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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have just added some granite boulders to my aquarium and was wondering if the setup is sufficient. I plan on stocking peaceful mbuna like yellow tail acei, rusties, yellow labs, and pearl zebras. Can I get away with this amount of rocks in my aquarium with these peaceful mbuna? I would prefer not to stack more than half of my aquarium full of rocks because I'm worried about cleaning/maintenance and the safety of the tank. If more rocks is necessary, how much more and how should I stack them? How much sand should I leave open? Will the fake plant provide good cover or will a stack of rocks be more beneficial? Below is a pic of my tank. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

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Pearl zebras are not peaceful and rusties may not be as peaceful as advertised. I would leave patches of sand open for the males to claim, and fill the rest with rocks. A stack of rocks is always more beneficial than plants. You could replace the large boulder with several fist sized rocks to add nooks and crannies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the heads up on the zebras. Do you know of any peaceful cichlids that have similar light colors? I was thinking socolofi snow white but was wondering if there are any others that could work.

I will work on getting some more rocks in the aquarium and post an updated pic. Thanks for the suggestions
 

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Generally speaking, labs are the most peaceful and acei the second most peaceful. After that you move into the more medium aggression mbuna. You would want the extra rocks even with a tank full of yellow labs.

The rusties and pearl zebras will work in a 90G with labs and acei.
 

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It's better but the problem with using only large rocks is that there are less nooks and crannies. You don't need one cave/fish. You need a dozen patches on the substrate surrounded by rock for the males and several dozen nooks and crannies for the females to hide in, lurk under or behind or swim through in order to evade male chases.

You don't have to do it all at once...see how the fish like this and you can swap out rocks as required. I like to build the rock piles on a table outside the tank and stare at it for a couple of days after I have it like I like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok thanks I'm probably gonna go with smaller rocks. I want to avoid having to remove the sand and redo the rock work when there is fish in there. What size should the nook and crannies be? I'm thinking smaller rocks could create caves that are too small or difficult for the fish to get in especially when they grow more. Also is it ok if some of the caves connect with each other trough the rocks or should I try to make sure each cave only has one opening?
 

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Avoid constructing caves. Just choose rocks that when jumbled together randomly create cracks between them that a fish can barely squeeze into. They avoid the roomy ones and use the tight ones. The substrate areas are more like cubicles than caves...no roof and no front. Then as you stack the rock piles the females will swim through to lose the male, or lurk behind or under a ledge just to get out of his sight so he forgets he is chasing her.

https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 3&start=15
Sinister kisses has a pic on a post from 2/13/2021 that may help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok I just set up a new rockscape. What do you think? I tried to have two peaks but I'm not sure it is necessary. Would it be better if I made it one uniform height rock pile?
 

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That looks great. Having the valley in the rocks helps if you have to net a fish...you can remove just those rocks and add a divider. Shoo the fish to that end and net them easily.
 

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Looking good!
Not sure why more people don't use taller, and larger pieces of rock. Thinner rock pieces in cross-section shape, don't weigh as much as those big landscape boulders do at comparable sizes...
I used landscaping rocks and Mountain Lace Rock together with each other, when I used to have African Mbuna.



That is a 150 gallon African Mbuna tank. There are some landscaping rocks around the bottom of the rock pile, with some really big pieces of Mountain Lace Rock extending all the way to the surface of the aquarium (back wall is DIY 3D).

The tall pieces of Mountain Lace broke up visual 'sight lines' while the piled up Landscape Rock around the bottom, provided a lot of places for everyone to hide and tuck down into if needed. African Mbuna (and most Cichlids) tend to head straight down anyway when startled or chased.
 
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