Help deciding on cichlids

SFhobbyist

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Hello all,

So i am currently deciding between two options for my tank. I have a tall 90 gallon tank (36”x36”x16”) and have been wanting to do a community tank with live plants. I have a fair amount of fishkeepihg experience (about 12 years) in both freshwater and saltwater and want to try something new. I have not done plants and not done cichlids. I know I can’t do them both so am trying to decide which to do now. I am switching back to freshwater from saltwater now.

My aquarium is already cycled and I am ready to start adding. The problem is that I have to go through another cycle now because either way I am going to add rocks either to build it up so I can put plants in and they can get light or for the cichlids.

Before I add the rocks, I thought I would reach out here for help making my decision.

I currently have a couple decorations that will be staying. My kids love them and want them. They are a pirate ship and cannon. I also have gravel, if that makes any difference on my decision.

I need help figuring out what I would do if I go with a cichlid tank rather than a planted one. What type of rocks would I want to put in? How large of caves would I need to make? Do I use silicone to stick the rocks together so they can’t be moved or just let the cichlids move them? Do you have any stocking suggestions for my 90 gallon tank (remembering it is tall)? In my past community tanks I have had ottos to clean the algae and cories to help clean the gravel and that worked well but I know I can’t use them this time so is there something I can use for that with cichlids? Is there anything I need to be aware of with cichlids that may sway my decision?

I would love to see pictures and ideas of your tanks also to help me see what you all have done and maybe inspire me.

Thank you for any help you can give.
 

CarpCharacin

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I have a 55 gallon with 3 Electric Blue Haps, and they are some of.my favorite foah, but that is a longer tank. I think the caves would need to be large enough for the fish to fit in, but not get stuck. I typically use Terra Cotta pots and partially bury them on the substrate.
 

SFhobbyist

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Thank you. How large of an opening is left on your terra cotta pots? How large are your haps?
 

CarpCharacin

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You can get terra cotta pots in many sizes, I just bury them a bit on the substrate to keep them from moving, but I don't have them in the hap tank, because the haps like to dig in the substrate, but I have them in my other cichlid tanks. The Electric Blue Haps are pretty big, maybe 6-7 inches.
 

SFhobbyist

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Thank you again. I am just looking for what size opening I will need for these fish. I guess I don’t know how large they get as adults in an aquarium.

Also, does anyone have any stocking ideas for this tank? I think I want African cichlids and some color variety but not something that will cross breed.

Thanks again for any help given.
 

SFhobbyist

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That looks pretty cool. How does it work as a cave? Just curious.
 

Protim Sarkar

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That looks pretty cool. How does it work as a cave? Just curious.
Actually, my friend keeps Haps and Peacocks in those tanks. They likes to roam around the tank. But if you keep mbunas, they go for terracotta pots.
I use marble and granite slabs to make mbuna caves.
Screenshot_20180324-225814.png
 

SFhobbyist

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Nice. So I am now thinking of another potential option and looking for advice. I have some Utah lace rock that I could clean up and use. Would that be a good option for a cichlid aquarium?
 

CarpCharacin

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People use lace rock in African cichlid aquariums, so I think it would work, provided that the openings in/between the rock are big enough so the fish don't get stuck.
 

Professor_fish

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Dwarf south American cichlids are fine with plants, only use limestone or marble based rock with hard water cichlids. Bigger cichlids are strong, so use aquarium sealant in small dabs to anchor the rocks together
 
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