03-11-2010, 05:06 AM
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Africans are hard on plants. For one, the more herbivorous ones (i.e. mbuna) will eat them. Many will uproot them. You'll also be keeping them in hard, alkaline water which is rough on many plants. Some have had success with vals and things like java fern/java moss. Personally, I like the more spartan look for mbuna tanks. Open fields of sand and big heaps of rock with high color temperature lights (like 50/50 lights). The lighting itself doesn't actually matter if you don't have plants but that 50/50 light really brings out the color of the fish.
Something like this: http://www.thehouseofdew.com/fish/tanks/75tank.JPG
Just my two cents. Anyway, if you don't plant the tank, you also have the option of running HOB filters. A decent sized canister plus a big HOB (or even just two HOB's) could get the job done. As for brands, I really dig Marineland but Aquaclear makes some nice HOB's and I also have a Fluval 204 canister that's been good to me. Eheim HOB's are decent too but can be hard to find (I managed to snag one cheap from Petsmart that had them on clearance pricing a year or so ago).