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I need some experts please.

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I need some experts please.
Old 01-18-2009, 03:26 AM   #1
 
I need some experts please.

Hello,

My wife and I are fairly new to the hobby so I wanted to give you folks all the information you might need to answer some of my questions. Here's everything I can think of that you could possibly ask. (I hope)

I was wondering why we're having a hard time keeping African Cichlids alive in our tank... They seem to change color from when we get them over a few days, deteriorating in activity until they die in the night.


Two of our cichlids died within 5 minutes of feeding them... They showed signs of Ammonia toxicity, with accelerated breathing and no movement... I checked the levels and everything checked out.

You'll see below that our pH was not really "desirable" when we put the fish in, this was partly my fault for taking some bad advice from a local "big name" pet store and some employees who were apparently not very knowledgable. Anyway, they essentially told me that pH didn't matter at all to fish health.

With that said, I'm trying to get our pH adjusted to 7.0 under the recommendation of the new pet shop I've been relying on.

For the information you'll need, I'll start by saying I cycled this tank from early October to exactly Christmas Day using the fishless cycle because I didn't want to risk any fish.

55 Gallon Tank
2x Penguin 200 Bio-Wheel Filters
Lots of aeration through under gravel air lines
3 large pieces of Driftwood
Lots of plastic plants
2 different types of gravel, moderate sized... Pieces about the size of a fingernail.
2 large slate stones
300w Marineland adjustable heater set to 78 degrees F
2x Marineland powerheads to circulate water and aerate.
2x canopy flourescent lighting.. (Turned on at about 9am, turned off about 10-11pm) Is this too long?

Levels:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrates: ~50ppm (It's 30ppm outta the tap here for some reason)
pH: 6.0

Current population:
3x African Cichlid
1x Convict
2x Crayfish
1x Pleco

If you can shed any light at all on the mysterious (to me) deaths of my Cichlids, it would be MUCH appreciated... Sorry for all the reading... Mark~
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:26 AM   #2
 
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Im not an expert, but I would say the ph is the problem. How are you planning to raise the ph? African Cichlids do like a high ph, a quick change in ph could throw them into shock. How did you acclimate them to your water? They do have gravel and sand to help buffer ph, how well they work, I dont know, since I already have a high ph from the tap. Someone else would be better on giving advice on raising ph.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
 
Africans need a pH of 7.8-8.0. You are way off, and that may be the problem.

Many cic keepers use crushed coral as a substrate to get it that high. You may want to look into that, as well as adding many rocks for raising pH and providing hiding spots (stack very large on top of each other).
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:29 PM   #4
 
A note using amquel+ will remove those nitrates. You should do a water change use amquel+ (remove nitrates) and raise ph like cody said, you can also add these to youf filter media. Track lupin posts hes recmnd several medias for this. good luck.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:42 PM   #5
 
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i talked to occram on the forum chat last night,

i think i found the problem. he had 6 cichlids in a 55, i believe the territorial issues caused deaths, crushed coral/crushed shells will buffer the pH also mixing half dechlorinated tap with RO water will give lower nitrates from the get go
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Old 01-20-2009, 12:51 AM   #6
 
The Cichlids seem to be doing better. I moved the whole community to a temporary 30gallon while I remove some of the stone and replace it with argonite substrate to raise the pH. I'll post an update.

Thanks for everyone's advice.

Mark~
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:23 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by occram View Post
Hello,

My wife and I are fairly new to the hobby so I wanted to give you folks all the information you might need to answer some of my questions. Here's everything I can think of that you could possibly ask. (I hope)

I was wondering why we're having a hard time keeping African Cichlids alive in our tank... They seem to change color from when we get them over a few days, deteriorating in activity until they die in the night.

Two of our cichlids died within 5 minutes of feeding them... They showed signs of Ammonia toxicity, with accelerated breathing and no movement... I checked the levels and everything checked out.

You'll see below that our pH was not really "desirable" when we put the fish in, this was partly my fault for taking some bad advice from a local "big name" pet store and some employees who were apparently not very knowledgable. Anyway, they essentially told me that pH didn't matter at all to fish health.

With that said, I'm trying to get our pH adjusted to 7.0 under the recommendation of the new pet shop I've been relying on.

For the information you'll need, I'll start by saying I cycled this tank from early October to exactly Christmas Day using the fishless cycle because I didn't want to risk any fish.

55 Gallon Tank
2x Penguin 200 Bio-Wheel Filters
Lots of aeration through under gravel air lines
3 large pieces of Driftwood
Lots of plastic plants
2 different types of gravel, moderate sized... Pieces about the size of a fingernail.
2 large slate stones
300w Marineland adjustable heater set to 78 degrees F
2x Marineland powerheads to circulate water and aerate.
2x canopy flourescent lighting.. (Turned on at about 9am, turned off about 10-11pm) Is this too long?

Levels:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrates: ~50ppm (It's 30ppm outta the tap here for some reason)
pH: 6.0

Current population:
3x African Cichlid
1x Convict
2x Crayfish
1x Pleco

If you can shed any light at all on the mysterious (to me) deaths of my Cichlids, it would be MUCH appreciated... Sorry for all the reading... Mark~
What test kit did you use? The shop is partly right. pH will not matter for most fish that are already accustomed to it but for most specimens, it leaves them prone to diseases that they don't often get if kept in water conditions their body system is accustomed to. A primary example would be chocolate gouramis kept in pH of 8.0 and above where they become more prone to bacterial infection than in soft acidic waters. Loaches often kept in hard alkaline waters secrete more slime coat than necessary and scratch themselves when kept in hard alkaline waters. How did you acclimate the fish? Acclimation can influence the lives of the fish. By a few days, how many days exactly have your fish survived in the tank?

Have your fish always died within minutes after feeding? It would be too coincidental they were fed and at the same time, were already dying. If it were the pH causing it, the process shouldn't be that quick. They were fed with foods and died within a few minutes, I'd be inclined to suspect the foods as well. What foods are you using? What species exactly are these African cichlids?

You might want to get the crayfish its own tank before it starts destroying your fish. Crayfish are ambush predators by nature except the dwarf species. These are not to be kept with fish regardless of the circumstances. Even then, your cichlids will also destroy the crayfish once it begins to molt. In its molting stage, the crayfish tends to be very vulnerable to attacks and spends most of its time hiding to avoid consequences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onefish2fish View Post
i talked to occram on the forum chat last night,

i think i found the problem. he had 6 cichlids in a 55, i believe the territorial issues caused deaths, crushed coral/crushed shells will buffer the pH also mixing half dechlorinated tap with RO water will give lower nitrates from the get go
Other options would be plaster of Paris blocks, marble chips and limestones.

Mark, please test your KH and GH.

I think I'm losing my head on this.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:49 PM   #8
 
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Do you watch your fish closely after feeding them? You've got some aggressive fish there, so it could be that you have aggression issues causing lowered immune systems and weakened fish.

Normally, it's not recommended to mix New World and African cichlids as they have different behaviors, eating habits, and water chemistry requirements, but if there's one New World fish I'd risk putting into an African tank it'd be the convict.

Switching to aragonite sand should help increase your pH and hardness. I'd suggest using spring water instead of RO as RO water is very soft and will remove all of that hardness you're working to achieve every time you add it to the tank. A bag of crushed coral in each of your Penguins should also help raise pH and hardness.
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