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Cichlids sitting at bottom of tank and breathing fast

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jackkranjac17

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We are advising you on the understanding that you have rift lake cichlid fish. These fish occur in the hardest freshwater of any tropical fish species on this planet (so far as I know). To help with the understanding...

Each species of freshwater fish has evolved over thousands of years to function in very specific water parameters, and environment too for that matter. In order for their physiology and metabolism to function well, they must have the parameters for which they are designed, with some but not usually much variation. Some fish have more ability to live outside their preferred range, and some fish have basically no such tolerance. So it is always best to know the natural habitat parameters and replicate them as closely as possible. This guarantees the fish will have an easier life just carrying out all the internal biological processes that are mandatory. As soon as say the parameters begin to move away from those the fish is designed for, it takes more energy, causes stress, and slowly weakens the fish. They become more susceptible to disease, their immune system will weaken and may even give out, and every basic life-essential process becomes more difficult. The fish never live close to their normal lifespan because of all this.

I read a very good explanation putting this into an easily understood parallel. When you drive a car on a flat road at 50 km/hour, it takes a certain amount of energy (gas) to maintain that speed. As soon as the car is travelling uphill, it takes considerably more energy to maintain the same speed. The "speed" here is the internal biological processes that the fish must carry out to maintain its life, or it will die. The increased "energy" (gas) is the additional energy the fish must devote to keep these essential processes going when it is forced into compensating; eventually the fiish can not continue, and it weakens and dies.
okay. what can i do to raise the hardness? i have well water
 

Byron

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okay. what can i do to raise the hardness? i have well water
There are two methods.

One is buying the rift lake salts to mix in the water. Don't let the word "salt" mislead you, these are the natural salts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium (primariloy, with some others), not common table salt which is sodium chloride and should not be added to these fishes' water. You need to mix the water outside the aquarium, so that means at every water change you need a container in which to prepare the water before it can go into the aquarium. GH, pH and temperature need to be the same or close.

Another method is to use a calcareous sand substrate. These are available commercially, intended for rift lake and livebearer tanks. They are composed of aragonite which is calcium and magnesium, and these minerals very slowly dissolve. These substrates last for years, probably decades. I used this when I had a tank of mollies and another of rift lake cichlids back in the 1980's and my tap water was very soft (basically zero GH and KH with a pH below 5).

You are not in a bad position here, because your water is at least moderately hard. You can see what the other members with more experience with rift lake fish suggest as to how high you should go, if at all. As I said, using the range of 160-320, you are not far off as it is.

BTW. does your well water go through any type of filter? I ask because some of these can add substances to the water that might not be good for fish. The other thing is the tank size, and the other needs of these fish, depending upon species. It is as well to have the whole picture.
 
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There are two methods.

One is buying the rift lake salts to mix in the water. Don't let the word "salt" mislead you, these are the natural salts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium (primariloy, with some others), not common table salt which is sodium chloride and should not be added to these fishes' water. You need to mix the water outside the aquarium, so that means at every water change you need a container in which to prepare the water before it can go into the aquarium. GH, pH and temperature need to be the same or close.

Another method is to use a calcareous sand substrate. These are available commercially, intended for rift lake and livebearer tanks. They are composed of aragonite which is calcium and magnesium, and these minerals very slowly dissolve. These substrates last for years, probably decades. I used this when I had a tank of mollies and another of rift lake cichlids back in the 1980's and my tap water was very soft (basically zero GH and KH with a pH below 5).

You are not in a bad position here, because your water is at least moderately hard. You can see what the other members with more experience with rift lake fish suggest as to how high you should go, if at all. As I said, using the range of 160-320, you are not far off as it is.

BTW. does your well water go through any type of filter? I ask because some of these can add substances to the water that might not be good for fish. The other thing is the tank size, and the other needs of these fish, depending upon species. It is as well to have the whole picture.
okay. i think i’ll get that substrate. can i keep african clawed frogs with that hardness?
 

essjay

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Frogs of any sort should not be kept in the same tank as fish. Frogs should be kept in a frog-only tank.

I know little about Synodontis; I'll leave that question to someone who knows more about them.
 

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No to the frogs, they cannot be kept with fish. As for the catfish in the genus Syndontis, this depends upon the species. This genus occurs in Africa, and most species are found in Central and West African waters, thus being soft water fish. There are however some species in the rift lakes, so these would be OK as far as water parameters are concerned, but some rift lake cichlids are rough customers and the species and tank size factor in. The most often seen Synodontis, the upside down catfish Synodontis nigriventris, is definitely a soft water fish and would not last long in hard water nor with rough cichlids.
 

