Possible To Successfully Have a Planted Tank With Neolamprologus Multifasciatus long term?


Current Tank details -
M/F pair of Neolamprologus multifasciatus
50~ish shells for them to go into (they only use like 4 of them though)
Black Diamond sandblasting sand substrate
Sponge filter
Heat set to 78F

I have noticed the fish have started to get settled in as I have had them for at least a month now. They are my first cichlid I have really kept, so I was wondering if it would be possible to have a planted tank with them. I know cichlids and planted tanks don't really mix, but just something to remove nitrates naturally. I am an advocate of having an ecosystem and not a fish tank, which means live plants and micro fauna in the tank, so I don't have to perform as much maintenance, and it takes care of itself more. Example would be going from changing water once a week to once a month. So has anybody done with with multis specifically? I know they dig so rooted plants is a nono, but any ideas of what I could do?

I plant to move them to a 20H as I do want them to be a long term breed for profit species, so eventually I want to have like 2-3 males and about 4-5 females in a 20H and sell of any others I get beyond that. I think I could probably have a floating plant on top at least like dwarf water lettuce, or Salvinia minima. Any suggestions for anything else though, moss maybe? Just curious probing for ideas because micro fauna on plants is great for babies.


Cichlids often have different temperaments. Some are constantly rearranging the landscape and other hardly touch it. Also, some cichlids may consider your plants to be tasty snacks. That is not necessarily a problem if you have plants with tougher leaves that are not so easy to consume or plants that will grow back rapidly.

You might not be successful with plants like Amazon Swords and vals that prefer being planted in the substrate.

If you get things like Anubias and Water Ferns, you can attach them to rocks of driftwood using super glue or thread. They should not be planted in substrate anyway as their rhyzome need to be above the substrate. Even if the cichlids move the rocks or driftwood, the plants should be OK. They might like munching on the ferns, however.

Most stem plants do not care whether they are rooted or not. They can even be left floating. You aready are aware of some of the floating plants that should work. Most stem plants and floating plants grow fast enough to recover should the cichlids like them on the menu.


Yes you can have plants no problem. Floating plants or plants in pots.

Because you definitely can’t have shrimp and probably shouldn’t have a BN pleco plants like Anubis on ROCK is something you can put in another tank to get cleaned. I say rock because wood will soften the water unnecessarily.
Any old dead lose plant material looks scruffy on the sand and is difficult to vacuum around shells.
In short the only limitation is how it looks. Sand and leaf litter?

A tip I learnt after I traded my colony in .
The shells in everyone’s shelle tanks always grow green algae. The shop bleached my old green shells as good as new.

To be honest I don’t think I ever feed vegetables to my shellies . They don’t touch algae that’s for sure.
  • Thread Starter


Okay I think I have an idea. The tank the will be moved into is a 20 high (sand substrate) with the short end out as in a breeding setup. I think at the back I will have my sponge filter and in front of that a nice setup with a few pieces of dragon stone or zebra stone and some java fern wedged into between the stone pieces. On top dwarf water lettuce as the nitrate sucker per say. That way there it will help with algae by creating a shadow over the substrate and shells and keeping the water nice and healthy. Thanks for the replies everyone!

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