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Old 01-01-2021, 12:39 PM   #1
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Smile Help with African cichlids

Hi guys. I am fairly new to all this so looking for any gems of advice you can offer. Here are the areas I'm struggling with :

I'm struggling to keep my water clear and having real problems with green algae. How often should I change my water (I have a 180 gallon tank). I'm using all the correct filters, monthly water changes (is this enough)? Also struggling to clear the poop and gunge at bottom of tank, in the sand. I have done a lot of research so I am learning. Will be nice to have somewhere to go to ask questions etc about what I'm doing wrong.

The other thing is health of the fish. A couple of them have swollen bellies and one has actually completely lost an eye! I was horrified to see this, it was one of the bigger fish. Also, why do they sometimes lose their bright colour and look very washed out?

As you can see, I need a lot of help. Should I post some pics??

Thanks in advance

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Old 01-01-2021, 12:57 PM   #2
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Hi, could you be a bit more specific with what filters you are running, water parameters, current fish residents, what and how much you're feeding the tank, how long is the light on? I'd do a 40-50% PWC weekly. Any sign of cloudiness to water and fish distress, the first course of action should always be a PWC.
Look up "bloat/dropsy" and "pop-eye disease" to see if that is what's occurring.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:17 PM   #3
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I'll try to help starting at the top of your thread. African cichlids, esp peacocks and haps are extremely filthy. They eat/poop alot. In my 100g I do at least a weekly water change, sometimes 2 a week, of 30% or more. And I currently have a sponge filter and 3 canisters on it. Filtering over 2000g per hour. I lightly run the vacuum tube across the top of the sand to pick up detritus. Add some crushed coral or limestone to your tank to raise the ph and they will have better colors and grow better. They like a ph around 9. They will color down when stressed, become brighter as a threat display. Or for mating. They change up and down in a matter of minutes, just what they do. My tank was always cloudy too until I added more extreme filtration. Now it's good. Cleaner water means less disease. I have 2 with 1 eye. And all have some minor fin damage at all times. Some are just very aggressive.
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:12 AM   #4
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salts99

Hi

Thanks for your replies. I have a three canister sponge filter - how often should this be changed, am doing once a month at mo.

I don't know the parameters of the water except that it is always high in nitrates. What is the best way to make sure you have the right balance and what should I use to measure?

Should I move sick fish to another tank or am I ok to medicate where they are? I have a carbon sponge filter and have been told to remove this before I administer any medication into the water?
Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:53 AM   #5
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Get an api master test kit, they are more accurate than the strips. You can treat the whole tank, I've done my 100g before, it's just alot more costly buying meds for a big tank than a small one, obviously. I would do a water change weekly of 25%, and see what your nitrates and the cloudiness looks like after a month of that routine.
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:54 AM   #6
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How many Africans are in there? And are the peacocks and haps or mbuna or all?
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:56 AM   #7
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And yes, I forgot, remove carbon when using any medication in any tank
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:46 AM   #8
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salts99

Hi

Ok thanks, will try weekly water change.

We've got peacocks, mbunas, haps and clown loach. A couple of the fish are shimmying, wriggling about. Got quite a few young ones in there too, still learning how to recognise the fish that are holding. I'm also worried that the tank is overcrowded, how can i tell if it is? For a 150 gallon tank what do you think should be the max number of fish in there?

Thanks so much for your help! I am determined to get this right! Didn't start out with the intention of having an aquarium but now I've got it, want to keep fish healthy
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Old 01-02-2021, 11:58 AM   #9
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Overstocked is good for African tanks. It spreads out the aggression. I have 30 in my 100g. The draw back to that is more frequent water changes to keep it clean and safe. I personally keep mine pretty bare also, so they can't claim territory, and keep all males so no mating competition. I have 3 big limestone rocks on a sand bottom and that's it. You also might find that some mbuna will be too aggressive for the group. Demasoni, zebra and a few others are pretty rough. Acei, rusty and yellow lab are pretty chill mbuna.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:02 PM   #10
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The shimmying and wiggling are usually one of 2 things. They are either trying to tempt a female to spawn with them, or it's a threat display. They'll turn sideways to make themselves look bigger and circle with the opponent. They are saying stay away from me and or my spot cuz I'm big and tough, lol.
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:05 PM   #11
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And you'll usually see one clear tank boss, then one 2nd in command. No one will usually mess with those guys. They don't usually lip lock and fight like central and s American cichlids, they like hit and run tactics. High speed what they're built for, run in and nip then fly away
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:15 PM   #12
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I donít think this was asked yet but just to be sure, did you cycle the tank? Also once you narrow down and are sure you have all the health issues in check you can run purigen to help clear the water. It doesnít replace your water changes by no means, but helps clear the water. Iíll be following along, Iíve never kept cichlids but want to in the future!
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