I didnt narrow down your list of plants because its all a gamble. The water like i said isnt really what most plant thrive in( which is why where theyre from barely has any plants if at all. Plus they arent a big fan of plants. So whatever you decide to put in their dont get attatched as most will not make it. I dont want to list out plants other then the short list i did. And they really want to dig in the sand.. They even destroy fake plants.
Actually NLS cichlid pellets has krill , fish, seaweed, algae , garlic,beta carotene, spirulina, alfalfa, mollusk , vegetables and then a ton of other stuff. It actually fine for mbuna . Really good stuff. I also sometimes feed this frozen stuff usually for salt water fish called emerald buffet.. It has lots of good veggie based stuff in it and they go crazy for it. Also herbivore pellets. That's almost only found online . Carrots are good. Seaweed is too. I find if you don't blanch the zucchini it actually reduces the aggression. They'll chase a fish they want to fight then pass zucchini and attack it with a vengeance instead. They really are the hungriest fish I've ever owned and I have TONS of fish and many different tanks.
Don't feed blood worms to them. That'll cause Malawi bloat. But occasional brine shrimp , mysis shrimp or prawn is fine.
I just explained their environment so you know why they need what they do. They're more of a specialized fish to keep then many others. It's funny though , lots of African keepers add the salt without knowing the real reason . Then start claiming it's for fin damage from fighting( dont worry! Fighting is normal) which then could be considered controversial.. But that's totally wrong. Super clean water is all you need for fin damage. You'll need a QT tank for them as a "timeout" tank if any one becomes overly belligerent .
I find their huge attitude hilarious. Sometime I fake them out and hold a handful of food above the water for a little longer then they like and on many occasions both my dominant and subdominant male have flicked their finds sending a nice amount of tank water into my face lol.
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