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General FAQs on Cichlid Fishes

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Related FAQs: Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid DiseaseCichlid Reproduction, Dwarf South American Cichlids, African Cichlids, Angelfishes, Discus, Chromides, Neotropical CichlidsOscars, Firemouths, Texas Cichlids, Flowerhorns

A Pelvivachromis in captivity.

Origin of the name cichlid.    3/23/17
Hello, crew, hope you're doing well.
<Yes; thank you Roberto>
I am writing to you today not for a problem with my fishkeeping, but rather, more on the scholar side of the hobby.
Here in El Salvador
<Ahh; will be flying back, forth through the capital enroute and returning from Roatan, 3/25, 4/2>
we have a small club of freshwater aquarists, where we share basic, proper fishkeeping practices to novice, intermediate and even advanced hobbyists.
Even though our country is well behind in equipment, practices and knowledge, we, as a club (and me as one of the administrators) strive to share the passion for the hobby and make fishkeeping enjoyable to all.
This month's meeting will be the first about a series of expositions about cichlids, starting with our native central American cichlids. However, we have not found any information regarding what the word cichlid (or its Latin family name Cichlidae) stand for.
<Actually, derived from a Greek word>
So, my question is, why are cichlids, called cichlids? So far we have the fact they all share the single lower bone structure whereas other fish families have it divided into two right?
Yet there is no real conclusive linking of the word cichlid to a specific characteristic. Could you share some knowledge with us? it would be nice to start of the first club meeting on cichlids with some basic technical stuff.
Roberto Mejia
<Lifted from Fishbase.org: Etymology: Greek, kichle = a kind of fish ( Ref. 45335). http://www.fishbase.us/summary/FamilySummary.php?ID=349
Bob Fenner>

General Cichlid info.   10/2/07 Here is the email with the pictures inserted... Hello and thanks for the informative forum. I have a few cichlid fish and would love some help with identification of type and sex. I have attached photos and my best guesses. Thanks. <Sorry, nothing attached.> 3.75 inches Fish #1: This is "Moose" (foreground). I think he/she is a Chocolate Cichlid scientific name: Hypselecara temporalis (male?). Do you know at what age/length this fish can breed? <Hypselecara temporalis is a big cichlid, getting to around 20 cm. I kept these at university and they are lovely (relatively) peaceful fish similar to Severums in terms of requirements. Like most cichlids, they will try and breed while still relatively small, and yours may well be showing signs of breeding behaviour even now. That said, best results seem to come by letting cichlids mature somewhat, both so that they put on weight (which gives them the energy they need to rear their young) and to properly establish secure pair bonds. So don't rush things. This species is relatively difficult to sex, but the males have pointed fins and brighter colours. When paired off, they are inseparable but intolerant of other fish, especially conspecifics. By themselves they can easily monopolise a 55 gallon tank.> I heard 3.75 inches. The blue fish next to "Moose" is the same one featured in the third photo. I moved "Moose" to a separate aquarium fearing he/she would try to breed with my other cichlids below. Is that possible or even likely...unwanted either way. <No. Cichlids tend to hybridise only with closely related species.> I am thinking of getting some more mini-moose and having an aquarium dedicated to them alone. <Well make sure it's a big aquarium. A group of 6 Hypselecara temporalis would work in a 200 gallon tank, but not much less.> 4.75 inches Fish #2: Is "Blinky" a Kenyi? Scientific name: Metriaclima lombardoi (male) <No idea, there's no picture. But my general advice with identifying Mbuna is this: if your Mbuna was wild caught, from a dedicated breeder, or an expensive fish from a store specialising in African cichlids, then it will likely be the species it was sold as. If it was a cheap fish from a generic pet store, then it is 99% likely to be a hybrid. The quality of Mbuna at the low-end of the market is absolutely rotten, and the majority (probably vast majority) of hobbyists make no attempt whatsoever to prevent hybridisation in their tanks, so the fish they bring in to pet stores as "mixed African cichlids" are almost always Pseudotropheus hybrids of one sort or another. It goes without saying that a responsible hobbyist will NEVER breed from Mbuna he or she cannot positively identify and/or knows to be what it was sold as.> 2.1 inches Fish #3: Is this one also a Kenyi scientific name: Metriaclima lombardoi (female) What should his name be...still thinking of something clever... <Ditto.> Finally - unknown fish...mustard/green in color with horizontal stripes. <No photo, so no idea.> Thanks so much for your help you have the best site out there - used for over 4 years now and surely appreciate your help & advice. Happy Halloween! <Cheers, Neale>

Re: Cichlids ID, general...    11/3/07 Hi and thanks so much for your response ...I am trying to figure out why you can not see my photos. All of the pictures are inserted in the email in HTML format. I have also printed this email into a .pdf (attached). Can you see them now? Thanks, Katina <Your photos weren't inserted in the e-mail. But the PDF came through fine. Anyway, the Fish #2 certainly does look like a male Pseudotropheus lombardoi. The single large egg spot on the anal fin is widely taken to be indicative of the species, but to be fair other species sometimes have this features, such as Pseudotropheus aurora and Pseudotropheus barlowi. In any event, yours looks like an Pseudotropheus lombardoi with its vertical brown bands and bluish sheen on the belly. Fish #3 is virtually impossible to name with any degree of certainty. Mbuna are notorious for having females that all look alike. That said, this doesn't look like a female Pseudotropheus lombardoi to me. Female Pseudotropheus lombardoi typically have strong dark blue wedge-shaped vertical bands comparable to the brownish ones the males have. The black eyespot on the gill cover isn't typical either. So could be anything really, and indeed quite possibly a hybrid, in which case identifying the fish will be a fruitless endeavour. A picture of the whole fish might help. Fish #4 is also very difficult to say anything clever about. The sheer number of Mbuna that are blue with dark blue stripes and a yellow dorsal fin is legion. A brighter photo that showed key things like the anal fin and the colours on the dorsal fin more clearly might help. But again, could be anything including a hybrid. With Mbuna, the plan should be to ascertain the identity of the fish before purchase rather than afterwards, because they vary so widely in terms of size, aggression, diet, etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Give into the Force, you nobs.

Cichlid Book Recommendations    11/27/06 Hi there, I love your site! I'm seeking your opinion on how I should set up my new 75 gallon tank as far as stocking it goes (tank is 18w/20/48 and currently empty). I've decided on doing a cichlid tank but I'm not sure if I should do new world or Africans. This will be my second tank (I'm highly addicted to the 40g tank I've had for quite a while and have put much time and energy into learning the ropes). For this new tank I'm considering keeping discus but I've heard they're extremely difficult to keep. What's your opinion on that? Also, if I decide to keep discus, is it possible to keep other new world cichlids in the tank that are not too aggressive (and if so, any species recommendations?). I've heard that keeping African cichlids might be a better setup because it's tough to keep several species of new world cichlids without lots of aggression. According to some, compatibility between many of the more common African species is not quite as problematic. What's your take on this since I'm hearing some mixed things (in process of buying some good books now).  I'm mainly interested in keeping colorful fish in a setup which won't be over my head as far as difficulty of care. I'd love to hear your advice on what a good mix of brightly colored cichlids for my new tank would be. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance, Joy < While you are out buying books I have a couple of recommendations for you. The first is "Enjoying Cichlids" by Ad Konings. Great overview of all cichlids with great photos. The other book is "The Cichlid Aquarium" by Dr. Paul Loiselle. It is out of print but can still be found online. Mixing cichlids is always a problem. Discus require extremely clean soft acidic water. They are a lot of work and not for the lazy person. South American cichlids can get big although most are less aggressive than rift lake cichlids. The "African" cichlids can be aggressive because they are territorial and have teeth that can inflict tremendous damage. Find a cichlid you really want and work your tank around that particular cichlid. The books will be very helpful.-Chuck>

Cichlid Exchange    6/6/06 Bob, I'm a little nervous that Cichlid Exchange is referenced in these posts. Have you heard about internet forum lawsuits?   You may recall hearing about the frivolous lawsuits filed by Ron Novak, the owner (or former owner) of PetsWarehouse.com vs. Aquatic Plant Digest, some of it's forum members, Kanoodle, Google, and Overture? http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2002/04/04/aquatic_plants/index.html Here are more details about the case below (he even sued Google!): http://www.petsforum.com/psw/fund.htm http://news.zdnet.com/2100-3513_22-5186028.html http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4189/is_20030627/ai_n10167132 http://www.petproductnews.com/ppn/detail.aspx?aid=8341&cid=3707&search= <Some folks just never got enough attention as children... B>

Pike Cichlid ID/Info  - 3/16/2006 My husband and I recently purchased a Crenicichla xingu 2 and we are having a hard time finding information on this particular species.  I have found 2 pictures online, both of which are completely different from one another.  I wanted to see if you know any information on this species and if you know what exactly they will look like when full grown.  Thank you. David Fillmore < Crenicichla sp. Xingu II comes from the Rio Xingu river in Brazil. These are one of the big ones and can get close to 18 inches when full grown. They prefer water in the mid 70's F. A pH of around 7 is fine. It is a meat eater that will take small fish as well as worms and frozen food too. It likes a tank that is not too bright that is decorated with stones roots and caves. The male is overall a faint steel blue color with the top of his head being an olive color and the bottom of the head being an off white. The female is the pretty one. She has an olive brown body with a rosy pink belly. Her fins are red and edged in white and then black. The top of the head is an olive brown but the bottom is a bright yellow gold color. This is a pretty rare species in the hobby. Most of the time the Crenicichla species Xingu I or better known as the orange pike is offered for sale. The big problem with pike is that they need clean water or they start to get sick.-Chuck> Is this Gas Bubble disease?   2/24/06 Hello I am hoping you can help me. I have one 10" "Paratheraps synspilum Cichlid" living in a 55 gallon tank by herself.  2 weeks ago I had a very high ammonia spike( from overfeeding her or cleaning the tank too often that I killed the bacteria) in the tank and did all the steps to where I have no trace of Ammonia left in the water. The only high level I have still is Nitrate and I am still doing water changes to try and bring it down. <Numbers, test values, please... not the "Bush" non-informational subjective evaluations> First the cichlid had a large bump on its forehead where it looks like she ran into something really hard. So we added some stress coat with aloe to start healing her.  The bump went down. Just recently the bump reappeared but with open tissue and it looks as if she ran into something again (she likes to hit the water intake pipe hard sometimes as she swims by it.  Now my cichlid has developed small bb size (some larger) clear sacs or blisters that protrude from the scales on the sides of its body. <... not good. Likely water quality related> The blisters do not lift the scales. My cichlid will try to rub-off the blisters by scraping her body on anything in the tank. One time I saw a dark liquid come from her anus area but have never seen it again. My cichlid stopped eating and hides in the corners. I turned off all the lights did another water (temped @ 76) change. I have removed the carbon and added Maracyn tablets for  5 days and dosages of Melafix (as directed by the aqua store). After the next water (temped @ 76) change I added aqua salt and stress coat (as directed by the aqua store). About 3 days ago she ate about 6 dried brine shrimp but hasn't eaten anything since and her color is starting to fade. I have tried feeding her Tubifex freeze dried worms and peas. Her breathing looks a little erratic and sometimes it looks as if she is coughing.  The blisters that have broken are turning white like they have a fungus tufts on them. I did another water (temped @76) change and started her on Pimafix along with the Melafix. Today I noticed a long clear string like item from her anus area. Also her bottom fin has a small piece missing and will have white fuzzy stuff growing on it like the food gets if I accidentally leave a piece in the aquarium for two days. The aqua store has no idea what it is and I am hoping you can help me. I do have pictures I can send you. I've researched all over books and the internet and cannot find anything except for Gas bubble disease which has the air filled sacs on the body. I have a stone aerator that keeps the water moving to remove excess gas. The water has never gone below 74 degrees and I have a dual bio wheel outside pump.  I hope you can help me. I don't want to loose my fish the only pet I have. Thanks Darlene <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm The linked files above... Particularly Cichlid Systems, Disease. Bob Fenner>

