02-20-2012, 07:22 PM
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As mentioned..Lake Malawi is naturally sandy bottom..so you would want to try and recreate that...cichlids like to dig and will find it a lot easier with sand.
When building the rock structures (again Lake Malawi is full of boulders and rocks), start the rock structure on the bare glass or add some egg crate(light diffuser panel), this will prevent any cracking should the rock structure be undermined.
If you have a small tank, what I did with my breeder / grow out tank, was put gravel in the bottom of that...that way it doesnt go to waste, either that or us it (once washed) in the bottom of plant pots.
Generally holey rock is good for cichlids, they like caves , overhangs etc..I would advise building it up close to the sides of the aquarium, again because of the digging nature, if it closes it can crack the side of your tank...also makes it easier to clean any algae which may grow.
I will PM you the links to some good cichlid suppliers online.