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Hand me down Cichlid (New)

1689 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Agent13
Ive recently come into a Cichlid that appeared in my room (A random gift from friends) ive taken care of fish before but never a fish this big (4-inch-5inch long) and also this moody... I know they are territorial fish, but some odd behaviors came along with it. It found its home in one of my vases in the tank and started to dig trenches around it, I covered it up once and it dug it again, another feature of the fish is that it always hides from me and usually never likes to show its face when im around. The PH and water temperature is normal, so is it just scared of me? There is plenty of hiding spaces in the tank, and I also added 2 mystery snails to the tank also to get other life in the tank. Forgot t mention the tank is also 10 gallons. Ive have also never seen my fish eat, the food goes in, and it never touches it. The food is the same food the previous owner used. Any advice for taking care of this fish?


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Looks like it may be a geophagus. Can you get a better picture?

It is probably scared of you cuz there arent that many hiding places, and bright light with white gravel. Not the best for any blackwater fish. If it is a blackwater fish.
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I'd need to see the full fish to say what species for sure but I can almost promise that is the opposite of a backwater fish. Most likely an african cichlid most likely a lake malawi type. From just the little I can see of the fish it looks kinda like Metriaclima Callainos. If indeed thats what it is will need some marine salt in the water.. they come from a high salt freshwater lake very hard water.. and rock structures to hide in on sand substrate as they are diggers. And far bigger then 10g tank.. they are active hyper fish... even if it's not an african cichlid no 4-5inch fish should be in 10g.

Can you take the ornament out to get a proper picture?

What are you feeding it?

(metriaclima are naturally moody lol.. That in itself is normal haha.. even hiding in the ornament is natural behavior for them however not eating is an issue and a sign of stress)
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Heres some more pictures

Sorry for the blurriness he/she is a bit camera shy. Also I would love to get a 20 gallon tank or larger but I do not have the room for one.


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Ya it is definitely an african. I dont know exact names. But most of these fish need a 55+ gallon tank.
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It looks like a Cobalt Blue Zebra Cichlid to me! If that is the case then tankman12 is right, 50 gallons+!
Ya it looks sort of like that. Best thing to do is rehome it.
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*high fives self* yep thats a metriaclima Callainos. And you have a male. He's not going to be happy for long in the 10g.. 40 breeder is actually better for a mbuna like this instead of 55g as the most important feature is floor space for them.. They REALLY love sand so you'll want to switch from pebble to sand. And they thrive with salt. Mix aquarium salt and some marine salt. He's an herbivore fish however they do really well on NLS Cichlid pellets mixed with fresh zucchini to munch on. DO NOT FEED BLOOD WORMS! They get malawi bloat and often die when feed such foods.. they can't digest them properly. If you don't see any way to get a 40breeder or larger then theres no way he will live a happy full life. (trust me... think outside the box and I bet you'll find you do have space somewhere for a larger tank ;-) )
There's always room for a larger tank. Who needs a bed or sofa anyway? :jester:

But yeah, if you really can't invest in a larger one, the best thing for the fish is to give him to someone who will provide a suitable home. Then you can pick a small school of fish for your 10 gallon this time.

Welcome to the forum.
An Update

Thank you all for the feedback, ill try to get a new home for HIM, (named him Hutu...) I also bought a Moss ball to help with maintenance for the tank, sure loves to float. (I have a special bulb for plants). Just put it in 10 min ago. If the fish starts to nibble and graze on it, ill remove it.


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it's on Hutu's diet.. I say let him nibble on it. Will MaKe him happy to attack/eat that moss ball anyway.. I doubt he will do too much harm to it before he gets a new home. ;-)
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