New Firemouth Seems Overly Stressed In Qt - Any Chance You Know Its Gender?

Jenoli42
  • #1
HI team,

So, we built our own custom made QT tank divider so that we could QT our new EBJD and Firemouth juveniles at the same time to add them to their 250L home tank at the same time...on the basis that just might reduce territorial aggression when they're added to their home tank in 28 days.

Our EBJD has been in QT since Saturday, our Firemouth was added last night.

(Side note: the EBJD was not impressed when the divider went up. He's been used to the 65L QT all to himself and some snails and suckers. He's got some great personality...and he may want to eat the firemouth.)

The Firemouths arrived at our LFS yesterday via plane and then were eventually acclimated to the LFS tanks. They'd been in there a couple hours when I stopped by (I got first pick of the 6 because my LFS HoD AJBrown rulz). They were huddled in the back corner with stress colour stripes quite prominent. They ate a few bloodworms tentatively but the new Jewels in the LFS tank next to them were freaking them out.

My 17yo daughter wants a male Firemouth. I have now learned that sexing this particular cichlid is nigh impossible, right? So we tried to net the most colourful of the bunch. Net goes in, they instantly scatter and go pale. So, who knows if I have a male or not. sigh.

I acclimated our firemouth to the QT for about 2 hours last night using the bag method, adding tank water every 10 -15 mins. the LFS pH is 7.6 and our tank pH is 7.4 so it's pretty close. temp 24-24.5*C. added stress coat to the QT, too. here's the poor thing acclimating in his bag:

firemouth bag.jpg

the QT divider is clear. this morning, the firemouth was hiding in the vase and came up once looking a bit better until it saw the EBJD swim up to the divider, and then it fled back into hiding.

anything I can do to help de-stress this fish? I realise you're all probably going to say "give it time" which is fine. but other tips for these fish would be welcome because we're new to keeping cichlids.

also, any guru who *could* tell me if we got a male or female would be greatly appreciated, but i've talked the threads on this forum enough to know you're going to tell me "fat chance"

Here's the best I could get this morning:

firemouth 1st morning A.jpg

firemouth B.jpg
 
TexasDomer
  • #2
What size is he? He's likely too young to accurately sex.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
What size is he? He's likely too young to accurately sex.

Tiny. like an inch to 1.5 inches max? looks slightly smaller than our EBJD, but they could be the same size and the firemouth is fooling me because it's not flaring or swimming around confidently.
 
TexasDomer
  • #4
Definitely too small to accurately sex then.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Definitely too small to accurately sex then.

Yeah, I knew you'd say that.... thanks anyway though! Do you think I can do anything to make it more comfy (& colour up) other than giving it hiding spots, leaving the lights off, and offering food?

it did investigate the frozen cichlid food last night but then left it alone and seemed to sniff the omega one sinking cichlid pellets...but i'm not convinced i've seen it eat.

the EBJD was immediately swimming all over the tank once we added it Saturday. This guy went straight to the bottom and appears to kinda rest there. I know I acclimated it for long enough (the pH difference was only .2 and I added enough tank water to increase the volume in the bag by double-and-a-half) and it didn't go pale or gasp. just hid at the bottom.
 
TexasDomer
  • #6
If you're doing those things, I think you're doing the most you can!
 
Galathiel
  • #7
If the divider is clear as you say, sometimes placing artificial plants along both sides of the divider can cut down line of sight and may help the stressed fish a bit.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
If the divider is clear as you say, sometimes placing artificial plants along both sides of the divider can cut down line of sight and may help the stressed fish a bit.

Yay, I did think about doing that but my partner said "aren't you meant to keep QTs pretty empty?" I explained that has to do with substrate and other material that can host parasites. So I will definitely line up some of the fake plants now! thank you.
 
AJBrown
  • #9
I found you!
I was doing some reading and apparently even as adults it’s quite hard to gender them.
Some people have said that as they mature, their personalities can be a give away on what gender they are.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
I found you!
I was doing some reading and apparently even as adults it’s quite hard to gender them.
Some people have said that as they mature, their personalities can be a give away on what gender they are.

YAY! it's about time !

yeah I read the same. I'm bringing tiana into the store tomorrow to figure out if she wants the one we have or another of the school. she's just gonna hafta pick based on personality now & honestly we don't mind which gender if she's happy.

she's already named it. "Luci" - short for Lucifer lolz! perfect for a firemouth.

btw it was coming out a bit tonight!
 
