Funny Not really funny - mbuna male cichlid became tank terror out of the blue

ikolbyi

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Not sure what happened here but a 10+ year established planted 55 gallon tank with 5 cichlids, 7 Columbian Tetra's, 8 loaches, 3 dwarf Petricola Catfish and rubbernose + emperior pleco - the mbuna male chiclid which was 2+ years old went insane. It attacked every fish in the tank (which is odd behavior for being well behaved for over 2 years) and started tearing tails off the other chiclids. The only fish he didn't mess with was the Giraffe cichlid which was twice his size. This mbuna even went after the plecos. I had enough so I took him out of the tank and rearranged it slightly. Then the Electric Blue cichlid which was 24x7 bullied and chased by that mbuna had the same behavior. Out he goes. Both fish in a bucket for 48 hours, then I put them back in. Life was fine for about 2 hours and the 2 went at it again and terrorized the tank. One of the Columbian's died as a result.

Took both fish out and tank was peaceful. The remaining 3 cichlids get along great. I went to the store to have those 2 cichlids find a new home and purchased 1 Columbian tetra to bring the school back up to 7 and 3 spotted silver dollars. The silver dollars are schooling with the tetras. I didn't expect that.
 

Demeter

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Sorry to hear things when south so fast. This is the main reason why it is not recommended to keep African cichlids in a community setting. They just don’t play nice and if not kept in a proper setting they can go crazy within a day. It’s possible one of the other cichlids is a female ready to spawn which is often when I see the most chasing in my 55gal. Males in their prime can suddenly start behaving vastly different at any time too. Live and learn I suppose.

It is always best to keep Africans only with other Africans and fairly overstocked to spread aggression. In a 55gal about 15 small-medium Africans do just fine usually.
 
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ikolbyi

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24 hours later: the Yellow Cichlid hids all day and night in a cave, does not come out. The Giraffe Cichlid and the other Cichlid have been listening to Barry White music and established a spawning area in back corner of tank.

Those two Cichlids are inseparable and constantly on each other.
 

MacZ

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I'm confused about how this collection even came to be, I think you might want to think about a stocking reshuffle. While the other fish should work excellent, your choice of cichlids seems... odd?

Otherwise d'accord with Demeter
 
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ikolbyi

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Odd, but it worked just fine for 2 years with no changes to the tank. The cichlids are fully grown and tank was repetitively peaceful, then the 1 turned against 2 other cichlids and tore the tail off one of them. The Tetra's (except for the one being in the wrong spot at the wrong time), loaches, catfishes are all fine. The Pleco's ... not sure why the cichlid went after both of them.
 

Demeter

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Plecos take up the same living space as mbuna so if the fish that went nuts was an mbuna it’s not surprise the plecos got a beating. I used to keep a big BN pleco with my cichlids, now he’s with the less harmful Africans, shell dwellers.

Sounds to be as I suspected though, spawning madness. Once the female is done laying she’ll be chased off by the male too. Such is the way of mouth brooding Africans.

I strongly advise restocking your “community” to prevent similar issues in the future.
 

MacZ

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ikolbyi said:
Odd, but it worked just fine for 2 years with no changes to the tank.
Awesome it did that long at all. Did you get the cichlids as juveniles?
 

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