electric yellow cichlid turned black and swimming erratically.. HELP! Important

  1. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member



    We have a 10 gallon tank 3 electric yellow cichlids and 2 blue cichlids. About 3 days ago we noticed one of the yellow chichlids turning grayish-brownish-black and getting something like zebra stripes, and a black ring around his eyes. We looked it up online and it said that he was just growing and showing dark colors because he was a male. But then he started swimming erratically too. We looked that up online and then saw that he might have swim bladder. So we quarantined him and fed him peas and nothing else, according to what we read online for how to treat swimbladder disease. He had what seemed to be an equilibrium problem which would equate with the symptoms of swimbladder. So this has been going on for about 4 days now and he is no better. He never ate the peas and his color stayed the same. This is a photo that we took next to one of our other cichlids, which you can see looks normal. This was to show the difference in the two fish. There is obviously something wrong with him.

    Finally we have taken the water to get tested at the local pet store and they say the water is normal.
    Can anyone give us any answers? Help us out with what he has and what to do?

  2. platy ben Well Known Member Member

    Wait, 5 African cichlids in a 10 Gallon, I think thats the root of the problem, African cichlids need to be kept in large numbers in a tank of atleast 55 Gallons for a happy group. Its probably aggresion issues in such a small tank and your fish is likely stressed out and/or bullied, sorry I cant give you any better news :(.

    Welcome to fishlore :)
  3. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member

    We had 2 in there.. one yellow and one blue.. the blue one was bullying the yellow one badly. So I called the pet store, they suggested i get odd numbers and I asked about having that many in there. They are less than an inch right now. So that is why we ended up getting 3 and 2. The others seem fine.
  4. platy ben Well Known Member Member

    They wont be fine for long im afraid. You shoudn't trust your pet store as they are very wrong, those fish really should have atleast a 30 Gallon tank.
  5. Lucy Moderator Moderator Member

    Hi welcome to Fishlore!
    If you could fill in your aquarium info (found under My Settings at the top left) it wouyld help the members hlp you.
  6. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member

    Thank you for your reply and information. I'm sure we can take some of them back if we need to. We don't have plans to get a bigger tank until April. So how many should we have in there? And why are his eyes turning black? How can that be from bullying?
  7. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    Platy Ben is correct. Your LFS gave you some incorrect information. I have two Malawi tanks. One is a 75g with close to 25 fish and the other is a 55g growing out 10-15 babies.

    I wish we could give you better news. The best thing for the fish at this point would be to either return them to the store or get a 55g and increase your african cichlid numbers. If you choose to upgrade to a 55g, we'll be happy to help you stock it correctly.
  8. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member

    Thanks everyone. So how many should we have in there? 2... 3 at the most? and should they be the same color? Does that affect the bullying?
    Also is this guy toast or is the quarantining going to help him?
    Thanks again for all your replies!!
  9. platy ben Well Known Member Member

    You shouldn't have any african cichlids in a 10G im afraid :(
    His eyes are black from stress, caused by bullying.
  10. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member

    Thanks Platy!
    Of course this is NOT what the fish store told us.. they originally told us 2-3 and then after we got 2 and the bulling occurred they told us 1 inch for every 2 gallons and to keep them in odd numbers.
    SO, what kind of fish should we keep in a 10 gallon?
  11. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    Welcome to Fishlore, Tunisiano.
    I don't know anything about cichlids, but in general, fish can change appearance and/or behavior from being stressed. Sometimes, a particular fish can feel stress even if others are not displaying the same behavior. Stress can be caused by being in a tank that has not gone through the nitrogen cycle, being in an overcrowded tank, being in a tank with aggressive tankmates, being in a tank that is too small, etc.

    It seems like your best bet might be to return the cichlids and have a tropical community tank until you are able to upgrade in April.

    Good luck. :)
  12. platy ben Well Known Member Member

    A single betta
    A few tetras, guppys or platys.
  13. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    Fish stores don't usually offer very sound advice. Once in a while, you'll find a gem where people know what they are talking about, but usually, they haven't got a clue, or they just want to make money.

    I would suggest always researching online before purchasing any fish. This website was a great resource for me in setting up my tank. The people here won't steer you wrong, and don't make any money giving you advice. ;D
  14. Tunisiano32 Initiate Member

    Thanks everyone! This has been a great help! We will be making some changes soon. Feeling sorry for the fish now :(

    Happy New Year everyone!