Amazon Cichlids for Pleco Place
I have a wonderful pleco tank in the making and thought that what would make it very interesting would be to create a South American tank. Preferably Cichlids but all suggestions would be great. What would tank well with my pleco??
Several options with cichlids, though not all together due to size differences and temperaments. Are you thinking small cichlids (similar to Rams) or medium or large? Obviously depends upon tank size, as all cichlids need some room for territories. And planted as a SA geographic display? Or more rocks and caves for the larger types? There are several cichlid folks here, once we know the way you'd like to go with this.
Finally someone talking SA's!
How bigs the tank?
You will need hefty filtration or a more frequent maintenance regime as they are messy little buggers
Edit: Is it the 20 gallon in your tanks?
The tank will ultimately be approx. 72G-90G but the pleco currently resides in a 20G tank all by his lonesome.
pH 7.1, temp about 78-79
I am using a fine gravel substrate with driftwood.
I am hoping to add some grassy plants like vallisneria around the dirftwood while leaving a large open area along with perhaps some floating plants like duckweed. Obviously this is more indicative of Oxbow Lake than the Amazon River but I thought I would just run with it :-)
I had completely forgotten that you had Amazonian Tanks! That's excellent! Looks like we have pretty parallel interests. I definitely have my eye on Asian tanks as well as we've discussed previously :-)
Although I think some of the medium-large cichlids are truly beautiful I would like to stick to small for now. I've looked through a list of SA Apistogrammas and they are really neat!
The commbrae, geisleri, and the steindachneri are three that I am particularly interested in. At this point though that is based exclusively on their aesthetic qualities. I have not been able to load the images of your tank. Whish species do you keep?
Over the years I've had Mikrogeophagus ramirezi, M. altispinosus, Apristogramma agassizii, A. bitaeniata [was known as A. kleei then], A. macmasteri, A. nijsseni [a personal favourite], Crenicara latruncularium, and Dicrossus filamentosus, my all-time favourite. At present I just have a beautiful male M. altispinosos (Bolivian Ram), you can see a photo of him in the 115g set. I'm keeping a lookout for various species, they are not readily available in stores, sometimes local breeders, and of course mailorder. I've also spawned angels back in the 1980's, a cichlid but not what we're considering here.
A. commbrae is a small fish, males max out at 5cm and females at 3cm. I've never come across this species, but now that I've looked into it I would like to find it as well. It occurs throughout the Rio Paraguay system in southern Brazil and adjacent countries, preferring soft slightly acidic water. Many of the species do better in more acidic water, but that is not a problem for we aquarists in the lower mainland where the water is very soft (zero GH and KH) and in an aquarium will slowly acidify naturally within a few months. I keep my tanks at 6.0. So, water parameters are really not an issue for us, lucky folks. A. geisleri occurs further north, actually in the Amazon River (most of our aquarium fish come from tributaries, rarely the Amazon itself), and A. steindachneri is from the Guyanas.
All of these and any others will suit a well-planted tank with bogwood arranged to dilineate small "territories" for each pair. In either a 70g or 90g (they will have the same dimensions except for height if they are the standard 4-foot tanks) you could have several pairs of different species. Thickly-planted is the key; these fish like cover, and when it is available they come out much more in the open, rather paradoxical but knowing they have hiding places and cover makes them more bold. And "dither" fish will be very useful, some groups of characins for the middle and upper levels (tetras, hatchets) and Corydoras to accompany your pleco. Sounds exciting.
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