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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently moved and I did have mbuna cichlids in my 55. I want to try south American cichlids when I put my tank back together. Can anyone recommend species that are not too too aggressive? How about Angels? What kind of substrate should I put in the bottom of my tank? I'm not sure if I want to go the gravel route again or if I should do something different. The tank is going to be in my living room so I want it to be interesting and nice looking. Thanks for the help!
 

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if you go with angels and dwarf cichlids you can have a community tank with tetra's and cory's and all that.

Take a look at my 55gal in my profile for an idea. There is nothing like a planted south american tank to really show off in your living room.

I would recommend 1 pair of angels, a school or 2 of tetras or hatchefish, a school of cory's, a cleanup crew (bristlenose pleco and or oto catfish), and some dwarf cichlids as well (numbers depend on which type). Apistogramma, rams, curviceps are all great, but there are even more. If you wanted sand as a substrate, bolivian rams appriciate that sort of thing. Take a look at the cookie cutter tanks on this site for a starting point.

The dwarfs are not too aggressive, and they dont destroy their surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I love the live plants in your tank. I've just always been afraid that the fish would try to rearrange them or eat on them. That's pretty much what I'm looking to do though. Maybe put in some driftwood. I have some petrified rocks I was planning on placing in it as well. Can you just pick any 2 angels or do they have to pair up? Do you have to do anything else to the plants like feed them besides the eco complete substrate? I really like the darker natural looking color of the substrate as well. Sorry for so many questions!
 

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Eco complete is a great substrate for planted tanks. I mixed it with some very small black gravel, mostly because it's pretty expensive and the gravel "stretched" it a bit. I have two fully planted SA tanks, both have a pair or single angels, tetras, cories and BN plecos. One also has a blue ram and the other has a pair of apistos. Both tanks are very lovely to look at. Both have a nice piece of mopani wood (well soaked prior to being put in the tank).

The plants, frankly, are harder than the fish, IMHO! Easy ones to start with include java fern (get a nice, lucious mat and your tank will immediately look nice) and anubias. I also like swords, crypts and the crinum bulb (onion plant). All are pretty easy. I do have 3 WPG and injected C02, though . . .

There are lots of different tetras that look nice with angels, including rummynose, pristella and black phantoms (my favorites). Serpaes and black skirts can get nippy.
 

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angels are pieceful unless they are spawning, then they get nippy, so just pick up a two, you might get lucky or you might not, but it should matter as far as your community is concerned. (im not an angel expert, but this is my understanding, maybe someone can provide more details).

The angels pick at the plants but they dont uproot anything, and the dwarfs are too small to do any damage.

Its true though, the hardest thing in my tank is the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the help! Now I have another question. When do you add the plants? Before or after cycling or does it not matter? Thanks again!
 

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plants need nitrate amoung other things as a source of food. But you can add them earlier...doesnt really matter.
 

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When I set up my most recent planted tank, I used Eco-complete as a substrate and fully planted the tank. (I find it much easier to plant a tank without fish.) Then using media from another tank and bio spira, I added the fish. I had an instant cycle and the plants did great. Just one approach . . .
 

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My 55G SA tank is my favourite tank to watch right now.

It has 3 adult Bolivian rams (2 females and 1 male, who breeds with both), about 10 young Bolivians ranging from 1- 1 1/2 inches (will remove some of them later when necessary), 6 albino cories, 2 BN plecos, 4 Buenos aries tetras, 4 scissortail raspboras, 5 gold rams, 3 rose barbs and two apple snails.

The tank is way overfiltered, super active, and in my living room - I spend alot of time watching it every evening. I know I will have to remove some of them in the future, but for now, it's great.

Kim
 

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You have a very nice tank Naegling23 :) I want to make my first SA Cichlid tank look and feel as natural as possible and your tank is exactly what I was thinking of. I bet your fish love it too!
 

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Thanks for the help! Now I have another question. When do you add the plants? Before or after cycling or does it not matter? Thanks again!
For both my tanks, I set each tank up in an afternoon, fully planted them, then added half a dozen tetras to cycle them. Never had a problem, no plant or fish die off.

When I set up my most recent planted tank, I used Eco-complete as a substrate and fully planted the tank. (I find it much easier to plant a tank without fish.) Then using media from another tank and bio spira, I added the fish. I had an instant cycle and the plants did great. Just one approach . . .
This is what I plan to do with my next three/four tanks.

I also have a question. As I'm doing biotope tanks I want natural looking substrates, is it possible to have a half inch layer of eco-complete covered by a half inch layer of sand or fine river gravel.
 

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DeadFishFloating said:
I also have a question. As I'm doing biotope tanks I want natural looking substrates, is it possible to have a half inch layer of eco-complete covered by a half inch layer of sand or fine river gravel.
thats what i have, i used 1 package of ecocomplete then covered it with gravel. i then took off half the gravel and replaced it with playsand so now i have ecocomplete base with gravel/sand mix on top.
 

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CaribSea Eco-Completeâ„¢ Planted Aquarium Substrate - The complete planted aquarium substrate!

Mineralogically complete! Contains iron, calcium,
magnesium, potassium, sulfur plus over 25 other
elements to nourish your aquatic plants. Eco-Completeâ„¢ Planted Aquarium Substrate contains all the mineral nutrients needed for luxuriant aquatic plant growth without nuisance algae! Iron rich Eco-Completeâ„¢ eliminates the need for laterite. Nitrate and carbonate free â€" will not increase pH or carbonate hardness in the long term. It’s real! No artificial dyes, paints, or chemical
coatings. Natural black substrate encourages the most vibrant coloration in fishes and reduces fish stress. Spherical grains for optimum diffusion performance. Supplies Calcium without raising pH. Lead free.

The Caribsea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate also creates a natural biological balance which makes cycling in a new aquarium faster and safer. With it's unsurpassed MacroPorosity for healthy roots and bacterial efficieny - you would have to buy 4 bags of ordinary gravel to equal the surface area of this one bag of Caribsea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate.
 
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