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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sand is going to be in week so I have a week to figure out what kind of rocks I want. In order for me to do that I need a better idea of how they work.

I am using the rock in my yard, but I have 2 different kind. A dark, flat rock good for building walls or the round light colored rock.

I have read that rocks cut down on aggression, but how exactly? Do they just need something to swim around, or is it more something they have to swim through, or in?

If I use the round ones, I will use all different sizes so it is nice to look at and gives them a variety of things to swim around. I guess like an obsticle course.

If I use the dark flat ones, I have a lot more struckture I can give it. I can glue them togehter and make caves and bridges, arches etc. But I don't know what to use for glue.

I guess this would all have to do with the type of fish I am getting too. I am doing a species tank with Pseudotropheus saulosi.

Any info would be great!!

Thanks
 

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I think they cut down agression by giving the females a place to hide behind..structures to break the line of sight from the male to female when she scoots butt.. :)
I may be wrong..

Where are you getting your saulosi? I also am setting up a saulosi tank and have 1 male already, I cannot, and seems my lfd cannot find any females for me..

I need 4 females asap..
thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
cisc said:
I think they cut down agression by giving the females a place to hide behind..structures to break the line of sight from the male to female when she scoots butt.. :)
I may be wrong..

Where are you getting your saulosi? I also am setting up a saulosi tank and have 1 male already, I cannot, and seems my lfd cannot find any females for me..

I need 4 females asap..
thanks!
Hopefully from my LFS. He said he can order more breeds than what he had in his store, but only what comes each week on his list. I printed up the page from this site on them and brought it in tonight. I told him I thought my tank would be ready in 2-3 weeks and if he couldn't get them I would order on line.

Two of the sponsors here have fry for sale. ONe is out ( I think livefishdirect) and one has them and is going to e-mail me the shipping cost. But again they are 1" fry.

I am going to order a bunch so I can get the ration I want, then my LFS will take what I don't want for store credit.

Do you have a pic of your tank? I am trying to get ideas for mine. I think I want a darker sand, and then I would want a lighter rock, but I am curious to try and build stuff with the flat rocks, which are darker.
 

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What cisc said is basically correct, Mbuna need rocks to avoid unwanted aggression. It offers a natural environment that promotes the most natural behavior in the fish. IMO, I think the round rocks would work better and look more natural. You want them placed as tightly as you can, with a lot of entrances and some 1/4" gaps in areas. It may not look like the fish can fit through but they can, and a smaller gap helps them leave larger, more aggressive fish behind.

The way I have my rocks set up is medium or small rocks dug into the sand on the bottom by spinning them, forming kind of a tripod around larger rocks that go on top. This adds more stability and also creates tight gaps and caves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh I see, that sounds neat. It sounds like little toadstools :) I am so excited...and nervous. I have to get my egg crate tomorrow. Then I can start collecting my rocks and cleaning them. I read the article on using rocks from your back yard. So hopefully it's all good.

My husband is a stone mason and he made a beautiful coy pond for some guy. The guy had fish that were worth $100 each, they were beautiful and big. the guy found a pretty rock in his yard and put it in the pond and killed all his fish. :(

Thanks for the info!!
 

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the guy found a pretty rock in his yard and put it in the pond and killed all his fish.
Yikes! Im sure there a some rocks which may have been in contact with chemicals at some point, or may leach something into the water, but I think those are few and far between.

I found my rocks in a ditch that ran between a parking lot and a road. took them home, rinsed, scrubbed, and repeated a few times. Haven't had a problem with them at all :thumb:
 

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I never use a rock from a garden or side of the road without first soaking it in water for at least a week and monitoring the water. I'm mainly looking for Ph and hardness drops that some rocks cause.

I don't think I would rush into gluing the rocks together just yet either. Just in case you have to redecorate to address any aggression issues that may or may not arise.

When you do want to glue them use an aquarium safe silicon. Do you have Selley's products in the US? They make a good one that is used in Oz a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Frenzy said:
I never use a rock from a garden or side of the road without first soaking it in water for at least a week and monitoring the water. I'm mainly looking for Ph and hardness drops that some rocks cause.

I don't think I would rush into gluing the rocks together just yet either. Just in case you have to redecorate to address any aggression issues that may or may not arise.

When you do want to glue them use an aquarium safe silicon. Do you have Selley's products in the US? They make a good one that is used in Oz a lot.
Soaking them for a week is a good idea. I really am nervous about it. I figured I'd let my sand settle for a bit before adding them anyway. I will test the water to see if adding the sand caused a mini cycle.

I decided to go with the round rock. I still might do the flat rock idea for my fish pond. I'm kinda crafty and been thinking of all kinds of things I can make for them to swim through, so thanks for the glue suggestion. I think they do sell that stuff at The Home Depot.

Thanks :)
 

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I prefer round rocks as well and have used several that I have "harvested" from the yard. Just stay away from ones that have big metallic deposits in them (for example fool's gold) - those are the kind that can kill fish.

Soaking for a week is overkill, but it will certainly do the job. Often I'll just take a brush and scrub them under the faucet to get most of the dirt off, then pour a pot of boiling water over them. There are definitely some rocks (like limestone) which will raise the KH and pH of water a little bit, but this is actually a good thing for malawi cichlids. I've never encountered a rock that lowers hardness / pH .

If you get silicone for some in-tank projects, make sure you get the kind that doesn't have fungicide in it. Double check this, but I think GE Silicone II is the kind you want. Your LFS or petsmart may also sell an aquarium-safe silicone, but it will be marked up 300%.
 

