I'm thinking of setting my 55g up with cichlids. The problem I think I may have is its a planted tank. The plants are a bunch of java fern and an old crypt. What kinds of fish should I be looking at that wont mow down all my plants. I can relocate the crypt but would like to keep it how it is now.
New World or Africans ?
Honestly not sure. I'm looking at getting into some new fish other than the regular tetras and stuff like that. I though about discus but they seem to need more work and cost more. The cichlids seem to be the way to go, but I have to find which ones.
I'd wait till someone who comes on who is concerned about plants. :dunno:
Not a big plant fan myself, but I think Java is one of the hardier plants. I keep New World and plants would not last 5 mins in there, and Africans it's not biotypically correct. Throw some ideas of what you fancy keeping at us. :D
Only a hand full of south americans (rams, angles) would deal with plants. Both centrals and africans will uproot/shred the plants
Discus aren't exactly hard to care for. True that they are costly but they just need clean water compared to other fish and are, in fact, hardy as long as extreme changes which can stress them are avoided. Tetras, apistos, rams and cories are great tankmates. They will do well in planted tanks if you wish to maintain a planted tank.
Angels are also great choices. Pick either discus or angels but with the latter, your tetra choices will be limited to mostly deep-bodied ones as angels are quite a menace and can consume any fish that will fit in their mouths. Moreover, being very eager to breed, they may eventually harass their fellow tankmates so select your fish carefully.
Rams and apistos are great as mentioned before. If you want them, give them a try. Most apistos form a harem and this will require you a trio or more females to one male. As for the rams, you have a choice between the bolivian ram and blue ram with the latter being more sensitive to water conditions compared to the former but it's your choice. It's only a matter of proper acclimatization but I would suggest buying your blue rams from a local breeder as they may already be acclimated to the water conditions in your area.
Severums are great as well but they will likely damage your plants having a great appetite on greens. These fish are pigs and will eat quite a lot. There are several strains available in the trade.
Kribensis is an African cichlid and if you want them, why not try them? This will limit your bottom dwellers which is quite a big disadvantage if you don't have plenty of hiding places as kribs are also quite eager to breed and at this time, they can be very vicious often ripping fins to shreds and possibly killing their tankmates if the tankmates have nowhere to escape from their aggression.
Lake Malawi cichlids are divided between the mbunas and haps. It's your choice though none of them will spare a plant with the exception of Javan ferns and anubias.
Lake Tanganyikan cichlids are also equally entertaining. If you want shelldwellers, provide them with shells. Vallisnerias, anubias and Javan ferns will be okay in that tank depending on the species you get.
Let us know what you want.;)
Going to look at fish tonight and leaning towards the Malawi cichlids. Problem up here is we just have the general pet stores and limited knowledge sales staff. Loaded with as much info as I could take in and my trusty Fishes book we'll see what I can find. Lots of info here but I know I will have more questions soon.
Good luck.:) Listen to the pitch sales of your lfs but don't take everything too seriously. Several pet stores have been notorious for doing that to entice their customers to buy fish without knowing the exact requirements.
I have Africans and they have eaten every plant I have put in the tank except onion. All Jave they have pulled up, ate or distroyed. I gave up and just bought fake. There are some really nice once out now. I do like the onions as they can get very long. Mine are 4' now.
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