Substrate for African Cichlids
I am starting up 75g and am looking to populate with various African Cichlids. My buddy in lfs told me I need to put in dolemite as a substrate - but on some retail sites it says to use fine sand. Please advise which is the way to go. Thanks
You can use sand. I have 2 55gals with just gravel and one mixed sand and gravel. The sand is a fine sand and have the gravel a color that has the best effect on having them color as this is usually the main reason malawis are kept. Good Luck!
Your best bet would be sand
Playground sand (can get at Lowes, homedepot Ect)...
Pool filter sand (you can get it at Swimming pool shop)...
I use Texas Grit sand. Its not as fine of a sand, but i realy like it as it shows the color of the fish realy well.
Just remember to was the sand befor youPut it in your tank.
The reason dolomite was suggested is because it raises the hardness and pH of the water. This doesn't matter too much if your tap water is naturally hard and basic/alkaline. But in my case with very soft and acidic tap water, I used to use dolomite as the substrate for livebearers and rift lake cichlids to maintain a high pH and hardness. Dolomite slowly dissolves calcium and magnesium, the two minerals that create "hard" water. Unless your tap water is not hard, this shouldn't be necessary. However, biological actions in the tank will gradually cause the pH to falll if your tap water is high in carbonate hardness (KH) this buffers it and regular partial water changes will prevent acidification. If not, having some dolomite gravel in a bag in the filter works fine. I can explain more about this if it is relevant. But knowing your tap water GH, KH and pH is the first step.
On the sand, there is a sand mix for rift lake cichlids that does this and is still sand, not gravel.
It's sometimes marketed as cichlid sand but is also known as aragonite sand. I believe it's also sold for use in saltwater tanks.
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