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kyfishman 02-13-2009 12:22 PM

Question about Yellow Lab Cichlids
I have a well established 40G tank that has been healthy for months so while this is a new Cichlid tank the biofilter is going strong.

My question is that I recently added 5 yellow labs to the tank to get my Cichlid tank going. The question is more about the behavior of Cichlid than anything else. I am not sure if I should be worried or not.

I have a basic covering of lace reef rock for caves in the tank, but this could be better and I plan to add many more rocks and formations before I add anymore cichlid to the tank.

My question is that a couple of these guys like to hang out at the top of the tank for periods of time. One likes to get all the way up top under the filter and swim sideways against the tank and the other one is in the top right corner of my tank.

They eat the veggi flakes that I put in the tank and they feasted on my peas yesterday...

I tested the water and have the following results:

Amonio 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 15
PH is 7 (this worries me, I know they need a ph 7.5-8)
Temp is 79 F

I use Prime as my water conditioner and the tank has a bubbler system to maintain good O2 lvls in the tank. Plus I just did a water change 3-4 days ago, 25%.

The only thing I can think of right now is that these guys don't have enough caves or rocks. I have 3 well formed caves right now along with some shelves in the tank. All rock in there now is the lace reef rock from the LFS.

Calling on you Cichlid pros to give me some advice here... Should I be worried?


dagizmo19 02-13-2009 12:40 PM

How long ago did you add the fish? Sometimes it takes them up to a week to become comfortable with their surroundings.

Is the tank in a high foot traffic area?

kyfishman 02-13-2009 05:03 PM


Originally Posted by dagizmo19 (Post 171181)
How long ago did you add the fish? Sometimes it takes them up to a week to become comfortable with their surroundings.

Is the tank in a high foot traffic area?

I added them 3 days ago and paid $9 bucks a fish so I want to be paranoid as to not loose any fish.
They are in a high traffic area, I have no choice right now.

I got some more rock, some slate rock and I am going to make a heck of a lot more caves and hiding spots for these guys and see if that will get the fella out of the corner. I really only had 3 good caves in there with 5 cichlids.

Thanks for the input Dagizmo, I'll report my progress. I am happy to report that other than being stressed a bit and perhaps needing more O2 than normal he appears healthy.

*side note*

In time the lace reef rock will raise my PH to near 8. I am not real sure how long that will take though.

easty83 02-13-2009 05:30 PM

Hi i have yellow labs and this may continue to happen depending on your female to male ratio. You really need to only have 1 male the rest female or all 1 sex.

If you dont you will see some of them being harrassed and chased and a good spot to hide is up the top of the tank or near a filter as the most dominant will claim the caves down the bottom and as you have only 1 species so far most likely 1 fish will take all 3 caves you have if they are close together.

willow 02-14-2009 09:48 AM

i don't supose there is any chance of a picture of your tank is there ?

SKAustin 02-14-2009 10:10 AM

If youre concerned about the pH, you can try adding shells to the tank to help buffer the water up a bit. If the Labidochromis caeruleus start to breed, the fry will also use the shells as a place to seek refuge. I recommend against using any chemical buffers as they can lead to unstable conditions ultimately resulting in pH crash. The key to remember here is that a stable pH is far more important than perfect levels. Ideally, you want the pH at about 8.0 for the African Rift Lake Cichlids.

easty83 02-14-2009 10:15 AM

Hear hear SKAustin, the worst thing you can do is try to manipulate the PH often. it is much better to have a stable PH then one that changes every water change. dont forget your fish are most likely tank bred hence are most likely more used to average tap PH level

FordMan 02-16-2009 01:31 AM

the best way to keep the ph high is conservative feedings so that you only have to do a 20% water change once a month allowing the disolved solids to stay in your tank and not over loading it with nuetral to slightly acidic tap water... unless you have a well in which case i can't imagine you having this problem

invictusmaneo 02-16-2009 09:39 AM

Typical behavior. I consider it "boredom". The labs are very social fish as far as cichlids go-watch your sexing give them plenty of places to hide or else they get bored.

My mixed mbuna tank sometimes has fish swim in the filter stream, around the filter or the sides for awhile..then something catches their attention and off they go. It's not completely abnormal behavior as mine have pletny of spots to hide.

As far as pH, as stated don't toy with it too much. This can stress them out..they are a bit more durable when it comes to temp changes but not PH

kyfishman 02-17-2009 04:32 PM

Good info everyone, thank you.

I added 3 times the cave structure and they are still doing the same thing. I am leaning toward the sex ratio but it is so darn hard, impossible really, to tell when they are so young. I am going to take the two now that tend to chill at the top and put them in another cleared out tank to see if they begin to act normal.

I'll post a picture later of what the tank looks like.

I am not concerned much about the PH but left it open to consider since I was not really sure about this species of fish.

I'll report back in a couple days.


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