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well I am still new to this, but i also found round rocks more intersting - for their looks and they do offer a lot with a little effort. when i was doing the variants for mine setup, the flat rocks did not look so natural. i would say it's not a rule, but mine general impression. and i do agree that the fish will always find some room in between no matter how close those rocks are, of course if they are round in shape. i found it out (but having my ciclids fora week only) that hey can go in the crevices that i did not even look at them as crevices at all. moreover in one of those little crevices, one of my fish sleeps every night (i did not know that cichlids go in crevices during nights though - well at least mine goes :)
but for the colour of stones and sand, I don't think that the fish will care, but would think that the color combination is important for the observers eye, as well as for how good your fish look on the background (taht of course is subjective, but depending on the fish species/species mix that you have).
From my little experience, (i have read that the cichlid like to have dark grounds more), I picked dark stones, but as I also wanted to have a good looking combination also, with lots of contrasts), I added sand which is almost (but not really) white... i guess your picking the same contast just with the difference of picking bright stones and dark sand...

for the chemistry i am not the right person to answer... (i guess i have read the same articles you did so not much contribution from me here :) )

nevertheless, you should also wait for the second opinion, i might have written sth wrong ...

good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I played with some rock today. I have a pile of stone dust left over from my barn so I drew the deminsons of my floor and set the rock on that. I will show the whole 4' length shot, the top view so you can see how the paths work, and a close up of the caves.

THE ROCKS ARE NOT CLEANED, NOR ARE THEY GOING IN THE TANK IN THIS CONDITION.
This is merely to show the difference between the two types of stone that I have and help picking out the best one for my fish.

My husband said I could not use too much rock because of the weight to my tank. :p I found that with the dark, flat rock I could use more.

Dark, flat rock
4' shot


closeup of cave


closeup of other side


top view


Lighter rounder rock:

4' shot


closeup of cave


closeup of other side


Top view


And keep in mind I just threw this together, it will look nicer in my tank :)
 

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Looks good :thumb: , The rounder rock looks a lot better IMO. I wouldn't worry about the weight, the bottom of the tanks are very strong and the weight will be distributed. The water alone will weight about 230 pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
He's not just worried about the tank, but the counter too. I think it will be fine. I will pick through and find some really nice round stones. I'm starting to like the round ones too. At first I didn't really, but then I have seen some tanks set up nice witht the round stones.

I'm just nervous about the rust stains talked about in the article on using rock from your yard. Some of these have an orange tint to them and it makes me wonder. But I think I am going to let them sit in the water for a week. Then I will bring my water to the LFS and have them test for iron. Then I will feel better. :)
 

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If you are doing mbuna you probably want to have the rocks more densely stacked and stacked higher. Some say to fill the tank to the water line with rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
DJRansome said:
If you are doing mbuna you probably want to have the rocks more densely stacked and stacked higher. Some say to fill the tank to the water line with rocks.
I am planning to use more than what is here and stack them differently, right now I am just trying to figure out which rocks would be better for keepng aggression down.

I threw this together just to show what they looked like. :)
 

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He's not just worried about the tank, but the counter too.
What kind of counter? I would look underneath to see what is supporting the frame. I wouldn't think these would be designed to support that kind of weight, even just the water, unless there's beams running from the front of the counter to the back.

I agree with DJ, if you could imagine a bunch of those rocks thrown in a pile, this is the kind of density you want. The tighter the fit the better.

Here is a pic of how I have my rocks set up, it almost looks like there are no "caves" but there are crevices where each rock meets another. It works well for fish trying to avoid an aggressive male chasing them.

 

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Dont be nervous, cichlids are some of the toughest fish out there. Usually most rocks are fine it's just what looks good to you. Just a note, those rocks look good however don't stack those types too high unless you have thick amount of sand on the bottom to protect the tank if some fall. Also take into consideration your fish will dig and may off balance stacked rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
bmweiler09 said:
He's not just worried about the tank, but the counter too.
What kind of counter? I would look underneath to see what is supporting the frame. I wouldn't think these would be designed to support that kind of weight, even just the water, unless there's beams running from the front of the counter to the back.

I agree with DJ, if you could imagine a bunch of those rocks thrown in a pile, this is the kind of density you want. The tighter the fit the better.

Here is a pic of how I have my rocks set up, it almost looks like there are no "caves" but there are crevices where each rock meets another. It works well for fish trying to avoid an aggressive male chasing them.

It's just a regular 4' kitchen counter. I opened and looked and there are no supporting beams in the middle. Maybe i should beef it up a little :eek: Now I"M nervous!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Chunkanese said:
Dont be nervous, cichlids are some of the toughest fish out there. Usually most rocks are fine it's just what looks good to you. Just a note, those rocks look good however don't stack those types too high unless you have thick amount of sand on the bottom to protect the tank if some fall. Also take into consideration your fish will dig and may off balance stacked rocks.
I read that they like to dig, that's another reason I was thinking of the round rocks. The flat ones would fall sideways and look like they fell over, while the round ones will just kind of shift and just look different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
bmweiler09 said:
He's not just worried about the tank, but the counter too.
What kind of counter? I would look underneath to see what is supporting the frame. I wouldn't think these would be designed to support that kind of weight, even just the water, unless there's beams running from the front of the counter to the back.

I agree with DJ, if you could imagine a bunch of those rocks thrown in a pile, this is the kind of density you want. The tighter the fit the better.

Here is a pic of how I have my rocks set up, it almost looks like there are no "caves" but there are crevices where each rock meets another. It works well for fish trying to avoid an aggressive male chasing them.

by the way your tank looks nice. What kind of fish do you have in there?
 
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