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post #1 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Planted Discus

I have a 48" 55 gallon I'm plan to put 5 small discus in. This will be a planted low tech tank. My filtration will be a Fluval 406 and a marineland emperor 400. I will have 2 3/4" of brightwell black substrate with ~1mm particle size. I am looking at low cost lighting, maybe an aquaticlife 2x54w T5HO. My temperature will be 84 degrees. Aquascape with wood and rocks.

Question: what problems do you foresee and what suggestions would you have?

Thanks


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post #2 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 03:16 AM
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Don't get your discus too small - try to get at least 3.5" to 4.0" discus to start with, if your budget allows.
Try not to plant too heavily - give your fish some room to move around in, as well as enabling you to clean the tank up properly, and vac up as much and as best as you can. Do frequent, good-sized wcs, and feed 2-4 X a day. ( Daily WCs if you can, otherwise, at least 2 or 3 X per week.)
Try to keep things as simple as possible to start off with - don't get carried away yet with CO2 or other distractions - give yourself time to get some experience with discus under your belt first.
Your lighting may be a touch too bright/intense for the size of tank in low-tech conditions - so keep the lighting period down to no more than 8 hours/day.

Most important of all, be sure to get good quality, healthy discus from a well-known, experienced, reliable, and reputable source - air-shipped in if need be.
That alone will give you a huge head start at being successful keeping discus.
And, if I may suggest, please have a read first of my Beginner's Guide to Getting Started with Discus, located as the first Sticky in the "Fish" section.
Contact me by PM if you feel I can be of any further help - I'll be glad to direct you to good sources for getting quality, healthy, well-shaped discus.
All the best to you in being successful with these magnificent fish !
Regards,
Paul
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post #3 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I do have some of the same concerns you have. This is my first Discus tank, but I have kept a reef tank for years now. My RO system should allow for frequent water changes. I am concerned with low GH and KH with my RO water.

120 Mixed reef
MP40, Sump Buddy 40 skimmer
150w X2 14k, refugium, LPS, SPS, and RBTA soon to add controller

36g planted, 24w X4 T5 HO Aquaticlife
Fluval 305, AC 70, working on CO2
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post #4 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bif24701 View Post
Thank you! I do have some of the same concerns you have. This is my first Discus tank, but I have kept a reef tank for years now. My RO system should allow for frequent water changes. I am concerned with low GH and KH with my RO water.
You should remineralize your RO water.
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post #5 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 04:09 AM
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Low GH and KH should not present any particular problem for the discus - however, it may be a slight concern from the plant growth & development standpoint - not something I would worry about much, though. The discus are your primary concern, or should be.
Just for you to get some idea, here's my 75 gal low-tech planted discus tank.
The water out of our tap here is quite soft, with low TDS's, and producing low GH & KH level conditions. pH in my tank generally sits at a very stable 6.4 or so (from 6.8 to 7.0 right out of the tap). I do occasionally add Seachem Equilibrium for balance & GH purposes, but don't seem to have any particular problems in any event.
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/...spaul/Sept2011
Hope this helps with your thinking.
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post #6 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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The discus are my primary concern, I think I'll have to use RO water due to high TDS and prevent algae problems. Rememeralize with equilibrium should do the trick.

What a beautiful tank you have. I see you use white silica sand, is that a cap? Are their sponsor breeders on this forum that I could look at for purchase in a few months when ready?


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120 Mixed reef
MP40, Sump Buddy 40 skimmer
150w X2 14k, refugium, LPS, SPS, and RBTA soon to add controller

36g planted, 24w X4 T5 HO Aquaticlife
Fluval 305, AC 70, working on CO2
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post #7 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 05:16 AM
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Paul is giving you some great advice. Also you might want to consider keeping plants in terra pots instead of in the substrate. At least for now. That way you can pull them and get around them during cleaning. Or completely remove them quickly if they are starting to die off. Also if you want to keep smaller discus I recommend going bare bottom until they get bigger for cleaning purposes.

My best advice I can give... as many water changes as you are willing to do. ESPECIALLY if you plan on going smaller then 4".


Jakub Lapinski - Premier Aquatics Retail Manager
aXiomatic: Self-evident, unquestionable, or taken for granted.
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post #8 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 05:28 AM
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[QUOTE=bif24701;1751454]The discus are my primary concern, I think I'll have to use RO water due to high TDS and prevent algae problems. Rememeralize with equilibrium should do the trick.

What a beautiful tank you have. I see you use white silica sand, is that a cap? Are their sponsor breeders on this forum that I could look at for purchase in a few months when ready?

Thanks.
No, it's not a cap - straight PFS - 1" in front to about 2- 2.5" at the rear.
I use root tab ferts in the sand, as well as dry &/or liquid ferts in the water column.
Sorry, I'm not familiar with any sponsors here on this forum who are discus suppliers, but I have PM'd you with details of an excellent discus importer/supplier not far from your location, who is a sponsor on simplydiscus.com.
And btw, thanks to you too, Axio.
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post #9 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
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I plan on using liquid fertz as well. PFS looks great and low cost but I am really wanting the black look, however I've heard of problems with peppering showing using a dark substrate. Do you have any insight on that? Thanks again.


