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Old 02-01-2023, 10:38 AM   #1
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Stressed Kribs

I have a breeding pair of Kribs in a 29 gallon community moderately planted tank with lots of hides. I have rough sand substrate, a passive CO2 set up, dual filtration, and peat and wood to act as buffers in the tank. I do weekly water changes with a deep clean once a month. Nothing new has been added recently( unless you count the baby guppies). Water condition is good hardness 150, nitrate 0, nitrite fluctuate 0-1, ph 7.2-7.6 l, temp 77-78. Other fish include guppies, cherry barbs, flying fox, Corry's, assorted shrimp and snails, kuli loach, and cray fish.

Problem my Kribs have been stressed for an extended period of time, I got two rock Kribs but they were a bit on the small side for the cichlid tank so they spent about a month in the smaller tank with the friendlier fish. All was fine until the end when they started to show some aggression towards the other Kribs. I removed them within a few days but the original Kribs were visibly stressed and male got part of fin nipped off. Hoped they would recover quickly but they haven't. It's been about 2 months. They don't eat enough have lost weight and are pale and listless. No other signs of disease , no lesions, growths, or labored breathing. Males fin is regrowing and is almost back to normal. What else can I do? Thought about transferring to a tank alone but don't want to stress them more doing so.

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Old 02-01-2023, 01:12 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum

What's a rock krib, do you have a scientific name for it?

Can you post a picture and 1 minute video of the fish that are stressed out?
You can upload videos to YouTube, then copy & paste the link here.

Crayfish are nocturnal scavengers/ predators and could be causing issues to other bottom dwelling fish in the tank.

What's a passive CO2 set up?
How long is the CO2 on for each day?
Do you have aeration in the tank?

What is the ammonia level?

Nitrite should remain on 0ppm if the filter is established.
How often does it fluctuate between 0 and 1ppm?

What sort of filter is on the tank?
How often and how do you clean the filter?
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Old 02-01-2023, 01:48 PM   #3
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Rock Kribs=Paralabidochromis sauvagei they are slightly larger and more aggressive than the purple belly kribensis that I'm having a problem with. At the time they were half the size of the purple bellies and figured it would be fine until they got big enough for the other tank...
The cray fish although nocturnal scavengers are dwarfs and they have been together for almost a year with no issues.
Passive CO2 is where you fill an upside down bell with CO2 (I do twice a day) and let it defuse itself instead of forced CO2 where you run a pump/ defuser for a period of time. Passive does not put as much in your tank only about 15 ppm instead of more with forced. It's just enough for the plants.
Ammonia levels are 0 and no other fish are affected
I do run a bubbler with dual hoses...a sponge air powered filter and a behind tank sump that gets a complete disassembly once a month and a weekly rinse and clean with the water change. I also use a small hang in tank filter just for surface movement.
I will attempt to get video but they pretty much hide in their favorite places and don't do much else. They are a bit skinny and pale but nothing else visually wrong. No deformity, growths, fungus, discoloration, no labored breathing, or erratic swimming.
The more aggressive ones were moved out about 2 months ago when they started to pester the male Kribs and nipped his tail and they are doing wonderful in the other tank.
I also reorganized the hides as the guy at the aquarium store recommended to "reset" their environment and provided some additional hiding areas by rearranging the different rocks and such in the aquarium.
No one else is stressed or showing any signs of upset. Just this pair and although the males tail is healing fine they do not seem to be recovering or eating enough.
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Old 02-01-2023, 10:02 PM   #4
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Paralabidochromis sauvagei are from Lake Victoria in Africa's Rift Lake system. They need hard water (GH around 300ppm) and a pH around 7.6. They are also quite aggressive compared to Pelvicachromis pulcher (normal Kribensis).

Normal Kribensis come from softer water (GH below 150ppm) with a pH below 7.0.

Your GH and pH isn't too bad for Kribensis if they are captive bred, and most are. However, if you are keeping wild caught Kribensis, then you need a lower pH and GH.

------------------

What does their poop look like?

If they aren't eating much and you have tried a variety of dry, frozen and live foods, and they are losing weight, they could have an internal protozoan infection. However, this normally kills the fish within a few weeks, not two months.

If they are losing colour and look pale, they might have a microsporidian infection. This weakens and kills fish and shrimp over a few months.

Pale colouration can also be the tank, (eg: light coloured substrate, bright light, no backing on the tank, etc). A picture of the entire tank should be able to help us rule those bits out.

