I've been planning a SA Cichlid tank, very planted and natural looking. I went to a reputable LFS and they had the most amazing looking African cichlid tank i've ever seen! Their fish were beautiful and vibrant. I have always had an interest in Planted aquariums but I'm just not sure if I can take care of it properly, I'm new to the hobby besides my 10g guppy aquarium when i was 11 yrs old.. I now have a 50g tank and stand sitting in my spare room empty, waiting to be filled with beautiful fish, and a nice aquaria. I had planned on having a SA Biotope including 2 M. Altispinosus, 13 Neon Tets, 7 Black Neon Tets, A handful of corys and some other sa fish. Yesterday changed my mind and I'm now on a see saw between the sa and african cichlids.. I've weighed out the pros and cons from my pov.
SA Cichlid/Tetra Setup
Having a more natural look
Tranquility of the Aquaria
More active fish
Cost of plants and maintaining them.
Sourcing some fish can become quite difficult
African Cichlid Setup
Fish are easier to aquire
More compatible with my tap water (pH 7.6)
Brighter, more vibrant colors
I don't know that much about them, as I've been planning the SA Tank
I have a Emperor 400 filter, but I've seen that alot of people use that in partnership with a canister filter? I don't know ANYTHING about African cichlids, I only know that the require a higher pH level from something like 7.6 to 8.6?? My tap water is pH 7.6, Ammonia is 0, Nitrate and Nitrite are also 0
I need advice.. I called the LFS that had the Cichlid tank and asked to compare sa and african tanks, they said the maintenance would be about the same, the lighting would be more expensive for the sa tank since plants need higher intensity lighting. I like both so now its just a hard decision...