Chiclid Info, not the gum   2/13/06 Thank you for the info, it is greatly appreciated. I was wondering, what size of tank could I put my cichlid in- if I decided to get an isolation tank? <?> I cannot use my cousins plastic tank, unfortunately, for it had been sitting in their attic for a while and was filled with cracks. Also, my tiny isolation tank for my Mollie fry- one that hangs on the side of the tank, about .5 a gallon, is getting very dirty, should I get another one? Thank you! Dave and Amy Delpiere Have a great day eh' <... your message does not make sense... Where is the previous correspondence? Bob Fenner>

Novice Cichlid Keeper Mistakes  9/3/05 I am new into the hobby, although, I have had an aquarium for 5 years that I didn't do too much with.  I added a bunch of new fish and it peaked my interest.  I own a 33 gallon community, which is doing fine. This new interested caused me to buy a 55 gallon at Wal-Mart.  I wanted to put big fish in it.  I think I have some compatibility issues now. I have 10 African Cichlids, 3 Jack Dempseys, 1 Oscar (small), 2 Iridescent Sharks, 3 Kribs, 3 Cory Catfish, 1 Plecostomus, 1 catfish (shark), and 1 convict. (55 Gallon) I know now that a lot of these are from various regions, and I should have done better home work. My community has tiger barbs, danios, mollies, neon tetras, black tetras, red tiger barb, green tiger barb, and golden algae eaters. (33 Gallon) I know the Oscar will get big and have to go.  Should I put Kribs in the community tank? Can the American Cichlids live with Africans? (Malawi) In the 55 Gallon the ph is 7.5, I raised it for the Africans. Thanks, Rodney < You question brings up the topic of buying inexpensive fish at a large department store vs. paying a little more but getting your fish at a local reliable fish store. Most dept. or large chain stores sell fish and aquarium items. You usually get very little advice on your selection of fish or anything else at these stores. If you had gone to the local fish store (LFS), the clerk would have probably asked you a few questions but direct in the right direction with advice on which fish would work best for your aquariums over time. To directly answer your questions, the Kribs and Cory's need to go into the community tank. The others will tear each other up over time. Keep the Africans or the others but not both. If you decide to keep the non-Africans then all the others ,except the convict, will get big over time and eventually need to be given away.-Chuck>

Cichlid Problems I have a power head submerged in my 20 gallon tank to keep current moving and to oxygenate the water and my new pink convict is constantly rubbing against it and so is the red devil. I just changed the water yesterday. < Check the nitrates. They should be under 25 ppm.> Also will this combination spawn? < This combination may spawn if no suitable mates are present.> I think they would make a beautiful fry. On average how much does each of these species grow annually? < At 80 degrees with clean water and good food  a convict male can push 5 inches in under a year. A red devil should be pushing 7 to 10 inches.> They are only about 2-3 inches and I haven't had them long enough to identify gender. How can you usually tell? <Males usually are bigger than the females and have longer fins.> I also have a reservoir filter system like a penguin to keep the water clean. The water is quite a bit too cold as I haven't gotten them a heater yet, how might this affect them? < Cooler water will slow their growth and prevent them from wanting to spawn.> It hasn't killed them and they been like that for over a month, well the devil has. any help would be appreciated. -Tony < A heater will warm the water up and the fish will look and feel better. I think a good quality heater would be a wise investment. The rubbing you mentioned may be the first sign of ich from being kept too cool.-Chuck>

Moving Big Cichlids Soon Hi, I just found your site and I have a question I didn't see anywhere. I have a 55 gallon tank with three Jack Dempseys and three Green Terrors. Am I crazy or what? <Aquarists so inclined to keep large cichlids are sometimes referred to as cichlidiots.>  So far they seem to be getting along all right, they were purchased as a group at about half an inch long. They are now three inches long, and my Dempseys have spawned. I have a tank divider in now. How much time do I have before I have to move some of the fish to a 125 gallon tank? I'm still working on. Thanks. Regards, Cal Morrison < The sooner the better. As the fish grow they will become more territorial so it is better to get them in the big tank now and adjusted to the new area, even though it looks like they may be OK for now.-Chuck>

Cichlid Growth Hello I was just wondering what can I feed my cichlids to      get them to grow faster (I Have A Jack Dempsey 7" , 3 Zebra Cichlids 2.5", & 2 Kenyi Cichlids 2.5".) I was Also wondering what I can feed or give my female cichlids (female Jack Dempsey, female zebra & female Kenyi) to get them to produce more eggs, and have healthier fry. < The key to fast growth is to keep the nitrogenous wastes as low as possible. High protein foods like earthworms will work for your jack Dempsey but will bloat up your Lake Malawi fish. They will require a good vegetable flake with Spirulina in it. Keep the water temp around 80 F too.-Chuck>

Grammar, spelling and cichlid problems "Pseudotropheus demasoni" I told you guys about trying to find out the species of the fish in think this is it "Pseudotropheus demasoni".. I think that's it but like of these species look identical...well very close...and I donated my fish to Petco (yellow lab.) and got two golden cichlids ( black horizontal stripes golden yellow in color) and put them in my 10 gallon...there getting well along with each other.... also I'm giving my Oscars to my friend he's got a 75 gallon setup for his last Oscar he had for 4 years (died)....so I went out to my yard, found some slate and limestone for the 49 gallon old Oscar tank. I'm converting to a Mbuna tank. so I was wondering....what can I do to sterilize clean the rock & how do I do this. < I would get some rock salt ( A couple of cups) and put it in a bucket with some hot water to make it dissolve. Soak the rocks in the brine solution overnight and that should get rid of any potential parasites.> .....how can I make the water hard and ph higher for my Malawi species. < There are many commercial buffers for Malawi cichlids that will increase the pH if needed and increase the alkalinity. I recommend that you have your water checked to see if any additives are needed.> .. 2 golden cichlids, 2 Pseudotropheus demasoni, and 1 unknown cichlid that has a red spot on the anal fin and had rusty red color fins and dark in color, and 1 Sailfin Pleco.....and will the river rock I got about 1 cm in diameter work or should I get some type of sand for the bottom < The pore size of the river rock is too large and will allow the food to fall between the rocks and fall to the bottom and decompose. This will cause ammonia and eventually nitrate problems. There are commercially available sands for saltwater setups that will increase the pH and are fine enough to keep the food along the surface of the sand until it is eaten. Keep in mind that in the wild that the fish you have selected come from very rocky areas and may never encounter sand at all.-Chuck>> I got 1 whisper 350 and a 125 bio-wheel...  also down below I tell u about the aquarium...if u have any questions before answering ask away

A lot of questions about cichlids... Hi, first of all, I think you guys do an incredible job. The web site is awesome. Here's the story: My friend's pink convict's (that's what he said she is, I'm still not sure whether she's a convict or some other albino one, since she's all pink with just little bit of yellowish stripes)  female had babies and since he couldn't keep so many of them, he gave me the mother with all the fry. They were tiny, didn't even move a lot. They were stuck (well, not really stuck, just kind of sitting there the whole time) to an aquarium ornament, so he gave me the ornament and the mother. Since I didn't have anything bigger at the time, I put them in a 10 gallon tank. After about 4 weeks, the fry got bigger, about half an inch, some of them remained smaller. I knew that I couldn't keep them there for long, so I got a 50 gallon tank, and put them all in there. Now they're growing like crazy. I counted them once, and there is about 130 of them. Now I have a lot of questions, since I'm still a beginner. My aquarium: 50 gallons. The filter I'm using is TetraTec PF300, I have no air pump. 1. My friend wants the mother back + 20 babies. He has about 10 of his own convicts, but they are big: about 3.5 inches long. I'm afraid that if I give them the mother with the babies now, the bigger convicts will just eat the babies, so how big should the babies be before I give it to him? < The fry should be taken away from both parents after a couple of weeks. The fry will be eaten by both parents and all the other fish if they are returned. Give him back the female and they will spawn again in a couple of weeks.> 2. In the smaller aquarium the water was cloudy very often, so I changed (about 30 - 40%) it every 3-4 days. Now, since they're all in the big one, the water doesn't get cloudy at all, but still, how often should it be changed? < The cloudy water is an accumulation of ammonia. You need to keep changing the water to reduce the ammonia content of the water until you get enough bacteria going to start breaking the ammonia down into nitrite and then nitrate. Go to Marineland .com and check out the article in Dr. Tim's library titled the "First Thirty days". This will explain what is going on.> 3. I don't have an air pump like most aquariums do. Should I have one? I read on many web sites that if you have a power filter, there's no need of pumping more air into the water. Is that true? < You don't need an air pump if you have a power filter that turns your water over at least three times per hour.> 4. How often should I change the cartridges in the filter? There's four of them, + the bacteria sponge thingy. < Rinse out the filter pads with a strong spray from your garden hose once a week. The sponge can be gently rinsed once a month.> 5. Now This may sound stupid, but: The filter has 3 exit pipes, one goes directly down, and the other two are adjustable. Which way should I point the adjustable ones? Meaning, how should I make the water flow? < Make the water flow along the surface of the water to increase the oxygen content of the water.> 6. Plants? Can I have real plants? I really don't like anything that's fake, I mean, the fake ones are ok, but then when you look closely, you will notice that they're not real and that just kills me ;) The reason I'm asking is because since cichlids are aggressive, will they bite them and/or eventually kill the plants? < Cichlids and plants usually don't get along but you can use Java fern or Anubias plants tied to rocks and they will do well with most cichlids.> 7. How much should I feed them? It seems to me they're always hungry! I give them a lot of food, they eat most of it, some of it gets sucked into the filter mostly because the can't swallow that fast ;) ! But as I said, it seems to me that I got to feed them every two hours! < Only feed enough food so that all of it is consumed in a couple of minutes each day.> 8. What kind of food should I feed them? My friend said that I should buy "feeders." The feeders they had at the pet store were the size of my fish, so I don't think that's a good idea. So what should I feed them, and how much? Shrimp pellets? blood worms? Or just regular flakes/granules? I also have another question that relates to that, it seems to me the cichlids don't like to swim up and eat the food of the top of the water, they would rather eat food that's already floating in the water, sinking or laying at the bottom. What's up with that? Most of the cichlid food says that its "floating." Why? < You should vary the diet with good quality flake and pellet food. Feeders introduce diseases into your tank and should be avoided unless absolutely needed. Floating or sinking should not matter to your fish. When you cut back to one meal a day they will eat the food no matter where it is.> 9. What's the optimal temperature/ph/hardness of the water in my aquarium? < 78 to 80 F, 7 plus or minus a degrees, does not matter with the cichlids you currently have.> And here are my most important questions! 10. What other fish can I keep with the mine? I want to have other fish also, maybe different cichlids? Plus, I really want to have that algae sucking fish (common Pleco?) in there also, I got one from my brother, it's about 5.5 inches now, and so far, the fry and the mother seem to be avoiding it, basically, just ignoring it. Will it be like that always? Even when the fry gets much bigger? What about Cory's or catfish? Can I have one too or will they get killed? < Large fast moving tank mates the same size or larger are worth a try. A well armored Pleco may work to. When cichlids breed they defend the eggs and fry against all other fishes to the point to which they may kill the other fish so be aware.> 11. How many cichlids + other fish can I keep in my aquarium? I'm going to give most of them away to pet stores. I would like to have a couple of my cichlids maybe a couple of other cichlids, 1 Pleco + 1 Cory/catfish... What's the total I can have in a 50 gallon aquarium? < This depends on a couple of factors. Small Corys are a bad idea because they will be pushed around by the cichlids. Keep the nitrates under 25 ppm. If you can't keep the nitrates under 25 ppm with a water change once a week then you have too many fish or they are too big.> 12. Last question, but the one that gets me really worried. The mother has some weird white things at the roots of her fins. She didn't have those before, And she doesn't have them anywhere else. Only on the roots of the pectoral (?) fins have those things. I'm not sure how she got them, nor how to get rid of them :( < Could be anchor worm. Hard to tell without actually see them. They are usually found on pond fish or gold fish.-Chuck> Please, I know it's a lot to answer but I really like my fish and want them to be happy :) Sincerely Bart

