Originally Posted by Convict2161
Just to note I have 6 pieces of driftwood in my tank and no issues. I think the OP can still have a very sick looking African Cichlid tank if the OP just adds a nice rock scape like posted earlier. I don't think adding DW is bad for the tank. But do agree it will hinder the theme.
Stick with rocks for your tank to keep the theme going. Like I said before use some dark and light grey rock, make some caves, stack them towards the back and leave the front open for free swimming.
Having come from New Jersey in the fish biz and moving to South Florida again into the fish biz, I can tell you that NY water is not the same as FL water and comparisons from the 2 places are not really suggested or at best, need to be taken cautiously. I moved fish down from NJ and the fish reacted poorly to the change, and these were Oscars and Angels so fragility was not the issue. It was the water.
I also know that driftwood, depending on which company it came from, did change the water chemistry in S. Florida. Anytime it leached, it acidified the water and the African Cichlids reacted poorly. Those that didn't leach anything and were "cured" were okay but you didn't really know for sure which one was safe until it was too late. (One company's cured was not another's.) Using a coral based gravel like Carib Sea's African Cichlid mix, for example, would have counter acted the acidity from the DW BUT the OP said he wasn't using a coral based gravel making it a crap shoot as to whether the fish would thrive in the tank.
The one thing that we aquarists need to remember is that water is not the same everywhere. It can be and usually is different from region to region, area to area, city to city and sometimes street to street. Having worked in Pet Stores and wholesalers from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, I know this to be true
Here's an example: Eat a sub roll from Blimpie's in NY and one in Blimpie's in Miami and you can taste the difference. It's the water
Just some thoughts to think about.