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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One, how did you get them that high without taking the whole tank at the bottom? Did you stack them against the back glass?

Next: Do your fish use the high hiding spots? All the pics I have seen have fish down near the substrate and not in the high hiding spots so I'm wondering if they are needed or are a personal preference thing?
 

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When you stack high you DO tend to take the whole bottom. I never get all the way to the surface however...I get about half way.

The fish use the sides of the rock piles. So the higher the sides, the more fish hiding places. You may be seeing the males which prefer the substrate. But the females often hover overhead and swim through/lurk near the higher walls.

I do not stack against the glass for maintenance reasons. Where the rock touches the glass it becomes a cleaning problem.

Some fish don't need rocks at all. Fish like mbuna appreciate lots of rocks.
 

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I've had multiple tanks that were 21" tall and had rocks right up to the 20" mark... cichlids used all the way to the top... ok, maybe not the last 2 inches, but everything else!

IME, it depends entirely on how the rock work was done and whether the back of the tank is painted/covered or not. If the fish can't see through the back and the rock work is done in tiers, they will go all the way up. It was very common for the distribution to be age based. oldest was on the bottom, then juvies were up high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So if you have rocks almost to the front of the tank is that a bad thing? Does it cut down on swimming room? I was hoping to have rocks on only 1/2 of the substrate but I am planning on Mbuna and want them as happy as possible.
 

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right up to the top doesn't mean all the tank.

just to shamelessly post a photo of one of my tanks


the 2 peaks are within an inch of the surface. and the fish will swim over the surface (at feeding time)

please note there is free space both in the centre, but also in front of the piles. essentially their build in L shapes.

this gives bit of dimensions to it


note the large stone protruding in the center of the right hand pile doesn't support anything, and could easily be removed if I wanted to

I have 2 pieces of eggcrate there, 2by2 squares, one under each pile. though it makes cleaning the sand harder, might be worth trimming it to the intended piles rather than a complete shete
 

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I deliberately left a gap around the edges of the pile to allow me to clean the edges, the main pile doesn't get moved, but the numerous non structural stones on the base are very easy to move

I use the return water (I pump it in, no point lifting buckets) to hose the area around the rocks to blow detritus out
 

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My tank is not nearly as nice, but my rocks are stacked nearly to the top by using fairly large rocks on the bottom - they are very rough limestone so the grip each other nicely. I've heard some caution against rough edges for fear of cichlids injuring themselves, but in my four years in the hobby I've yet to see a mbuna chase end with either fish bumping into a rock - even in a panic they seem to know where they're going!
Some of mine are leaning on the back glass so I pull the top few out from time to time so the algae build up doesn't get too bad.

kevin

 

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The fish like to have the substrate divided up into sections. So it's OK of the rock piles come close to the glass between the territories as long as there are a bunch of patches for the fish along the front, sides and/or back. I build my rock piles like pyramids with the corners near the glass and overlapping each other. Leaves nice triangles of substrate for the fish to own.
 

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DJRansome said:
The fish like to have the substrate divided up into sections. So it's OK of the rock piles come close to the glass between the territories as long as there are a bunch of patches for the fish along the front, sides and/or back. I build my rock piles like pyramids with the corners near the glass and overlapping each other. Leaves nice triangles of substrate for the fish to own.
sounds cool . where do I go to find a pic of your tank?
 

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:oops:

I've never posted one. I have posted pics of the rocks on a bench outside the tank and a diagram though. :oops:

I'm still practicing with my new camera...won't post until the pics do the tanks justice.
 

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DJRansome said:
I've never posted one. I have posted pics of the rocks on a bench outside the tank and a diagram though.
It was a good diagram. Nice rock piles too. I tried to replicate that when I was putting together a 40 breeder. However, I could never get the rocks stacked the same way in the tank as I had them on the workbench. :?
 

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I took a lot of pics from all sides of each rockpile. And I made diagrams so I knew key features of individual rocks that had to line up. Taking the rocks in and out of the tank annually (not to clean, but maybe to swap out a species), you get so it's like a puzzle you know how to assemble.

I really like the rocks as much as the fish.
 

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DJRansome said:
:oops:

I've never posted one. I have posted pics of the rocks on a bench outside the tank and a diagram though. :oops:

.
Could someone post the link to the pics of the rocks on the bench and the diagram?
 

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Note the terra cotta saucers were sunk into the substrate so you could not see them.

 

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Thanks! I've read many of your posts describing this set-up but as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Do you find that waste collects in the terra cotta saucers?
 

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Not waste so much as substrate. From all the fish that dig/spit. But the fish swishing in/out all the time keeps them clear enough. And if I was bothered about it at all I could just use a turkey baster to flush them out and/or blast water in during refill.
 
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