Zone 2: This region functions as a buffer between the rocks and breeding arena. The area allows for a breeding cichlid pair to define and defend their territory. Once fry become free swimming, this buffer zone helps protect from ambushing fish hiding in the rocks. The flow of the water over the rock is pushing these plants down from their normal upright position.
Zone 3: This is the breeding site. I have experimented with the location of breeding logs and
caves but have discovered that when given a choice, the pair will chose a location with least current. This is normally a spot farthest away from the filter outflow. The plant in the corner provides a comfortable position for the parent not in the cave to watch over the entire area without feeling exposed.
In conclusion, this is a setup that has worked very well for me. Rheophilic cichlids are among my favorite group of fish. I have experimented with numerous aquatic designs attempting to find one that would offer repeated success. I have been fortunate to spawn several species of Steatocranus, Teleogramma brichardi, Orthochromis stormsi, and Gobiocichla wonderi with this recipe. These charming and entertaining fish deserve to have a prominent exhibit in everyone's collection. I hope this simple setup will inspire you to add them to yours!