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Toughest plants for an american cichlid tank?

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When I say toughest, I mean like hard, thick leaves that can take a beating! I'd love to have plants in my big cichlid tanks but they all munch on them and only the stem remains after a while (vieja and blood parrots are the main culprits!).

What are some of the absolute toughest, most robust plants around?

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This tank is much messier now, but this combo is working well as long as you can tolerate some leaf damage to the Amazon swords (which I bought very large).  This is my 75 G Jack Dempsey tank.  I have the plants in layered substrate - heavy clay soil with some Osmocote granules, then sand, planted as I would with any plant into sand, then very large pebbles (1.5-2”) piled around the plants to hold them in place.  The jungle Val has not lasted, too brittle, but the swords have surprised me, the Crinums have done fine and the lucky bamboo has done great.  I currently have some large Anubias attached to lava rocks in the tank which they are leaving alone since they seem to have learned that they like live plants.  I will admit, I’m very hit or miss on fertilizer.

This tank also has 2 largish common plecos that are around 11” or so each and 5-6 young tiger silver dollars (Metynnis fasciatus) - they spend more time hiding from the Jacks than I’d like so I’m not 100% certain if all 6 are still present, I know there are at least still 5.



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  • 1 month later...

@HenryC what plants did you decide on?  How did they hold up?  I’m trying to be a plant influence to a friend who has fish that are tough on plants. I’ve gone with Crinum, anubias and Java fern since they are do nothing easy plants. I kind of want one or two more plop and drop type plants that require ZERO effort that can withstand the roughness. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/9/2022 at 8:13 AM, Opie said:

How do bamboo leaves react to being under water? Do they rot?

I actually have a bamboo stalk that sent out an entirely submerged new shoot but the top original soot is out of water but I don’t know how long it will survive submerged or how well emergent grown leaves would  fare submerged. 

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