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Old 02-27-2021, 10:55 AM   #1
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Unexplained african cichlid deaths

So I want to start off with I am not new to the hobby. Been in it for 30 years and worked at a specialty fish store for some time. I have been stumped by my mass die out of African cichlids mostly my peacocks. There are no visible signs that would suggest any reason for the deaths. The fish have all been in the aquarium for over a year and a half, some 2 years. My ammonia is zero, my nitrite is 0, my nitrate is 0, my ph is 7.0, and the temperature is around 76įf. The tank is a 75 gallon running two wall hanger aqaueon filters meant for 75 gallon tanks (I like the extra filtration and only run charcoal in one filter). I change the water every week and sometimes every 4 days. In the past 3 weeks I have lost 3 of my wild caught s1s (my wallet about cried), a sunshine peacock, my red empress, my super red, and my electric blue ahli. No signs or symptoms of anything. I treated with 2 rounds of melafix and pimafix. I'm down to 1 s1 wildcaught blueberry ob, 3 clown loaches, and a flash pleco. The loaches and pleco seem completely fine. Any ideas on what is causing my mass die out? I'm at a loss as to what is happening. I do run a sand floor in the tank but I rake the sand and am 100% I have no ammonia bubbles happening. Help me out here guys, trying to atleast save my blueberry.
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:20 AM   #2
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I wonder why you have 0 nitrates?? My African tank rarely gets below 80 even with weekly water changes
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:41 AM   #3
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Not sure. It stays pretty consistently that way. I have noticed that Africans respond well to constant water changes so I try and take 50% every 4 days. Could be why I stay super low
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Old 02-27-2021, 11:45 AM   #4
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I had a nice clean up crew that kept the bottom clean. Do you have gravel bottom? Gravel can hold onto waste and it could keep your levels high. I use sand because it's more like their natural element. Sand can make ammonia bubbles and spikes, however I rake the sand and keep waste from being trapped.
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Old 02-27-2021, 01:08 PM   #5
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Not sure. It stays pretty consistently that way. I have noticed that Africans respond well to constant water changes so I try and take 50% every 4 days. Could be why I stay super low
Yeah, that's prob it. Barring a water parameters issue, then I'd say it's prob a bacterial issue. Melafix and pimafix are more like a mild antiseptic than a curative. I had sand, and just recently switched to gravel. I also have 24 large Africans in there, so it's a bigger load
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Old 02-27-2021, 02:07 PM   #6
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I just did a medicated bath on one of the fish to see if it responds. If so I'm gonna try and treat. If not I'm going scorched earth and scrapping the entire tank. I've lost like 600 dollars worth of fish at this point. Super sad about losing all my wild caught and second generation peacocks. I searched really hard for them and imported 2 from Germany.
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:17 PM   #7
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Have no idea what the issue would be but maybe this information on slow fish deaths may help.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:19 PM   #8
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Sad news OP Um, there must be signs here. Speed of death, oldest first/last, gill movement fast/slow, not eating, swimming at surface/bottom or away/within group. After water changes, etc, etc. Is it the same death for all fish? I've seen weird ones where one or two fish just die and then the treatment kills more. Bad tap water, pesticides, aggression, etc, etc that are outside the box. Also can we rule out say parasites - what we can rule out also helps.


At guess - either water chemistry or viral.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:16 AM   #9
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Help Please, joined forum today...
I have a mixed tank...picture cat, red fin shark, pleco, snail, J. Dempsey, yellow land blue lab, gourami, actually had some mixed breeding in the tank and have some variety of parrot cichlids, a tropheus. Also has a red belly frog and tree frog too.
I've had the tank in action for 7 years and have never experienced this. The Jack Dempsey is 7 yrs old.

I added 4 small labs from Petco 2 weeks ago, saw no immediate issues, did not introduce pet store water.

I went on vacation last week, had a friend do daily feeding. I added some live leak worms and freeze dried worms for frogs.
When I came back last Saturday half of the tank was dead....big, small, older, younger it was a mix of death.

