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Donut 01-29-2007 06:51 PM

Stressed Malawi
I have a 29gal with 6 assorted cichlids in it. About a month ago one of them wasn't lookin too good and wasn't eating. It's gill looked irritated so I started dropping Maracyn and/or Maracyn-Two in. 2 weeks later, I came home from work and it finally started eating and was very suddenly back to life. I found it strange but didn't think too much about it.

Shortly after, I was doing a water change and decided to move some of the slate around. I pulled some away, and there were 3-5 fry hiding underneath it. They quickly became a nice treat for the rest of the tank... but I finally understood why the fish had looked so bad for 2 weeks and quickly recovered.

I've never had a breeding pair before so I'm kinda winging it. The same cichlid (I'm assuming the female) became very aggressive this weekend, and was hovering around the bubble wall as it did last time. I decided to move it to a 10gal I had bought in hopes of breeding.

My concern now is that since I had moved the "female", I've lost one fish (it freaked out, did a couple sudden laps, then dead), the "male" counterpart seems stressed and fidgity, and I have 1 other fish hovering around the heater. The quarantined cichlid seems to be doing ok (Doesn't like me anymore though)... Its the other tank I'm worried about. I tested the water in both tanks. 29gal is as it has been since I started it; the 10 gal had the start of some ammonia (which I expected as there is no gravel) so I did about a 30% water change.

Am I paranoid or is their cause for concern?

Lupin 01-30-2007 03:18 AM

Hi Donut.:wave:

I am assuming those cichlids are from Lake Malawi judging by your thread.:) Males often have egg spots on their anal fin allowing the female to collect the milt thinking those egg spots are also her 'eggs'. May I ask for your pictures of all 6 cichlids?:) Some are mouthbrooders hence this is the reason why those 3-5 fry managed to survive the community until they were eaten by their tankmates.

What are the water parameters of both of your tanks? Just because there is no gravel doesn't mean there would be ammonia spikes even in bare-bottom tanks. If you use established filter medias, the ammonia will be converted into nitrites and eventually into nitrates.

I would be concern if your tank has ammonia and nitrites. Both are toxic to the fish. Ammonia gets more toxic when the pH rises.

Donut 01-30-2007 08:08 PM

From memory (I tested last night):
29 gal - Temp 80-82F,Nitrate <20ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Hardness 75-150ppm, Alkalinity 180ppm, pH 8.2-8.4, Ammonia 0ppm

The 10 Gallon was very close, with about .25ppm ammonia.

As you requested... cichlids are hard to get to sit still for even a second...

The suspected male:

Yellow Zebra and Golden Mbuna (He does look a bit skinny... I just bought him)

Albino Mbuna

The Female in the seperate tank

Lupin 01-30-2007 09:39 PM

Nothing wrong with the 29 gallons. Mbunas are aggressive and this could be the reason why some of your fish are getting fidgety. As for the 10 gallons, I'd do a daily water change of 10% until the ammonia and nitrites are maintained zero.:)
You got it right.:) The first pic is indeed a male. It has egg spots on its anal fin. I'd monitor your 'golden mbuna' closely. It's Melanochromis auratus, a very aggressive fish and in a 29 gallons, chances are it'll bully your other fish to death. I found them to be very destructive. Despite their size, I've seen them undermining the rock structures in my tank.

Donut 01-30-2007 10:08 PM

Thank you very much!

Fortunately he is the "shrimp" of the tank at the moment. The male is about twice as big as everything else in the tank so he pretty much rules the roost.

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