You could drop the CO2 for a couple of weeks and see if that helps. If you use a fertiliser in the tank, stop using that for a couple of weeks too. It might be irritating the fish. Do a daily water change during this time and see if it helps. If it doesn't, at least we know it's not the CO2 or fertiliser causing the problem.
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Old 02-02-2023, 01:49 AM   #5
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They are captive bred and have been in the same tank for almost a year it does have light substrate but is well planted with hides. I run the light about 8 hrs but have dimmed it some this last week to see if that might help. There are also a number of floating plants that dim the lower areas of the tank more.
I will start daily water changes and see if that has any effect. None of the shrimp show any signs of problems and are still breeding ( the amano shrimp berry but they need brackish for babies). The CO2 has been unchanged for the last 8 months but will remove that and see if it has an effect as well. I don't fertilize because the inverts have shown sensitivity to it in the past.
I can set up a quarantine tank if I need to dose since the inverts make any dosing of a tank very risky.
They hide so much I have not got a look at their poop but no odd poops in the tank or when cleaning and everyone else is normal.
I feed a variety diet with a mix of tropical fish granules, freeze dried bloodworms occasionally, cichlid pellets, and bottom dweller granules, the fish also pick off some baby shrimp or baby guppies but the pair show little interest in any food. They will guard there hide still but don't come out often and when they do not for long.
I will try to figure out how to load pictures of the tank and try to get some of the two fish now.

I know I run an odd mix in my tanks with the aggressive and none aggressive together. But as long as they are fed regularly I don't have any issues ( the mollies will sometimes chase the larger cichlids) I do make sure that any new addition is large enough before adding to the tank though which is why the rock Kribs where in the other tank to begin with.
My large cichlid tank has a band of mollies, golden barbs, and a killifish, crayfish, doctor fish, corys, hillstream loach, yoyo loach, and assorted snails and the cichlids.
I tend to run a high bio load with extra filtration and regular water changes all around with no spikes or problems. I also have live plants in both tanks( which the crayfish will pick up, dig up, and sometimes move).
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Old 02-02-2023, 05:46 AM   #6
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You can try doing a big water change and gravel clean the substrate (including under rocks, caves, etc) every day for a week and see if that helps.

--------------------

There's no point using CO2 if you don't use fertiliser. Plants need the correct amount of light, fertiliser and CO2 for optimal growth. If you miss one of these factors, they don't grow as fast and you are wasting CO2. There's plenty of CO2 in an aquarium and it's produced continuously by the fish and filter bacteria. Without fertiliser, I would stop using CO2 completely.

--------------------

I would try the fish on some frozen brineshrimp, mysis shrimp or bloodworms. Try ot get irradiated bloodworms because they have less bacteria on them. Maybe even try live brineshrimp if you can. Offer them some each day for a week and see if it gets them interested in food again. if it doesn't, then there is a problem.

--------------------

If the fish have a microsporidian infection, you treat the tank with salt because the other fish, shrimp and snails in the tank will probably have it too. The dose rates are normally safe for shrimp and snails but I need pictures to confirm the disease.

If they have an internal protozoan infection, you normally use metronidazole and treat the tank. However, I'm not convinced they have an internal protozoan infection because of the time this has been going on.

Until we work out what is going on, leave the fish where they are.

--------------------

Those Lake Victorian cichlids will end up causing problems when they mature. I would try to put them in a separate tank with other Lake Victorian fish so they don't kill the fish you have. You can then increase the hardness for them too.
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Old 02-02-2023, 11:57 AM   #7
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I have already moved the trouble causing fish to a different tank a couple months ago.
I run just the passive CO2 because it helps the plants just enough to keep any algae in check. I stopped yesterday and will keep a close eye on condition in tank since stopping can cause fluctuations (CO2 has been the same level for about 8months)
I started daily 20% water changes and filter and substrate vacuuming I will start moving everything the next change

This is a pic of the tank..the guppies are very pregnant the top is floating plants, I'm trying to get a pic of the two fish but will have to do it when I clean and remove their hide
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Old 02-02-2023, 12:23 PM   #8
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This is not a good pic but the best I could get of the male Kribs...that rock I lifted is his normal hide... been where he hangs out since I got him. Even when I moved stuff around he moved with it. Will try to get pics of the female. The little round black balls scattered around are plant shrimp substrate by fluval that I had added months ago for the root systems they get dug up sometimes when I vacuum substrate.
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Old 02-02-2023, 06:11 PM   #9
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Do you have a picture on the back of the tank?
If not, it wouldn't hurt to add one. You can get them from pet shops or online. You can also use coloured card or a plastic bin liner. Just tape it to the outside on the back of the tank.

