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Old 06-04-2012, 03:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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HELP! My African Cichlids are DYING! Poisoned from rotting biomass.

Hi, so before I get started: I realize am a terrible owner! :'( Never would I want to be responsible for another living thing's death.
I'll highlight the things I think you'll find important.

I had 3 1-inch african cichlids for 3 weeks in a 29 gal tank and I use an aquatech filter. I don't know the exact scientific names but I had a yellow lab, an orange one, and the blue striped one, the latter two having now passed. I believe the orange one is still alive because he was bigger. Here's what I believe happened:

They weren't eating all of the food (fed them once a day) and I guess the food accumulated at the bottom. I figured they'd eat it. But I went back to the major pet store in my area and told them about it and that I wanted to get a pleco or catfish and they told me that Cichlids are aggressive and will kill other fish. I actually got the fish from another store (same name, diff location) and the employee there told me completely different things like, "they have tank mates" and "You don't have to worry about pH b/c they will raise it themselves." The sad thing is that I was going to the store in the morning to get a vac to suck up the food. I had no idea that the food would rot and poison my fish. I discovered that the blue striped one was dead and within the hour my yellow lab started acting funny, so I transferred them to new smaller tank for quarantine. My yellow lab started acting normal and I began to be hopeful only to have her die within the next 2 hours. (The employee called the lab a girl so I just assume it was.) I watched her gasp for air and dart around a few times but she eventually sank to the bottom. I'm pretty much cried out now and all I can do is hope my orange one makes it. He seems ok. I plan on taking out everything in my tank and washing them b/c I can see that some sort of algae or bacteria is growing on them. It's a terrible way to learn but I'm hoping to learn from my mistakes and be a more responsible owner. Can anyone please tell me what I should do or use to clean out my tank to make it habitable again. Thank you.

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Old 06-04-2012, 04:04 AM   #2
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Location: Sunny Queensland, Australia
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Welcome to AA.
It sounds like your tank is cycling. The ammonia would be very high and is poisoning the fish. First thing you need to do is some back to back large (50%) water changes to remove some of it.
Do you have a test kit?
What are the results?
Please read this:

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Old 06-04-2012, 04:09 AM   #3
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Location: US, Ga
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Yes mummas right ^_* (like always) but the orange one is probably called a red zebra just so you can learn about it (that is if it is). African cichlids need a 55G tank due to aggression also. Just trying to help!
55G-Malawi setup
2 20G long-community (planted)
5G and 10g-Fry
30G- S. and C. America tank
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