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I am setting up a 75 gallon mbuna tank and would like to know what experienced cichlid people would highly recommend. Also what depth is recommended. Sorry for all the newbie questions but I want to do this right the first time. As I mentioned before I have had fish on and off for over 60 years.
 

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Pool filter sand and one inch. Put the rocks on the glass and THEN add the substrate. Since you will fill the tank with rocks, you will not need as much substrate.
 

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A cheap option is to use pool filter sand usually available at a pool supplies store. Some brands are available in either a tan or white color depending on your location.

If you are looking for substrate with color other than tan or white, traditional aquarium sands come in multiple colors.

If you are lucky enough to have access to a distributor that sells architectural floor coatings in your area, check out Estes' PermaColor Quartz in the Trowel-Rite 20 - 40 mesh size which is what I use in all my tanks in a combination of white, black and brown.

As far as the depth of the substrate, I also use about an inch or so of substrate, maybe just enough to come up to the bottom trim of the tank.
 

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Agree with the others, Pool Filter sand is what I use, at about an inch for all tanks.
I prefer natural colors.
I find pure white sand tends induce cichlids colors to wash out, but if you have enough darkish rock work i shouldn't;t matter.
Although not a rift lake tank, it gives an idea of the look
Plant community Plant Terrestrial plant Wood Aquatic plant

Plant Organism Pet supply Wood Grass
 

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Agree with PFS, you won’t need a whole 50lb bag either, rocks on the glass eat up a lot of volume of substrate
 

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Get some fine gravel and mix that in with your PFS. You'll have a bottom substrate that looks very natural and will almost exactly mimic the sandy bottom areas of the lake.
 
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