The black plant substrate might be an issue if it's releasing anything into the water. The Kribensis are on the bottom in direct contact with the substrate and if the plant stuff is giving off something, they would be affected by it before the other fish.

I can't tell anything from the pictures of the Kribensis. Try to get some more and check them on your computer to make sure they are in focus. Wipe the inside and outside of the glass down before taking pictures so the glass is clear.
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:29 AM   #10
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I will try for better pictures and the back of my tank is not clear...it has a sump section in back so it is a white wall between the two...I would need something that can be applied inside the tank.
The random substrate is a shrimp and plant substrate by fluval and was added about 8-9 months ago, I will separate some in a small side container and see if it leaches anything if it does I will need to replace most of substrate since it's mixed underneath.
The female comes out more but seems thinner than the male. Have not seen either eat but their favorite food has always been the cichlid gold mini pellets so left some Infront of their rock which were gone later ( they are too big for the other fish to eat whole so unless they just kept breaking pieces off the Kribs ate them). I also got brine shrimp to feed and see if they like them. They already get bloodworms occasionally but have never been very enthusiastic about them.
Continuing daily water changes to see if it has an effect and replacing the filter medium when it comes in (it is the sponge and such the tank actually came with) will also replace medium in the air filter.
Could temperature fluctuations cause this? Our weather has been all over the place...some days it's 40įf some like tonight -20įf out so the apartment temperature tends to fluctuate the tank heater does a good job of regulating it but it could be fluctuating some with the drastic swings outside...
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Old 02-03-2023, 11:55 AM   #11
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I doubt it would be temperature fluctuations unless the water temp is varying a lot between day and night, and that is unlikely if there is an aquarium heater in the tank.

When you say change the filter media, do you actually change the media like sponges?
If yes, how often do you do that?

You only replace filter media if it is starting to break down (fall apart) or if you use carbon (black granulates). Sponges, noodles, ceramic beads, etc will last for years and should be squeezed/ rinsed out in a bucket of tank water and the media gets re-used. The bucket of dirty water gets poured on the lawn.

If you replace the filter media you can get ammonia and nitrite problems that can harm the fish.
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Old 02-03-2023, 01:25 PM   #12
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I have never replaced the filter medium it's about a year old I rinse it almost every time I do a water change since I remove it to clean under and around it anyway. I also disassemble the water pump in the sump monthly and clean it and the hoses connected to it. There is no deteriorating so if it may make things worse I won't change it.
Will adding carbon to the filter medium be useful?
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Old 02-03-2023, 06:44 PM   #13
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Carbon will remove chemicals like medication and fertiliser and can remove some heavy metals that might be in the water. You could try adding some to make sure there is nothing bad (like poisonous chemicals) in the water that might be causing this but if there's no improvement after a couple of weeks with carbon, then stop using it.

As a general rule, carbon is not needed in an aquarium.
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Old 02-20-2023, 03:26 PM   #14
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No change

After daily water changes there is still no change in fish...the hardness of the water has gone up a bit because the buffers have not had a chance to regulate it with the larger amount of influx but has not negatively affected anyone. I did isolate the female because she looks the worse of the two so that I can hopefully get a look at her poops and such but catching her was hard enough so catching the male may be harder and more stressful. What are your thoughts on salt baths could they help since she is now accessable? Her mouth seems more open than normal and she is skinny. The picture was taken in a transfer cup I tried to clean everything off the sides. Could something have happened to her mouth and she is unable to eat? The male is not skinny just hiding most of the time. I just caught her but will see if she eats today to let you know. Will also be able to monitor poops with her isolated now. She swims fine and took me about an hour to catch her because there are so many hides and plants that I wasn't trying to uproot. I did put some plant screens in her isolation chamber so she feels safer and not exposed. Any suggestions are welcome because I don't want to loose her or have her suffering.
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Old 02-21-2023, 12:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabrina049 View Post
After daily water changes there is still no change in fish...the hardness of the water has gone up a bit because the buffers have not had a chance to regulate it with the larger amount of influx but has not negatively affected anyone.
What buffers are you adding?