5+ Aquariums
Reef, Planted, African Chiclids, soon to be: Discus

120 Mixed reef
MP40, Sump Buddy 40 skimmer
150w X2 14k, refugium, LPS, SPS, and RBTA soon to add controller

36g planted, 24w X4 T5 HO Aquaticlife
Fluval 305, AC 70, working on CO2
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post #10 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 06:13 AM
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Nothing wrong with black substrate - many like it as a matter of personal preference.
However, black substrate will not only cause many discus to pepper (not appealing to the purists) - particularly any pigeon-blood based strains & hybrids, but also many light, pastel colored fish - reds, pinks, yellows, oranges, ---- and generally also causes almost all discus to darken their coloration to some extent, sort of 'in sympathy' with their surroundings.
To me, that's not preferable - I want my discus' coloration to pop and show up to it's best advantage.

One further thing - and you may find this to be a bit of a 'laugher' - but black sand doesn't show the dirt/detritus/feces, etc. nearly as much as lighter substrate - many say that's real good - but, here's the laugh, folks may not admit it, but because they can't see the crud, some tend to lighten up on their cleansing, vacuuming routines, perhaps not realizing that doesn't help the discus since the water conditions don't get maintained nearly as well - make any sense to you ?
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post #11 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 06:42 AM
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Bleh.. Try to water change daily. You'll be dissatisfied with the black substrate after a while, your discus will always look dark, you'd be surprised how pretty they can be when they lighten up. What else what else, RO isn't needed, tap water would be fine. Try to change water daily in large amounts. Feed the fish often, very often, baby them. Try to change water daily.. Plants and discus don't mix unless you are experienced with both, as I will assume discuspaul is. They just will never grow as well as they would without plants. Try to change water daily. Ferts are junk with discus, you'll be changing water daily, that'll add up quick redosing every day. Discus and nitrates don't mix, you should probably change water every day.. As was stated get quality discus as large as possibly, they'll be more tolerant when you don't do daily water changes. Be prepared to be upset on simplydiscus if you mention your fish are sick and you've got a planted tank, they'll hurt your feelings. I know there's more, I just don't remember. High protein high water changes.
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post #12 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 06:55 AM
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Not that this has anything to do with this post...however, in one of my tanks I have straight sand (well, black diamond) for substrate...no dirt, no nothing. It is easily the cleanest, and easiest to clean tank I own. Instead of planting it like the rest of my dirt tanks I have been playing around with potted plants Like aXio said. It and it's working really, really well.

If (when according to Paul) I get discus this will be how I run that tank.

Got to Hobby Lobby or wherever and get the smallest little clay pots they have. If you find the small ones, they are short enough to be hidden (covered) by your substrate, depending on the amount of sand you have naturally.

Many many benefits.
You can plant the plants in dirt (they like that) with out "dirting" the tank.
You can fertilize them easier (root tabs into the single pot).
You can rearrange the plants everyday if you want, as you get new plants or as plants grow.
You can easily remove all the plants from the tank for a thorough cleaning/vacuuming.
You can move them easily from tank to tank, sell them easier...etc.

It's the bee's knees. I have half a mind to redo my 90 like this. The only real down fall I can see thus far is you wouldn't really be able to grow any kind of carpet, but still you can make some nice "floral" arrangements. Who put's carpet in a discus tank anyways.
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post #13 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TWA View Post
.... You'll be dissatisfied with the black substrate after a while, your discus will always look dark, you'd be surprised how pretty they can be when they lighten up. .
I have black sand with discus and this is true. I started with 5 in a 55g and had to seperate a few when they got bigger. Huge difference in coloration when I moved them from the black substrate to white.
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post #14 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, ok I'm convinced! Im going with PFS and I like the potted plants idea. My wife want to go to hobby lobby to look for them.
Purchased Fluval 406
I was really happy with the 305 and the cost is right.
Also purchased AquaticLife 48" 2X 54 watt T5HO.


Is there a warm water plant list that is good for discus tanks, 84~ Degrees.


5+ Aquariums
Reef, Planted, African Chiclids, soon to be: Discus

120 Mixed reef
MP40, Sump Buddy 40 skimmer
150w X2 14k, refugium, LPS, SPS, and RBTA soon to add controller

36g planted, 24w X4 T5 HO Aquaticlife
Fluval 305, AC 70, working on CO2
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post #15 of 213 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bif24701 View Post
Ok, ok I'm convinced! Im going with PFS and I like the potted plants idea. My wife want to go to hobby lobby to look for them.
Purchased Fluval 406
I was really happy with the 305 and the cost is right.
Also purchased AquaticLife 48" 2X 54 watt T5HO.


Is there a warm water plant list that is good for discus tanks, 84~ Degrees.


5+ Aquariums
Reef, Planted, African Chiclids, soon to be: Discus
Non of my plants seem to mind the temp. I run my angel tank at 82 with swords, crypts, dwarf sag, hygro, and a few others. Better let someone smarter in the plant department chime in though...I just kind of wing it in that regard.

The potted plant thing is pretty neat, but think outside the box. I've used small glass pots as well, not only the regular clay kind. Might even be able to find some decorated ones and work some sort of theme...or just bury them, lol. When I do the pots, if I use dirt, I "cap" the top of the pot with whatever I'm using in the tank for substrate to keep the dirt in. Thus far it's been working well for me.
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