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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Forum;

I would like to set up my 55g (unplanted) for a squadron of 4 or 5 geo juriparis and wonder if going from beige medium quartz gravel to one of these products would 1. help with water buffering, and 2. help with darkening up the juriparis color. The tank is currently depopulated, but it was biologically cycled before I started fighting to keep pH from going continuously low. This was explained as insufficient buffering capability of the water (confirmed by a KH test kit). I have gotten this under control with Seachem's alkaline buffer, and believe I am ready to repopulate it, but was considering changing the gravel to dark first.

The link here says is very good for cichlids, and specifically mention water buffering, which I'm particularly sensitive to right now, ( https://blog.aquariuminfo.org/the-best- ... ubstrates/ ) so I was considering changing over, but they are talking about a planted tank, which I was not planing on...I was hoping just to take advantage of the buffering and dark color characteristics ...any thoughts or impressions are welcome, including about grain size for these fish who are known for their sifting!

TIA from Connecticut!
 

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I have both. The non-sand is gravel...avoid this for sifters. The sand is way too fine...always found it in my canisters and lots of it washed away when I cleaned it. I know you are not supposed to wash it like that, but I did not need it for cycling.

Has someone recommended that a dark substrate will darken the fish? I found the opposite. Colors were sooty over black and brilliant over white.

If you want to try something for buffering, put crushed coral in 1 or 2 media trays in your filter. This substrate did not change my KH at all, even after many years.

I removed and tossed the substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
DJR;

Thanks for response!

"Has someone recommended that a dark substrate" not specifically, but every time I ask if a dark substrate will enhance colors the answer is a consistent: Yes. This is also consistent with most brilliantly colored individuals I see in YT videos such as here:
and here:
Your experience is clearly different. I have never had nicely colorations on my stock...I wonder if this can be more attributed to the acidy condition...

Regarding crushed coral...I AM looking to increase the KH!...to help the pH stay in the neutral area...that is how I understand their interaction as it was explained to me (the reason for my tank going acidy was a low buffering capability of the water KH), but I welcome your knowledge and experience!

Cheers
 

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I'm not the one to ask about keeping pH at 7...for the fish I keep we want the pH to be 7.8 or higher.

For the Malawi and Tanganyikans, the bright colors might look good because they contrast with black, or the fish might try to match the substrate so my brilliant orange leleupi went sooty. I did not even realize this happened. I sold them, and netted them the night before the buyer came for pickup. Next AM over the white substrate they were brilliant again.
 

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My (limited) experience over a black substrate agrees with DJRansome's. Had J Ornatus over black substrate & black background for a while. Yellow turned more brownish tan. Much more attractive over a natural sand substrate.
 

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"Onyx is one of the best Cichlid substrates due to it being exclusive to these fish. The darker color of this substrate will also help bring out the bright colors of your cichlids. Electric blues and yellows will stand out even more in the aquarium"

I have found this to be true. I use flourite black and the colors my fish produce are nothing short of majestic. I cannot speak on if a natural color substrate would be better since I have never used it. But in terms of brilliance, black substrate provides the perfect contrast for my crew of 8.
 
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