Cichlids and plants
This is a reply to a post on APD, I am sending my reply to the
Cichlid list as well.
> From: JDAVIS at bio_tamu.edu
> Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 21:07:54 -0600
> Subject: cichlids and plants
> I have a question on cichlids and plants. Most of the plants that we
> keep in our aquaria are soft water loving. How can you keep cichlids
> like Juliochromis (my favorite) from the hard-water lakes of eastern
> Africa, with plants that are by far the softest-water loving thing
The soft vs hard water dilema is IMHO not the main problem. What is a
problem is that most cichlids will constantly uproot and/or damage
the plants, and some (Africans) will often eat them.
I keep Central American Cichlids (C.nigrofasciatum, T.meeki, C.
spirulum). I found it is virtually impossible to keep plants planted
in the gravel w/o having to replant them regularly. However, I have
had rather good experience with potting the plants. I use clay pots
(different sizes). I put some large gravel at the bottom to block the
hole. Then I put a layer of fine gravel or sand mixed with little bit
of soil and peat. Then another layer of fine gravel and finally large
gravel at the top. The large gravel at the top is intended to prevent
the cichlids from uprooting the plants and/or digging into the pots.
My water is moderately alkaline and moderately hard. The tank is 180
litres and currently holds about 12 cichlids (more than half of those
are still juveniles or subadults) and 3 Ancitrus (I know it is
overpopulated). I have only 32W of fluorescent light, the light goes
on in the evening only (the tank is close to the window). I have DIY
I was quite successfull in keeping Valisneria and Echinodorus this
way. The growth is not too fast but they do grow. I have had a few
hybrid Apogonetons in there and they do relatively OK but the
cichlids regularly shred their leaves into pieces. However, they seem
to be able to grow new leaves faster than the cichlids shred them.
They've been blooming for the last month or two as well. OTOH, I
tried one Cryptocorine recently and had to take it out after about
Usually, the fishes do not damage the plants too much since the Vals
and Echinodorus have rather tough leaves. Sometimes, some cichlids
decides he does not want a particular plant at that particular place
and will keep digging it out. In that case I move the plant to a
different spot and usually that works.
CentER for Economic Research
5000 LE Tilburg,
Email: Fidrmuc at KUB_NL.