Fish Time Out?
Has anyone heard of giving a cichlid a time out if he's being a bully? I found an article that suggests taking the aggressor out of the tank for a day and then putting him back in; it supposedly changes the pecking order in the tank. I have one cichlid (of six) that was one of the first pair and is larger than all the others and was curious as to whether this might help.
As a side note, I found some 3.25" diameter clay flower pots at Home Depot for 98 cents. They hide easily behind and under other decorations and my fish went right into them.
I think sometimes taking all the fish out and rearranging the tank and replacing the fish can help. This is especially helpful if some fish were in the tank first with others added later. It makes them all find and claim new territory. Not sure about the time out thing though.
Did some rearranging when I added a second driftwood log and hid the flower pots under a tree stump but the big orange guy still seems to be the tank bully; chases everybody who trys to settle into any of the hiding spots. All the other fish seems to peacefully ignore each other other than a little back and forth between the two blue zebras. Tank has 2 red, two blue and two yellow zebras.
Taking the bully out for a day might help. Im having the same problem with a male Cherry Barb who bully's all the other cherry's in the tank. Taking him out worked for a while, but hes starting to bully again. Maybe it will work for for your Cichlid. :)
Can you post pictures of the fish. If they are all Metriaclima estherae, you have some major problems ahead.
Mbuna need 1 Male 4 Female or more for some species.
What size is your tank?
You should never mix genus as it usually leads to extremely aggressive fish.
I just noticed you have pictures of the tank.
Sorry to say but that tank is far too small for those fish. They are going to be very aggressive in that size tank and need at least a 55g or larger tank as they grow to 6"+. They also need a lot of rock work to create places to hide.
Mbuna are NOT pair breeders, they are harem breeders which means you need at least 1 male to 4 females...you cannot do that in that size tank.
I hate to say it but the only way those fish are going to survive is either you get a bigger tank and get the correct ratio of fish OR you take the fish back to the store.
I am sorry for being so harsh but you ARE going to have dead or injured fish very very soon.
None of the Lake Malawi cichlids can be kept in a 29g tank.
My plan is to switch to a larger tank but I'm not sure how to ID the sex of the fish and the stores I bought them from weren't much help. I'm pretty sure the bully is a male (orange color with the yellow spots on the lower fin) but don't know about the rest. Any tips on how to sex the blue and yellow zebras? And if the sexes are correct, can I stay with the different colors? I'm not looking to breed them.
That is good that you plan on going to a larger tank.
The only problem is though is the fish are all from the same genus Metriaclima, this means that the aggression levels will still stay high.
What size tank are you planning on getting and when?
The only real way to sex them correctly is to vent them...both male and female Metriaclima will have egg spots. Lake Malawi male and female mbuna almost look identical. Peacocks it is easy to tell as females stay a drab color while males color up.
Here is an article on venting.
Male or Female?
I doubt I'd want to go over 55 gallon. If things don't look like they'll work out with my current group of fish, I may have to find a Dallas area cichlid keeper who will want them and then go with another type of fish. Beginning to feel like I made the jump from simple to keep community tropicals to cichlids a little too quick.
For a 55g you want to be looking at 1 Male to 2 female of the following.
• Metriaclima estherae - ONLY 1 color of zebra - NOT 2
• Pseudotropheus saulosi
• Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei"
• Labidochromis caeruleus
• Iodotropheus sprengerae
• Cynotilapia afra
Maximum 12 fish in total.
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