new cichlids won't or swim around HELP!!!!

Mar 1, 2005
I am a beginner and recently purchased an aquarium for my classroom. I have 2 yellow labs. One big about 4inch and dark in color the other 2inch and light in color. They have only been in the 20gal for 3 days and haven't eaten at all. I even place the food close by them and they still won't eat. They stay towards the back bottom of aquarium and stay in their hidding places all day. Even when the room is totally quite and you don't move they still stay put. My food crisps said to feed them one crisp per inch of fish 3x's daily. I did this the first two days but today the third day I just feed them once and only four flakes because I'm worried about building up to much amonia since they aren't eating. Will somebody please tell me whats wrong and how to fix these problems. I don't even know what gender my fish are can someone help with that too.


Large Fish
Oct 1, 2004
Frisco, Texas
Chances are that the tank isn't cycled and if you keep adding uneaten food to the equation the problem will worsen. Fish usually take a couple of days to get situated in their environment before they feel comfortable. I would do a water change and remove all the uneaten food you can. I would then check you waters parameters and see what they are. If something is way off your fish may not be eating because they are stressed out. Let us know about the ammonia and nitrites readings.


Large Fish
Mar 2, 2005
Simi Valley, CA
Have you tried using dither fish? Dither fish are fast moveing, schooling fish such as zebera danios that swim around out in the open to let the other fish know that it's O.K. to be out and around. Try this and see if it helps, if it does then your cichlids were just scared.

"There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
-Unknown *GOLDFISH*

Jul 9, 2003
Columbia, SC
First make sure the tank is cycled. Like said above, fish (mostly cichlids i would say) take a few days to get used to the new tank. I personally don't usually feed the first day after i get new fish if they stay kinda shy just because chances are they won't eat. Just give them a few days and they should be out showing for you. :)

Oh and welcome to the site. :)


Elite Fish
Oct 22, 2002
If it really is a new tank you will be getting ammonia problems , and these fish are quite fragile in that respect. Daily, large water changes won't be a bad thing.

Sep 19, 2016
I brought home to Cichlids that I bought from the lfs and they came from the same tank. Took them home and got them acclimated then introduced them to the new tank. They quickly made their territories. One was very active and the other hid in a cave. Every time I fed them he never ate. Two days later dead.