View Full Version : Who wants my Cichids???

04-18-2007, 03:09 PM
As beautiful as they are, I want somebody to adopt my Cichlids.
I cannot keep the light on, I cannot shut the light off. They are constantly darting around hurting themselves on gravel and rocks.
They are nuts.
I cannot walk into the room nor walk out. I tried timed lighting but that's no help. They provide me with no enjoyment whatsoever.
I want a peaceful, docile setup.
Maybe all sorts of sharks?

Is there anything else that can adapt to this water chemistry of African Cichlids, or do I have to drain it and re-cycle.

Somebody please come by and take my fish!
Anyone near Scottsville Virginia who feels like spending a few days trying to catch these suckers?

04-18-2007, 03:12 PM
sorry to hear that. seems like there would be a reason why they are so skittish. if you or i were closer and i wasn't having serious issues with some of my fish i might consider it.

04-18-2007, 03:13 PM

Have you tried those cichlid condos instead of large rocks? You can't give up cichlids, it's your name! lol.

04-18-2007, 03:30 PM

Have you tried those cichlid condos instead of large rocks? You can't give up cichlids, it's your name! lol.

cichlid condos?
Don't know about those. I would have to change the gravel to sand also because they are ripping themselves on that too.
It really stinks.
As they mature they are worse. They are not attacking each other, just acting nuts.
The other day I gently re-arranged the rocks to help with some aggression and they went ballistic.
Two of the Kennyi have scraped the noses so bad I am treating them.
Nobody can even go near the dining room. It is a peaceful house and I don't know what happened.
Fish are supposed to be relaxing....
I am afraid tp drop the water temp. They say that slows them down, but I am afraid they will sicken.
This bites!

04-18-2007, 03:45 PM
I can't take your cichlids, but I suggest you don't get a shark setup. Most sharks species will fight. I know you can't keep a rainbow with a red-tail, you can't keep 2 red-tails, etc. I have no idea how they reproduce without killing each other, lol.

Lady Hobbs
04-18-2007, 03:46 PM
Joe, call the fish store and ask them if they'd take them back inplace of what you do want. Lots of them take back fish.

04-18-2007, 03:47 PM
Maybe you should try adding a ciclid or two to the setup. This may trigger them to come out more and try to lay claim to thier portion of the tank. Mine dart and hide when you enter the room, but look in there and they are all poking out of thier caves and then swim out to see me. I recently added 2 more ciclids (I hate thier names as I can never remember them, but these are to control algae...they pick the algae off of everything) and now all the fish stay out of thier caves all the time now, and it even forced the males to brighten up and court the females, something they did when I first introduced them to the tank..

04-18-2007, 03:51 PM
I don't think I can even get these suckers out of the tank.
They are freaked out!

you mean add MORE cichlids???

Nope...I tried that and the new ones went nuts too :-)

Maybe a nice Oscar. he can use these guys as food :-)
Just a joke :-)

04-18-2007, 04:04 PM
Nope...I tried that and the new ones went nuts too :-)

Maybe you got some weird stuff in yor water making them crazy??

04-18-2007, 04:56 PM
That is just so very weird. Maybe more fish in the tank might help....

Lady Hobbs
04-18-2007, 05:09 PM
You can build condo's by gluing a bunch of pvc pipes together. At least they won't knock themselves out. LOL Maybe they just don't feel secure. Can you add some plastic plants and those that float on the top to subdue the lights and make them feel more snuggy?

Catching fish isn't too bad if you do it when the water level is low.....like a large water change. You can put something in there to block off half the tank to them, as well.

I don't know how anyone can catch a fish with a small net. I have always used a 5 inch and I saw a HUGE net at the store I may get for my difficult ones. I can see me netting a zebra danio with an 8 inch net. LOL It's about what it takes for those f-a-s-t fish.

04-18-2007, 06:17 PM
Have you tried to figure out why they're acting this way? This is not normal behavior, therefore something abnormal is happening in your tank.

The first thing would be to check your water readings. Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Sometimes high nitrates will cause fish to become skittish.

The next is to observe them carefully. If the fish dash and hide at your approach, then take a chair and place it within viewing distance of the tank and sit yourself down. Sit still long enough and they will 'forget' you are there and should show normal behaviors. When you say they are scratching themselves on the rocks, do you mean flashing? Is it possible your fish have ich? Do you see any white spots on their bodies?

The third thing to think about may be stray voltage. You might want to run a grounding wire from your tank to the floor (or whatever, not an electrical engineer here so find out exactly how to do this from someone with actual knowledge! :ezpi_wink1: ) I do know that stray currents can make fish very nervous and edgey.

Lastly, if all the above is good, then you might want to consider adding some dither fish to the tank. Fish like giant danios are good choices, or even clown loaches. These fish will let the cichlids know that everything is okay in their world and will encourage them to be out and about more.

Sorry if all this has been hashed out before in other threads, ignore this if it has!!


04-18-2007, 09:03 PM
I actually took out all the rocks for now. I had those tuffa rocks in there and they are very sharp.
The fish are just haning around but still jump like crazy when I go in the room.

