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Greetings Everyone. Getting ready for my 125 gallon tank to become a Cichlid tank and just have some general tank questions:

1. I am using black lava rock which is not heavy at all. Is this ok to place directly on the bottom glass? I heard that I should do it that way because cichlids like to dig through sand which could cause the stacked rocks to become unstable. The walls of the tank are 3/8" thick and the bottom is tempered so I wouldn't think I'd have to worry about cracks but I'd rather ask the experts first.

2. Would anyone know or have a general idea as far as how much weight can be placed in the tank. as of right now I'm looking at around 1200 lbs. including water, rocks, sand.


3. I'm using black lava rock and judging from the pictures I don't know backs on the little "cave" holes I make when stacking the rocks? Meaning it's ok for the fish to just be able to swim through the holes?

4. As far as females go, What should I look for, for a safe place for them and their eggs?

Thanks guys.
 

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I would recommend putting a section of diffuser/vent grating on the bottom... you can fined it in the isle with ceiling tiles at lowes or home depot.. this will allow your to stack rock onto the grate but they will remain stable if you have sand digging fish..
 

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Cichlids do like to dig. As was mentioned, it would be highly recommended to put a piece of light diffuser panel (egg crate) on the bottom of the tank, this gives the glass protection, but can also be an eye sore if the fish do dig through all the sand.

How thick do you plan on having the sand? In terms of weight, unless you have a ton of rocks and provided they are stacked well then weight is not really an issue. If the tank were that size in saltwater then most reef keepers would have a minimum 125lbs of rock plus a sand bed up to 3" thick or more, so the tanks are more than capable of keeping that amount of weight. If you have a lot of rock then you can get glue designed for aquariums or coral putty which you can use to glue the rocks together to create a solid structure. If you go high though, make sure the base is directly on the glass and surrounded by a lot of sand, it is more stable than putting it on egg crate.

In terms of the females, that depends on what you want to stock, nearly all cichlids are mouthbrooders, so once fertilized the females will take the eggs in her mouth cavity until they are ready to hatch. Once the fry are released, then providing a lot of cover is essential so they dont get eaten, small caves that only fry can get it or thick cover from plastic plants if you want to use them or real if you go that way.

In that size tank you have a lot of stocking options, once the cycle s running, then you can research the species unless you already know.
 
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