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ORANGEMELLY

Acei acting strange - head shake - fitting?

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Hi everyone.

I am having an issue with one of my yellow tail acei. She is the tank boss of an mbuna only tank. There are 15 mbuna in total, most are juveniles. Over the last four days I have observed her shaking her head and having some kind of spasm. I am not confusing this with the shaking that happens when fish are trying to instigate mating or to warn others off. From my observation this is happening approximately once every few hours and often when she is swimming alone with no other fish nearby. She will be swimming along then come to a jerking stop, have a spasm which involves shaking her head and then go forward, stop with a jerk again, shake head and then return to normal swimming. If she was human I would say she was having a fit of some kind. I cannot see any visual indicators of disease on her. She is active and eating well.

There have been 2 recent changes that I have made but I don’t see how they could be affecting her. 1) 5 days ago I moved all my mbuna from my 4ft to my 5ft to give them more swimming room and more rocks/caves. The tank is being filtered by their old canister with the mature media. I did clean this but only the same as I always do when doing my regular maintenance.

2) I added 3 new juveniles to tank. BUT, I observed this behaviour in acei BEFORE they were added.

I am at a loss as to what is happening with her. She is the only one doing this. And this was not happening in old tank. My water parameters are good 0 nitrite, 0 ammonia, 10 nitrate. I only feed them food specifically made for mbuna i.e. veg or spirulina based pellets and flake as well as shelled peas and zucchini. It could be purely a tank boss thing - but my gut is telling me that something is wrong with her. If it was a parasite wouldn’t they all be doing it? What could it be?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone.

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Nobody has replied yet..but I thought I would add that I use stress coat as my water conditioner and as I thought that the acei behaviour might be stress due to new surroundings, i just added some salt. ..will keep watching to see if this changes anything...

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My pH is steady at 7.4. I dont play with it because I think stable pH is better than a pH going up and down. I am not sure about kH and GH as I dont have a tester kit for those. I am thinking however that it is stress related. She is constantly swimming around tank with her big sister and checking everyone out...old tank was pretty chill..this new tank however there is a lot more activity..fish are jostling for best caves..a bit more aggro than usual.. added a male maingano and my female maingano forced him to leap to his death (through the tiniest of gaps..fixed since) ..plus another 3 new juvies in the mix..I think she is just stressed. I have added salt to tank and I will watch her tommorrow and see how she is...last time I added salt she seemed to really enjoy it..darkened up and demeanour was more relaxed...so heres hoping...Also if it was the KH or GH wouldnt they all be showing some signs?? she's the only one acting strange.

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I have had them for around 8 months now and my water pH has not shifted from 7.4...all fish have been purchased locally and so have all come from water which is similair to mine. They are all active and eating well...I have not had any disease problems with them at all..no white spot etc...I added salt yesterday and she seems to have settled somewhat...I will keep watching her...water change tommorrow.

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Okay...I settled in with a coffee this morning and watched my mbuna eat..watching my acei to see if there are any changes...noticed that the other female acei is flexing its dorsal and making itself 'bigger' (if you know what I mean) when it swims near her...wondering if the behaviour is to do with a power struggle between my two big tank boss girls?? In the new tank there is more room and more caves..there is also spawning behaviour...My acei male is not having any success with the two big girls (not for lack of trying) they just are not interested in him at all..he is smaller than them though and I wonder if this is why they are ignoring him (apparently size does matter?)...other than that all fish are eating and all are behaving like mbuna...including my female acei with the head shake....will keep you posted.

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noticed that the other female acei is flexing its dorsal and making itself 'bigger' (if you know what I mean) when it swims near her...wondering if the behaviour is to do with a power struggle between my two big tank boss girls??

Honestly - that doesn't sound like behaviour between two females and Acei can be hard to sex....

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I was told when I got them that they were both female..I have 4 acei in total. 1 is definently a male as he is always doing that jiggly thing in front of the others. I am not sure about the others yet..like I said I was told they were female and that they had had fry...so I dont know...I will just have to wait and see I guess...fish is still doing weird jerky thing...I have not observed any others doing this...I will attempt to film it.

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