I went to the fish store today and was asking the owner about the ins and outs of a planted tank. I want to do a planted 55 gal tank. He was telling me if I went with African Cichlids that I couldnt go with plants only coral. Is this true? because I want to do a planted tank and was thinking about some cichlids
Hi, i don't know alot about cichlids but i know that apistograms (dwarf) cichlids are not only shy community bottom dwellers but WILL NOT eat your plants.
he acted like they couldnt live there
The main problem with cichlids is they like to redecorate the tank, so that means they will uproot your plants, and they do eat them.
You may have success with potted plants that aren't too fragile. Place some potting soil (no additives) or plant substrate such as flourite in the bottom of a clay or terra cotta pot about half full. Then place the plant in the pot and fill the rest of the way up with gravel. Then, (this is important) place the potted plant in a five gal bucket or if many plants, something larger with DECHLORINATED water for an hour or two. This will allow any air bubbles or pockets of air to escape into the bucket rather than the aquarium which .Trust me,,, you don't want to happen. After a couple hours,, place the potted plant in the aquarium. best to try and use pot or container with no hole in the bottom so that when and if you need to move the plant for vaccuming or other reasons ,,the soil (muddy) doesn't try to leak out through the hole. I prefer flourite (less mess) but if soil is used in the pot,, it is best to mix it with water to make it like playdough before putting it in the pot. This way there is less clouding in the bucket and the aquarium. Hope some of this helps.;-)
Not sure what he meant by "coral." African rift lake cichlids are almost completely herbivorous, so they will eat almost any sort of plant you'd put in the tank. Plus, they're normally kept at a high pH and with hard water, conditions that are too severe for most typical aquarium plants. You could try java moss and java fern as both are incredibly hardy. I know some people also have success with different types of tall grassy plants, but anything is really a gamble. I wouldn't attempt to have a rift lake tank ever considered to be a "planted" tank. You're better off decorating with large heaps of rock.
For a really densely planted tank, you're better off going with a South/Central American, West African, or Southeast Asian biotope tank.
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