Barb (2manyfish)
All my water chemistry is fine. Maybe slightly elevated nitrates, like 20, but all is OK.
I never thought about stray electricity???

I think I may take your advice about the dither fish. I have heard this work before.

The only thing is, will the danios or loaches tolerate the cichlid lake chemistry???

04-18-2007, 09:34 PM
thats why i got rid of my id shark. He was nice, but i couldnt have any lights by him within 20 feet, nor could i startle him without him freaking out

04-19-2007, 11:32 AM
The danios should be fine in the harder water, but the clown loaches are recommended for softer water.
I find it strange that this is happening. Hubby's mbuna come running whenever we get near the tank. They may skit away if something startles them, but they don't stay away long. This makes it very enjoyable for my 6 month old nephew as he lays in front of the tank, much better than those high tech toys that do the same thing over and over again.

Lady Hobbs
04-19-2007, 12:04 PM
I'm also wondering if you have a fish with them that is very aggressive and keeping the others stressed out and nervous. Perhaps they are afraid to come out of their hiding spots if they are constantly under stress from another. They may be getting tormented at night more than you know.

04-19-2007, 12:14 PM
It is not so much the hardness of the water that concerns me, but the cichlid lake salt. How do Danios amd loaches do with trace elements of salts, not actually sodium.

I recently read a good article that the P Kennyi is being "dropped" as a compatible Mbuna. Here is a small line from the article.."the Kenyi - are actually now officially labelled as Metriaclima lombardoi - they were removed from the Ps. line awhile ago ""
I have mostly P Kennyi and they are terrible. This I am expereincing is not aggression though. It is fear on the part of all the fish. I walk in the room and they smash into the glass, etc.

04-19-2007, 12:23 PM
I don't know much about Africans, but maybe you can trade the ones you have for some more laid back ones. Get some labs maybe? If you are trading adult fish for juveniles, they usually do a good trade.

04-19-2007, 06:42 PM
The thing with the stray current may be a a valid one... How old is your heater/filter/anything else electrical?? I could see something maybe leaking some voltage into the water.

04-19-2007, 07:42 PM
The clown loaches definitely not with salt, big followers of loaches won't even recommend doing any type of salt bath/treatment for ICK because it is so hard on them.
I know hubby has kennyi, but I think it is 1 maybe 2. The bumblebee he did have was the serious aggressor, now the acei seem to have come into their own with the bumble bee gone. With the new information on the kenyi it might work to consider reducing their numbers and trying something else. Don't give up on these guys, they are too beautiful! Try watching the tank in the evenings with the light off and dim lights in the room for a long time and see if you can spot who might be scaring all these guys off. Something just doesn't seem right here. Our mbuna will usually start nibbling on the zucchini or lettuce long before I can attach it to the side of the aquarium while it is still in my hand.
Another possibility is do you have extensive rock hidey holes in the tank? And if you do do you move them around regularly? We have found that when hubby removes his rocks, about once a month, to do a rearrange that there is a lot of crap under them. This, I imagine could create pockets of not so nice water, even with regular water changes. I don't know if it could have anything to do with how they act or feel, but it is almost as bad as pulling out an UGF sometimes with the crap under there. It is much better now though with the bristlenose and the 3 multiplunctatus cats

04-20-2007, 05:35 PM
You need to provide some sort of hiding spots for the fish or they will be stressed out....maybe a bunch of clay flowerpots all jumbled up together. Cheap and easy to move around if need be. Get different sizes and pile them together. I've done this before and it looks pretty good!

The giant danios should be fine with the cichlid salts. I didn't know you were adding salts to your tank (I've never had to do that since my water is pretty hard), so the loaches are out. They can tolerate hard water no problem, just not any type of salt. Another choice might be tinfoil barbs, but they get pretty big so you would have to make sure you have a place to trade them in when they start to outgrow your tank.

Good luck with your tank!

04-24-2007, 11:06 AM
Sorry you're struggling with 'em. I know exactly what you mean regarding a tank full of nutso fish that are no pleasure and a source of stress to you.

You probably put this in a previous thread or something but I would still like to ask :

1. How long the tank was up and running with fish before you took out the rocks; I reckon lack of hidey holes will do nothing for them. I know they were skittish before this, but that's why I ask how long it was going before you took them out.

2. How did you introduce the fish - all at once, in one's, two's, three's ?

As regards your difficulty, if you added the fish all in one go (not a bad idea with these fish) it seems to me that they are still settling in. That's a lot to adjust to in one move for any fish, from the LFS tank to your tank. If you've been added staggered lots of fish as described above it it may also just be settling in. Setting out your schedule of additions would help discuss this. I would definitely get the rockwork back in though. Also, try and get the tank in a routine with positive associations. Lights go on at a set time in the evening and off at around the same time. Feed them with lights on. They may be going nuts when you enter the room, but sit in there and they will forget you are there while you don't move. Watch them for like an hour and get a true picture of what's going on.

I'm going to set out my experience (which is ongoing) in setting up my tank; some of it might be relevant to you. I hope it encourages you to keep going with them as well. My tank is 180L, just less than 3 foot long.

