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  1. #1

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    0 Not allowed!
    I will start by saying I have a 55 gallon tank that has been a home to a 10 year old Red Oscar and also a breeding pair of Fire Mouths. Although no fry ever grew. I donated all my fish to a local aquarium store when I moved out of California.

    I am planning my new tank set-up now that we are settled in our new home and would like to do a Malawi Tank. I have some questions about using a particular substrate and building rock walls. I am hoping to have a few of the following fish...Melanochromis johanni(I love the bright yellow female and different color males as well as a more gentle tempered fish), Maylandia livingstoni(another mild mannered fish), and some Petrotilapia sp. "Blue Chirwa"(although I am not sure about there temperment.) I also really like Maylandia zebra's. Although I am finding the supply of really interesting Malawi Cichlids in short supply in my area so I may have to settle for others until I can get the locals to order them for me.

    Question 1.) I am have looked for aragonite substrate in the finest grain and have found some although it is all labeled for reef or marine setups. Is this the same sand that I should be using?

    Question 2.) While scouting around the local rivers and lakes for rocks I have wondered how to keep the fish from moving the rock piles around and big rocks cracking my tank? The Local Aquarium store says use styrofoam under the sand but should I use silicone or marine putty to connect the rocks togther as well? Is there anyway to test for metals in rocks (is lemon juice sufficient)?

    Thanks everyone for your help.

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    1) I think aragonite substrate should do fine (haven't used it myself) but keep an eye on the pH so that it don't push it to high.

    2) Yes it is a good idea to use silicone or similar to connect the rocks togheter.
    - You don't have to do the lemon test. It only reveals if a stone is alkaline and that is not a problem in a Malawi tank as they prefer an alkaline environment.
    - I don't know bout any easy way to check for different metals in rocks.

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by William
    1) I think aragonite substrate should do fine (haven't used it myself) but keep an eye on the pH so that it don't push it to high.

    2) Yes it is a good idea to use silicone or similar to connect the rocks togheter.
    - You don't have to do the lemon test. It only reveals if a stone is alkaline and that is not a problem in a Malawi tank as they prefer an alkaline environment.
    - I don't know bout any easy way to check for different metals in rocks.
    Thanks! As far as the lemon test goes. I think it will aso react with some metals. I just wasn't sure what metals are natural to the lake.



    I think aragonite substrate should do fine (haven't used it myself)
    What do you use as substrate instead of aragonite in your tanks?

    BTW GREAT SITE!!! Lots of good info here.

  4. #4

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks! As far as the lemon test goes. I think it will aso react with some metals. I just wasn't sure what metals are natural to the lake.
    It is possible that Lemon reacts to some metals but I still wouldn't recommend it s a test as it might miss other potentially harmful substances.

    What do you use as substrate instead of aragonite in your tanks?
    I have used a gravel consisting of limestone. I also know people that uses crushed seashell which is very similar to aragonite chemically speaking.


    And thanks for the kind words about the site. Glad you like it.

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