Quick red devil question Hi - I hope it's Ok for me to drop an email with a quick question. I'd really appreciate any insight or advice.  I am temporarily moving to house-sit and am concerned about moving my red devil.  The new place is about a 20 minute drive from my current location. Do you have any thoughts as to how to make this as smooth as possible for her? Also, do you think that it would be more traumatic for her to move rather than to let her stay where she is with a friend who will be living in my apartment? I'd rather not leave her as the move will be for about 9 months, but I want to do what's best for her.  Many thanks for any info. < Move and take the red devil with you. Put this fish in a 5 gallon bucket and cover it so she can't jump out. Move the tank to the new place and set it up. Make sure the new water is treated for chloramines. Your fish will appreciate the new water. These fish are pretty indestructible. Thirty years ago I was moving a red devil in a 5 gallon bucket on the passenger side of my car. I was forced to hit the brakes and the bucket with the fish spilled onto the floorboard of my car. The water drained out and I needed some water fast. I pulled over to a gas station that was closed and filled the bucket up with radiator water! Cold untreated radiator water. I flopped the fish back in the bucket and resumed taking it over to my friends house twenty minutes away. I told him what has happened and we flipped the fish into a waiting 40 gallon tank. The next day you couldn't tell anything happened at all. It never got sick. -Chuck>
Re: quick red devil question Thanks very much! I feel better about the whole thing and will get a bucket.  They must be pretty indestructible. I didn't know that the fish was a red devil when i acquired her -- thought that she was a small, orange goldfish and had her living in a container with cold water. Eventually figured out that she was manipulating objects in the container and that she was much more than a goldfish. Three tanks (she destroyed one of them) four filters and a couple heaters later, she's bigger than my hand and behaves more like a pet dog than a fish.  But, especially since I've been picking up info about her as I go along, there are a few things I'm concerned about...Can I ask you just a few more questions -- Should I be concerned that she seems to only want to eat pellets and tropical fish flakes?  I put a couple of guppies in the tank once and she ate them, but she is no longer interested in meat of any kind, it seems. < The pellets and flake food are much better for her as well as less expensive too.> Also, How do I get her in the bucket? Should I use a net? <  Place a black plastic trash bag in an empty five gallon bucket. Fill the five gallon plastic bucket about two/thirds full of water from the aquarium. Pull the excess bag to the top. Catch the fish in a large suitable net and place her in the bucket. Then tie the top of the trash bag close to the top of the bucket to prevent her from jumping out as well as spilling any water. When the new tank is set up then take the net and place her in the new tank.> And, finally, she used to lay eggs and hasn't for a while. Does this have to do with natural aging or is it because of some kind of ph imbalance in the tank? Or general unhappiness?   < It means that she is in very good shape and is in condition to breed. Good food and clean water has her primed to spawn but she unfortunately has no male to spawn with so she still has to lay her eggs to get rid of them. As she has matured she will not waste anymore energy on egg production until she has paired up.-Chuck> Thanks again. Kate

Help Blood Red Parrot Fish Hi, I have two blood red parrot fish that I have had for about two years. Here recently one has faded from a bright red to a very pale pink while the other still maintains his color. I have changed the water several times and even tested the pH. I don't know what the problem could be and I was wondering if you could help me? Thanks.  < If everything else is fine and the fish is eating well and acting normal then the problem is probably genetics. Your blood red parrot fish is a hybrid between a couple different species of fish. One of them is a red devil that comes in many different colors. Sometimes as the fish grows these colors change. Red devils come in bright red, orange , pinkish white, white and grey. If all else is well then you can ask your local fish store for some color enhancing food. It may help but I think the pale pink color is hear to stay.-Chuck>

Cichlid questions - 12/2/03 Hello, <Hi> I just bought 2 baby cichlids, and was told they will do great in soft water tank is that really true,<Depends on the type of cichlid we are talking about here. Are they African, South American or other??> and also I was told its okay to feed them tropical fish food, <Correct. So many to choose from> and I was also told that you can train your Oscar, <Is that what you bought?? Train them in what way??> if you can, can you give me some tips how to train them. <Not sure what training you have heard about, maybe training them to eat from your hand?? Not sure. I wouldn't waste your time on this>> I was also told since they are babies you can put them in your tank with angel, clown loach, parrot, mollies and a black ghost and I did. <Well, only at a very small age, but most cichlids are very very aggressive!! Be sure to keep an eye on them and especially when the lights are out. Also, what do you intend to do with them when they grow larger??? Just a few months a way> I've been observing and so far so good. <I would start preparing for a change of tanks for these guys or expect some losses of your other fish> Thank you Lory <Lory, look through our website, some books from your LFS and checkout fishbase.org and see if you can't identify your fish. Its a good idea to ID the fish and look up more information about your inhabitants. It will help in the long run. Good luck to you and happy holidays ~Paul>

African vs. South American Forgive my obvious stupidity but I am VERY new to the whole fish thing...they say there is no such thing as a stupid question so I'm going to ask anyway...exactly what is the difference b/t an African and south American cichlid?  Is it just the place where they originated? <Yes> or is there some other type of differentiation between them?  I apologize for asking something so simple but I was just wondering... Thanks in advance... Erin <This is a geographical distinction. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid site - 10/16/03 Wow. I looked at cichlidrecipe.com... what a great site! <Isn't it? I love it!> Thanks for referring it. <My pleasure>  I am now going through and identifying my tank members and determining how to re-prioritize my tank. <Exactly what I did>  I do note though, in Matt Pederson's recommendations for a 55g tank he has a dozen cichlids plus 2 catfish...not far from mine at all, although the selection of fish perhaps does not include so many that grow as large or as aggressive. <Could be likely but just another point of view. He may have three filters on his tank and as you said more "like"  type fish. I still don't think over stocking an aquarium is a good idea at any level> I will study it more carefully. <Very well. Good luck to ya.>  Thanks again Paul. <Thanks for the question. We might have just helped a great many others with our exchange.....so........thank you -Paul> Jeff

What Paint to Use? 07/12/03 <Hello again Jim> Well its going to be freshwater so the iguana can have access to the water but I'm not sure as to what type of fish I'm going to get, probably some type of cichlids. A friend recommended that I have (4) of the pro magnum setup but I think that is kinda over doing it but I'm not sure? <Well, IMO the iguana using the fish tank for a water bowl isn't a good idea. Think of a tank this way, it's not only the fishes home, it's their septic system too. Would you want to drink out of that? I know I wouldn't. As for filtration, a lot depends on what type of freshwater setup you get. There's a big difference between South American cichlid tank and an African rift tank, let alone the various planted varieties. I would recommend talking FW tanks over with someone else on the board who's more expert than I am, or hopping on over to the chat forum http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ there's an active FW group over there who can give you better advice than I can. Have a good weekend, PF>

Questions about foreign elements in tank (Flowerhorns) Hi. Have a question. I have two Cichlids (photos attached with the mail because I don't know their breed. They were given to me by my ex-neighbor). They been with me for almost 1 year.   <Gorgeous fish! I don't know the exact species but you should be able to find out by searching for Cichlid at http://www.fishbase.org or by asking at http://cichlidforums.com/ > The problem I'm facing now is that about 2 weeks after I change the tank water, small white thread-like worms start appearing in the tank. And because of this, I've got to change the water once every 2-3 weeks to get rid of the worms.  May I know what these worms are and how do I get rid of them? <They are actually fairly common and are completely harmless. Please check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwinvertfaqs.htm as there are some good posts on them there.> How do I prevent them from appearing again? They are very unsightly and causes my fishes to twitch, and I'm afraid they may affect the health of my fishes. <Nope, they shouldn't affect the health of your fish.> And changing the water too often is not good for the fishes too.   <Actually, doing a water change (20-25%) every 2-4 weeks is a good idea and helps keep your fish healthy> Also, is it advisable to have some pebbles or sand in the tank for the fishes to play with? <Most Cichlids will dig in the substrate and really enjoy it.> Their tanks used to have some sand and pebbles but the fish wastes always get caught in between the sand. This makes cleaning difficult and cleaning cannot be thorough. <Get a gravel vacuum and use it when you do your water changes.> My fishes do not like to eat dry food and pellets that are easily available in the supermarts. what can i give them then?   <Most fish stores offer frozen foods such as Krill, Bloodworms, or Mysis Shrimp. Cichlids will often take to these foods very well. Another option is salad shrimp from you grocery store. I have a large Cichlid that was spoiled on feeder goldfish to the point that he wouldn't accept anything else. I tried him on the shrimp and he loves them, he even eats right out of our fingers (as long as were careful because hell gladly take the finger too! *G*). Just make sure to cut them up into sizes that your fish can handle and make sure they're fully thawed before feeding.> I appreciate the info and advice. Thanks Regards, Chen Ying

Re: Cycling and Compatibility I have a 15 gal freshwater tank that is in the process of being cycled but it seems to be taking a long time. Its been about six weeks (weekly additions of cycle, no fish in the tank, but heavily planted) and my pH is still about 7.6 and my nitrites are at zero. When can I expect the nitrites to peak and then level out? Do I have to have fish in the tank in order for this to happen? <Since the nitrites are 0, you can try adding just one or two small fish to start with. Closely monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels after adding them but I think you'll be fine if you go slowly.> In my second tank, a 25 gal tall hex tank, I would like to get a pair of angels. I also have a nice, deep cave and would like a peaceful, cave-dwelling cichlid to live there. Are Firemouth cichlids peaceful and shy? Or is there a better cichlid you can recommend to mix with Angels that would like the cave and not make trouble? <Firemouth Cichlids are considered mildly aggressive but really they are going to get too large for this tank with a couple of Angels in it. If you have your heart set on Cichlids, check into some of the dwarf species such as the Rams. They are rumored to be a hard species to keep because of their touchiness on water quality but the parameters they require are very similar to Angels and they are recommended as tank mates for Angels. They are also cave dwellers so your set-up should work good for them as long as you stay on top of the water quality.> I really appreciate your informative website. Thanks! Lindy <And we really appreciate all of you who make it possible! Ronni>

Re: Jack Dempsey How can you tell the girl from the boy <The male will have longer, more pointed dorsal and anal fins and will have a longer body. Ronni><Actually, unlike most cichlids, females are larger in this species. Bob>

Re: Buying Cichlids Hi, Was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for sites to buy Mbuna cichlids? Thank-you in advance, Jesse <Sorry, the only one I've dealt with personally and would recommend is no longer breeding and has sold out. Armke's Rare Fish (search Yahoo for Armke's) has a good reputation but I've never dealt with them personally so can't say for sure. You might join some of the Cichlid mailing lists on Yahoo and see who is recommended there. There are some serious Cichlid collectors there so they should be able to head you in the right direction. Ronni>

