Help With Rock Scaping For African Cichlids

compass

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I went to a rock yard and tried to get some rocks for a new tank I am setting up. I tried to stack some river rock with a few other rocks I found there, but art and being creative were never my strong points. This is a 60 gallon tank with the same footprint as a 55. I am thinking of stocking mbunas.

After putting the rocks in the tank, it seems I need bigger rocks (right?). Ideally, how high should rocks be for a nice rock scape with plenty of hiding spots? Is it best to try to stack them and make caves or have it look more natural looking? The substrate is the black 20/40 blasting sand.

I'm obviously still trying to get things set up while waiting for the tank to cycle (eg, the log ornament is just kind of thrown in there), but I'd welcome any tips on how to best layout this relatively tall and narrow tank. On that thought, would smaller peacocks be a better choice since they like to swim more in open water? Thanks all.

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A201

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I'd go with four or five male Aulonocara (Peacocks) and four or five Botia Loaches. Instead of stacking a bunch of small stones, go back to the rockyard and look for a couple of large taller, flat bottom rocks. You might get lucky and find Honeycombed Limestone / Texas Holey Rock. Here's a pic when I was just starting to put my scape together. The THR's I used to scape my African Cichlid tank were purchased at my local rockyard. All are tall & flat bottom. The biggest rock weighs 60 lbs. Have fun designing the hardscape.
20190422_220518.jpg
 

Koi V Koi

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I like using slate rock for stacking and aquarium sealant to hold in place
 

Manytanks

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Try to glue the rocks together as stated above as a friend didnt and the pile of rocks collapsed when the cichlids started digging in the gravel and killed one of them
 

richiep

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It's very hard to try and get that type of rock to do anything in the way of stacking and be safe, I put 50kg of coral rock in mine and the peacock cichlid immediately went to work undermining them
 

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A201

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A Great job of stacking the rocks Richie and nice array of Limestone. Are your rocks coral or honeycombed limestone?
 

richiep

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they're actually advertised as natural ocean limestone rockhttps://
as the peacocks took away the sand around the bottom they naturally seatted themselves without falling over, I thought I was going to have a problem stacking but I just plonked one on top of the others
 

A201

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Your rocks look just like Texas Holey Rocks. Very expensive here in the U.S and getting difficult to find.
 
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compass

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Thanks for all the replies and nice examples I don't think I'll try to stack river rock anymore. :). I may just bite the bullet and get some holey rock as I really like how it looks and the white would be a good contrast to the black sand.
 

Koi V Koi

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richie.p said:
It's very hard to try and get that type of rock to do anything in the way of stacking and be safe, I put 50kg of coral rock in mine and the peacock cichlid immediately went to work undermining them
I'm going to silicone them for my mbuna tank
 
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compass

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I did not have much luck at rock yards finding anything similar to holey rock/limestone. After a few Petco coupons, I decided to just go with an artificial route to start out and will add some mbuna once the tank is fully cycled. They should have some hiding places at least.
 

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A201

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Those replica holey rocks look really good. So many arrangement possibilities.
 

richiep

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compass said:
I did not have much luck at rock yards finding anything similar to holey rock/limestone. After a few Petco coupons, I decided to just go with an artificial route to start out and will add some mbuna once the tank is fully cycled. They should have some hiding places at least.
What a transformation from them fiddley little rocks you first tried, those have made that tank, I think they look great
 

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