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  1. Update... I’ve made it another 9 days without a death/murder. 16 days total. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I was losing fish at least once a week for a month or more, 16 days is HUGE 😃 There was a close call though... Last Sunday, I found one of my larger cichlids had the crap beat out of him. Fins are in sad shape, but I was able to separate him within the main tank and am treating with melafix. Unfortunately, I don’t have a hospital tank or other meds right now and need to figure that out, but this seems to be helping. He’s looking better, eats really well, and seems to like being spoiled. Everyone else seems happy and healthy and I have not seen any more signs of aggression on/from anyone else. I’m hoping I’ve FINALLY turned the corner and they will all continue to get along.
  2. I didn’t think of it that way... Maybe I’ll learn to embrace it! 😊 It isn’t affecting my water clarity and all my water parameters are good. The plants just “look dirty” at the top
  3. Thanks! Honestly, I was hoping there was some simple, less laborious, method. 😕 I like the look of the plants I have, but keeping them clean is going to be a chore. Is there any harm in NOT cleaning them? Other than that I don’t like how it looks?
  4. My artificial plants are starting to get a bit of brownish algae on them, especially towards to top. What is the safest, most efficient, way to clean them?
  5. Big WIN this week! I know Wednesday isn’t over yet, but this is the first Wednesday in a month that I haven’t lost a fish. YAY! Keeping my fingers crossed 🤞
  6. I’m new to fish keeping and am struggling with my African cichlid tank. I’m not the person to give advice. However, for cleaning, I do love my mag-float. I’d think it would work in a rounded tank if you got a small one. Maybe not?
  7. I used this product to help support my rock structures. I only used tiny (smaller the pea sized) sized pieces at a few of the contact points between rocks so that, assuming I’m careful and use a little muscle, I can break them apart and rebuild. I use it more for “insurance” that what I stacked/wedged/ balanced together stays put. Not all of them are stuck together with epoxy, but that way I can still rearrange some whenever I want.
  8. @Melissa Ann I’ve thought about this, too, but didn’t really think it was a viable option. It might be the next move. 🤔 Fight it out, see who survives, then regroup and move forward from there. I’m going to sit tight for now. I rearranged some last water change and don’t want to cause more stress by doing it too often. I’m also considering keeping my population lower. It goes against the “norm” of overstocking cichlids, but I’ve seen some info to support it. To me, if it keeps what I have alive, who cares what the norm is.
  9. @Melissa Ann It is definitely under consideration now. I’m learning that this can be done, but is more difficult than I was led to believe... even for more experienced people. The crazy thing is, even with the frustrations over this one, I’m already dreaming of a bigger, better, setup when I can afford it.
  10. I feel like I’ve tried this and that pretty soon I won’t have room for water 😉, but I guess it can’t make things worse. I’ve haven’t tried the idea of creating different levels using PVC while still essentially covering the bottom. I’ll keep that in mind. Any tips for easier cleaning with a rock covered bottom? I felt like I was rearranging everything each time I did a water change because I couldn’t get the vacuum into the sand unless I moved the rocks. That’s part of why I went back to more vertical formations that had a smaller footprint in the sand. I could clean around them during my weekly maintenance and only deal with getting directly in/around them when I wanted to move them.
  11. Thanks for the advice. I love the little yellow labs that I already have. They are always very active and cheerful. I googled the rusty and the cobalt blue zebra that you suggested and love the look of them. They would definitely add the bright colors that I’m after. I want activity and a variety color, which is a large part of why I went with cichlids in the first place. I’ve seen Tazawa Tanks videos - that’s where I got the ideas to seperate my bully for a while via a bucket, etc. I’ll check out the other guy. Right now my goal is just not to overreact to each death. I obviously need to figure this out, but I realize I might be causing them stress by trying so hard to fix it. You know how they say that dogs can feel their owners feelings? Maybe my stress over them dying is part of what’s killing them?
  12. I appreciate your advice, agree, and have done all you recommend, more than once. I’ve rearranged, I’ve put the dominant one(s) in “time out” in a separate bucket for hours at a time to give the others time to get familiar. I’ve even kept the bully separate (via a basket divider, I don’t have another aquarium) for 10-14 days. I’ve also totally removed 2 fish (2 separate occurrences as described in my original post) in an effort to stop the deaths. Here’s a photo of one of the rock formations I’ve put together. This one is about 6-7 rocks stacked to create lots of caves, etc. The rocks themselves also have nooks/hollows. I’ve tried tall formations with some plants in the open space and I’ve tried low and wide so pretty much the whole floor has rocks/caves with more open water above, but still used the taller plants to have some visual interruption towards the top half. This was taken a couple months ago when “fully stocked” with the 16-20 I was advised to keep, but I’ve still consistently lost fish since then.
  13. 40 gallon. Currently have 1 Mbuna, 3 labs, 3 blue dolphins, and 5 peacocks. All are small now. I’ve tried others... demasoni, Livingstoni, venustus, and a couple others that I can’t recall. All died. Based on what I’ve seen and learned about bullied fish, Most I consider as murdered All from the same store
  14. I’m new to using forums and posted this last evening, but realized today it ended up as a reply to another topic... still learning more than just fish keeping 🤷🏻‍♀️ I have a “new” African cichlid tank... set up in August. I’m new to the hobby, but felt like I got thru the initial cycling, etc without getting too frustrated. I expected some fish loss as I learned, But... I’m thinking of throwing in the towel. Somewhere along the line I guess I ended up with a bully. After a large handful of obvious and/or suspected murders, I pulled the killer and replaced the lost fish. The “bully cycle” started again shortly after. More observation led me to believe I may have traded out the wrong fish. I put the new “problem fish” into a basket rigged into the aquarium for a couple of weeks as I decided how to proceed. Still lost 1, maybe 2, during that time but thought I’d see it the “time out” helped. I released that fish and the murders picked up again, so now he’s gone, too. Unfortunately, I’ve lost 2 more since then. One might have been a freak accident due to a falling rock and getting stuck between decor and the glass, but the other was completely out of the blue today. Water tests always come out good. No signs of health issues... the one that I found dead today seemed perfectly happy this morning. He’s my 3rd death in exactly 3 weeks... I was advised to keep 16-20 fish in my aquarium. I’m now down to 12, but I’m hesitant to buy more since, overall, I’ve lost more fish than I’d like to admit. Partially from the learning curve, partially from whatever is killing them. Any ideas? Or should I have thrown in the towel a long time ago? I’d like to keep it going, but not if I’m going to go broke replacing dead fish. It’s not like these are 50 cents a piece
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