Need Help Fast! Plumbing to Sump or Filter for Cichlid tank I have a 300 gallon tank on the way with three overflow boxes on the outside back which skim a total of 66" of surface area and feed (through Durso standpipes) six 2" drains. I was assuming I'd need to plumb 2" pipes from the overflow boxes into one large (nearly horizontal) 6" main drain pipe that emptied into a sump or fed a filter intake. <many possibilities... that's one> I am still unsure about what the best approach may be. For instance, if I use a pond filter or aquaculture filter system for the tank, how do I feed it with a 6" drain pipe? <just drain all raw overflowing water to a sump... or better yet, a primary partition where the skimmer sits or Then, from there you'll have a dedicated pump that feeds the filter or perhaps a teed line (bleeder) off the main return pump to feed the filter on a loop> If I were to design the overflow more traditionally, how would I ever get enough overflow to that same filter with just a 1 or 2 inch pipe?..... <all water does not (should not) go to the filter first... it should go to gross filter first (settling chamber, daily cleaned course pads, etc)> Hence the multiple 2" pipe feed for plenty of flow. Sounds like a "Catch 22" whereas you need the flow for the big system, yet no pumps accept a large supply pipe feed. <no worries... bud. You are just a little mistaken. All will be clear when/if you see some big pretty store installations... tours of public aquarium filtration set ups, etc> It would seem a sump is necessary. <correct and critical for large displays> Is a sump the way to go for this FW cichlid community? <its not mandatory, but would be very helpful and add to system stability> I had planned on first using a micron bag, then biomedia, then chemical chambers (in case of future needs), a nice open sump area, and two Iwaki returns to a manifold over the aquarium. <actually sounds perfect> I'd love to get a contained system though. <tedious to work with IME> I see some of the Aquanetics stuff on their site, but I can't see if it would be appropriate for my needs. <I have worked with Aquanetics products for about 15 years (their commercial products even more so) and have very little respect for their quality> I think my key desire is to get that first shot at the water with a micron mechanical filter that is easy to clean daily (thus the bag idea). <agreed> I need filtration (wet/dry or other? extra biological needed like fluidized bed?), <either> heat (fireplug or submersibles in the sump?), <the Aquanetics Fireplug is one of their few products that I really do like> potential for UV filtration.... <save your money... will not prevent the spread of disease well or at all in the display and is not needed if you QT all new fish like you/we should> all in my living room or piped to a spot just outside the back door and returned to the tank. I see the Aquanetics System Packs, Bag Filters, etc. <I would not take it for free... seriously. But that's just my opinion, experience. Poll the message boards for a consensus> but do not know enough to make a good choice. I've been researching for weeks, and the tank is almost here! <OK> I want a museum quality setup, yet I do not know just how to obtain it. <make the drive to a regional aquarium society meeting to seek advice of experienced aquarists and see their setups... visit a public aquarium too... call in advance and set up a sneak peak at their filters> I know you may not want to make specific manufacturer, etc. <nope... we can. And we do. We are unpaid and unbiased. The few advertisers we have and all of our readership understand and appreciate that I believe> recommendations...... but that's exactly what I need. What would you do? <relax <G>> If wet/dry, must the micron bag be over the top of the bioballs, or can a configuration allow the bag to be at the same level with the water flowing over a tall barrier and then over the biomedia? <for any/all you will still have a bonded filter pad between the micro (if at all) and the bio-balls. Your dilemma here bud is that you simply need to see (eyeballs) some big installations then all will be quite clear. You really also need to slow down and have patience. Just because the tank is being delivered in days does not mean you have to fill it as the movers are carrying it into the house <G>. Chill bubba. Take weeks or months to build your museum quality display if you truly want to succeed. Else, you will get a stinky fish tank that looks like it was thrown together in a hurry.> I've got many more questions than answers, sorry! <No worries... all in good time. Best regards, Anthony>

A rock question (old LR for cichlid tank use) i friend of mine has a case of real coral rock ..its dead rock but i was wondering if i could put this in a fresh water cichlid tank! <If these are types of cichlids that enjoy hard, alkaline water yes. Some do not. If you're not sure, but know the names of your fishes, you could likely find out their natural water conditions on fishbase.org. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid I finally found my fish thanks to you! It is this one, "Amphilophus citrinellus (Gunther 1864), the Midas Cichlid, aka one of the Mesoamerican Cichlids called the Red Devil. Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the world through the aquarium trade. To about ten inches in length. Can be a real terror, bully with other livestock." Finally, thanks. I'm having problems with him, though. He has a swim bladder disorder. He lies on bottom and doesn't do a darn thing. If you have time to answer, you think Epsom salt is safe for a bath of some kind? <It is safe, but I would ballpark at less than a 50/50 shot at making him better. It is hard to diagnose the exact cause of swim bladder disorders.> I've heard to use it. <As have I for primarily goldfish suffering from constipation and floating disorders.> Thanks for the website. Parthina <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Cichlid & Water Quality Hi ya! (Love your q&a area!) I have a question for ya that I'm hoping you can answer.  I've noticed that when I mess with my tank too much I kill my fish so I don't touch it much but I did do a partial water change not long ago and had to add a chemical to the tank to clear up the cloudiness and noticed my fish develop symptoms of the gold fish one had written of earlier. You'd requested not to "repost" so I didn't.  But you had mentioned that it likely had a gas bladder disorder, common in fancy goldfish.  My fish though is a cichlid.  It is an antique white color with normal fish eyes (no pink or red or anything).  I've tried to find out what he is, I got him from a friend about 4 years ago.  He's been lying on the bottom for about 2 weeks and I can't find anything on it.  He could be sucking the crap from under the gravel into his lungs if I'm not mistaking. What do you suppose I should do?  The tank could use a cleaning but darn I think I'm jinxed. I can keep a fish for at least 6 years even but I kill them if I mess with their tank too much.  I suppose I'm not too good at that.  His belly did swell in the beginning and at that time he was actually swimming upside down!! He'd only turn upright to eat!  I was so shocked! I've got about 8 minnows (from fishing last year, I couldn't kill them) and they stay near my cichlid like it's their mother. Anyway, anything would be helpful! I've noticed you are excellent with your advice as I recognized a few diseases! Thanks in advance for your assistance!  Parthina <This isn't difficult. First, fish don't have lungs! Surely the crap is a big problem.  Get over your jinx or you are going to kill your fish in sewage! Vacuum the gravel *really well* and do a substantial water change afterward. Clean the filter in old tank water. Go over to WetWebMedia.com scroll down to the Google search engine and type in "cichlid" and find your cichlid in the cichlid pages.  Match or approximate water conditions (pH and hardness) as provided for your fish.  Proper water quality, food, filtration, pH and hardness should resolve health and cloudiness problems. Please read more on keeping freshwater fish here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm You need to resolve your jinx!  Craig>

Cichlids I have just taken over, taking care of my partner's fish.  We had two cichlids but the one was a real bully so we gave it away and kept the placed one whom I have named Joe.  He does not seem very well.  I pay a great deal of attention to him, but when he eats he starts to have a fit and jumps around in the tank.  It is upsetting me a lot as I just don't know what's the matter with him, and I don't know what to do to help him.  Please can you help.  Thank you....... <Hmmm, not much information to go on other but let's see if we can help you. You don't mention the type of Cichlid, the size of your tank, your water chemistry, what you feed, type of filtration and how often you change water and clean the filtration. I wonder if this is behavioral, feeding related, water quality related, or internal disease/parasites resulting from overall poor water quality and diet. It is very difficult to take over care for someone and not have some substantial changes in husbandry. What if anything have you changed besides placing the other fish? To get started, identify the exact fish you have and then go to the following pages to find the conditions your cichlid needs to thrive. I would recommend testing water for ammonia/nitrites/nitrates/pH and change water and regularly maintain filtration/vacuum tank to lower wastes. Maintain pH in correct range for your cichlids (Africans need high pH/hardness as opposed to others.. please see URL provided). Start here and follow all the links at the top of the page.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm If this doesn't help please write us back and include all of the information above so we can help you narrow this down. If this isn't behavioral, I suspect internal problems resulting from water quality/diet. I would start there.  Go for it!  Craig>

Cichlids To all great and knowledgeable aquarist of Oz, I have a few questions. I need a brain a heart... <<Craig here, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain....I am the Great and Powerful....Oh dear...>> Anyways I have a forty gallon planted aquarium with two keyhole cichlids, a green Severum, a Curviceps, and a Festivum. There really is no fighting in the tank between species and they are all still quiet immature, but growing very fast. I love the Severum and the keyholes, is there anything in particular that would be compatible with them and not destroy my plants? Would another Severum cause pandemonium in the tank? Is my tank large enough to house these fish full grown? <<This is my concern. Cichlids tend to be messy compared to some other families requiring more volume, space, better filtration, etc. Proceed with caution. Check out: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/cichlids.htm>> I am unable to find much information on these guys and we all know that pet stores would have you stock a tank overflowing with fish. I would be willing to sacrifice the Curviceps and the Festivum for something different, or if I am at my limit I could let them go. Now to my twenty gallon reef tank, I am having a lot of green algae growing on the glass. About two weeks ago I bought another power compact light, so I know have two with a combined wattage of 88 watts. I know that my protein skimmer is not sufficient, it is a lee's counter current. I had my nitrates and phosphates tested at the LFS, and the nitrates are not to be a worry I forgot to ask him precisely what the levels were) and my phosphates read zero. I do not have a low range nitrate test kit, but a common nitrate kit. I change ten to twenty percent of the water weekly, but the algae is growing so fast that I have to wipe the glass daily. The algae is not growing on any of the live stock, and they seem just fine. Is my protein skimmer just not doing the job or is it just going to eventually catch up and eliminate the majority of the algae. After a week with the new light I replaced the old air stone in the skimmer and that has greatly improved the amount of skimmate. If I bought a CPR back pack would that keep up with this small tank, or are there better ones? Thanks a million Dave <<Well there is nutrient driving your algae growth. The Lee skimmers are not all that efficient and being a small in-tank model they draw water from below the nutrient rich surface. The CPR with the skimmer box or an Aqua-C remora would surely help. I would also advise getting some good quality test kits to monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, calcium, alkalinity, etc. What type of top off water are you using? This could be introducing nutrient on a constant basis. I recommend RO/DI to eliminate this problem.>> <<Hope this helps, Craig>>

Help (Non-feeding Cichlid) I recently bought a red terror, Cichlasoma festae. Usually these guys aren't picky eaters, though this one refuses to eat.  <This is strange... is it being bullied by tankmates? Do you have another system (even by itself) that you can move it to?> I've tried an armada of different types of food and stuck it right in front of its face. It has not eaten since I brought it home. The water requirements are met and yet she refuses to eat. Is this normal especially for this species? <Abnormal> What can I do to help my little (2.5 inches) friend. Thanks in advance for your help <Do contact the source you got this fish from. Ask what they were feeding it... and consider elevating your temperature, adding vitamins (act as appetite stimulants) to the food, water... Have you tried live foods (worms, small fishes, bloodworms/insect larvae...?) I would. Bob Fenner>

Re: help (cichlid on feeding strike) Hello again, I'm the guy with the female red terror that didn't want to eat. Sorry for the lack of info I gave but here it is. I bought her in horrible conditions, a 10 gallon tank housing 8 red terrors, 5 jack Dempsey's, and about 8 other cichlids that were completely black (unidentified).  <Yikes!!! Perhaps the fish is so happy to be out of there it's completely forgotten about eating! May the previous owner be compelled to live in a closet for a month.> She had some frayed fins though no fungus. I took her home and placed her in a 10 gallon tank (don't worry, when she starts to eat she gets a 75 gallon all to herself). The 10 gallon has no gravel, though I placed a cave for security. She spends all day in the cave, and only comes out when I'm not around. When I get close to the tank she hides in the cave. She has yet to eat. I took your advice and upped the temperature and placed a vitamin cube in. I went with ghost shrimp and a small guppy to entice her to eat. Could she be so scared of me that she cant even eat?  <Yes, for sure> Is there anything I can do to make her feel safe around me? Thanks for all your help <Put dark material around three sides of the tank, and keep any light off over it (and be careful in turning light on/off around the tank if it's dark)... it should eat soon, and within days, weeks, become "more accustomed" to your presence. Patience, cichlids rarely starve to death (as you likely know). Bob Fenner>

Re: help (cichlid on feeding strike) Thanks for all your help, and yes I'll be completely surprised if I ever hear of a cichlid starving to death of its own accord. <Something I think of myself as a "Kaiserfishche"! Particularly around pizzas. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Cichlid Compatibility Bob, <Steven Pro this evening.> I recently set up a 40 gallon aquarium. I currently have two 1 1/2" South American cichlids, one 1" Jack Dempsey, and two 3" Blood Parrot fish. I was told by a pet store that I could not mix South American Cichlids with African Cichlids. Is this true? <For the most part, yes. African like their water significantly different than that of most Central and South American Cichlids. Also, African Cichlids tend to me much more aggressive, pound for pound, than other Cichlids.> If no, do you recommend any African Cichlids that I can add that will not kill the fish I currently have. <I would really not recommend adding any more fish to your tank. The fish you currently have will grow large enough to overcrowd your current tank in no time at all. -Steven Pro>

Parasite (worm inside cichlid eye) I was wondering if you could help me. I have a Geophachromis acii and she has a small, white, "worm" inside her eye ball that I can see moving around. It is not on the eye but IN it. Kind of like her eye was a fish tank and the worm is swimming in it. I have been trying to find out what it is and if there is anything I can do but so far I have come up with nothing. It is a small flat white worm with a grey band just behind the head section. If you could help me out I would greatly appreciate it. <There are such parasites of many fishes (even humans)... and as far as I'm aware not much you can do about removing them. The good news is that such obstructions don't appear to mal-affect their hosts, or spread to other fishes in captivity (likely lacking the means of completing their life cycles). I would ignore this worm and enjoy your fish. More information on fish parasitology can be found by visiting a large college library and seeking the help of a reference librarian to aid you in conducting a computer search bibliography and literature search. Bob Fenner> Thank You, Stephanie

