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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am beginning to setup a new 55 gallon (I am buying parts at a time so it is going to be a few months) and I would like to try doing live plants this time but I have a few questions for those with experience.

I am using a sand substrate and am wondering if having live plants with cichlids and a sand substrate is possible.

If so are there certain plants that would work better with cichlids than others?

Also can I just have cichlids in the tank or would a pleco or other algae eater be advised.

I like plecos and had one in my last cichlid tank but I'm afraid the pleco would eat the plants.

All opinions are appreciated
 

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I have anubias and java fern in my mbuna tank with sand substrate. The plants are still adjusting to their new home but the fish leave them alone.

I also have a bristlenose pleco. He pretty much just cleans the rocks and glass. Never seen him near the plants.

I then have a few snails for other clean up. They'll clean the plants.
 

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I find no problem with either bristlenose or common pleco as far as the plants. Getting the correct plants to work in your PH and lighting will be a far larger question. Some cichlids will work with plants, others eat them, so that will take some study. I put hydrilla that I got in error over into a tank of severum to get rid of it. They are aquatic lawnmowers. Be advised that some snails also eat the plant leaves. Choose carefully as once you have the snails in the plants it is very hard to get them and all the eggs out without killing the plants in the dipping process.
 

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Anubias and java fern dont need to be planted. You can tie them to a rock, driftwood, or basically anything you want. Even if you wanted something like crypto, or val. you could always plant it in a small pot with ferrite and put rocks around it. I have all of the above in my mbuna tank and they haven't touched them (yet). I also have 4 small plecos in there and they clean the algae off the leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks so basically what I am getting from people so far is it depends on the cichlids and the plants as to whether they will bother them or not but plecos will leave the plants alone.
 

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rain87 said:
Thanks so basically what I am getting from people so far is it depends on the cichlids and the plants as to whether they will bother them or not but plecos will leave the plants alone.
Don't forget about your lighting :thumb:
 

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Sometimes the problem with cichlids and plants is the way some fish dig and expose plant roots too much for them to thrive. There are some who nibble them too much. And then just to add confusion there are some who just seem to enjoy rearranging things like plants. Apparently they can't carry rocks so they settle for messing with your mind by moving plants!!! I have one 75 gallon with African cichlids and I now have poured concrete bases for the plastic plants. At least when they drag them around, the plants settle back to the bottom instead of floating around until I rebury them!
 

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HEHE this is great. Its basically what your fish wants. I have a pindani electric blue and she digs up the sand, plays in the sand, spits all over the place, builds cute little hills all over the tank. OH and digs up the fake plants and moves them all over.
 

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Apparently there are some fish who consider it their place in life to set back and figure out ways to mess with ours mind!! Or maybe they just get so bored in their little glass cages?
 
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