Asked to help care for Cichlid tank, need help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
Asked to help care for Cichlid tank, need help

Okay, so my girlfriends brother has a tank in his room filled with Cichlids. I think its a 30g bowfront but it might be a little less. Apparently, without telling anyone, he stopped taking care of the tank a few weeks ago. He just went away to college and I guess he just stopped taking care of it. His mother asked if I could get the tank back in working order and teach her how to take care of it because she wants to keep the tank going.

Anyway, they went down to take him to school yesterday so while the where gone I went over to their house to check on the tank. The water was a cloudy yellow color, many of the fish had red ammonia burns on their gills, and the tank seemed pretty dirty.

I didn't have a lot of time so the first thing I did was a 50% water change. I just knew that the tank needed fresh water. I tested the following parameters and these were the results:
Ammonia - 8 PPM, test tube was dark green
Nitrite - 0 PPM
Nitrate- 5 PPM, maybe a little higher

Granted this was after the water change, so this could have been much worse. That was all I could do while I was there. I picked up Prime later that day and am going back over in a few hours to do another water change and clean the gravel. I had to get a new siphon because his didn't reach the bottom of the tank.

Now, here is where my problem lies. I know how to get the Ammonia down, but I know nothing about these Cichlids. I don't know what type they are. I don't know what they need. I don't know if more should be added when I stabilize the water parameters to prevent aggression, or maybe some other type of fish. I'll be posting this both in the Cichlids forum as well as the Beginning forum just so it gets the most views. Any help would be most appreciated.

I'm attaching some pictures of the fish so I can have some help with identification. They aren't the best but hopefully it's enough.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg seanstank.jpg (25.6 KB, 67 views)
File Type: jpg seanstank-2.jpg (27.2 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg seanstank-3.jpg (25.4 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg seanstank-4.jpg (26.3 KB, 66 views)

36g Bow - Retired For Now

20g - Retired For Now

120g Community tank - 1 Angelfish "Fred", 2 Bolivian Rams, 3 Kribensis, 1 Opaline Gourami, 4 Odessa Babs, 10 Celebes Rainbows, 5 Turquoise Rainbows, 1 Black Ghost Knife, 2 Corys, 2 Panda Corys, 2 Otocinclus, 1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco "Lilly", 2 Clown Pleco
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post #2 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 08:06 AM
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Can you give us some dimensions of the tank to sort out the size/gallons? And how many fish are in there?

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #3 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
I'm heading over there in a bit, I'll get dimensions and a fish count when I'm over there.

36g Bow - Retired For Now

20g - Retired For Now

120g Community tank - 1 Angelfish "Fred", 2 Bolivian Rams, 3 Kribensis, 1 Opaline Gourami, 4 Odessa Babs, 10 Celebes Rainbows, 5 Turquoise Rainbows, 1 Black Ghost Knife, 2 Corys, 2 Panda Corys, 2 Otocinclus, 1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco "Lilly", 2 Clown Pleco
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post #4 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 08:13 AM
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The water changes and Prime will do wonders for them. The Prime will help protect them as you slowly make adjustments back to a "reasonable" state. Sounds like you know exactly what you are doing! Slow and steady!

From your pictures it doesn't look overcrowded at all but yes Cichlid tanks do usually get quite overstocked for aggression. I want to say Yellow Labs but I'm not totally sure.

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #5 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 09:52 AM
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looks like some Pseudotropheus crabro , possibly a young frontosa, yellow lab, and the blue blur looks possibly like a Sciaenochromis fryer.

Thats a hodgepodge of african cichlids. They'd be a bit happier with some rock work to use as territories. The tank will not do for long term however I imagine that isn't your problem. They thrive in really hard water. Are you able to test the KH of that water?

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post #6 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 10:38 AM Thread Starter
Okay back. I forgot to take tank dimensions but my girlfriends mother texted them to me after I left, they may be a bit off but hopefully this makes sense:

Length 24 inches
Height 20 inches
Depth 10.5 inches

Remember this is a bow front.


Did another water change and vacuumed the gravel. It seems he had never done this before and let me tell you, it was some dirty gravel. I found a dead fish stuck in one of the fake plants. That may have accounted for some of the high ammonia levels. I performed another 50% water change using Prime and this is where the water levels were:

Ammonia - between 1-2 PPM
Nitrite - 0 PPM
Nitrate- 20 PPM

Either I'm misremembering the Nitrate levels from yesterday, or they seriously jumped. I'm not sure if thats possible.

I've already made her aware that she's going to need rocks and various places for them to hide. I also informed her that the filter may not be cutting it, it looks to be an Aqueon quietflow 30.

I took a couple more pictures, water is already looking much better.

EDIT: I have nothing to test for KH as I don't have anything to test for that and he did not either.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg seanstank-5.jpg (26.6 KB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg seanstank-6.jpg (26.6 KB, 63 views)

36g Bow - Retired For Now

20g - Retired For Now

120g Community tank - 1 Angelfish "Fred", 2 Bolivian Rams, 3 Kribensis, 1 Opaline Gourami, 4 Odessa Babs, 10 Celebes Rainbows, 5 Turquoise Rainbows, 1 Black Ghost Knife, 2 Corys, 2 Panda Corys, 2 Otocinclus, 1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco "Lilly", 2 Clown Pleco
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post #7 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 08:54 PM
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I'd say a kenyi pair, an electric blue ahli, and possibly another kenyi or a yellow lab

11 tanks @ 660 gallons currently active... From river monsters to rasboras. Check out my YouTube and subscribe!
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post #8 of 47 Old 06-23-2014, 09:17 PM
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Also possibly bumblebee, vc10 milomo.

11 tanks @ 660 gallons currently active... From river monsters to rasboras. Check out my YouTube and subscribe!
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post #9 of 47 Old 06-24-2014, 12:04 AM
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Those are some sort of africans and likely need a higher p.h. That is as much as I know about african cichlids.
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post #10 of 47 Old 06-24-2014, 07:55 PM
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They look like the mixed variety that you would find at Petsmart.......
Yes they need a higher pH for water parameter, and they prefer it to be hard too.

If that tank was up and running and the Ammonia was that high, what is he using for filtration. With Ciclids they need lots of filtration. You can't overfilter the tank for sure.
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