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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought 2 15 piece packs of Underwater Galleries cichlid hideouts. I gave up on natural rock due to the cost, weight and possible sourcing from wild. So I bit the bullet and here's what I got. I hope its okay to paste a link here. I will also paste a photo at the bottom.


First what do you think about these ceramic hideouts. I have a 55 gallon tank and have some dragon stone that I can add as well. I have anubias too. I don't think the anubias with attach to the ceramic hideouts?
The picture is me working on an arrangement. Not pictured but the backs of these pieces are almost flat. So I could place them as far back as possible to leave lots of room up front. But that would hamper cleaning the glass on the back of the tank. What do you think?
Second. These pieces are not very natural looking and I get that. But I hope to find an arrangement that will be pleasing. I have 4'-5" inches or better aragonite substrate, some natural stones and the few anubias. I think I can make this work? What do you guys think?
Here are what I received. Pictured below. I have more than I expected. They are also very light weight. I am happy about that. They are also designed for this purpose. So IMO functionality should supersede appearance? What do you guys think?
Third. I now realize I have an issue with the openings. I expect food and poop to accumulate in these openings. Most are one way in and one way out. I am thinking that I will need to vacuum them out with a thin tube. Any other ideas? What do you guys think?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions and or comments. And be honest. I can take it.
John
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I don't mind the look and some of the most beautiful tanks I have seen were artistic rather than natural. That said I did not find the function to be ideal...like you said the debris accumulates inside. I blast the siphon water into the openings, but you either have to do that last during refill and hope the filter picks up the airborne debris, or use a turkey baster before you siphon.

Also given a choice the fish seem to prefer hides that have entrance and exit...tight crevices between rocks and terra cotta saucers covered with smaller slate tiles that I put there for the catfish...both mbuna and cats shared those. The rock piles were on top of the slate tiles.

Then, don't assume the territory is the inside of the cave. Males want a patch of substrate surrounded by rocks so make the openings face all directions...front and back especially. Make the pile in the middle of the tank so you have territories/substrate spaces in the back as well.

Finally leave a dip in the pile like you have on the left. When netting fish...remove enough units to insert a tank divider...shoo the fish into the section you have divided off and remove all caves in that one section. This allows room for your 2 large nets.

One advantage of the caves is if the fish you want swims into one you can cover the front and remove the whole thing instead of netting.
 

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I gave up on natural rock due to the cost, weight and possible sourcing from wild. What do you guys think?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions and or comments. And be honest. I can take it.
John
View attachment 142501
John: To alleviate any fears from sourcing rock from the wild this is a good read.
There a lot of myths out there perpetuated by the internet concerning rocks harming fish, etc. I have collected and used harvested rocks for decades with no issues. Not a fan of those artificial rocks with only 1 hole for entrance/exit. Not a natural environment for fish with only 1 way in and out. The design will trap detritus which is going to be a pain to clean. The issue of weight with rock is also nothing to be concerned with. Tanks can hold a lot of weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
John: To alleviate any fears from sourcing rock from the wild this is a good read.
There a lot of myths out there perpetuated by the internet concerning rocks harming fish, etc. I have collected and used harvested rocks for decades with no issues. Not a fan of those artificial rocks with only 1 hole for entrance/exit. Not a natural environment for fish with only 1 way in and out. The design will trap detritus which is going to be a pain to clean. The issue of weight with rock is also nothing to be concerned with. Tanks can hold a lot of weight.
Yes, I am having buyers remorse on the cichlid caves. I spent a few hours yesterday and just can't seem to find a good looking setup. Part of the problem is there are several big caves and the 55 gallon tank is very narrow.
I may just bite the bullet again and eat the money I spent on the caves. I'm not sure I can return them?
Detritus and falling pellets will accumulate in these caves and was my first concern when they arrived. I feed very light and try to only give them what they can eat in the water column. But some pellets do make it to the bottom.
I have considered trying to modify the caves but ceramic will most likley shatter no matter the approach. I have a dremmel tool and I'm going to try and cut the bigger caves down to a more manageable size and also try to make another hole in each one. But I doubt I will be successful. But they did send more caves than was expected so if I ruin one it should be no big deal.
Thanks.
 

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Could you possibly find some similarly colored fist sized rocks and just add them into the mix with the cichlid stones? That may make them appear more natural looking at least until they get a coating of algae on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Could you possibly find some similarly colored fist sized rocks and just add them into the mix with the cichlid stones? That may make them appear more natural looking at least until they get a coating of algae on them.
Yes. Yesterday I found a box with assorted rocks dating back for years. River rocks. Some nice and flat. Also some real life like driftwood as well. So I can mix it up some. I have anubias as well to round out the tank.
Update: I was able to cut any cave I wanted into any shape I wanted. I cut an extra hole in every single one of them as well. My Dremmel tool with cutting wheel cut through them like butter. I used a hole saw for the extra holes and it worked great. Of course the hole saw is ruined now, but no big deal.
Today is another day of setting up.
Thanks

I would see if they accept returns before you try to modify them. Amazon is pretty good about returning stuff your not happy with.
Yep. I planned to send them back yesterday at the chagrin of my wife. She helped me unpack them and that alone was a chore. Every single one wrapped in multiple layers of shipping paper, then into little boxes of all sizes.
But since I had more caves than I expected, I took one into my shop and found they were very easy to cut. So, I spent the most part of yesterday afternoon adjusting cave size and drilling holes in each one.
So I have modified most all of them. I am now somewhat pleased with the result. Lets see how it turns out.
Thanks
 
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