The fish are stressed out in that tank. Can you move the pair into a different tank with some dark substrate, lots of plants (plastic or real) and a picture on the back. Filter and heater too. See if they do any better when kept on their own.

Don't add anything to their tank in the form of buffers, fertiliser, CO2 or anything. Just go back to basics, clean water and filter and see if they do better when kept in their own tank.
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Old 02-21-2023, 12:22 AM   #16
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By buffers I'm referring to the drift wood and peat. I don't fertilize and stopped CO2 when first posting. The tank has a sump in back and have not found anything that can be stuck to back inside a tank. There is a heater in back and I have moved her to a different tank will attempt to catch male again. The male is not loosing weight just hiding most of time. All other fish are fine. I have been doing daily water changes and prime water conditioner is only thing I'm adding with changes. The last picture was of her in the cup I use to transfer her. If anything the daily changes have caused some additional stress so this last few days she has seemed worse. She has not eaten the couple of pellets I gave her and has not pooped ..will clean out the uneaten food and see how she is in the morning.
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Old 02-21-2023, 02:37 PM   #17
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If you can get them into their own tank, then just do a partial water change once or twice a week, assuming it stays free of ammonia and nitrite.

Are you adding peat to the filter?
If yes, where are you getting the peat from?
Some peat has fertiliser and wetting agents added to it and this can harm the fish.

Does your local pet shop sell live brineshrimp or daphnia?

Do you happen to have many mosquitoes in your area?
If you have space in the backyard, you could put a couple of buckets of water outside under a tree. Leave it and wait until mozzie larvae appear in the bucket, then scoop the larvae out with a net and offer them to the fish. If they refuse live brineshrimp, daphnia or mozzie larvae, there is definitely something wrong.
Please note, it is illegal to culture mozzies in most areas so if anyone asks, you aren't culturing them. You simply have some buckets of water outside for the birds to drink and the bugs got in them.
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Old 02-21-2023, 02:52 PM   #18
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The peat is from fluval and goes in the sump. If I put water outside at this time of year I would have a bucket of ice...i live in the north I think it's 33į f today. Will attach a picture of the peat granules I use and water conditioner I use. Have been using for 8-10 months. Remove the old and add new about once a month and only a little bit (small handful). The water conditioner since the tank was set up and every water change. I have been offering baby brine shrimp (was suggested by someone here and fish store) and everyone loves them in the tank the male I have seen eating them the female doesn't even attempt. It looks like something is wrong with her mouth not sure if you can tell in previous pic but seems open all the time and not moving at all. There are no other marks or discoloration or damaged areas though. She is very underweight. Could she have damaged her mouth and not been able to eat? Or could that be a symptom? Or does it just appear different because she is super skinny?....the male is not losing weight just her. He is more shy than normal and hides under his rock but otherwise fine... eating pooping normal
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Old 02-21-2023, 09:04 PM   #19
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If the peat is for aquariums it should be fine. You probably don't need to add it unless you are keeping wild caught fishes from black water habitats, but it shouldn't be an issue using it.

She might have an infection in her mouth or throat. This will stop her eating and she will lose weight and eventually die. You can try adding salt to the tank, or a broad spectrum medication that treats bacteria and fungus.

------------------

SALT
You can add rock salt (often sold as aquarium salt), swimming pool salt, or any non iodised salt (sodium chloride) to the aquarium at the dose rate of 1 heaped tablespoon per 20 litres of water. If there is no improvement after 48 hours you can double that dose rate so there is 2 heaped tablespoons of salt per 20 litres.

Keep the salt level like this for at least 2 weeks but no longer than 4 weeks otherwise kidney damage can occur. Kidney damage is more likely to occur in fish from soft water (tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, Bettas & gouramis, loaches) that are exposed to high levels of salt for an extended period of time, and is not an issue with livebearers, rainbowfish or other salt tolerant species.

The salt will not affect the beneficial filter bacteria, fish, plants, shrimp or snails.

After you use salt and the fish have recovered, you do a 10% water change each day for a week using only fresh water that has been dechlorinated. Then do a 20% water change each day for a week. Then you can do bigger water changes after that. This dilutes the salt out of the tank slowly so it doesn't harm the fish.

If you do water changes while using salt, you need to treat the new water with salt before adding it to the tank. This will keep the salt level stable in the tank and minimise stress on the fish.

When you first add salt, add the salt to a small bucket of tank water and dissolve the salt. Then slowly pour the salt water into the tank near the filter outlet. Add the salt over a couple of minutes.
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