AJBrown
  • #11
YAY! it's about time !

yeah I read the same. I'm bringing tiana into the store tomorrow to figure out if she wants the one we have or another of the school. she's just gonna hafta pick based on personality now & honestly we don't mind which gender if she's happy.

she's already named it. "Luci" - short for Lucifer lolz! perfect for a firemouth.

btw it was coming out a bit tonight!

I saw you today as I walked to work, you were just coming out of the drive way at work.

And yeah if she picks it then she will be happy.
All firemouths still there as of yesterday so she’ll have a selection, still swimming as a group so am going to swap the jewel cichlids for the male dwarf gouramis ☺️
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
I saw you today as I walked to work, you were just coming out of the drive way at work.

And yeah if she picks it then she will be happy.
All firemouths still there as of yesterday so she’ll have a selection, still swimming as a group so am going to swap the jewel cichlids for the male dwarf gouramis ☺️

yeah I went in twice today to stalk them lolz. was convinced I knew which one this morning only to be unsure again this arvo. so I decided she gets to make the call. sorted #ParentHack
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
UPDATE: we now have 2 Firemouths in the QT and we're having troubles deciding. We have the first one, which is smaller and the new one which is quite a bit larger (like more than I thought looking at our LFS).

so now we're having a debate at home. my step daughter wants to keep the larger one. the larger one chases the smaller one around the tank at feeding time and it's significantly bigger than the baby EBJD. it's also as big as our largest odessas in the DT it will go to. she wants to keep it because she reckons it has better personality.

my partner (and i) are slightly concerned that it will be *too* aggressive in the DT with both the odessa barbs and the EBJD.

there are a few options we have:

A. keep the bigger one, feed it about half of what we feed the EBJD so the EBJD grows faster and we can add them to the DT at the same time at about the same size.

B. keep the smaller one and look at my daughters wistful face every time she feeds it or looks at it

C. keep the bigger one and take our chances feeding normally.

PS: we still don't know if either one is male or female. we *think* the bigger one might be male because it's redder underneath and might have more of a pointy flare on the dorsal back fin? but they're really young so who knows....

PPS: the interesting thing is that the smaller one was more aggressive with the bigger one for the first 24 hours together in the QT. Big didn't really react when Small would nudge Big with its nose/mouth. might have been mating behaviour but I have no idea and they are very young. However, when Big started chasing Small, Small does swim away and hide.
 
TexasDomer
  • #14
UPDATE: we now have 2 Firemouths in the QT and we're having troubles deciding. We have the first one, which is smaller and the new one which is quite a bit larger (like more than I thought looking at our LFS).

so now we're having a debate at home. my step daughter wants to keep the larger one. the larger one chases the smaller one around the tank at feeding time and it's significantly bigger than the baby EBJD. it's also as big as our largest odessas in the DT it will go to. she wants to keep it because she reckons it has better personality.

my partner (and i) are slightly concerned that it will be *too* aggressive in the DT with both the odessa barbs and the EBJD.

there are a few options we have:

A. keep the bigger one, feed it about half of what we feed the EBJD so the EBJD grows faster and we can add them to the DT at the same time at about the same size.

B. keep the smaller one and look at my daughters wistful face every time she feeds it or looks at it

C. keep the bigger one and take our chances feeding normally.

PS: we still don't know if either one is male or female. we *think* the bigger one might be male because it's redder underneath and might have more of a pointy flare on the dorsal back fin? but they're really young so who knows....

PPS: the interesting thing is that the smaller one was more aggressive with the bigger one for the first 24 hours together in the QT. Big didn't really react when Small would nudge Big with its nose/mouth. might have been mating behaviour but I have no idea and they are very young. However, when Big started chasing Small, Small does swim away and hide.

Don't restrict feedings so he won't grow as fast. That is cruel to the fish. If you're that concerned about size, go with the smaller one.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Don't restrict feedings so he won't grow as fast. That is cruel to the fish. If you're that concerned about size, go with the smaller one.

Yep, fair enough! It was kind of about the amount or frequency rather than fasting the poor thing. Like give it half of the frozen cichlid food that the EBJD gets, but still offer the same amount of cichlid pellets. But I take your point.

Mostly because the two species are constantly looking at what gets fed across the divider to the other! The Big one didn't see the portion of frozen food we put right next to it because it was too busy watching the frozen food we'd just given the EBJD. smh.
 

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