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stubbytheplecostomus
04-23-2007, 01:35 PM
does any one use plecos in their Malawi tank, my water conditions are pretty tame, i use inert sand and rocks so the extent of the water difference from most of my other tanks is merely a tablespoon of salt for every 5 gallons, i'm thinking that this amount of salt is acceptable to most tropical fish, i am just sick and tired of scraping algae off everything and the dang rock mbuna don't eat the algae like their supposed to, their just lazy i guess.

cocoa_pleco
04-23-2007, 03:43 PM
i had a pleco in a malawi tank and everyone left him alone

Fishguy2727
04-23-2007, 07:30 PM
For the mbunas to thrive they need a pH of 8.2 and the proper salts. The concentration of those proper salts (which is much higher than other tropical fish) is one tablespoon per 40 gallons. Along with these proper water parameters a high quality diet (New Life Spectrum only) will bring out the best colors in your cichlids, as well as increase growth rates and increase health. Salt in normal tropical tanks will do more harm than good long term. Brackish, mollies, and African rift lake cichlids are the only ones that do better with salt, and even then it is not just 'aquarium salt'. Goldfish are arguably in that category and would get 'aquarium salt', but that is not the issue here.

There are not really any good suckermouth fish that I know of that will thrive in these water parameters. The main bottom feeder commonly available that is suitable for these parameters are Synodontis spp., which are not suckermouths.

There are two main things that contribute to algae. These are light and nutrients. Lights should be on 12-14 hours per day, more and you are encouraging the algae. As far as nutrients go, big frequent water changes should keep them down unless you have an abnormally high level of nutrients coming in with your tap water (mainly nitrates and phosphates). Big frequent water changes are usually necessary anyways in cichlid tanks. I would just get a Mag-Float to scrape algae.

Is the algae brown or green? What size tank? How many fish? Are they all mbunas? What filtration? What is your water change schedule? What is the nitrate concentration?