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Hey there, I have a 55 gallon that had an ich outbreak explosion. Try out paragaurd. I left my water at 78-82 and added paragaurd. Super easy treatment and it’s not very strong. Takes I think 2 weeks of dosing.. my fish I noticed a few white spots on one and by the next day he was covered and about 12 more of my fish were white spotting. I dosed with paragaurd. ..I have 2 tetra 60s on my 55 gallon and 2 10” bubblers.. Powered by a dual outlet pump. I turned the filters to full blast as well as the bubblers and had some stress signs for a few hours. I never messed with the salt and heat. I know it has mixed reviews but from my experience, I’d recommend paragaurd. It may also be safe to your frogs. Good luck
 
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Hey there, I have a 55 gallon that had an ich outbreak explosion. Try out paragaurd. I left my water at 78-82 and added paragaurd. Super easy treatment and it’s not very strong. Takes I think 2 weeks of dosing.. my fish I noticed a few white spots on one and by the next day he was covered and about 12 more of my fish were white spotting. I dosed with paragaurd. ..I have 2 tetra 60s on my 55 gallon and 2 10” bubblers.. Powered by a dual outlet pump. I turned the filters to full blast as well as the bubblers and had some stress signs for a few hours. I never messed with the salt and heat. I know it has mixed reviews but from my experience, I’d recommend paragaurd. It may also be safe to your frogs. Good luck
thanks
 
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No to the frogs, they cannot be kept with fish. As for the catfish in the genus Syndontis, this depends upon the species. This genus occurs in Africa, and most species are found in Central and West African waters, thus being soft water fish. There are however some species in the rift lakes, so these would be OK as far as water parameters are concerned, but some rift lake cichlids are rough customers and the species and tank size factor in. The most often seen Synodontis, the upside down catfish Synodontis nigriventris, is definitely a soft water fish and would not last long in hard water nor with rough cichlids.
ok thank u
 
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finally moved the cichlids back to the 55 and they are doing great. i’m convinced they never even had ich in the first place and i just assumed they did so when i used the meds 3 of them died because i was so worried about it but i never once saw white spots on them. u live and u learn i guess.
 
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Hey there, I have a 55 gallon that had an ich outbreak explosion. Try out paragaurd. I left my water at 78-82 and added paragaurd. Super easy treatment and it’s not very strong. Takes I think 2 weeks of dosing.. my fish I noticed a few white spots on one and by the next day he was covered and about 12 more of my fish were white spotting. I dosed with paragaurd. ..I have 2 tetra 60s on my 55 gallon and 2 10” bubblers.. Powered by a dual outlet pump. I turned the filters to full blast as well as the bubblers and had some stress signs for a few hours. I never messed with the salt and heat. I know it has mixed reviews but from my experience, I’d recommend paragaurd. It may also be safe to your frogs. Good luck
please help someone. i came home from the gym and turned my light on and all my cichlids were at the bottom of the tank sitting like “normally” if that makes sense and they were breathing very slowly. it almost looked like they were sleeping. i got very worried because i’ve never seen them do this before. i shined my light on them and they started to move a bit not much tho.
 

essjay

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If the room had been in darkness when you got back from the gym, the fish were asleep. It takes quite a while for fish to wake up when the room light is turned on, much longer than it takes us to wake up.

On a related point - we should never turn the tank lights on and off in a dark room. The room should be in daylight or the room light should be on for at least half an hour before the tank lights come on, and half an hour after the tank lights turn off.
 
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If the room had been in darkness when you got back from the gym, the fish were asleep. It takes quite a while for fish to wake up when the room light is turned on, much longer than it takes us to wake up.

On a related point - we should never turn the tank lights on and off in a dark room. The room should be in daylight or the room light should be on for at least half an hour before the tank lights come on, and half an hour after the tank lights turn off.
yea the room was in totally darkness when i got home.
 

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yea the room was in totally darkness when i got home.
Light has a significant impact on fish, even more than on most other animals. Always have ambient room light (daylight through a window, or artifical room light) on for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before the tannk light comes on. Same when the tank light goes off, the room must have ambient light for 30 mintues to an hour. Using a timer can achieve this, as it also has the benefit of providing the exact same light period each day. This too is important for all fish, as it directs their circadian rhythm and disturbing this causes stress which weakens the fish generally, leading to even more problems.
 
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Light has a significant impact on fish, even more than on most other animals. Always have ambient room light (daylight through a window, or artifical room light) on for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before the tannk light comes on. Same when the tank light goes off, the room must have ambient light for 30 mintues to an hour. Using a timer can achieve this, as it also has the benefit of providing the exact same light period each day. This too is important for all fish, as it directs their circadian rhythm and disturbing this causes stress which weakens the fish generally, leading to even more problems.
okay
 
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