Possible Disease I have a mix of 9 African cichlids in a 55 gallon tank with extensive rocks and caves. They all get along pretty well, but recently my Tropheus (orange flame) had white lips and was dead a few days latter. Now my Dubois has the same white lips but is still fine. Is this a disease or what else might it be? Brian <There are several bacterial or fungal diseases which have a white growth around the lips. They are generally referred to as cotton mouth. Take a look here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwdis3setsfactors.htm following on through the linked FAQ file for additional insight. -Steven Pro>

Cichlids I have two cichlids. I asked somebody a couple days ago about one's aggression, and they said to separate them. <I remember.> If I put a divider in there, would the aggressive one try to attack through the divider <Maybe> and maybe injure himself <Not too likely> or should I just separate them period? <That would be the best. I find those dividers to be rather unsightly. -Steven Pro>

Fighting Cichlids Hey. I have two cichlids and the one that's been in there the longest is attacking the one I just put in there. Is it just territorial or should I separate them? <Both. It is territoriality and you may need to separate them. It all depends on how big your tank is and what species you have. Do look through the information we have on www.WetWebMedia.com regarding stocking, adult sizes, etc. of the various Cichlids.> I don't want to have a dead fish. <Perhaps you may want to consider less aggressive fish if coexisting peacefully is important to you.> Please help. <Have a nice night. -Steven Pro>

Puffers & Cichlids My wife prefers African Cichlids, but I can't get away from puffers. Currently we have two figure eight puffers in a 55 gallon tank with 8 Cichlids, <Lets get ready to rumble! Quite a little battle royal you have got going there. A bunch of aggressive fish, but a reasonable mix.> and we've had no problems. But I'm wondering if there's a happy medium we might strike on salinity levels. <Sure, I would use about 1 well rounded tablespoon per 5 gallon of water.> Additionally, I have two very small green spotted puffers (if I can trust the dealer). I've heard and read that it's ok to make these into saltwater fish, but is it ever too early in their life to do it? <I do not know if that is the case. Do see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/fwbracpuffers.htm for additional info.> Thanks, Andy B <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Looking for cichlid stock All - Marcos, a friend in Brazil, is seeking SMALL stock of several kinds of cichlids for a farming operation. Please contact me if you can provide them, or pass this on to any cichlid chat groups or suppliers who might be able to assist. Thanks. We can arrange shipment from your location to Brazil. - Bob Goldstein <All right Bob. Okay to post your email re? Bob Fenner> Exochochromis anagenys ....copper parrotfish Tropheus moori ... pineapple monarch Xenotilapia lepeli ..... blue spot sand dweller Tropheus moorii .....yellow banded monarch Cyphotilapia frontosa .......seven stripe frontosa small size...We show you the name from some cichlids that we are trying to find...if you get some will be excellent...but small size.. Best regards Marcos PS. inform us the price....in Curitiba we have who get it to sent to us. Robert J. Goldstein, Ph.D. Robert J. Goldstein & Associates, Inc. 8480 Garvey Drive Raleigh, NC 27616 tel (919) 872-1174 tel (800) 407-0889 fax (919) 872-9214 rgoldstein@rjgaCarolina.com URL www.rjgaCarolina.com

Re: VERY IRRESPONSIBLE: looking for cichlid stock Do a Google search to find IBAMA. It has information on the agency, licensing, and the importance of the aquarium industry to the Brazilian economy. For further questions on how IBAMA regulates all aspects of environmental (ambiento) issues in Brazil, contact them directly, or query Labbish Chao who runs the Piabas program on sustainable fisheries. His email address is piabas@aol.com. Let me reiterate and emphasize that I was asked for information by someone who has graciously assisted me in my own efforts. I was not asked to advise on the project nor given any information on the design or licensing. And I don't think it is appropriate for me to ask unless I am a stakeholder. There are already African cichlids in pet stores in Brazil. I assume there are fish farms there too. I also assume that IBAMA regulates everything at least as well as our own EPA and probably better. <Thank you for this input Dr. G. Bob Fenner> Robert J. Goldstein, Ph.D.

VERY IRRESPONSIBLE: looking for cichlid stock Dear Bob, I think that what your friend Marcos is planning is very irresponsible and will be disastrous to the indigenous species. <Am very hopeful this would/will not be the case... as you and I strongly agree... releasing any non-indigenous life to an area where it can "survive" is a travesty and a disaster> I am surprised that you are getting involved with the project!! <Mmm, not involved... only posted a call on our sites for others to assist in providing stocks to Robert.G> I know that Tanganyikan species are from hard water and the water in Brazil is soft, but species adapt to all water conditions and then destroy the natural species. Tilapia are a case in point. <A very sore one... Oreochromis spp. are spread all over the planet> How will Marcos be breeding the African Cichlids? Perhaps in indoor tanks to start of with, but soon it will be outdoor ponds where escapes are inevitable every rainy season. <I would hope that there are safeguards in place to absolutely preclude escape... sterile triploids produced... all discharge water sterilized...> Please, please persuade Marcos to stick with Brazilian cichlids and fish. <A better idea for food culture for sure. I don't know what the end purpose of their culture was/is... thought perhaps it was scientific, or to produce ornamentals...> Please keep me informed. I look forward to your reply. <Be chatting my friend, fellow content provider. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia.com> Regards, Iggy Tavares

Subject: Re: I am Worried: looking for cichlid stock <Yikes, thanks for the follow-up. Bob Fenner> Dear Bob, I took your advice and forwarded my concerns to Professor Labbish Chao in the form of the e-mail that I originally sent to you. His reply is below and is very worrying. Is there anything we can do? Could you talk to Marco? Look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Iggy Tavares PhD ***************************************************************** Dear Dr. Tavares: Marco wrote me on August 28, 2003 looking for information and collaboration. He did not mention anything about African cichlid. I realized that he did not understand much of ornamental fish industry. The second letter, he asked me name of fish exporters. I thought he wanted to get into the business. Yours and Dr. Goldstein's inquiry have shown something irresponsible was cooking in Marco's plan. There are already Betta, guppy, Gouramis been cultivated in southern Brazil by small producers. Recently, a fish dealer released guppy in Barcelos, now we do not know how bad this is going to be after this flood season. WE MUST STOP THESE IRRESPONSIBLE ACTIVITIES! I have recently reject a research proposal to Brazilian CNPq (national research Council) on Betta culture in central Brazil state Minas Gerais. There are quite a few irresponsible entrepreneurs, fish culturists and agronomy scientists are doing this kind of exotic fish culture in Brazil, especially in southern Brazil, where native fish population are quite diminished. I agree with you, Bob should take a more active role to stop this kind of activities at the source, since Bob has many contacts in southern Brazil. There is another irresponsible person's name mentioned in Bob's letter, ---------- (Name removed by Iggy Tavares). IBAMA, the Brazilian regulatory agency is only tough on the paper. Most employees do not have knowledge or training in ecology (most are agronomy) and do not listen to expert opinions, not even talking about their inability to enforce their own regulations. Why tilapia, bighead carp, African catfish (Claris) are spread in southern Brazilian farms and water ways. All those have happened in last 10-15 years! Now ornamental fishes become hot, but the infrastructure and trade practices and rules will not make Brazilian breed African fish compatible in the international market. Those fishes will be spread among Brazilian hobbyists and eventually end up in some still good streams. I will do my best to condemn this kind of practice in the upcoming Brazilian Ichthyology Society meeting (Jan/2003) in São Paulo and also during the ASIH joint meeting (June/2003) in Manaus. Project Piaba team will stand to condemn exotic species farm in Brazil. Best Fishes. Labbish

Dear Friends, Our site, the MALAWI CICHLID HOMEPAGE has just been updated. You can visit www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com/aquarium/update.html to see whats new this month in our website. More than 40 new pages and tens of high quality photos have been added this month. Please sign our Guestbook which is located at the bottom of every page. We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. This feedback will help us to improve this site. In case you encounter problems with our new layout, we suggest you turn your letter size to small (option found in the view tab in your browser). The Authors Francesco, Frank and George George J. Reclos Ph.D. Pharmacist Immunologist Holargos (Athens) - Greece Tel. +30-1-6537307 & 6537357 Fax. +30-1-6548284 E-mail to reklos@otenet.gr Company website www.rddiagnostics.com Aquariums website www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com ICQ Number : 81322952 <Thanks George. Bob Fenner>

Tankmates for Red Empress What are the best species of cichlids to keep as tank mates with a red empress? Thanks.......... <its best not to mix many species of cichlids for their severe territorial nature. Many other fishes are much better... do browse the archives to find some large loaches, catfishes and fast shoaling fishes (Metynnis and the like) that will satisfy you. Best regards, Anthony>

Nuchal Hump (forehead) Hi, I have Flowerhorn fish (Cichlids) called Coronation Link. It's about 5 inch big and with a bit of hump on the forehead. How can I make its hump bigger? Is there any special food or things to do? Thanks <In my opinion this mutated fish variety is an abhoration and an insult to the beauty of life in the natural world. There is a serious difference between selective breeding (natural and imposed) for desirable traits of color and form, and then the atrocities done to fishes like the Flowerhorn that are bred to have deformities (tail-less and deformed faces/mouths, etc) that compromise the quality of the fishes lives. It is a dreadful deviation from the fundamental form of the natural fish. That said, in answer to your question... fatty foods and protein rich foods will support prominent head growth in natural and unnatural fishes, as the case may be. I would encourage you my friend not to buy such fishes or support it otherwise. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>

Re: Texas Cichlid Thank you for the reply, <You are welcome.> Question number two, I have a 50 gal/900L tank with two angels, two black tip sharks, two catfish, and planning to add more. I also had the Texas Cichlid in the same tank until I transferred him to the 39 gallon and the water in that tank is crystal clear. Now my 50 gallon tank is Plexiglas as my 39 gallon is glass. My 50 gallon has a slight "tannish" haze to the water. I did a 50 % water change and the pH is fine. <Before or after the water change? Yellow water usually means you need to increase the frequency or amounts of your water changes. Use of activated carbon also helps.> The only thing that I could think of is the filtration, it is a KOBUOTA dual filter. <I have no experience nor have I ever seen this model.> My 39 Gallon has a Penguin 125 BioWheel carbon filter which I think does a better job. Would you suggest that I switch the 50 gallon to two penguin 330's. <If you think they would work better, go for it. You would know better than I how your tanks operate.> I also have I think AquaFinn-pure-cure sorry about spelling, water filters the kind that pulls air in from the outside and has a control knob to increase or decrease the airflow in the water. <Again, unfortunately, I have no idea what this is.> Also what is a biological skimmer and do I need one for my tanks. <I am not sure what you are referring to. There are protein skimmers and biological filtration, but they are two different and distinct things. You can search www.WetWebMedia.com for more information on either.> And last why does it seem that my Texas Cichlid doesn't like light and it seems like he has no schedule for eating. He does not eat right away, is this normal. <Somewhat strange behavior for a cichlid. They are usually pigs and quite personable. It may be from stress from the move.> Waiting for your reply, Scott in Okinawa Japan <Good luck to you. -Steven Pro>

Dwarf Cichlids Dear Crew, This weekend we came home with another addition to our lovely 180 liter tank (planted, 6.5ph, v.v. soft water, no nitrates)...so we now have 2 female and 1 male Ram swimming around in the tank with our tetras, Corys and Otos. <A pleasant change of pace. We get so few freshwater questions. When done right, as your sounds, they are every bit a lovely as a reef tank.> We know that this is the right sort of habitat for these fish and read all that we could find on them first, but have been unable to find details about what they eat. The LFS recommended bloodworms 2 or 3 times a week along with the flake that the others get (supplemented with pellets for the Corys 2 or 3 times a week), so we duly purchased some, defrosted it, and threw half a cube into the tank, where it was promptly ignored by the Rams, the Corys (3 sterbai, 3 julii) and the freshwater shrimp went to town on it though. Is there anything else we should be doing for the Rams apart from good water quality? <Try some other food items; glassworms, blackworms, daphnia, and freshwater mysis shrimp.> Should we be feeding them more than the once a day, we do for the others? <Very small amounts, the more frequently the better, just no extra food laying on the bottom.> I thought I had done enough reading before I purchased them, but now anxiety kicks in, I want the best for them! Cheers, Nicola <Good luck to you! -Steven Pro>

