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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So hello everyone I am new to this site but am a FISH love. I have had many tanks over the years and now that I am old enough I can buy bigger ones and make them how I want them. I currently have 2 55-gallon tanks and I am soon going to be building a 55,75 or 90 gallong lake malawi cichlid tank. I have had cichlids before but when I was younger and before I got into the natural looking aquariums. I know alot of the tanks have sand substrate but does anyone have any specifics about a kind? I see alot of different kind of rocks in the tanks as well but what kind exactly are they and does anyone know where a good place to pick some up at is? I know there is normally little woodwork or driftwood in these tanks from what i'v seen. I also see some tank background that aren't just paper on the back of the tank, they are actually pop out rocks I imagine fake. I saw one at a pet store near me and I dont remember what they said they were made out of but they said they didn't sell them anymore. Also any other hints tips decorating and anything you think I should know I will take heed to! Thank you very much to all!!!
 

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Cichlids prefer sand for the most of the species. You can get pool filter sand which is a little lighter almost white or a more natural looking sand "play sand" at Lowes or Home Depot. Just make sure that it's doesn't say anything about NOT being aquarium safe on it. You will need to rinse it really well before putting it in the tank.

Rocks are a matter of personal opinion, but most like limestone style to buffer the ph up a little bit which cichlids prefer a higher PH compared to most fish. That would also lead into your driftwood question in that most driftwood puts of an acidic base that lowers PH of the water. You can still use it, but just make sure you have a counter measure to raise the PH also, such as crushed coral in the filter or in the bottom of the tank.

The backgrounds that you are referring to are the ones i'm guessing that are made out of styrofoam on the site. You can check out the DIY forum on plenty of suggestions to make your own background.

Think this answered some of your questions.
 

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All of these answers were in reference to rift lake cichlids, not all cichlids, as many SA tanks have driftwood and require lower ph/softer water. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yes those are the type that I am going for and I was also told and as i'v read seen that you should not mix rock-dwelling with non rock dwelling. The rock this I am just kind of curious as to what kind of rocks there are in that lake. I am trying to get to as close to like an underwater picture as what I kind and I will check the background thing out.
 
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