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Question
I have a 125 gallon I plan on stocking with African Cichlids and I wanted to know what kind of rocks should I put in the tank for shelter/looks? My friend was saying Tufa rock. I also hear volcanic is good. Do you have any suggestions? (My water tends to run on the basic side rather than acidic).

Answer
Hi Dustin,
 Either of those will be fine. The one thing to be careful about "volcanic" rock, i.e., lava rock is that it can sometimes contain a lot of sulphur which is really bad. For that reason, a lot of people often go with heavier rocks (granite, and similar things).  Be VERY careful when placing rocks in the tank -- dropping a rock into a glass bottom tank does not end well.  Also, be very careful not to slide the rocks along the bottom -- that can create scratches, and scratches can cause breaks down the road.  Be very sure that however you place the rocks, they cannot be underminded by digging cichlids, causing them to shift or fall.

-- Ron C.
  rcoleman@cichlidresearch.com
  Cichlid Research Home Page <http://cichlidresearch.com>

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Ron Coleman

Expertise

I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.

Experience

I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Publications
Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

Education/Credentials
PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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