pellets and they still seem to have an appetite... still no gasping so im hoping i fixed the problem, its been a few hours and everything seems ok, thanks everyone, ill post if they start gasping again and take some more water quality readings
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