I thought maybe the friend fed too much and a good number of worms were in the water. So, I did a super cleaning and prob 75% to 85% water change on Sunday. Did a 50% water change on Monday.

No more death from Sunday until Wed. Morning. One of the new small labs died.

One more contributing factor? I was nervous the worms or new labs might have given a parasite or something, seemed like 2 of the survivors were twitching, so on Tuesday night I started adding Tetra Lifeguard. Like I said above one death We'd. Morning.

Put in 2nd day of 5 day lifeguard treatment last night and Now I woke up to 3 dead.

I'm only using water strips for water balance monitoring, but seems in the right ranges.

Could the Lifeguard be killing them or what imbalance might you think is going on?

Survivors are small, big, new and old, struggling to see a pattern in that way.
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Old 03-04-2021, 10:34 AM   #10
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Help Please, joined forum today...

I have a mixed tank...picture cat, red fin shark, pleco, snail, J. Dempsey, yellow land blue lab, gourami, actually had some mixed breeding in the tank and have some variety of parrot cichlids, a tropheus. Also has a red belly frog and tree frog too.

I've had the tank in action for 7 years and have never experienced this. The Jack Dempsey is 7 yrs old.



I added 4 small labs from Petco 2 weeks ago, saw no immediate issues, did not introduce pet store water.



I went on vacation last week, had a friend do daily feeding. I added some live leak worms and freeze dried worms for frogs.

When I came back last Saturday half of the tank was dead....big, small, older, younger it was a mix of death.



I thought maybe the friend fed too much and a good number of worms were in the water. So, I did a super cleaning and prob 75% to 85% water change on Sunday. Did a 50% water change on Monday.



No more death from Sunday until Wed. Morning. One of the new small labs died.



One more contributing factor? I was nervous the worms or new labs might have given a parasite or something, seemed like 2 of the survivors were twitching, so on Tuesday night I started adding Tetra Lifeguard. Like I said above one death We'd. Morning.



Put in 2nd day of 5 day lifeguard treatment last night and Now I woke up to 3 dead.



I'm only using water strips for water balance monitoring, but seems in the right ranges.



Could the Lifeguard be killing them or what imbalance might you think is going on?



Survivors are small, big, new and old, struggling to see a pattern in that way.
Boy, that is a mixed bag of fish. It's possible that the new labs introduced something. Very unlikely it's the medicine. You were having fish deaths before the meds. What's your tank size? Ammonia and nitrites? Nitrates?
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:59 PM   #11
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Boy, that is a mixed bag of fish. It's possible that the new labs introduced something. Very unlikely it's the medicine. You were having fish deaths before the meds. What's your tank size? Ammonia and nitrites? Nitrates?
Thanks for responding Charlie.
Yeah, it's has been a fun and beautiful mix for a few years now. Until now sadly.

Well I estimate that I am running 30 gallons, it's a weird custom thing, I'll have to put a picture in if I can figure it out.

I'm just using the sticks, but colors and ranges seem ok. I went to pet shop and asked them to double check too and they said Nitrate was a little elevated but not enough to kill.

One thing I noticed, none on the live fish, but the ones that died last night looked like they had cotton around them this morning. Not so much this evening.

Could it be a fungus?
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Old 03-05-2021, 05:21 AM   #12
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Prob bacterial. But you can cheaply treat the tank for fungal at the same time. Use hikari ich-x or kordon rid ich plus (same ingredients) [both great for fungal issues, not just ich] and make some antibiotics laced food. Lots of recipes on line. Aquarium science has one i use. Only antibiotics will kill bacterial infections. Don't waste time and money dumping in melafix etc
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Old 03-07-2021, 10:35 PM   #13
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I ended up loosing everything. Scraping the entire tank. Never figured it out. Inspected the dead and not a single sign as to what was happening. My assumption is some sort of bacterial infection.
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