Hi again! So after everything I ended up with a cichlid tank instead of a community tank. Anyway I have noticed my electric yellow looks 'dirty' he also has a strange mark above his eye. The people at the aquarium place said it looked more like a cut or bruise from fighting- he doesn't fight though?! I added 2 more fish (total of 12 fish) and now I have noticed another lighter colour fish looks dirty (one of the new ones and I don't recall him looking like that) I have also notices on 2 fish some tiny tiny black dots (very few and different to the dirty look) my water is perfect and the fish all seem happy. Occasional scratching but NOT from the ones that look dirty or have te black spots. The bigger coloured ones have the random scratch. I have been adding salt as a buffer with water changes and added some more salt today (no water change today though) any ideas?
Tank is 3ft holds 156L And one of each of the following Redtail fin shark Pleco Blue peacock Tangerine peacock Dragon blood Maningo Frontosa Venustus Blue dolphin Duboisi Red top hongi (I think) And one I am not sure of.
Not sure of the figures for oh etc the fish man (cichlid specialist) said it was spot on. Using cichlid lake salt When I do the water I have been taking out a third and adding salt buffer and the water primer. About weekly/week and a half. And rinse te filter medium in tank water about very 2-3rd water change
OK, well without any water test results it's perfectly possible that you have either ammonia or nitrite present, that your pH, gH, kH are incorrect for the fish or that nitrates are too high. Water changes need to be at least weekly for African cichlids and around a third each time - maybe more depending on nitrate levels. What temperature is the tank at? How many Yellow Labs do you have as they aren't on the list?
You're adding cichlid Lake Salts, but without testing the water you can't be certain you're adding the right amount. Also is this just a gH and mineral mix or does it buffer kH too?
Beyond that there are other problems. First is that some of these fish are unsuitable for an African lake tank. Red Tail Sharks and Plecos need water that is the opposite of what the Africans need - i.e. they need it soft and acidic, not hard and alkaline. A 3ft tank is too small for the shark and probably for the pleco depending on species.
You also have mixed Mbuna and Haps plus at least one fish from Lake Tanganyika (Frontosa) which shouldn't really be in the same tank as fish from Lake Malawi and needs a bigger tank than yours anyway. Peacocks and Mbuna should not be mixed except in large tanks and it's inadvisable even then as their dietary requirements are too different. What are you feeding?
Next, the tank is too small. Absolute minimum for Dwarf Africans is 200 litres. You also have an incorrect balance of numbers of each species and potential for aggression/bullying or stress reactions in the fish purely from a perception that they may be attacked. I'm not sure what a Maningo is, unless you mean Mangano. Can you post a pic of the one you can't identify? Can you also post a pic of the set up?
Essentially the "dirty" marks on the Labs are most likely due to any of the following: water quality, water parameters, diet, stress from incompatible tank mates, stress from inappropriate numbers, stress from inappropriate decor, poor quality stock, hybrid stock.
I'm afraid the cichlid specialist who advised you is very clearly not a specialist at all, not even in non-cichlids if he's advised putting a plec and an RTBS in there.
Please provide the test results and details of diet, temperature and decor so we can at least rule out some of the possibilities.
The shark I got before it was a cichlid tank so that's why he is randomly in there (my uncle bought me a cichlid). Most of the fish I didn't choose another shop chose for me the only ones I chose were the blue peacock and electric yellow (which I also only have one of). In all the fish shops (2 both 'proper' aquariums not pet shops) I have more or less Told them I know nothing so need help.
2 people have tested my water on different occasions and have said PH is good above 7.5 (from memory) and my nitrate etc levels are all great. The Pleco is a sucker fish I asked for and said it was a cichlid tank he was living in a cichlid tank at the shop.
They all seem very happy and I have only had one 'fight' which was a while Ago when I had water issues. There is the occasional chase but they never touch each other.
I have a log some tree root things (fake) and 3 plant bunches which have been in the tank since it started (2 or more months ago). Pebble Bottom.
