I'm probably 6 months away from setting up my first serious planted tank. I've done reef tanks for the past 5 years and prior to that I've tried my hand at just about any type of freshwater fish you can think of. I've played around with planted tanks in the past, but have never taken the venture all that seriously. My wife has agreed to let me use an 8ft wall in our kitchen to do a tank. Right now the plan is to create a stand and canopy that mimic our kitchen cabinets so that it has a real built in feel. I'm leaning toward either a 84"x24"x30" or possibly a 72"x24"x30". I've read a bunch of information on this site over the past few days and I've read through Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
and I'm learning a lot. I plan to keep doing so, however I do have a few questions that I've struggled to find the answers to.
First, what is the general consensus about drilled tanks with built in overflows? I love being able to keep the majority of my equipment out of the tank. From what I'm seeing here not a lot of people are using them. Will it cause problems to do a sump type filtration?
Second, are people having success with planted tanks and African cichlids? I have a large frontosa that I would love to give a large tank. I've had him since he was about 1 1/2" and he is now probably around 7". I don't want to give up on the planted tank idea just to give him a larger home. I've always been under that impression that the amount digging that Africans do will disrupt the plants, but I've seen a few picture of Africans in planted tanks and just wanted to see that the pro's thought about it.
I've gotten the basics that substrate lighting and nutrients are the three biggest keys to success. Just wondering if people have any specific recommendations for equipment for my planned set up. Let your imaginations run wild, at this point that is my approach. Also any suggestions for either books, threads or links that I could check out would be much appreciated.