rockscape for cichlids

overdrive

Exodon
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Feb 10, 2016
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So does anyone have suggestions for where to look for examples a relatively easy (as in some root tabs and decent lighting) tank design for cichlids/bichir? My tanks invariably look like crap despite my best efforts, but a lot of the examples I've seen are very heavily planted and are a bit intimidating for a first-timer when it comes to aquascaping.

I have a bunch of big rocks, but no idea of what to do with them basically.
 

xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx

Candiru
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Jul 10, 2011
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Denver, CO.
What type of cichlids? How big is the tank?

Central/South American cichlids will uproot any plants in the tank with them, unless their dwarf cichlids like German blue rams, apistogramma, keyhole cichlids, etc... which tend to leave plants alone. African cichlids can be kept in planted tanks because tank raised African cichlids learn at a young age to eat pellet foods, and tend to leave plants alone.

Easy root tabs are like sachem flourish tabs, api tabs, etc... Then there's DIY (do it yourself) root tabs which I use where you buy empty capsules and fill them with osmocote plus 15-9-12, osmocote plus is actually a garden time release fertilizer but works very well in aquariums.

Then there's lighting.... Since you're relatively new to planted tanks I would go with a low tech planted tank, and start with a T8 light fixture like this, and use 6500k bulbs ...



Using standard T8 6500k bulbs which you can find at Home Depot, or going with a Beamswork EA 0.50 LED 6500k light fixture...

 

overdrive

Exodon
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Feb 10, 2016
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I'm mostly looking for advice/examples on aquascaping, like what would make for good visual balance in a tank.

As far as plants I'm mostly using tough plants like swords weighed down with rocks, Anubia, or ones that don't care about being uprooted like anachris.though further suggestions on sturdy plant life would be appreciated.

Thanks for the input though!
 

overdrive

Exodon
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Feb 10, 2016
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Oh wow these are great! Thank you! I have a ton of rocks but I'm no good at the actual design bit. I'm hoping some pictures like these will help.

And I'll see what those specific Google terms turn up. My tank is more oddball than cichlids, though there are some gentle central-south Americans in there. It's just been hard to make lots of caves and still look nice.
 

Brent419

Jack Dempsey
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Oct 2, 2014
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I often start out with the intent to start a species only tank but then there's always "that one other fish" I just have to get. Things tend to go a bit haywire from there. Number 1 rule though is they have to get along.
For aquascaping, I don't think the fish care as long as they have places to hide and call their own space. If you don't like the looks of it, "vacuum Sunday" is a great time to play with it. Just keep tweaking it. I don't think my Aquascape is ever really done. I don't do live plants. Never have any luck but I got some plastic plants CHEAP from Hobby Lobby and they look great. Drift wood came from visits to Lake Superior (all free). Rocks come from all over. Changing things up is part of the fun of the hobby for me.
 

overdrive

Exodon
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Yeah I like to change things around every so often myself.

And pretty much that's my entire stocking plan. "Hm, are these two random fish vaguely compatible?"

I'm going to see if I can talk my dad into surrendering some of his old tank rocks. He's got one or two with that nice craggy look.
 

xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx

Candiru
MFK Member
Jul 10, 2011
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Denver, CO.
Technically no because African and American cichlids need different water parameters, however with that said here in the U.S. they're given the same water parameters because they're tank raised. Tank raised means they were bred in captivity and raised/sold in the nearest towns water source. For instance I live in Denver Colorado, and when I buy a fish from a local fish store they're using the same water as I am for their tanks.

So you can put African and American cichlids together, but I always advise against it because African cichlids need more of a plant based diet, and South/Central American cichlids need a high protein diet.


I buy my fake plants that are my True Festae (red terror) cichlid tank from Aliexpress.com which is a China based online store kind of like Ebay... You'll find fake plants starting at $0.63 so I always go there and buy a few different fake plants, I bought 6 fake cabomba plants for $5 and free shipping.
 
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