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Old 11-05-2013, 03:54 PM   #1
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Cichlids hiding all the time still after 7 months.

Hi everyone.

So hitting a brick wall right now and not sure what I can do even if there is anything I can do. I've had my cichlids for about 7 months now and they just hide behind my rocks almost all the time. They come out every morning when I turn on the lights and feed them but after that behind the rocks they go. At most 1-2 might be sitting in the rocks starring out front but that's it.

My setup:
75 gallon wide - Been running strong for a year now.
Eheim 2217 (159gal) + Aquatop CF400UV (125gal)
Aqueon led lights (2 led lamps in)
Lots of lace rock, white sand, and fake plants, 1 piece of driftwood.
I feed them once a day with new life spectrum.
Use prime conditioner, seachem cichlid lake salt, seachem malawi/victoria buffer.



Ph at a constant 8.2
Ammo - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 10-15
Temp - 77 f
Gh - 9
Kh - 9

About a 15% WC every week.

17 fish
1m/6f - Sunshine peacocks (3 in - 5 in)
1m/5f - Electric blue haps (2 in - 4 in)
1 Calvus (2 in)
2 angelicus botia loaches (3 in)
1 rainbow shark (3 in)

I used to have more fish in the tank, but got rid of them because my nitrates would keep rising like crazy.

I had 4 rainbow fish in as dither fish for 3 months hoping it would help them feel more safe but sadly the rainbow fish would sometimes run into hiding with the cichlids.

I have changed the rock/plant setup about 2 times now hoping that might help but it didn't change anything.

The rainbow shark is the only one in the tank who wanders around all the time and is never timid, just doing his thing and looking for food 24/7.

There is no aggression issues with the fish, they all just do their own thing or hide in the back. Only when the male peacock is mating will there be any chasing but its nothing serious.

When I am home I spend a good amount of time on the computer which is located next to the fish tank, about 2 feet away hoping they would see me a lot and associate me not trying to hurt them and that I am the one who feeds them.

Not really sure what I can do.
I thought about trying to add a different set of dither fish but not really crazy about the idea.

Any thoughts, suggestions, comments are welcome.

Also forgot to mention there has never been any type of sickness, disease, illness. All fish seem to be healthy and never lost a fish.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:01 PM   #2
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Really stumped on this one. Following to see what the outcome is. I assume you have tried rearranging the tank. There is nobody home to mess with the tank when you aren't around is there? Kids inadvertently scaring by banging on the tank?
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:13 PM   #3
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I've rearranged the tank 2-3 times now, once with more caves hiding spots, and now I have it with some big caves and hiding spots but more open space too.

No one messes with the tank, I live with 3 other people and most the others aren't home or don't really go near the tank, and never mess with the tank.

I have never banged on the glass, and no real loud noises in the place, rocks have never fell down or anything even with the constant digging and shifting of sand.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:25 PM   #4
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completely baffled curious to see what other suggestions are out there.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Hmmm, strange. Is there a lot of action around the tank? Like loud noises, people walking by all the time, maybe little kids banging on the glass? You could try raising the temp a bit, like maybe to 79. Otherwise try a different food, or maybe add some epsom salt to try and change their environment/living conditions. The epsom salt may change things and maybe stir them into breeding condition.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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No real loud noises ever really happen.
Someone might occasionally pass by the tank (5 ft away) but that is it.
No kids in the house.

The male peacock will breed a lot, no problem with them doing that. Seems he is on a break or something now. The male hap is still small and just added him a few days ago so no breeding with him.

I can try feeding them something different to see if that changes anything and bump up the temp.

I will probably hold off on the epsom salt.

Forgot to mention I use seachem lake salt and malawi/victoria buffer to raise pH and hardness.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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One idea I read someone else suggested was moving all the rocks back so they can still hid in the rocks but don't have room to just sit around openly in the back.

I just moved all the rocks around 2 days ago so I'm going to hold off on another move for a least a week. Don't want to stress them out again.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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I'd say leave the rock as it is awhile so they can be comfortable with the same environment. And temp can change things in fish so i say raise it up a bit. Are they all acting healthy, but just swimming around a lot in the back of the tank ? Or are they hiding all the time, or really skiddish, or just sitting on the substrate? How long are the lights on every day?
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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They seem to be healthy, they just hide in the back and if there are any near the front they run off anytime I move to/away from my desk.

They just swim around in the back and hide in the rocks or move around from rock to rock. Seems like half of them are just keeping an eye on me since the most I will see is eyes or their head through the cracks just peaking around whats going on.

No unhealthy looking behavior. I think 2-3 of the female peacocks are holding so I understand that I probably won't see them at all.

The lights are on for about 9 hours. The blinds in my living room are always up too so they get light whenever the sun starts rising through our cloudy Washington weather.

Some of the fish will come out if I'm close to the tank and put my finger to the glass. They won't really follow it but kind of watch my finger up close. Just did it and about 7 of them came out but ran off as soon as I got up out of my seat.

I'm adjusting the temp up to 79, I also added more cichlid lake salt to raise the gh/kh a few, trying to get it to 12. I also plan on feeding them hikari sinking cichlid gold for a while and see what happens with these adjustments.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Just tired of having a tank that looks empty ha.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:37 PM   #10
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K sounds good, let me know how it turns out! I've had a few spells like that where they are really skittish for a week after a water change but nothing that long, so its pretty weird!! Hope they become a little more bold!
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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You mentioned the male will breed allot. That may be the problem the Females are tired of being chased so they hide out all the time. I thought all fish including the male is hiding all the time.
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:00 PM   #12
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Yeah all the fish will hide or run and hide not just the females.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:39 PM   #13
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Well no real change with the temp bumped up and the different food.

I added 5 tiger barbs to try a different type of dither fish and my rainbow shark went crazy and chased them nonstop. Gave it a day to see if anything changes and had to take them out before they were chased to death. Guess the rainbow shark didn't like seeing another fish with similar colored fins.

I now just added 6 giant danios into the tank to see if these guys will make a difference.
Will update in a week or so.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:49 PM   #14
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Shucks. Change the decor at all? My Usisyas are going through a skittish spell right now too, drives me nuts lol.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:31 PM   #15
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wow...about 24 hours later the giant danios are settled in now and swimming all over the mid-top levels of the water.

There is a noticeable difference already. They are still somewhat skittish and run off when I move to/away from the tank sometimes, but when I just stand there and watch them for a minute most of the cichlids come out and swim around.

Liking the results of the giant danios being added. Hope it keeps getting better.
I'll update again later.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:44 PM   #16
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Sweet! Maybe i'll have to do that!
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:52 AM   #17
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To me it sounds like that rainbow shark may have been part of the problem. Sounds like he's the aggressor of the tank. Just a thought
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:47 AM   #18
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Your issue lies in the lack of traffic around the tank. You're fish simply aren't used to the stimuli that people create. When fish are in a high traffic area, like a fish tank inside a restaurant or a fish store even, they tend to be out and about more because they are accustomed to the noise and movement, they have learned that it is nothing to be afraid of. With your tank, they are not accustomed to people, so whenever you come up to the tank, they bolt, thinking you are a predator. My advice is to spend as much time as possible around the tank. Open the lids every few hours, sit in front of the tank, have people walk by whenever possible. You must get them to not associate people as potential predators
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