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ok my mom has a 75g cichlid tank with huge gravel and LOTS of fake plants
I've been reading and it seems like cichlids like to dig in sand and their natrual habitat contains few plants

so i have been thinking of hijacking her tank and doing a major rescape
namely getting rid of the gravel and fake plants and adding a few real ones

but i cant find any plants that actually grow in lake Malawi
the source on malawi biotopes that even mentions plants is this one
http://fish.mongabay.com/biotope_lake_malawi.htm and it only mentions valisneria

I have heard that java fern and anubis do good in a cichlid tank, But I'm hoping to do native plants if i can find out what they are.

furthermore what should i use for sand? i have about 200lbs of argonite left over from my reefing days and was wondering if i could use that
otherwise it will either be pool filter sand or play sand.
 

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I am not aware of plant life in these lakes - certainly not in the areas these fish tend to inhabit. But if you want a plant that should work you should definitely stick to something which could be attached to a rock or wood such as an anubias or perhaps a java fern? Nothing which roots into the substrate.
 

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There is Val growing in both Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. I've keep fish from both and they will dig until the find a flat surface be it a flat rock or the glass bottom. I would suggest using clay pots with larger pebbles around the plants.

Given enough rock caves they should leave the plants alone.
 

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Most of the popular Malawi cichlids are found in the rocky reef area, which has zero plants, only algae.

There are some very beautiful large haplochromines that live in the Vallisneria beds in the sandy shallows.: Dimidiochromis compressiceps, Nimbochromis polystigma, some Rhamphochromis, and a few other rarer ones.
 
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