Hey! Nat here.
Bev wanted me to comment on how I keep my macs. I have kept my macs in several different setups since I have had them. They have been kept in a very heavily planted 60 gallon cube with two HOB filters and lots of light, plants, and driftwood. Had a possible spawn but male didn't hold even for 1 day. I moved them to a planted 35 gallon hex tank -- very tall tank. It was not as heavily planted since the height did not do very well with most plants. Again he spawned but didn't hold past the first day.
I decided to go for the "natural" look from some of the videos of them in their native habitat. I took out all my plants except for my low lighters (crypts, anubias, moss, and java ferns, duckweed) added a ton of driftwood both anchored and floating, handfulls of dried oak leaves, and lots of rock/slate. The lighting was muted by the driftwood, duckweed and of course all the tannins released from the wood and leaves. The macs loved this setup -- they colored up beautifully and spawned a few times. The male actually held till day 4 the last time they spawned so definately getting better.
My next plan for these guys is a rubbermaid-type tub of around 10 ish gallons with a sponge filter, rocks/slate, hardwood leaves, driftwood, and duckweed for surface cover. A person told me recently they needed shallower water for them to hold, so I plan to see for myself how that works out.
My water is around 6.8ish from the tap but in the tank, it is closer to 7.5 because of the rock added in the tank. I do cool water changes and feed a mix of frozen and live foods.