Texas Cichlid Good Evening sir , <Good afternoon to you. Steven Pro here, part of the WWM question crew.> I have a Texas Cichlid and recently put him in a 39 gallon tank by himself. He was in a 50 gallon Community tank which he done well with the community fish. <I am guessing he killed or tormented the fish.> My questions are what would you suggest that I put in the tank with him as far as fish? <That is going to be hard. Perhaps some larger dither fish. Fish that are non-territorial, like Silver Dollars and Giant Danios, but a bit risky either way.> Secondly does the Texas Cichlid eat live plants. <Not sure if it will actually eat them, possibly, but will surely dig them up and otherwise destroy them.> These are cool fish they have an attitude all of their own and they seem like they know everything that is going on around them. <Agreed, many Cichlids are very personable.> Thank you very much and will be waiting for your reply. Scott in Okinawa Japan <You are welcome. -Steven Pro in Pittsburgh>

Filters and cichlids Hello again! More questions, this time fresh water African Cichlids. I have a 29 gallon tank set up with 7 different cichlids, about 1 1/2'" each. <Please be warned that if these are Malawi African Cichlids, they will soon begin killing one another until you have perhaps 4 fish, maybe fewer. They are highly aggressive, territorial and do not stop once they have beaten another fish into submission. They usually go ahead and polish them off. I never use Malawi Africans in anything less than 75 gallons.> I currently have a penguin 170 power filter and everything seems fine. I am going to change to a canister filter so as not to have to see the filter box on the back of the tank, as both the front and back of the tank are visible (I know a sump/wet-dry with drilled tank would be optimum, but the tank is in place and that stuff is expensive) So now I'm looking for a recommendation, Marineland magnum 350, Rena Filstar XP2 or Fluval 304? <Of these options, the Rena, but I would look at Eheims too.> Looking at the flow rates of each tells me buy the Magnum, more flow = more filtration, Right? <No, not necessarily.> But the other two have capacity to add more and different media. Is that something I'll need with this cichlid tank? <You will need to use a media able to support biological filtration.> Thanking you once again, Jack <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Freshwater Algae Difficulties Hi Bob Fenner, I have a 29 gallon hard alkaline cichlid tank with a brown slime "algae" I think, growing throughout it. I was wondering what it is and how if possible to alleviate it. <You can find a lot of information about controlling algae in freshwater tanks here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgcontrol.htm -Steven Pro>

Cichlid sexing, sex Bob Thanks. How do you identify a male or female cichlid? Never kept them before. Are they easy to breed? <A very large, diverse family... in most of the more than one thousand species, males are larger, as adults more colorful, with longer, pointed unpaired fins... Some species are regularly spawned, others more trying. Put the name "cichlid" in your search engines... and take a while to learn. Bob Fenner> Perry

CLEANING CRUSHED CORAL SUBSTRATE!!!! Dear Robert, <Steven Pro this evening.> I'm so glad I found your site. I hope you can help me with my new cichlid tank set up. Though I cleaned 40 lbs. of crushed coral the best I could, once it was in my tank with water (46 gallon) it still seems to be very dirty as the tank has been white and cloudy for a couple of days and each time I move around the substrate, it kicks up more and more white dust to cloud the tank. I have an Eheim canister filter attached #2217 and am using a powerclear power head #402 for water movement.. Is the clouding eventually going to go away? <Yes> Is it normal to have the substrate give off a white cloudy mix every time I move it around? <Very normal to have cloudiness with crushed coral.> Should I simply try not to disturb the crushed coral? <Eventually it will settle down, get trapped in your filters, and removed with water changes.> Thanks so much for your advice! Mitchell Wexler <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

RE: CLEANING CRUSHED CORAL SUBSTRATE!!!! Thanks so much.....really appreciate it!!!!! I can't seem to locate your website address.....please advise me so I can keep checking with it as I develop my cichlid tank. Thanks. Mitchell Wexler <www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Fish parents I recently had 2 jewel cichlids lay their first clutch of eggs. I was so proud. But sadly enough the next day the eggs were gone. I know it is somewhat "normal" for new parents to devour their first spawning(s) but how soon can I again expect to see eggs if I keep up with the same feeding and cleaning regimen?  <days to weeks...usually within 2-3 weeks if they are on cycle> I was going to ask earlier because I was due to make a water change but then saw the eggs, so I waited. But unfortunately did not have to wait long. Is it bad to make a water change right after eggs are laid?  <many theories...but I do think so> For future reference, and all. Thanks for always being quick to write back! <best of luck "grandpa". Anthony Calfo>

Please Help Me Decide Hello Anthony or Robert; <hello, again Peter. Anthony still here fielding queries while Bob refines his new found talent for burping Mozart> Continuing with the tank building mentioned below. The tank below has at the moment 4 Jewels and a Jack Dempsey, all under 4 inches that I put in to get the tank going and plan to sell back to the LFS before putting the Africans in the tank. The are all doing well. <excellent> You (Anthony) suggests adding 3 fish monthly to build the biological filter, however, I live on Martha's Vineyard and the LFS has no African cichlids to buy (the regular fish prices are up there though). <just as an aside... please moon Martha Stewart for me if you get a chance...and have a smiley face painted on your rump for comic relief> A trip off island to buy three fish once a month gets costly, ferry ride, one hour drive to store etc. I thought about getting fish from Armke's or another on-line place but the shipping seems the same for three fish or thirty. <I'm not thrilled about buying or recommending "sight-unseen" livestock purchases. Dry goods are another matter> Here's the dilemma, I found a place that has two 100 gallon African tanks that they are trying to stop carrying since the employee that knew Africans left and no one there knows much about them. <pathetic that some store owner's livelihood is so fragile that he would rather compromise his business than learn something new> In theory I could go there and really stock my tank in one trip and save a ton of money. However, there is the bio filter problem. <you will have to compromise with possibly daily water changes for a short while (perhaps 4 weeks) to compensate. It is not recommended, but possible with diligence if necessary> Question is could I put say a dozen 2-3 inch fish in the tank and expect to get them through the cycling phase?  <dependant on faithful frequent water changes and water testing> I have a Magnum 350 with 2 BioWheel 60. I was thinking of adding either a Filstar or a Super King for extra filtration anyway. <an extra canister filter or wet/dry would be better... consider a DIY wet/dry filter ... easy to build> If I were to do this what else would help? How much water change how often? Cycle? Extra Cycle? Filter Material from old tank? <save your money on the cycling additives, but do add a bit of seeded filter media> I'd really like to get the fish in bulk as long as I can keep them alive. I realize it would take lots of attention to the tank for a month or so but.... <agreed... you have your work cut out for you...Ahhh, the trials of a dedicated aquarist!> Thanks Again, Peter <very kind regards, Anthony>

How long should I wait? Hello and Good morning to whichever "fountain of knowledge" reads this- <Anthony Calfo... and this fountain is running at a trickle... which reminds me... I think I drank to much tea (back in a minute)> I was wondering if you could give me some guidance with a freshwater tank I have.  <yep, back already> Back in Nov. I wrote to Bob about my sick Albino Jack Dempsey. Here is part of that letter "... It started like 8 months ago when I notice what looked like something growing inside the tissue at the base of his dorsal fin and his tail fin. It looked to me like some kind of egg cases or something INSIDE his fins." Bob figured it was a trematode or nematode infestation (you can find the whole email here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neotropcichfaqs.htm)... <I would not argue with that... Bob has traveled extensively and really knows a lot about diseases...er, whatever> Well, the Dempsey didn't live much longer and the tank has been sitting "empty" for 5 or 6 weeks now. It is a 50 gallon tank and it is not "really" empty. There are many snails and 2 Kuhli (spelling?) loaches in there. (Somehow they have all survived some heavy medication) My question is how much longer should I wait before "restocking" the tank?  <alas... a moot point/question. The tank has not been kept "empty" without a viable host (you have the loach). Although the loach may not show symptoms, it can still be a carrier. Still... after four weeks you are pretty safe> Is there anything I should do to prevent whatever was affecting my Dempsey from affecting the future tank residents? I am hoping to re-stock the tank with a few Texas Cichlids.  <beautiful fish> Thank you for your time and knowledge! Ann <best of luck to you. Anthony Calfo>

I cant find out what type of cichlids I have.. Dear Sir, about a month ago I acquired two fish from a local pet shop, unfortunately I cannot remember what the salesman called them (it was in German anyway which never seems to help me). I have scoured the net trying to find out and the only results that I have I already new, Both fish have the same type of body and fins as a ram cichlid, however colouring is a bit of a harder area to define. When I bought them they were both black with mottled gray half stripes, since then the Female has turned almost gray with black half stripes (and beautiful rainbow fins) and the male is almost white with grey\ black half stripes. They both started to dig a hole under a corner rock about a week ago and were very industrious. the male is about 1.5 inches long and the female is about 1inch long. To my amazement I came back from work on Friday and they were escorting about 20 fry about the tank, forcing my very large silver catfish to adopt a new territory. I don't now gestation periods for cichlids, but this one was less than a week, can you help me identify please. Tozz <Not from this description. I suggest scanning the many "Cichlid" websites, taking a few digital photographs and sending them about... scouring fishbase.org once you think you have a lead on the scientific or common name. Bob Fenner>

Fresh water Question? Hi Bob, I just purchased a 135 gallon reef ready Aquarium with a Berlin protein skimmer.. I'm going to put my 2 Oscar's in there. Do I need a heater? <Mmm, yes to the heater... but Oscars as in South American Cichlids? They don't need a skimmer... or a reef-ready system> and do I also need air diffusers??? I'm kinda confused...From what I have been reading is the tank should be all set and I don't need the heater & Air.. Thanks for your help Carol in Wisconsin <Time to take many giant strides backward. Do get, read over a standard overall freshwater textbook on freshwater aquariums. Perhaps one of the Paul Loiselle "Tetra" books on South American Cichlids as well. References on the Freshwater Index of WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Cichlids Dear Mr. Fenner; My husband and I started a 29 gallon community tank about 6 months ago. It didn't take us long to get hooked - leading us to set up a small 10 gallon in our bedroom. We bought a pretty little fish in a petstore labeled as a semi-aggressive cichlid. OK. Well, we bought 2 of them and an algae-eater to start the 10 gallon tank. Needless to say, we quickly realized there is no "semi" in front of the aggressive - <Well-stated> only one cichlid remained after about 2 days of terror and the algae-eater spent more time hiding than anything else. I've spent a good deal of time on various fish web sites and have established that "Sam" (named after "Son of Sam") is a Melanochromis auratus. <Yikes... a mean fish from Malawi...> We have taken the algae-eater out of the tank and rearranged it with many caves and such. We considered seeing if our local fish store (not the petstore) would be interested in taking him because we aren't sure he'll be happy all by himself in a small 10 gallon tank. Requesting any advice/input you may have. <Well, this Mbuna could live okay by itself... but not a very exciting display for you... To place it with other livestock really calls for much larger surroundings... I would either trade "Sam" in and start again with smaller, more easygoing species, or seek out a fifty or so gallon system to mix that bad boy and other similar temperament animals in. Bob Fenner> Amy

Re: cichlids Dear Bob; Thanks so much for the speedy reply! I appreciate your input. I hesitated to write because hey, who wants to admit they made such a naive mistake? <Mmm, I make them... daily...> All future fish purchases will be made after a bit of research if we aren't entirely familiar with the species! <A reasoned approach> Sam is a really cool fish but my goodness, he is a feisty one! We just want to make sure he is happy while not killing and/or terrorizing anyone else. Doesn't seem like it should be too much to ask for. <Agreed> Thanks again for your reply. Amy <You are welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: ALL CAP'S and stocking cichlids and eels what's wrong with all capitol letters? is this better?  <Yes, thank you. Much easier to read... an aspect of "netiquette"... rules of polite society> im not shouting. ok. (lol) can I put a freshwater eel in a 55 gallon tank with a red devil and a green terror.? <Mmm, not really a good idea... "the" freshwater eels are too slow, blind to compete with such "go-getter" cichlids. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwmorayeels.htm Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Gregg

