I've got a big planted tank w/ cichlid diggers!
inch of dirt on the bottom, 1/2" sand, 1-3" gravel, depending on what the fish do with it.
The fish are in charge. They remove and plant the plants where they want them. Some of my chiclids seriously plant them!! they'll take cuttings of my stem plants, and then push them into the gravel!!
I have my tank about 2/3 planted. It started as 1/2 planted, but plants have moved to the dark side. This way the cichlids can choose their environment, somewhat.
I have planted everything over the years, and you'll see in my pics, I've only got a few species growing... but it works. It's reached equilibrium. Tank is about 11 years old now.
Fish are, 2 tapajos eartheaters, 2 Jurapari eartheaters (and they do move the gravel!), 1 severum who is quite a gardener, a school of clown loaches, and some siamese algae eaters and plecos.
(Can't see many fish in the pics.. They're camera shy)
The diggers mostly like to dig around rocks, looking for food that has collected around them. And, they only like to dig down a couple inches.. There have been a few times when one morning I'll wake to a cloudy tank and find a big hole in the mud. But that's only happened a couple times in the many years of this tank. The swords have a good root system that prevents too much damage, I guess.
Had to get 3 shots, to get the whole tank.. (220gallon)
Edited to say, I trimmed the tank a few days before that pic.. Otherwise there's usually more stem plants, lilly pads, and wisteria.
Edited again to say, there is only dirt under the planted 1/2 of the tank. I silicone'd a strip of plexi-glass down the middle of the tank, under the gravel, to keep the dirt on the light side.
Edited a 3rd time to say, when my dirt was fresh, the swords reached the top of my tank! it's definitely time for a re-do, but that's not going to happen any time soon...
Last edited by wicked1; 12-01-2015 at 08:15 PM.
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