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Thread: Cichlids keep fighting...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
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    24

    Default Cichlids keep fighting...

    Well, my 30 gal tank has had some misfortune lately. My yellow lab has been MIA for about 3 weeks. No sign of him at all. I have to assume that he was eaten, as he's not in the filter or the floor.

    I had two raphael catfish in there, but I put them in one of my 55's to help clean up schtuff in the bottom of the tank, also hoping they will grow a bit faster with more available food.

    One of my Kenyi's was found dead in bottom of the tank, but the others showed no sign of eating him.

    I have a lot of small trumpet snails in the tank now, so I think the fish are eating them now, as they're not very interested in feeding times these days.

    This left only two fish in the tank. One is an orange one, I think is a malawi, and one kenyi. I wanted to get another one to go in there, so I went to the local Petsmart. The one here's actually pretty good with their fish, so I don't mind buying there.

    I considered a couple convicts, but heard they'd likely get picked on badly by the cichlids. They had a nice looking albino cichlid with red edges on its fins. Really nice looking fish. It isn't as big as the ones I have, but seemed to be one of the more dominant fish in the tank at the store. It's only about 3/4-1" smaller than mine are, and I have so much stuff in my tank that I often have to look a couple minutes to find the fish in it...lots of hiding spaces.

    However, when I put this fish in the tank, my orange one immediately seemed to show interest. He was following (not chasing) it around and doing the shaking dance they do many times. Well, by the next day, this new fish was doing the vertical position in the corners, or wedging into really tight places to hide. Anytime it came out, the orange one would chase it around.
    I did rearrange all the stuff in the tank when I put it in, but it seems that made no difference.

    I already have a 10 gallon tank I had to set up for another cichlid that was picked on pretty badly...now I have another one with issues.

    I've even tried taking the dominant orange fish and putting him in the 10 gal, but then another one steps up and starts to be the big bully. It seems that I have to keep a constant rotation of fish into the "sick tank" if I have more than 3 or 4 in there. These fish are about 2.5-3" long. I don't expect to have a lot, but 4 of them in one tank will be fine..and as they get bigger I can put them in a bigger tank.

    Why is it that I can go in a pet store or look at pics here and people can have 20 cichlids in a tank, but they all have healthy tails and fins? In stores, they do sometimes chase each other, but without doing real damage to each other. I have no luck with cichlids here at home.

    Would I do better if I had more females? I really don't know the sex of the ones I have, except that they all seem to want to be dominant in the tank. No local stores can tell me if I'm buying a male or female. I can't find any local breeders that can help either.
    Last edited by Engloid; 01-08-2006 at 08:37 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    First off most of the tanks you see with 20 cichlids are much larger than a 30 gallon. African cichlids are territorial and the set you have (the kenyi and the orange one, most likely a zebra) are on the higher end of the aggression scale.

    The best bet in a 30 is probably a species tank with a calm species like labs, acei or rusties. Then you can have about 5-6 fish in there.

    As for sexing the fish, the only way to tell on a young fish is venting (looking at the external parts where they poop from) and even that's very difficult at a small size.

    BTW convicts are cichlids, but they are American or New World cichlids and they don't belong with African cichlids which is what you have.
    SabrinaD
    75 gallon
    C. Afra "cobue", Labidochromis chisumulae, M. joanjohnsonae,
    65 gallon
    Ps. acei, Ps.cyaneorhabdos, I. spengerae
    46 Bow front
    Ps. saulosi, Labidochromis chisumulae

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
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    Default

    In stores, they often have 20+ in a 20 gallon tank...but as you mention, they're usually all the same species.

    Well, I can't just flush the two I have now, so I figure I'd better keep them. I'm not much for killing fish needlessly, and releasing them into a lake isn't an option....so I'll be keeping them unless I happen on a good home for one or two of them.

    I do want to get a couple more to put in the tank, so maybe I'll get another kenyi and another of the orange ones. I have noticed looking at pictures that often, the female doesn't have as much color as the male. Should I look to find some that are not as colorful as mine in order to increase the odds of them being female?

    thanks for the help.

  4. #4

    Default

    The stores get away with that because the fish are juveniles and not expected to stay in the tanks too long.

    You can take them back to the fish store and get a "trade in". They'll be able to resell yours if you chose to do that. Some places will take them off your hands but not give you any store credit on them.

    The positive I would see in finding a fish of a less intense coloration would be that it probably wouldn't be the dominate one in the tank. Now of course without the dominate fish from the tank it came from, it may color up more in your tank. Unfortunately for us as fish keepers, cichlids are great at using "female" coloration to protect themselves from the dominate male LOL.
    SabrinaD
    75 gallon
    C. Afra "cobue", Labidochromis chisumulae, M. joanjohnsonae,
    65 gallon
    Ps. acei, Ps.cyaneorhabdos, I. spengerae
    46 Bow front
    Ps. saulosi, Labidochromis chisumulae

  5. #5

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    you can also practice controlled overcrowding by putting a couple more males that do not look like each other in the same tank.

  6. #6
    aharris is offline Just when you thought it was
    safe to change the water . . . MOD!
    Join Date
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    In a 30g that's a bad idea. Two fish in a 30g is overcrowding it with those types.
    "I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbuster

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Freeville, New York
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    I've had a peaceful tank for just over a month now and I've mixed a Jack Dempsey (American) with three African Mbuna's. Nobody nips each other except at feeding time to get to the food before the other. My tank is way overcrowded, but its working.
    29 Gallon - 3 Africans, 1 Jack Dempsey, 1 Blue Ram, and 1 Black Shark

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