New cichlid owner

D4z07

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I’ve kept fish for years but I recently bought a tank and it came with 12 baby Malawi cichlids, a green severum and what I think is a black bullhead catfish. Anyway, my other tanks (which are much smaller) have crystal clear water for long periods of time but this tank has a different appearance which isn’t milky and I’m wondering if anything is wrong with the water as it gets to this state within a couple days of cleaning, I change about 30% of the water bi-weekly and use a gravel vac but still not seeing any difference
 

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seangee

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What are the light rocks and white stuff under the gravel. These may be leaching. Before you remove it African cichlids require very hard water so they may be necessary. Apologies if you know that ;). Are you using any products to raise the hardness?

As a generalisation changing 60% once a week is better than 30% twice a week (I do 75%) because you are removing more of the bad stuff from the water. I say generalisation because if you rely on the rocks to mineralise your water changing 60% is not advisable in this case.

As you have not had the tank for long it may just be normal bacterial bloom. This won't harm the fish and can take anything from a few weeks to a few months to stabilise.
 
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D4z07

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The stuff towards the edges? The previous owner resealed the edges, but yeah after a bit of research I was thinking it was bacterial bloom but also maybe over feeding? I put my pleco in this tank too because the other one is smaller and the algae wafers always dissolve quite a bit before he gets to it so could that cause it?
 

utahfish

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The stuff towards the edges? The previous owner resealed the edges, but yeah after a bit of research I was thinking it was bacterial bloom but also maybe over feeding? I put my pleco in this tank too because the other one is smaller and the algae wafers always dissolve quite a bit before he gets to it so could that cause it?
Couple things.
Cichlids are dirty fish. They eat alot and create a lot of waste and get big. Cat gish get big and are messy and plecos are big waste producers as well. Im guessing the cloudy water is due to ammonia or nitrate spikes due to all the waate created by these 3 fish. You havent said how big the tank is but severum need around 75 gallon tank.
2nd yhing severum is a South American cichlid that needs soft water and malwai african cichlids that needs very hard water.
 
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D4z07

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Couple things.
Cichlids are dirty fish. They eat alot and create a lot of waste and get big. Cat gish get big and are messy and plecos are big waste producers as well. Im guessing the cloudy water is due to ammonia or nitrate spikes due to all the waate created by these 3 fish. You havent said how big the tank is but severum need around 75 gallon tank.
2nd yhing severum is a South American cichlid that needs soft water and malwai african cichlids that needs very hard water.
It’s around 65 gallons. The only reason they’re together is because the guy I bought the tank off had them together along with the parents of the baby cichlids so I thought they’d be fine like that. I don’t have another tank big enough nor the room for another tank just for the severum or south American as you said, so should I get rid of it?
 

Essjay

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You need to rehome the severum if you want to keep the Malawi cichlids.

Water in the Walsall area is too soft for Malawis - it's in the region of 7 to 9 dH depending on exactly where - so if you want to keep them you'll need to make the water harder, and that's probably what the rocks are for.



Look first at the link for 'Water quality zones' to identify the code for your area. The look at the link for 'Water hardness SSW 2018" and use the code from the first link to find your hardness in Degrees (German) to find the actual value for where you live.
 
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D4z07

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Okay thank you, I didn’t realise water hardness was such a problem, but when doing water changes I do treat the water with dechlorinator and API QuickStart if that’s relevant
 

Essjay

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They won't help make the water harder, I'm afraid. The dechlorinator removes chlorine and the Quick Start is a bottled bacteria.

Hard water fish kept in water that is too soft suffer from lack of calcium and this will make their lives shorter than it should be. But those white rocks could be made from calcium which would slowly dissolve to make the water harder.
Are there any fish shops open in your area which could test your water for you? If there are, take some tap water and some tank water and ask them to test both for GH. If there are more or less the same, the rocks are not doing anything.
Alternatively, buy a GH tester. If those members who are familiar with Malawi cichlids suggest you need to make the tank water harder by adding Rift Lake salts, you'll need a GH tester to find out how much of the Rift Lake salts gives the hardness you need.
 

utahfish

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It’s around 65 gallons. The only reason they’re together is because the guy I bought the tank off had them together along with the parents of the baby cichlids so I thought they’d be fine like that. I don’t have another tank big enough nor the room for another tank just for the severum or south American as you said, so should I get rid of it?
Rehoming the severum would be ideal. Check your LFS, most stores will take a severum if they can.
Like i said though the cloudy water is most likely due to ammonia spike. When a tanks biological filter is either new or not up to speed the ammonia created from fish waste accumulates as the biological filter isnt breaking it down to nitrate. Even small amounts of ammonia can be deadly to fish. Keep doing water changes until the biological filter establishes and if you can take the pleco you put in out. Its only further contributing to the problem
 
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D4z07

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Pets at home’s open but I’m pretty sure they’re not doing water tests, could do them myself, I’ve heard you can use baking soda, epsom salt and rock salt to make the water harder. Everything in there apart from filter, heater and air pump is what came with the tank so I just cleaned the rocks then put them in
 

Essjay

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Baking soda and salt contain sodium. I know they are bad for soft water fish, but having soft water myself I've not kept hard water fish. I'll leave the question to someone more familiar with hard water fish.

But if you do need to make the water harder, you will need a GH tester, certainly at first. All water added to the tank will need to be treated before it goes in the tank, and the hardness will need to be the same every time. So starting off, you'll need to test the new water to find out how much additive gives the hardness you are aiming for, then for the first few water changes, you would need to test it to make sure you've added the right amount to get the same hardness. Once you are confident that the GH is right every time, you wouldn't need to test again.
 

utahfish

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Pets at home’s open but I’m pretty sure they’re not doing water tests, could do them myself, I’ve heard you can use baking soda, epsom salt and rock salt to make the water harder. Everything in there apart from filter, heater and air pump is what came with the tank so I just cleaned the rocks then put them in
I use calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate to raise my GH. One can also use calcium sulphate. Which is gypsum powder. Go to rotalabutterfly.com it has a dosing calculator if one wants to raise gh with dry ferts
 

Metalhead88

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What are the dimensions on that tank?

It does not appear to be anywhere near a 65 gallon tank.

Post ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings. The cloudy water may be due to a disruption in the cycle.
 

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