Swimming At Top Of Tank

  1. A

    Aqfishing New Member Member

    i have 15 Malawi African cichlids, mostly haps with a few mbunas and peacocks, in a 60 gal tank with eco complete cichlid white sand substrate. I set up the tank about 5 weeks ago and slowly added a few fish at a time, most recently 10 days ago. The water parameters are all 0 ppm on amonia, nitrate and nitrite and the ph is about 8.0. Water temp is 82 degrees. Since yesterday most of the fish are hanging at the top with a few pointing their nose upward. The tank goes through periods of clarity and some slight murkiness. I did the most recent water change yesterday @ 25%. Should I do a larger water change? Seems my parameters are ok right now. Any thoughts on what it could be?
     
  2. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    With 15 African Cichlids in a 60, there’s no way your nitrates are 0, and they shouldn’t be. What test kit are you using? Strips? Usually this indicates stress, and it can be caused by many things. Unstable temperatures, poor water quality, etc. With your current stock, you should be doing 50% changes once a week. What kind of filter do you have?
     
  3. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    I have about 15 in a 110g and they are messy beasts. Lol.
     
  4. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    Also make sure there's adequate flow and aeration. I always have water splashing into my tanks
     
  5. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    I am using the api freshwater master test kit. I have two 70gal fluval power filters (I wanted extra filtration). I also just saw that two of my haps have what looks like sand on their bodies but the rest of the fish look fine. I do notice some flashing but not too extreme. I’ve had ich once before in my other tank (non-cichlid) and it doesn’t look quite the same. The spots aren’t as big and the fish literally looks dusty. I read it could possibly be flukes? B7BAC75C-5613-4E89-BC4C-2027DFF24FB5.jpeg 64F80266-F54E-4E8B-ADB4-EAEF085BDDC7.jpeg Here’s a pic.
     
  6. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogToo Well Known Member Member

    Bigger water changes are always better. When a fish hangs near the top, pointing upwards, it's often a sign they do not like their water or something in it. 25% is not enough of a water change to affect water chemistry, so if that's all you change, you aren't making the water any better for your fish.

    This video really opened up my eyes. Imagine the yellow dye is ammonia, or excess nitrate, or some other toxin in the water that is irritating your fish and making them hang at the top (trying to escape the toxin):


    In my opinion, water changes of less than 50% are useless.
     
  7. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Thanks for the tip!! I do 50%+ changes on my other tank with gourami, angels and mollies with no problem but I thought I read that cichlids are more sensitive so was afraid that changing the water that much would upset the balance and lose the beneficial bacteria. Quick question, what’s the best for changing/cleaning the fluval foam pad - I heard once a month but that seems too long to me!
     
  8. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogToo Well Known Member Member

    The beneficial bacteria doesn't live in the water column, it lives on the filter pad, on the substrate, and on the hard surfaces in the aquarium. But the highest concentration of beneficial bacteria lives on your filter media/filter pad/filter sponge.

    You should indeed be cleaning your filter media, no more often than once a month. Clean the filter media in discarded tank water, not tap water, as the chemicals used to treat tap water (such as chlorine) will kill your bacteria colony. So, when you do a water change, you can put your filter media in the bucket of drained tank water and swish it around to clean it. Don't scrub, just rinse. Scrubbing will remove the beneficial bacteria.

    Filter manufacturers will tell you that you need to replace your filter media once a month. They just want you to keep buying things. Cleaning them is better because you keep your beneficial bacteria. If you have carbon in your filter media, then you might have to replace the carbon, but not the sponges or the filter floss. Those should never be replaced. Don't buy pre-made carbon pouches that you throw away when they expire. Buy the reusable carbon pouches that you can empty and refill.
     
  9. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    So judging by the picture, it’s probably velvet. Definitely not flukes. So you’re using Fluval C4’s? If so, you’re getting a combined 528 gallons per hour. For hang on back filters, you want your gallons per hour to be 8-10 X your tank size. So you’re right in there. I always do 10 X my tank, sometimes even more. For example, one of my 10 gallons has a filter that filters 100 gallons per hour (10 X 10). You’re not underfiltering, but with African Cichlids, I always recommend canister filters or a sump. Now with canisters, you only need 5 (or more) X your tank size because of how effectient they are. So just keep in mind that these fish are some of the messiest, and those cloudiness moments might get solved by a stronger filter.
     
  10. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Thanks for that! If it’s velvet it seems the best treatment is Copper sulfate and aquarium salt. Is that right? Any particular brand for the copper sulfate you recommend? Also, it seems that it is contagious so I assume it ok to use this in the whole tank or should I quarantine the fish with the spots?
     
  11. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    I was actually gunna suggest that, cichlids usually do well with copper and its by far the most effective. Just make sure to remove your carbon. I recommend Seachem Cupramine.
     
  12. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Thanks!!
     
  13. edevingo

    edevingo Valued Member Member

    Just an FYI. I've been doing W/C every 3/4 days in my Hap and Peacock tanks forever it seems anyway. Lol I've also had accidents, like one flying out the tank onto the floor BEHIND the tank and it survive for almost 10 min as I'm pouring water on him so he doesn't dry up on another good one, i thought one had died so I put him outside in a bucket over night in the cold and asked my BF to take him the next day. Well I wake up the next morning to my BF texting me " The GD fish is still alive and staring at me" Needlesd to say they are not sensitive. Lol.
     
  14. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Lol, that is very funny and much appreciated! I put a few in early on and I think the tank was not fully cycled and I lost all but one fish. I definitely don’t want to make that mistake again! :)
     
  15. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Ok so I just bought and added the first dose of cupramine. It says to do the second dose 48 hours later and then leave that dosage for 2 weeks. What do I do about water changes? It says not to use dechlorinators in water treated with cupramine. I use Seachem prime but from what I read it seems to be toxic when combined with cupramine.
     
  16. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    You’re probably gunna have to leave it alone, it’ll be fine for 2 weeks.
     
  17. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    Ok, So it 1 1/2 days after the first round of cupramine and my nitrates have shot up to 40 ppm. Ammonia is .25 and nitrites are 0. Ph is down to 7.4 from 8.0. The fish look great, swimming around and no longer at the top. The white spots are disappearing off the tomato gap. I have to add the second dose tonight but will the fish be ok? should I change the water or do something else re: nitrates?

    B7A56BF0-4F22-4010-9AF7-73B0044FAC31.jpeg
     
  18. IHaveADogToo

    IHaveADogToo Well Known Member Member

    The treatment is clearly working, so I'm hesitant to tell you to mess with the water, but 40 ppm nitrate and .25 ammonia is scary. Could the medication be causing those levels to rise?
     
  19. OP
    OP
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    Aqfishing New Member Member

    I think it has to be the medicine as I have not changed anything else other than add a small basic airstone to help add oxygen to the tank. I thought that would help the nitrogen cycle and help ease their breathing (they seemed to be gasping before). Again, they are acting totally normal again so I agree the medicine is working, any signs I should look for that these levels are getting dangerous?
     
  20. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    Don’t mess with the copper concentration, 40 ppm is very tolderable for cichlids. When you remove water you remove the medication.