Oh and temp tank hangs around 24degrees. I have been feeding them a mixture or pellets flake or some dehydrated prawn (which they are Not keen on so was going to try a different thing eg blood worms maybe?!)
Hope I have answered it all and given enough info! Like I said I am new to fish and just following the guides of the shop people. One guy told me I could have up to 40 fish in here!!!! I knew he was delusional or he thought I said 6ft tank instead of 3!
Hi Steph! Looks like you have a serious problem here with you tank First of all you will definitely need a water test kit! People here recommend API master test kit as it's very accurate (Also buying on Ebay is cheaper than in shop).
Secondly, your tank is a little small and cichlids are usually meant to fight each other for territory. Also you will have to provide hiding place for each of them too!
Finally as FishLady mention, you will have to fix your stock, some are not suited to be kept together
If things were living together in a shop it doesn't mean they can continue to do so successfully long term Shops are more like 'holding bays', ideally yes, they should have their displays set up to show which fish can go together rather than giving a false impression but quite often fish are kept together just while they are in the shop. Long term at home is a different matter which is what you need to be thinking about now
Can you post a pic of the 'plec'? The common name 'plec' covers a multitude of different species (many of which aren't even plecs!) so it would be good to be sure on what exactly he is Long term I don't think he's going to do well in a cichlid tank though so it would be wise to start considering alternatives for him. Same for the RTBS really, quite apart from anything else some of them can be aggressive little so and sos, my friend has one and he's a right git! (the fish, not my friend )
I don't keep tropicals or cichlids myself but even I can tell you some of those are not a match made in heaven, so I'm a bit unsure why a retailer would assure you otherwise Fish looking 'happy' is quite subjective, and does rather rely on the experience of the keeper to know when all is not as it seems
As for the water, you really need to be able to check it yourself so a test kit would be a good investment. Have a look on ebay for the API master test kit for freshwater. A shop saying everything is 'fine' isn't always terribly helpful, one man's 'fine' can be another man's 'OMG!!!!"
I think FL has hit the nail on the head with her assessment of the possible causes of discolouration in some of your fish. There are quite a few possibilities as she's said, so you really need to start eliminating some from your enquiries as it were
Just as a slight aside, but on the subject of fish 'looking happy' and the long term effects of their living conditions, you might be interested in my experiences of this with goldfish. Unfortunately these sort of issues aren't confined to goldies which is why we always need to try and think long term
There's so much to sort out here that it's hard to know what to advise first, but the most important things are:
Get a set of liquid test kits that can test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, gH, kH and pH as an urgent priority and start regular testing. Don't bother with paper test strips as they are not accurate enough. When you have a set of results post them here and we can advise on what (if anything) needs to be done about the water.
Find another home for the shark and the plec. The shark will be too big and aggressive for the tank. The plec may be too big depending on precise species. Neither will fare well, or feel comfortable in water suitable for African cichlids.
Change the decor as a matter of urgency. African rift lake cichlids must have large quantities of rocks with caves and hiding places to feel secure, to reduce stress and to minimise aggression. This link shows you the kind of tank layout they need. Remove the bogwood as it may be acidifying the water which is bad for these fish.
Return the Frontosa, the Tropheus and Yellow Lab to the shop. The Frontosa is from a different lake (Lake Tanganyika) and needs different water parameters. They can easily reach a foot long and should be kept in groups. This care sheet tells you about them. The Tropheus duboisi is also from Lake Tanganyika so should not be mixed with Malawis and needs at least a four foot tank. This care sheet explains. The Yellow Lab is the only Mbuna you have (except maybe the fish you can't identify - please post a pic) and its dietary requirements are incompatible with the other Malawi fish in your tank. It also should be kept in a group of its own kind.
If you return the Frontosa, Tropheus and Lab and rehome the Plec and the RTBS then you can look at optimising conditions for the others, but there are still issues with tank size and species mix/numbers.