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Hi, All,

First time posting here and am glad to be aboard. I'm starting a new 125g Malawii Cichlid tank and I want to aquascape it with Bonsai driftwood topped with moss to replicate a beachfront landscape. It will have crushed coral to fight off tannins from the driftwood, keep the PH high and provide a beachlike appearance, I'm running a Fluval FX6 on the tank for a filter and will also be growing some Jungle Val and Java fern,

My questions are, does anyone have a recommendation for a moss that will provide the Bonsai with an authentic leafy treelike appearance and that will tolerate high PH levels?

Does anyone have a recommendation for any grasses that will also tolerate high PH and not be tasty to Cichlids?

Will CO2 significantly help with moss, and if so, does anyone have a recommendation for a high-quality inline diffusor? I already have a Co2 canister and a high-quality solenoid from a previous tank. Tanks for any help you can provide!
 

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Hi, All,

First time posting here and am glad to be aboard. I'm starting a new 125g Malawii Cichlid tank and I want to aquascape it with Bonsai driftwood topped with moss to replicate a beachfront landscape. It will have crushed coral to fight off tannins from the driftwood, keep the PH high and provide a beachlike appearance, I'm running a Fluval FX6 on the tank for a filter and will also be growing some Jungle Val and Java fern,

My questions are, does anyone have a recommendation for a moss that will provide the Bonsai with an authentic leafy treelike appearance and that will tolerate high PH levels?

Does anyone have a recommendation for any grasses that will also tolerate high PH and not be tasty to Cichlids?

Will CO2 significantly help with moss, and if so, does anyone have a recommendation for a high-quality inline diffusor? I already have a Co2 canister and a high-quality solenoid from a previous tank. Tanks for any help you can provide!
CO2 will help everything grow, but it will lower your pH 1-1.5 points, which is not desirable for Malawi cichlids. Also, most plants do well in soft water, I believe malawi like hard water. Finally, malawi are probably like most cichlids in that they will destroy or eat whatever plants are in there.

If you want to grow plants in a malawi tank, probably best to use Excel carbon supplement, not CO2, and keep the water parameters where the fish like it.

Make sure whatever you put in there will not be eaten. Moss might be ok.

Read this: Cichlids in a planted tank - Aquascaping Wiki.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I forgot about the Co2 impact on PH. Excel and Flourish it is. Do you have a recommendation on a particular variety of moss that will provide the bonsai with a tree like appearance, but also tolerates high PH?
 

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I think bolbitis might work, but I don't think it would have the effect you're looking for. There really isn't that many plants you can keep with African lake cichlids. Java fern and anubias are also possibilities, but they may not work. Madagascar cichlids are a possibility for planted tanks as they like rather neutral conditions but the only readily available one is kribs. I'm sure if you do some research into the biotope of malawi cichlids you can find a plant that might be in the surrounding habitat that might be semi aquatic you could use but sourcing them might be an issue. Good luck!!
 

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Looks like he has mostly anubias and might be a windelov java fern. These are plants that can hold up in the conditions required, but it will be up to the cichlids themselves whether or not you will have success. If you're going to give it a shot make sure the rhizomes and connective roots have had enough time to set and the plants can't be dislodged. Good luck!! Would be very cool to see!!

*Edit- these plants will not require CO2 or fertilization (might need iron/ potassium if you see yellowing/ transparent leaves) but the higher stocking required for rift lake cichlids should give you enough fertilization for these types of plants.
 

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I wouldn’t do anubias and Java fern IME Malawi chiclids eat a TON of algae and they will tear apart any slow growing plant, hornwort and Val are able to withstand disgustingly hard water and grow super fast in that water.
 

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I wouldn’t do anubias and Java fern IME Malawi chiclids eat a TON of algae and they will tear apart any slow growing plant, hornwort and Val are able to withstand disgustingly hard water and grow super fast in that water.
I'm just going by the video the op is getting inspiration from. I've had neos with anubias without a problem, but that's shellies so it's a bit different. I've noticed anubias and java ferns aren't particularly appealing and are much more difficult to tear up/ uproot than vals and hornwort, though I do 100% agree on the algae issue.
 

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Just wanted to clarify that I'm not the OP. :)

I was only trying to give a visual for the OP of what's possible. My guess is there's a big ymmv on plants in a cichlid tank. Possibly a lot of super glue is in use as well.

And really, ph is not the issue. Gh would have more impact. Although I've seen some gorgeous tanks with Gh in the mid 20's with a corresponding degassed pH over 8. At those levels the key is proper nutrients. CO2 being a big one. Having animals in the tank that don't like lower ph makes things difficult.

I do wonder if Malawi cichlids are more in need of the minerals (Gh) than pH (Kh). In most Malawi cichlid circles a low ph is an implication of other issues. Not co2 injection. I've heard it said that it's easier for a soft water fish to acclimate to hard water then it is for a hard water fish to acclimate to soft. So maybe not. But again it's tough to tell whether hard water in that statement is Gh or Kh or both.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Just wanted to clarify that I'm not the OP. :)

I was only trying to give a visual for the OP of what's possible. My guess is there's a big ymmv on plants in a cichlid tank. Possibly a lot of super glue is in use as well.

And really, ph is not the issue. Gh would have more impact. Although I've seen some gorgeous tanks with Gh in the mid 20's with a corresponding degassed pH over 8. At those levels the key is proper nutrients. CO2 being a big one. Having animals in the tank that don't like lower ph makes things difficult.

I do wonder if Malawi cichlids are more in need of the minerals (Gh) than pH (Kh). In most Malawi cichlid circles a low ph is an implication of other issues. Not co2 injection. I've heard it said that it's easier for a soft water fish to acclimate to hard water then it is for a hard water fish to acclimate to soft. So maybe not. But again it's tough to tell whether hard water in that statement is Gh or Kh or both.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
My bad.
 

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You also have to dose much more co2 in hard water for it to work. And plants don’t do well in hard water only hornwort and Val would work properly
Those are incorrect assumptions. Not uncommon though.

Many plants will grow well in hard water. You just need to be more particular about co2, Ferts when you do have those conditions.

Maybe a better way to think of it is that the harder your water is the more it will show inadequacies of your co2 and fert dosing.

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