I have 4 african tanks -
1) All male mostly malawais - 125 gallon with anubias and ferns
2) Demasoni and Yellow Labs - 55 gallon with anubia, ferns and floaters
3) Mixed Africans - 90 gallons all rocks
4) All Demasoni and algae crew - plants plants plants everywere.
I have 5 South America tanks
1) Oscar, Pikes, Convicts 1 Male JackDempsey- 125 gallon - plants yea right.
2) All Convict tank with two visiting Jacks - 75 gallon plants everywhere
3) Geophagus and 3 foot fire eels with assorted oddities - 150 gallon - had a sword in there - think they ate it.
4) Big Red (Midas Cichlid) 55 gallon - whatever he wants in there
5) Bordo Curvado - crooked lipped albino oscar - ditto
JackDempsey pairs can and killed whole tanks - hence the male who is about 6 inches long - who will Kill any fish in the tank when he is with a mate - is now segregated
Big Red moved from tank to tank until I got tired of seeing every fish in the tank cowaring in one corner while he gloated.
Same story with albino oscar. - Mean Mean Fish
My mix africa tanks are really really mean - but there are so many that they seem to have a swell time - ate every plant I have tried
Same story with the all convict tank - mean as hell and they like it. Mow down my plants
I "used' to have twice as many african tanks - but mbunas can wear you down - the most violent african I ever had was Auratus - males are so aggressive you can't keep enough females around to dissapate the energy - Auratus are the yellow and black striped ones in just about every box pet store out there. Dug up every plant I tried.
I have 2 tanks of Demasoni cause I like them that much - the only fish I have actually planned a tank around.
A really nice balance of personality, aggressiveness, socialabilty, color, size, and plant friendly - and without a doubt the cuteness factor of the babies is beyond cool - wife pleaser, chick magnet, warm and fuzzy
Add to this list 6 high tech planted tanks with assorted community fish, shrimp tanks, blue lobster tanks etc.... 6 mid-tech planted tanks with
rainbows, bala, danios etc...
And some more assorted dozen or so 10gallon rcs, snails, moss tanks...
My point - if you want to know what cichlids are gonna be worth the investment in a planted tank - I have made all your mistakes for you :-)
Here is the recepie -
55 or larger
Bottom layer of eco, baylees better bottom, flourite - any will do
A layer of eco-african
Lots and Lots of rocks and caves.
Lots and Lots of plants - especially floaters and grassy stuff for babies to hide
Atleast - min 8 Demasoni - the more the better
4 Yellow Labs
Viola - stunning tank that is a show stopper - and really really fun to watch.
Now that is way more than 2cents worth -