In the previous post (and probably other posts), I mentioned that I remove only one half of the rock work in a tank when I clean. In fact, I don't remove rocks and decorations every week, which is the frequency of my regular tank maintenance. There are two reason for only removing half when I clean:
1) Stripping the environment of all rock and decorations leaves it bare, albeit temporarily, with no cover and no place to retreat to.
2) Cichlids do, in fact, establish territories or "space" in the tank as well as use the rocks and decorations as landmarks.
Removing everything each time tanks are cleaned distresses the fish by eliminating everything they are used to other than the substrate, elecrtical components, and the glass walls. Furthermore, it's not necessary to sufficiently clean the tank on a weekly basis. However, it is sometimes necessary to rearrange the contents when adding new cichlids in order to disrupt established territories and reduce agression towards newcomers.
In summary, do your cichlids a favor and don't add unnecessary distress to what is often a stressful environment to begin with.
The Cichlid Room Companion
Tropical Fish Hobbyist
American Cichlid Assoc.
African Cichlid Hub