Lemon Cichlid Mystery

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Maingano

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I thought that since I joined this forum, I could share this strange observation / behaviour about one of my cichlids (Lemon). I have a little journal of which I annotate any behaviour change or alteration in my cichlid's hierarchy. But this problem in question didn't quite fit the category because it was like this since I got the fish. So, I have a 225 Litre tank with around 10 Cichlids, 1 pleco and 1 red tail shark. One of my friends (experienced in the hobby actually) pointed out that my Lemon cichlid was swimming in the surface near the top rather than chilling around the caves, as a lemon should. He said the cichlid was being harassed by my peacocks. That didn't make sense. I had spent (still do, and tbh more than I should) countless hours watching them and never saw any aggression towards the lemon at all. None of the fish payed particular interest towards the Lemon (possibly because he is the only yellow cichlid there). Nonetheless, I decided to place a camera for 24 hours at 3 random days of the week. I then watched it back and ....... nothing. No aggression. The Cichlid only swam in the top very close to the surface (never in the rocks). The only time it leaves is at night when he goes and lays inside of this fake plant, in-between the leaves, near the caves to sleep. So aggression was ruled out. Water was good so water condition was ruled out. There is 2 air bubblers (or whatever they are called lol) so aeration was ruled out. So I came to the conclusion that there is no answer (if I have learned anything in this hobby is that, although you can prepare and research, this hobby is rather unpredictable)!! The lemon cichlid that I have just enjoys to swim in the surface as there is less cichlids and easier / quicker food accessibility. Maybe I'm missing out something? If I am, please let me know if I am wrong. Thankssss.
 

GaryE

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Aggression isn't ruled out completely. First off the red tailed shark has the same territorial needs as a leleupi Cichlid (I'm guess that's the lemon - there are a few with that marketing name). Peacocks have different needs, and aren't likely to be the culprit. Fish that compete fight.
Red tails are notoriously hard to catch at their crimes, but they are arch criminals.

As well, what we see is only part of the story. A lot of communication is chemical and hormonal - the fish social media.

Peacocks are Malawi, leleupi Tanganyikan, red tails Asian and plecos South American. It's the world cup in there, and Mr leleupi is losing out.
 

Naughts

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I might not visit a violent criminal. It's not that I've ever had a fight one, I just don't see it as a wise choice.

 
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Maingano

Maingano

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Aggression isn't ruled out completely. First off the red tailed shark has the same territorial needs as a leleupi Cichlid (I'm guess that's the lemon - there are a few with that marketing name). Peacocks have different needs, and aren't likely to be the culprit. Fish that compete fight.
Red tails are notoriously hard to catch at their crimes, but they are arch criminals.

As well, what we see is only part of the story. A lot of communication is chemical and hormonal - the fish social media.

Peacocks are Malawi, leleupi Tanganyikan, red tails Asian and plecos South American. It's the world cup in there, and Mr leleupi is losing out.
Pleco is rather irrelevant here (Well I guess it deteriorates water condition with all the poop but I vaccum the gravel every week or so), now I bought the Red Tail shark because they are semi aggressive and are able to stand their ground (to most malawi species). Water Parameters are relatively the same. RTS temp, water hardness and ph are all within similar ranges. Had them for a while together and the only thing that happens is the red tail shark chases smaller cichlids that invade its territory. I've seen plenty of stories of RTS with malawis that were good and some that were bad (as I said, unpredictable), for me it worked. If ever goes south, which could, I have a couple of empty tanks I can set up.
Plus, the reason I know aggression not to be the cause is that (not only I watch and observe their behaviour daily, even placed cams, but also) the first fish to be in the tank were the lemon cichlid and 3 Peacocks. Ever since I released them to their new homes, the lemon has stayed in the top. As you said Peacocks arent likely the criminals.
I'll place more cameras and watch back to target the RTS specifically.
The "fish social media" seems plausible but as I said, lemons were in there pretty early.

Oh and what other fish are sold as "Lemon Cichlids" in the market? Because I was sold them as Malawi mix, and they are bright yellow (lelupi are orangy no?). Don't think theyre yellow labs coz there isnt a black striple in the fin.
 
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Maingano

Maingano

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I might not visit a violent criminal. It's not that I've ever had a fight one, I just don't see it as a wise choice.

Haha nice analogy but doesn't quite fit the situation because the Lemon was one of the 4 fish to first be added and never once has it wanted to stay along the bottom. It always liked to stay at the top. All cichlids, and RTS occasionally, chase eachother sometimes but never the Lemon. (Not even during feeding! It doesnt even run from the fish when they come up to eat). Idk bout you but if a violent criminal came running towards me.... I'd run...

Thanks for the article, I've read similars one before.
When I set up the tank, I made rock structures, picked cichlids of different colours so they dont pay attention to eachother much, removed females etc.
If aggression increases drastically as they mature I willl surely take further action and separate them more. :)
 

GaryE

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There are central American lemons, and I've seen a few Malawi hybrids sold as lemons. Yellow labs, no. They're too well known. I googled lemon Cichlid to see what it was usually applied to by stores, before I responded back there. Apparently, leleupis are the usual ones.

Up at the surface is usually the corner of defeat and impending death for a Cichlid. I have never had one that liked it up there.
 
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Maingano

Maingano

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There are central American lemons, and I've seen a few Malawi hybrids sold as lemons. Yellow labs, no. They're too well known. I googled lemon Cichlid to see what it was usually applied to by stores, before I responded back there. Apparently, leleupis are the usual ones.

Up at the surface is usually the corner of defeat and impending death for a Cichlid. I have never had one that liked it up there.
Its been up there for months. No loss of appetite. No loss of coloration. It just doesn't make sense. It is unusual but it was 4 of the very first fish to be there. Only thing I can imagine is that it's a type of cichlid (since there are multiple cichlids sold as lemons) that needs others of the same species?
I understand where you guys are foming from but it was the first fish in the rank and never once has it wanted to stay in the caves.
 

GaryE

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I haven't had a Tanganyika tank for years, and when I did, I had no leleupi. I did have Julidichromis, a similar habitat group, and they had an interesting behaviour. They would swim up rocks, with their bellies against them, and hover there. I wonder if what you're seeing is a twist in that?

If I were you - if the cichlid doesn't go to a cave, maybe the cave should go to the cichlid? Can you work with something like slate and build a stable structure with caves that reaches the surface? I did that once, and it was quite interesting to see how the mbuna handled it. I never did that with Tanganyikans, but if it were stable (they landscape) it might be interesting.

Tanganyikans have a lot going on with their behaviour, but much of it will be suppressed by the other fish you have. They're best kept with other Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. It's then they stop being just pretty and show how smart they are.
 
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Maingano

Maingano

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I haven't had a Tanganyika tank for years, and when I did, I had no leleupi. I did have Julidichromis, a similar habitat group, and they had an interesting behaviour. They would swim up rocks, with their bellies against them, and hover there. I wonder if what you're seeing is a twist in that?

If I were you - if the cichlid doesn't go to a cave, maybe the cave should go to the cichlid? Can you work with something like slate and build a stable structure with caves that reaches the surface? I did that once, and it was quite interesting to see how the mbuna handled it. I never did that with Tanganyikans, but if it were stable (they landscape) it might be interesting.

Tanganyikans have a lot going on with their behaviour, but much of it will be suppressed by the other fish you have. They're best kept with other Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. It's then they stop being just pretty and show how smart they are.
As stated by others, I am not sure if it is a Lelupi or a malawi hybrid sold as Lemon cichlid. But I like the re escape idea. I'll look for some rocks or something I can make a tall structure out of.
Thank you!
 

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