THE BEST IN TROPICAL FISH
Yes! Water changes accomplish a few things that will greatly increase the health of you fish. First, it removes nitrate, which is something that only the most advanced filters can even touch. Second, water changes remove hormones that are released by fish that would stunt their growth if allowed to accumulate. "Topping off" the water is not changing water! Topping off evaporated water is simply diluting the waste and hormones in the tank, not removing them.
That depends on a few factors, such as how crowded the tank is, the size of the tank, etc. But, the least you should do is 25% monthly, 25% weekly is even better. Many breeders of fish do 75% water changes every day on fry in order to get them to grow both faster and all at the same rate. (Instead of one or two big fry and one hundred small ones!)
Generally, houses built after the 1920's will support a 240 gallon tank. Anything larger will probably require some additional support from below. If you live on a slab, your house was obviously built for fish. If your buying a jumbo tank from us, ask us about an in home inspection before you order. We can add any additional support needed, at very little cost.
We get this question about twice a day! No, don't quit your job. Fish cross breed all the time. They are not "rare". They won't look good as adults, in fact, they usually are quite muddy looking. We do not want them (although they make excellent feeder fish). Don't give them to your friends either, as they tend to get back into the hobby, confusing novice store owners, or causing angry customers who are turned away after trying to sell them to us. Look on the bright side, at least now you know who is male and female, so just buy the proper mates and you'll have two good pairs of fish!
Many cichlids behave the exact opposite of other species of fish. That is, they are LESS territorial the MORE crowded they are kept. Trying to keep 5 mbuna in a tank is next to impossible, as is trying to keep just 2 large South Americans. In general, try to keep 14+ mbuna per tank. Sometimes you need a few more, sometimes a few less, there is no number set in stone. With large South Americans, 8 or more is usually a good number. If cichlids are kept crowded, no one fish can be the "boss". You don't find one fish whipping around the tank, stressing out each fish until it dies. If you are seeing fish "hanging around" at the top of the tank, or beaten into a corner at the bottom, your tank is under stocked.
We are often asked what could a customer put with a single Red Devil, Buda, or whatever. The answer is: NOTHING! Once a cichlid has been kept alone for a certain amount of time, the tank becomes his. You can add fish after fish, even ones bigger than him, and he will defend his territory. You can't blame the fish, almost any tank is smaller than the territory he would be defending in the wild. Solution: remove the fish from the tank for 3 weeks, while the new fish adapt to their new surroundings. Return the first fish to the tank, now he's the "new guy".
For egg layers, as soon as the fry are hopping up off of the pile. For mouth brooders, about 2 weeks, or when they have absorbed about half of the egg sac.
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MY NEW FISH ARE LOSING SCALES AND THEIR FINS ARE SPLIT, WHAT MEDICINE SHOULD I BUY?
We get this call about once a day. If a cichlid is losing scales they are being attacked by other fish (sometimes even a sneaky nocturnal catfish). It does not matter that the fish was the dominant fish or is the largest in the tank, as pecking orders change all of the time. You will need to remove the fish from the tank (yes, remove. yes, right this second). Wound Control is a good medicine once you have the fish moved to a safe and stress free environment. You could expect an average of two weeks for recovery, maybe longer for a large Central American specimen.
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