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RE: Advice on a new cichlid tank (Africans/Rift Lakes)


I used to live in a place that had medium-hard well water, and so I kept
African Rift Lake Cichlids as they best suited the local water chemistry. I
didn't have to add anything to the water to keep them happy and breeding.
One of the nicest tanks I had set up was a 125 gallon running on a wet-dry
filter system. This aquarium housed a variety of Tanganyikans and was set
up with about 1.5" to 2" of coral sand, which is not crushed coral and is
IMO much more attractive, as the base substrate along with 15 or 20 rather
large rocks stacked roughly like a rock wall and arranged in the shape of
an "S" along the length of the tank. The rockwork was put into the tank
first and I used some plastic foam padding under it to protect the glass
bottom. I used Valisineria spirilis as the main plant and put some trace
element tablets near the roots. The Val filled in nicely all around the
rocks and where it tended to get uprooted by the fish I just piled up some
smaller rocks around the base of the plants. No CO2 injection at that time.
I used Val because I know it grows in the Rift lakes and I was looking for
more of a biotope type setup.

I once stumbled across a website that had some info and photos on planted
Rift Lake setups but I lost the address. If I remember right, these plants
were potted with large stones around the base of the plants to keep the
fish from digging in the pot. I think one of the ideas also was that good
plant growth overpowers the destructive habits of the fish and the overall
appearance of the plants is good even though there is damage caused by the

--- Eric