Crushed coral in freshwater? Hello Mr. Fenner, A friend of mine has been sold crushed coral for his 110gal. new freshwater setup. He plans on breeding some expensive African cichlids and was told by this shop owner that coral was the best way to raise his PH to over 8. <Mmm, one way, yes... depending on your water composition...> We live outside Houston and our PH is naturally around 7.5 to 7.8. <For what sorts, species of Africans? It might be worthwhile to investigate other components of your source water... Malawi, Tanganyikan, other large African bodies of water have, for instance, some differing salt compositions... worth augmenting in some cases... but a pH in the mid to upper sevens is great for (lazy folks) like me for "batch processing" large water changes for health, reproduction of these fishes...> I told my friend that coral in freshwater will decompose and eventually raise his ammonia level. I also told him that there was better & safer products to accomplish his goals, but I can't remember what they are called. <Hmm... well he can dedicate himself to very regular gravel vacuuming (weekly)... but/and many commercial breeders of these cichlids use no substrate at all... relying on the buffering (alkaline) capacity of the water, changes... to avoid the symptoms you list> Did I give my friend good advice? He is also considering seashells in his tank for his future shell-dwellers. His filter system is a wet/dry & Eheim canisters. Thank you very much for your time. Steve Tilotta <Much to chat about. Let's get more specific with what species he intends to produce, the number, size, shape of the systems... if they're to be tied together. Please have your friend contact me, or you relate these facts. Take a read through the Centralized and Flow-Through Filtration pieces: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cntfiltbiz.htm on our site. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid Site Update Dear Friends, Our site, the MALAWI CICHLID HOMEPAGE has just been updated. You can visit www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com/aquarium/update.html to see whats new this month in our website. More than 70 new pages and hundreds of high quality photos have been added this month. You are also welcomed to our new layout which we hope you will like. Please sign our Guestbook which is located at the bottom of every page. We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. This feedback will help us to improve this site. In case you encounter problems with our new layout, we suggest you turn your letter size to small (option found in the view tab in your browser). Finally, our Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. The Authors Francesco, Frank and George J. Reclos Ph.D. Pharmacist Immunologist Holargos (Athens) - Greece Aquariums website www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com <Very nice. Thank you George. Bob Fenner>

Dear Friends, Our site, the MALAWI CICHLID HOMEPAGE has just been updated. You can visit www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com/aquarium/update.html to see whats new this month in our website. More than 40 new pages and tens of high quality photos have been added this month. Please sign our Guestbook which is located at the bottom of every page. We are very interested in your comments and suggestions. This feedback will help us to improve this site. In case you encounter problems with our new layout, we suggest you turn your letter size to small (option found in the view tab in your browser). The Authors Francesco, Frank and George J. Reclos Ph.D. Pharmacist Immunologist Holargos (Athens) - Greece Tel. +30-1-6537307 & 6537357 Fax. +30-1-6548284 E-mail to reklos@otenet.gr Company website www.rddiagnostics.com Aquariums website www.MalawiCichlidHomepage.com ICQ Number : 81322952 <Thanks George. Bob Fenner>

New Cichlid Tank, Aquarist Hi, my name is Lee and I am just starting up a fish tank, and I want to have cichlids in it. I don't really know much but I do know that there are some cichlids that you can't mix together or they will kill each other.  <Indeed... you are right... this is one of the largest families of fishes... hundreds of species... some only an inch or so in length... others feet...> What is your suggestion for what kind of cichlids I should start with and what I should mix and not mix? <Do take your time here. Use your computers search engines... the family has many user groups, clubs, websites. My current scant coverage: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cichlids.htm Study my friend. What you learn, know will be commensurate with your enjoyment, success here. Bob Fenner> I am going to be using a 46 gal tank. Thanks for your help. Thanks, Lee

Please help!! (disoriented Parrot Cichlid) Dear Sir, One of my 5 year old red parrots has what I believe is swim bladder disease.  <Unfortunately, a too-common difficulty with this hybrid> For the past two weeks I have noticed that he stays near the surface upside-down. At first it was just occasional, he would swim down with the others and had a hearty appetite. Now he just stays at the top, its a struggle for him to swim down although he really tries. His belly is really swollen as well which just started about 3 days ago. I have tried giving him mashed peas as I read this might help, but he wont eat them (spits them out). He will go after fish flakes though. I just started him on some paragon II last night as I have also read that this might help. I'm at a real loss. Can you help with any suggestions? I would really appreciate it because I don't know what else to do. I don't want him to suffer. Thank you!! <Discontinue the Paragon, other medicine approaches here... they're likely more toxic than helpful. Do consider placing this specimen in shallower water and administering a small concentration of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to its water (about a teaspoon per ten gallons of system water) to facilitate muscle relaxation, possibly passing of material in its gut. Perhaps with time, weight loss over the next several days it will "right itself"... As stated this sport cross has an inherent tendency to "tip" due to its shape... Be on guard about how much, what types of foods you offer them... as fatty degeneration can greatly increase this "problem". Please write back if any of this is unclear or you desire more input. Bob Fenner, WetWebMedia>

Follow-up to "Please Help" email from 9/28 Dear Sir, I just found out that you were away (hope your trip went well!).  <Yes my friend, thank you. Very relaxing, beautiful, productive> In regard to my 5 year old red parrot with swim bladder problem and very swollen belly, I just wanted to give you some more info: This morning his belly was even more swollen that it looked as though he would explode. His anus was blocked by a clear membrane which I believe was the swim bladder which was causing the swelling. The only thing I could think of was that I needed to try to relieve this pressure. So I got a sterile syringe and as gently as I could, aspirated the membrane.  <A worthwhile effort.> Immediately, his belly went back to normal. There was no blood or fluid that came out, which I'm hoping is a good thing. He's still upside-down, but is now swimming and attempting to dive which he can do for a few seconds. His appetite is good. I don't know if what I did was bad or good. I just couldn't let him stay in that condition. I know he's "just a fish" but I am very sensitive when it comes to animals.  <As we should be> If he winds up dying, at least I know I tried. I'm still giving him the Paragon II for another 2 days and then I'll put him back in the main tank and see how it goes. Let me know what you think. Thanks again!! <Likely the swim-bladder will heal itself... and I am hopeful that your specimen may have changed body-make up wise to where the center of mass will allow it to stay aright. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Pelvivachromis I have a Pelvivachromis , I only know it's name from your site, before I called it a Karibinzi, or something like that, <Yes, Kribensis is still used for the common name of at least one member of this genus> any ways, I am thinking about re-doing my tank, I have a 30 gallon community tank for 3 years, and I have stayed FAR away from cichlids as I have herd they are highly aggressive. <Many of them are... but as you know, some smaller ones from Africa and South America are much more easygoing> However, as I have been in many pet stores I have seen that they are some of the most colorful fresh water fish around, so I would like to make my tank a good environment.  <Ah, good> I currently have 2 rummy nose tetras and two LARGE silver dollars, about 4 " vertically, so I am think about moving them out. But I don't know if a tank with more than one type of cichlid works, as I have heard horror stories of them killing each other. <Yes, you are wise here to investigate ahead of stocking> can you please give me some advice on what to buy and not buy, or even if it is a good idea at all. thank you. (please forgive the spelling) <No worries my friend. Your intent is clear. Much to state here re possible combinations. I encourage you to look into the many cichlid sites on the Internet, and to invest in one or more (your library may have these) of the "Fishkeeper Guides..." to Cichlid fishes that were done by Tetra Press. Mainly by Paul Loiselle as author. Do set upon a "central" species/theme for your system... as thirty gallons is a small world. Perhaps a pair of your Pelvivachromis, and some "matching" catfishes from Western Africa. You can use a powerful tool on the Net, Fishbase.org here to help you: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=7778ulcher Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Lindi Smith

Re: (cichlid) fish help Dear Robert. this is Lindi gain I just e-mail you a while ago, but looked around this site some more, these are the fish that I thought might be nice Apistogramma cacatuoides Apistogramma steindachneri Microgeophagus ramirezi Aulonocara Julidochromis ornatus I HAVE- Pelvivachromis pulcher I have also looked at Jack Demises, I have no clue how to spell the last name. <Like the famous heavyweight American boxer (commonly named in his honor) Jack Dempsey> well could you please tell me if they are compatible? <The first four above in your list can go together in a large enough system (like an individual per ten gallons), the Aulonocara genus really best kept with others of the same genus or other equally tempered Great Lakes of Africa Cichlids (but a thirty is too small for adults of this species), the Julidochromis best kept in a group by themselves... and the Dempseys too big as well... Bob Fenner> thank you so much Lindi Smith <Do listen to me when I caution you against using "just" the net as your source of learning here... even from yours truly... too easy to have only a "partial understanding"... and consequent trouble. Do seek out cichlid websites (put the name in your search engine and you'll be amazed), the books I suggested, and other general works on Cichlids. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cichlid i.d., Vitamins, Iodide/ine >>1 random cichlid [about the size of a convict] >I would like to figure out what this cichlid is. ><Oh yes: fishbase.org The family Cichlidae is quite large... maybe  >start >with Spilurum, the various re-do's of the genus Cichlasoma... and a  >very >large pot of tea/coffee (to stay up late). Have fun.> *Thank You*!! I may well find out what she is with this:) <<Yes... a long, but fun search>> ><The same causative mechanism/s exist in both marine and  >freshwater... >lack of essential nutrients> Can I overdose them on vitamins? <<Yes, this is possible... not practically though...>> ><There are prep.s that are made/labeled for fishes et al. aquatics,  >but >the compounds involved are the same as for tetrapods (like you and  >me), so >"baby vitamins" (liquids) will do... Do you mean that I can actually buy baby vitamins for human babies and use them?? <<Yes, the actual molecules are identical>> > or pet-fish ones like Micro-vit, Selcon... Add these to the food a  >few >minutes before offering.> Yesterday I bought something called Hex-a-Vital, and it is a vitamin product that specifies treatment for HLLE. I can see a difference in one of them, but the other still looks fairly nasty. <<This "curing process" takes weeks to months generally. Be patient>> In this product is A, D3, C, E, Calcium Phosphorous and Calcium Carbonate. There is no iodine. <<I would find a source and apply it. Lugol's Solution will do, potassium iodide would be better>> However, I know that table salt does have iodine in it. If I were to put a few teaspoons of table salt in there, would this be a bad thing or a good thing? <<Better than nothing>> I have always understood that iodine will kill fish, which is why one should use rock or aquarium salt. <<Hmm, much to say here... Iodine (the element) is indeed toxic... Iodide (same element, different valence state) is a way to supply this essential nutrient... not toxic in small concentrations>> ><Me too... do try the vitamins... they can/will effect a reversal at  >this >point. Bob Fenner> I can tell there is an improvement. You are a wonderful person, taking the time to work with me on this. Thank you so very much. cj. C.J. Moody <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cichlid i.d., Vitamins, Iodide/ine I am sure I am about to drive you crazy.... but.... <<Mostly there already, no worries>> >Do you mean that I can actually buy baby vitamins for human babies  >and use >them?? ><<Yes, the actual molecules are identical>> How do I know how much of this to give them? Should I treat the food with the same amount as listed for an infant? <<Hmm, a "few drops" total (irrespective of food amount, size of system) will be sufficient and no problem...>> >However, I know that table salt does have iodine in it. If I were to  >put a >few teaspoons of table salt in there, would this be a bad thing or a  >good >thing? ><<Better than nothing>> Sounds a bit ominous... Will track down some of the advised product:) <<Ah, good>> Thank you again:) cj. C.J. Moody <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Fish breeding (cichlids in a ten gallon!) Howdy, I have a 10 gal. tank with a Texas cichlid and a black convict (had a small Oscar in there too, but the other two got too territorial). They laid eggs about a week ago and now there are a bunch of fry. I was just curious on how to take care of them and what exactly I need to do to keep them alive. Thanks, Jay <Yikes... this is a very small size system for trying to keep these fishes... let alone breeding, rearing young. Cichlids of this sort are raised in one of two general ways, with or w/o their parents... in such a small system, I would move the parents out to another tank (they'll likely spawn again in a couple of weeks...). Feed the young a few times a day... dried foods, frozen/defrosted... most anything fed to fishes... in small pieces/bits (run in a blender or between your fingers... I would get/use a couple of sponge filters for inside the tank and be careful about changing the water as well... small amounts very often would be best (a piece of airline tubing to remove a gallon per day, replaced with pre-conditioned, stored water is best...). And do start searching for at least another tank to remove the larger of the juveniles to as they get bigger than their kin... as they can/will harm each other if greatly different in size. Take a look on the Net and bookshops... for the general Cichlid books by Paul Loiselle... for much more... and congratulations! Bob Fenner>

