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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have had a overwhelmingly successful, pretty high tech, 29 gallon tank set up for about 6 years. I moved about a month ago and figured it would be the perfect time to upgrade to a 60 gallon tank. I also decided it was time to get rid of the community fish and jump to Cichlids since I knew they liked hard water(moved to an area where GH is about 322 ppm). Being new to hard water and Cichlids, I added a large assortment of plants. Unfortunately, I have had to throw about 75% of them away due to my fish tearing them to shreds. The plants that they seem to leave alone are various amazon swords, anacharis, java fern, and anubis. They are also getting covered with brown algae(diatoms?), which doesn't seem to kill them, but it severely slows its growth once covered. I believe my tank has finished its cycle, thanks to it getting seeded from my previous tank. My questions are...

What are good/safe plants to add to a hard water, chiclid tank?
Why are my plants getting covered? My parameters seem pretty good. Is it a case of "New Tank Syndrome"? :crying:

My Tank:

60 Gallon 48W x 13D x 24H
Flourite 2.5" brown substrate
160 GPH Marineland canister filter with spraybar(Low Surface Agitation)
5lb CO2 system with about 3 bps dissolve rate
1 - 48" 7000k RAY2 FINNEX LED (8 hrs per day)
1 - 30" 7000k RAY2 FINNEX LED (From previous tank, 10 hrs per day)
Topless(No lid)
Lots of driftwood
About 15 assorted African Cichlids
Fertilize with Flourish Comprehensive, trace, and potassium

Current readings:
76 degrees F
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrate about 15 - 20 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Phosphate 0.25 - 0.5 ppm
GH 322 ppm
KH 286 ppm (taken right before CO2 shuts off at night)
PH 7.6


Picture Taken After I removed many of the plants. I took it before leaving work this morning so only the small 30" was on.
 

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Several points that matter. Which cichlids as there are more than a hundred types and there is a great deal of difference in the types. Sounds like a bad combo of fish and plants. with some tank setup problems. I'm somewhat surprised at the anacharis doing okay as it is one that my fish strip of leaves. Can't say from the picture but it looks like a bit of bad fish choice.
Can I see a couple with very obvious horizontal lines? Check this profile to see why I might see them as a problem due to extreme aggression.
Cichlid Profiles
But then I also see some yellow tailed Acei I believe. They are in a group who almost by definition, do feed on algae. Being a veggie eater does make them more prone to eating plants. Cichlid Profiles They are a pretty calm fish but not one to pair with super aggressive fish.

You may have fallen into a trap set for new cichlid folks. There is often a tank of "assorted cichlids" which are the rejects in some shops. They are often cheaper priced due to the limited number of people who want those fish. Some are mixed breeds which tends to make them super aggressive.

So what I see is a tank that will take some study and experiments to find which fish and which plants but then at the moment, it is setup and stocked with several fish that fall under the term "mbuna" which translates somewhat to rock fish. Rock fish want/need rocks for hiding.

Sorry, but I might guess that the tank has little chance with the current fish. Cichlids and plants are harder to sort out the right fish/plant combo and the African group from Malawi is somewhat harder still as there are so many hundreds to sort and find.
 

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Straighten out the fish population as suggested.

Plants that have worked for me in a Lake Tanganyikan tank, similar water chemistry, but fish that did not nibble on plants:

Valisneria
Hornwort
(I know I had more plants in there, but I do not remember them thriving)

Others to try with plant-eaters:
Bolbitis
Hygrophylla (several species are commonly available, most are fast growing)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am new to Cichlids, so thanks for the honesty. I may have jumped into it too fast. Yes, about 75% of them are mbuna Cichlids, with the remaining 25% being Peacocks. Well, one of my LFS's trades in fish for in-store credit. I'll definitely be trading in the Yellow tailed Acei. I'll probably trade in the Melanochromis Auratus, Orange Blotch Zebra, and Pseudotropheus Cyaneorhabos as well. I also have an Electric Yellow Cichlid but I have read that they get along well with most tank mates. With all this being said, I will say that I saw very little aggression in my tank(minus when fish were first added...lucky?). What would you say about trading them in for more Peacocks? Everything I have been reading this morning says that most of them are timid, get along with others, are carnivores(plants are sweating in relief), and do well with driftwood as cover. Thoughts?
 

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Peacocks as a group will do better with a tank and no rocks for hiding but then there needs to be some thoughts as to which peacocks as some do get pretty big. I may have overstated the need for rocks as what is really needed is hiding. At this time the group you have may be okay but as they grow they begin to change. Fry are kindergarden and adults are college? What works at first may become a disaster later, so you have some slack. How to go depends on you and how you think of the tank. You can shoot for a "perfect" pairing now or you can watch, wait and change out the fish as they become problems. I think of it much like people maturing. It is not going to be an overnight change where suddenly one wakes and finds the fish dead---if we are watching and learning.
I often trade and swap tanks and get fish that I don't want so this is similar to what you may have. I would go this way if I had the tank. It is a nice looking tank and has definite prospects, so I would do the research on the various fish to try to find what the odds are on each. There is no certain answer so I weed out the really aggressive guys. Thugs will grow up to be thugs in most cases so I just don't deal with them and you do have a couple thugs, I think. Then I would watch and see what happens. Not all the yellow tails eat plants, as it is just a trait in nature that may not happen in your tank. I keep yellow tailed and they don't bother the plants.
There are other factors to behavior besides our birth. Environment is a big one so if the fish don't grow up eating plants they may never start. So who is eating the plants? Watch and find out and they may need to move. Fish ARE like people and often do take the easy way out. So feeding zucchini may make it easier and they may not eat the plants. So I would take some time, study the fish and research, then as it needed to change, I would change. But then I may not have the same attitude, time, and needs that you find fit you.
The articles in the Cichlid-forum are generally great info that I follow. One "required" read might be the article that rates the various types and expected aggression.
 
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