View Full Version : rockwork

02-26-2004, 08:58 PM
i have a tank setup with 13 varied mbuna's and 2 syno catfish... It's a 65 gallon and from what i've read it would be best to at least double my current stock.... (they are all juveniles at this point)

i only have one fake rock at this point (15" x 4") and would like to start adding some more rockwork to the tank - i have a few questions:

1) i suppose it's hard to know without seeing but i was wondering if what i have might be too rough for the mbuna's. it's designed to look like lava rock, but is much smoother than real lava. i suppose the best way to describe it is that it's very bumpy when running your hand over it, but it is not jagged and does not scratch your skin when rubbing it like real lava rock does. do you think it is too rough?

2) i would like to duplicate their natural habitat as closely as possible (planning on taking the plants out once i have enough rocks). am i correct in assuming they mainly live near the shoreline in small reefs? i keep reading that extremely smooth rocks are the best but i have a hard time picturing a reef made out of smoothed out river stones.

3) i currently have a 2" thick layer of large pebble gravel. i am going to buy some sand and was wondering if I should layer it on top of the pebbles, or take the pebbles out entirely. how thick do most people keep their substrate?

thanks in advance for all advice/comments/flames... :D

02-26-2004, 11:52 PM
1) that should be fine i know that some people here use real lava rock and all you have to do is watch out for sharp edges

2) yes they do live close to the shore and around the small islands in the lakes, the reefs in witch they live contain many caves so if your trying to duplicate that make lots of hiding places.

3) it all depends on your filter system. if using undergravel filtration then sand is a bad idea but if using a canister or sump system then it is certainly allright but you should remove the gravel entirely.

02-27-2004, 09:38 AM
thanks for the reply.... i have a canister filter - what would be the recommended depth of a sandy bottom? (or does it even matter? i vacuum once per week)

02-27-2004, 10:45 AM
I keep my sand substrate fairly coarse and no deeper than an inch, which is what I'd advise especially considering your contemplated bioload. For a good tip on vacuuming your substrate, see cathyhill's post in this thread: http://cichlidforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=30364

02-27-2004, 03:31 PM
hi tom - thanks.... i think i might stick with the coarse gravel.... i've noticed when my fish want to dig they pick up individual pieces in their mouth.... it might take them longer but at least they can still do what needs to be done.... :-)