An African Cichlid i.d. what is the scientific name of the African cichlid? please respond to: snipped <Hmm, "the" African Cichlid? There are hundreds... Please look over the "Cichlids" section on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for the few posted there... and use your search engine with these descriptors in it for much, much more. Bob Fenner>

Feeding Cichlids Blackworms, my opinions (what else do I have?) Dear Mr. Fenner: Just curious, I have a 135g. freshwater tank with cichlids of various types, have been feeding them flakes, pellets, fresh veggies, and at nighttime live blackworms as a snack. I just read that you should not feed cichlids blackworms, what is your opinion on this? <There are incidences of positive correlation with their feeding, especially to Great Lakes African Cichlids... and disease/digestive problems... for non-Africans, occasional use, I would not worry> They seem to love them, and I only feed what they eat right away. None settle to bottom of tank. Have the blackworms for my elephant nose fish.  <The Mormyrids really enjoy these...> would appreciate your opinion on this matter. Sincerely, Shirley <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Re: Blackworms Thanks for your opinion on the blackworms, I will only give them to the cichlids on rare occasions now. Do you have any information on how to raise them myself? Thanks for all your help this this and past questions. Sincerely, Shirley <Blackworms? Yes... and must need write these "live fish foods" pieces up as articles and site: www.WetWebMedia.com material. Please do keep after me here... as will try to address the culture of these annelids in a month or so... Bob Fenner>

Kribs, Spawning... Dear Mr. Fenner, First and foremost, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for getting back to me so incredibly quickly. Needless to say, I've been spending my days (and nights) reading through just about the entire WetWebMedia website. What an unbelievably informative site - and eye-opener!  <Yes... a bunch to "do" with our interest... many lifetimes worth> Boy, I have still lots to learn before making that plunge and setting up my future saltwater tank, but in due time, with hopefully enough learned, I'll give it a my best shot. This time, however, I have a question about a freshwater fish, my absolute favorite fish of all freshwater fish - the Kribensis. I just recently (about 4 weeks ago) added a young male and female Krib to my already established tank (picture enclosed). Before placing them in the tank, I had manipulated to build them a cave. Within a few days they apparently bonded (???) and began to explore the cave. Within 2 weeks, they began defending their "honeymoon suite". After 3 weeks, the female laid LOTS of eggs, and both the male and the female guarded their nest site. (Sounds as if I'm talking about my parrot...lol) Sadly enough, 2 days later all eggs were gone. Now I wonder which of my fish (list will follow) could have been the culprit (Raphael Catfish is my 1st guess, even though he was fed especially well that night). In the meantime I have "camouflaged" their cave much more sufficient (hopefully), and have added more plants to the tank. Could it have been the Kribs' inexperience in guarding their nest/eggs? <Yes... Very likely this is THE explanation... new parents... happens very frequently.> Any help or input from would certainly be greatly appreciated. Inhabitants of this 29 gallon tank: 3 platies, 6 HUGE neons, 2 baby angelfish (they'll be moved once they get big enough to even think about tasting the neons), 2 Kribs, 1 Pleco, and 1 spotted Raphael. Again, Mr. Fenner, I am looking forward to hearing from you, your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Kindly, Wendy <A pleasure my friend. Do consider moving the Raphael... and your Kribs will likely be spawning again in a couple of weeks... and often regularly in the future. Bob Fenner>

Cichlid System Filtration We are looking at switching tanks, we have about 90 cichlids and they are continually reproducing, We are moving to a newly built house in which we will be putting tanks in the wall. What size do you think we need? 150 gallon or more. Maybe 2 150 gallons side by side. We have 7 feet to work with. <Hmm, the bigger the better... what species of cichlids?> What filtration should we use on this (these) tanks? <Large, vigorous... sump types would be best...> Can I use just a couple Eheim canister filters? <Yes> If we go with a drilled tank instead of the canisters, do we go with the corner overflows into the canisters? <Hmm, a plan... please see the "Filtration" sections for Marine Systems posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> Your suggestions would greatly be appreciated!!! Your book IS AWESOME!! Thank You Rocky Hawkins <Thank you my friends. Bob Fenner>

Water preparation Hello Bob. I am planning on setting up a discus tank some time in the not-too-distant future, and I wanted to ask you about water preparation for a discus tank. I live in the Los Angeles area, and we have very hard, high pH water. <I am with you here... live in San Diego with similar "liquid rock" tap> Discus, of course, want softer, lower (neutral) pH water. I have been trying to determine the best way to reduce the pH and hardness of our tap water, and I have encountered as many solutions as the number of sources I have investigated. I have heard things like "aging" water with peat moss to soften it and using chemicals like pH Stable to bring very low pH water to the appropriate level. What do you suggest? Thanks, Doug Fitzpatrick <Thanks for asking... of all concomitant circumstances there was just this sort of question in the most recent issue of AFM by Paul Loiselle re other cichlid fishes... he suggested picking species that more fit the local water conditions (!)... I suggest immediately (no stopping at "Go", no collecting "$200"...) investing in and using a reverse osmosis filter unit for your Discus, drinking and cooking water needs... and possibly just add some of your ordinary tap back to this... for a bit of mineral... Now, a whole bunch more to state here... Yes, where wild Symphysodon originate (in the wild) their water is exceedingly soft and acidic... but, thank goodness, the cultured varieties are "unnaturally selected" to tolerate much more domestic conditions... And, yes, tapwater can/could be variously treated with inorganic, and/or organic acids... directly or through addition, circulation through... peat... other materials... But do trust me here (after checking other people's opinions)... and do subscribe to TFH magazine or look through old copies for their "Discus" guru's monthly administrations... as well as the several excellent books on their care available nowadays.  Bob Fenner, who really needs to get more "cichlid" pieces on www.WetWebMedia.com, and thanks you for the prompting>

Help with new aquarium (African Cichlids) Hi Robert, I just acquired a 135 gal. tank, that I want to have African Cichlids in.  <How nice!> I have several questions that I hope you can help me with. 1) What is the best aquascape for this type of fish? <Hmm... actually there are a few types... of a few Lakes... my fave for a first out would likely be a rocky shore... but do yourself a giant favor and look into some of the neat small books on these fishes... Available through... Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble...> I was thinking of making 1/3 rocks, a 1/3 open, and the last 1/3 plants with a sand and pebble floor. Would that be ok?  <With some planning, yes... much to say here... Best to set upon a plan to keep the sorts of livestock you like best... investigate the water quality, types of environments they live in/prefer, then match your system to their needs/preferences... as you will soon know.> 2) Also, would a freshwater ray survive with the cichlids?  <Not really... these are all from parts of South America... enjoy soft acidic waters for the most part... not the same sort of thing you will find for your cichlids> 3) I have elephant nose fish also, and I was wandering if this tank is big enough to house them also, without fear of the cichlids fighting with them. If not I will need them in their own tank. I want to set this tank up the right way, the first time around, so I really appreciate any and all information you can give me. Thanks in advance. Sincerely, Shirley <Not to seem too negative hopefully, but your Elephant Nose will be much happier in its own quarters... with more peaceful, less competitive-eaters than your new cichlid tank... Bob Fenner>

Fish breeding (FW) and hashing Hi mister Fenner you might know my dad Mr. Mcglynn he's a hasher they call him Suishu  <Which part of the planet? Do travel, run with a bunch of the groups year in/out...> well I also have a question on fish how long dose it take for a angle fish and fruit salad tetras to mate? <Angels can get to mating size, condition in four-six months... Don't know what types of Tetras these are (maybe Hyphessobrycon sp. of some sort), but about the same time frame with good care... The two together? Never!> Thank you. <Sure, On Out, Bob Fenner/Dogfish>

Julidochromis Hi Bob, First I would like to say I enjoy this site a great deal and have learned many things from it. I was reading through the section on African cichlids and noticed that the fish identified as Julidochromis regani seems to me to be a Julidochromis marlieri. Just thought I would point this out. Thanks again for your great site. Steve <Thanks so much for the acknowledgement and correction (one of a few... misidentifications). Bob Fenner>

Jailed for theft of prize-winning fish (Discus) This message was forwarded to you from STI  (http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg) by perry@creationstreet.com.sg  Comments from sender:  The crazy things Singaporeans will do for tropical fishes  Jailed for theft of prize-winning fish  by Wong Fei Wan  TWO men stole 12 prize-winning ornamental Discus fish worth about $120,000  on display in a shopping mall - but got cold feet the next day and threw  them into a rubbish bin.  Soh Han Seong, 24, and his 29-year-old accomplice threw away the fish  because they were worried they might be caught with the evidence.  A district court yesterday sentenced Soh to 12 months in jail after he  admitted stealing the fish on Jan 12. p> His accomplice's case will be  mentioned again on Feb 14. p> The fish were on display in a competition at  the atrium of Tanglin Shopping Mall.  On Jan 12, at about 6.30 am, a security officer who was on his way to the  basement of the mall walked past the atrium and noticed that the floor was  wet.  But he did not take note of the fish in the tanks.  Later, he was informed by his colleague that there were some problems at  the auto-pay station at the basement and went there to help. When he  arrived there, he saw Soh and his accomplice driving up the car park exit  ramp.  A woman passenger was with them. He managed to take down the registration  number of the Honda Civic before they sped off.  Earlier, another security officer, through the closed-circuit TV camera,  had spotted the two men and the woman in the atrium.  When he approached them to ask if they were in charge of the exhibition,  one of the men nodded.  The theft of the fish was discovered at 10.45 am the same day. Through the  car registration number, police arrested Soh.  He admitted stealing the fish, a net and a plastic bag.  In mitigation, Soh's counsel said his client committed the offence on the  spur of the moment when he succumbed to greed and temptation.  But the police prosecutor said the offence was planned because the they had  driven to the mall.  He asked for a deterrent sentence.  Soh could have been jailed for up to three years and fined.  <Thanks for this Perry... have heard of other "pet-fish napping" episodes before... Bob Fenner, see you at Aquarama, maybe diving in the Gilis ahead later this year?>

Cichlids Dear Bob,  Hi, my name is Melissa Jenzen. In my Science class, we have a fresh water tank with African cichlids, and I have to do a report about them and there habitat. Could you tell me about their breeding. How and when can you tell is the right time to milk the female? I'm not sure what kind they are but the males are a dark black and blue, and the females are a off white pinkish color. They all have two dots on their bottom fins and they also have white strips along their bodies. thank you Melissa Jenzen >> <Hmm, wish I could... in an expedient manner... Do have a very long list of great topics to roll out in text and images... and the Africans deserve tomes of their own... Really interesting behaviorally, and many are outright gorgeous. But it would take too long to relate well what you're looking for here. Please do look for the name Paul Loiselle and his many fine short works on African Cichlids (particularly the ones through Tetra Press)... these should be available in larger libraries, or Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online... Bob Fenner>

African Cichlids Hello Bob, I'm writing with the hope that you might be able to give me some tips regarding the care of African cichlids. I have a lot of experience with freshwater tropical fish (rainbow fishes in particular), and was just wondering if you could highlight the differences in the care of Africans. I know that the pH needs to be higher, so my main concern deals with filtration. Will a simple bio-wheel type filter be enough filtration, or is a more complex, saltwater-like set up required (skimmer, etc.)? Do you have any recommendations of reading material? Thanks, Dan >> <Hmm, well there are a few "groupings" of African Cichlids (Lakes Tanganyika, Malawi, popular riverines like Pelvivachromis...) and exponents of modifying water chemistry, substrates for each... I would definitely read up, as you're interested in being successful.... at this point, the small book, "A Fishwatcher's Guide to African Cichlids", by Paul Loiselle (Tetra Press), would be an ideal yes/no book... a definitive introduction to what you're up to. Bob Fenner, who says, look for this title on line.> 

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