I have a new tank of rift lake cichlids (I'm not going to describe my stocking because it's heavily open to criticism. All juvies, all male) but my sequence was :

I started with two. For a week they hid except to come out and feed. In particular during the day with lights off in the tank they fled from anything approaching the tank.

A week later they would be reasonably active in the evenings with tank lights on, quiet during the day with lights off, and did not appear stressed. I put in two more, losing one to a combination of a poorly fish and my lousy acclimitisation of him (I explained to him what Ph was and dumped him in the tank :(). The new additions hid for a week and then seemed to adjust nicely.

A week later I replaced the dead fellow and added two more, to make 6. Same good results - initially calm, then quite skittish, then coming back to calm.

A week later I put in four more. Initially they were very good, exploring the tank and calm. The older inhabitants were largely sizing them up. Then I had serious problems with aggression. One of the first two (peacock) took grave exception to a new guy (peacock). He was getting harassed to death. This rubbed off on the others who became very skittish. In the second week following this aggression I lost two acei; one just never did well since going in; never really fed. The other was a mystery death which I still can't explain. I then dramatically rearranged the rocks which settled everything down beautifully.

The week before last I blew out a heater while changing water. This appeared to have no effect initially but 24 hours later the tank was nutso. Everyone in there appeared simply terrified. Any movement near the tank, morning noon or night resulted in kamikaze dives for the rocks. There was frantic chasing from the more dominant fish. I slightly redid rock work to calm down the dominant fish, which had some effect.

I now also realise that my addition of a fluval four plus internal had disturbed the balance of the tank. It was on the left; this side had been dominated by three dominant fish. After addition of the fluval they began to squeeze the others to the other side. I believe the unadulterated 1000lph flow accross the top of the tank (3 foot long) was too much and effectively rendered a lot of tank space undesirable.

I have just this week added four more fish (to dampen out aggression) and a spray bar to diffuse flow. Result = excellent. Immediately on the spray bar going in the tank 'opened up'. There being 12 in there now (all juvies I stress) no one is being permanently chased; there are sufficient numbers to distract a chase after a short dash accross the tank. There are also sufficient hiding places/breaks in line of site.

So what am I saying ?

I found that new additions went in and would be very calm/placid initially followed by some aggression as they were 'sized up'. I believe I was not adding enough fish, when I was putting 2 in, and that until the numbers got to 12 there was insufficient stocking to spread aggression. I would add in my tank at least 4 at a time, in retrospect.

I believe that I rendered one side of the tank undesirable leading to increased aggression arising from competition for the other side.

I still find that they are most skittish when tank lights are off during the day; I think that this is because it magnifies in the tank the effect of people moving around outside.

Re-arranging the rock work is always a good idea (to a point, you don't want to do it every day, it is stressful).

I will definitely have to keep a close watch on aggression. I plan to increase stock in this tank to 16 over the next two weeks. I will definitely have to rehome some as they get bigger. I am convinced that this is the only way to spread out aggression/skittishness in a small all-male tank.

As you know fish don't read books/profiles online. There are no guarantees. They are great fish though, I hope you persist; this is all part of keeping them, IMO.

04-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Ok I found your original post.

You said that nobody goes into the room they're in. I think this is part of the problem, in a catch 22 sense. We don't know what they do when there's no one in there (is the light in the refrigerator on when you close the door?), and they may not be used to any traffic around them at all.

I also see that they were good for a period of time. This is exactly as with mine following a period of calm (punctuated by heater blow out/change of internal filter). It seems also that aggression can blow up very quickly as they mature even a little bit.

So I would really focus on :

1. getting them used to you again. No one goes in during the day. When it's dark, turn on the lights and sit there. See what's happening. Dark outside and light inside is the least stressful lighting. Feed them after the lights have been on for a while. Go in and out too.

2. get the rockwork back up - lots of hiding holes gives a sense of security.

3. What are your numbers ? more fish (to a limit) spreads aggression and gives security as well : "hey...look...that guy is swimming around and he's not being eaten...well I'm gonna give that a try myself...looks like fun...and I can always go back into these here rocks if I don't like it" Effectively they can be their own dithers.

Hope this helps. I am no guru; just sharing my newbie experiences.

04-24-2007, 06:27 PM
That's a lot for me to answer but I will just let you know what's up.
My tank has been up since September, 2006. I added 10 at once and now up to 20. It is better now with more fish.
I have added back rock work, but not sharp rocks. I have dimmed the light with colored saran wrap and they are much better now.

Things look a lot better.
I make sure to go in the room more than to just feed them.

Thanks for the post. It has helped!

04-24-2007, 09:26 PM
hey that's great. I'm really glad you can enjoy them more now. The numbers has such a dramatic effect I find; in that more in there mean that they all feel more secure in swimming around, and if there is a bit of a chase every now and then it gets broken up quickly.

hope things continue to go well :)

04-25-2007, 01:35 AM
Thanks Coler!
It's not so much the chasing around that bothers me but it's the fear they showed when I walked into the room.
They would actually hurt themselves smashing into things.
Now I keep a small fan in front of the tank also. The movement seems to have helped.