Those look fun.
And hey man, I'm the guy that built and showcased the 'New Wave Salvini Tank'! Then, in contravention to ALL visual propriety? Painted actual ZEBRA STRIPES on the black plastic edges of a 38G African Mbuna tank, that I built and donated to a Middle School science classroom!
Yep. I'm THAT guy....
So, I mean if it's fun, the fish within it are being cared for properly and the thing makes well, someone happy? I have Zero Personal Shame in owning and showing off that kind of aquarium stuff.
So yes, I think you're on the right track with both tanks. Some suggestions?
75G African Tank,
- Yes, more and bigger rocks. Take 'em up to the surface. Seriously!
- You may actually need a bit more open space on the gravel area. Your male Mbuna are gonna be working the bottom of the tank pretty hard. Digging. Posing. Guarding. Nipping, chasing and doing well, Mbuna things down there. Providing more open space to move around on the bottom (Dance Floor?) at the base of very high, built-up structures, seems to make them happiest.
125G New World CA Tank,
- Build that cottage/castle thing you have placed in the middle up higher. Higher!!! Stack and pile some rocks under it and plunk that resin cast thing down on top and in the rocks like it's some kind of medieval fortress or something! And check this... if you can run some airline hose down under the sand with a linear diffuser on it? You'll get serious extra style points for placing the diffuser, UNDER the rock pile. Having the bubbles come up and around the rocks and possibly even through the castle, would be wicked cool looking.
- Build/Put in more cave-like stuff on the right side. Balance.....
- Move the tall, plastic plant sitting directly in the front of the tank, to the back. You could hide the slanted (submersible electric heater?) showing back there, behind it.
These are just style points really, but the taller structure in both tanks is something you probably want to add-to/modify. Your tanks are looking good! :thumb:
Yes, lava rock would work out okay.
But unfortunately, its hard to find anything with any size to it. And the really BIG ONES, tend to be that type with the 20 grit/super sharp feel to the surface. Nasty! And probably (definitely?) NOT a good idea to put that super sharp stuff in a tank with some lumping-bumping Cichlids in with it, y'know?
But fortunately for you.... you just happen to live in a state that may be the ACTUAL EPI-CENTER where many cool rocks are found naturally for aquariums!
I mean c'mon now - it's not called 'Texas Holey Rock' for nuthing, right?!! And Mountain Lace rocks? Oh yeah. They can definitely come big. You may need to source those cheap/used from the reef tank folks out there. They use big chunks of Mountain Lace Rock as base rock for their corals and stuff. And - bonus! Old pieces of former Reef Tank base rock, can come in with all kinds of natural hard growth and colors built up on it, that look pretty interesting (awesome actually) in a freshwater tank. 8)
I should really ask this- is there any type of rock I should avoid? I have read that some rocks will alter water chemistry... there are creeks all over, but I'm a little hesitant to just grab one and stick it in the tank! I did read on this forum to boil wood, but not sure if that's needed for rocks as well... I assume yes.
Doooood... I like it!
Oh yeah, I think you're definitely on the right track with this. Now, get that castle thing in the middle buffed-up with a bit more rock under it and some height. Place it SLIGHTLY off-set to one side or the other - it will become the dominant, decorative feature of the tank! Then, run air hose with the linear air diffuser on the end of it, under the rock pile & castle....
Yaaahhh man, you'll have something awesome and scary-looking in there, that the freaking - WITCH KING OF ANGMAR - would be proud to call home! opcorn:
(Don't hold back on the size of the air pump either - get something that will push some serious air!).
The Actual Witch Kind Of Angmar says, "I approve of this Aquarium - you may behold the awesomness!!"
Been there, bro'. And have totally - Dun' That (since 2002).
And yes, I totally understand the - OBSESSION - .
And they all just really ARE kind of cool, aren't they? 8)
Jeff Rapps is back! And, take a look at those Parachromis motaguensis (Red Tiger Guapote) on the stock list! Oh yeah - I was there the day he got that original breeding pair. I helped him collect those original, Wild Caught cichlids.
They were beautiful.... those were Guapotes, man!
And that is totally, Honduran stock. Oh yeah, I remember that river. And geeeze man, Rusty Wessel was driving the van that day! - OBSESSION -
It's all good, man... If you have taken this thing to the point of NOT going on a wild, cichlid collecting expedition to Central America? It's okay! Things haven't gone too far!
You are right....
There ARE some absolutely incredible Cichlids down in Central America. I mean seriously..... Herichthys cyanoguttatus, Texas Cichlid. That is one species we have barely touched yet. There may be some incredible, locality variants of that species. And then, can you imagine starting a breeding collection for sale of Astyanx fasciatus 'mexicanus' Tetras (Tough Guy, Cichlid Dither Fish) for sale to the aquarium hobby?
Yes..... I think there are opportunities to collect new world fish, which may represent well later on in the aquarium hobby.
We are going to several LFS tomorrow for auditions to be MY LFS. I am also planning on speaking to them about career opportunities. I would love to work there, sell tanks and setups, breed for the store, and also go catch F0 fish to breed in order to supply nice F1s!