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Old 09-10-2012, 01:36 AM   #1
BarbMazz
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Mixing planted with BB


I'm new at this, so please be patient

My initial thought was to recreate a beautiful, simple (ha) looking, serene planted Discus tank, based upon a photo of an Amano tank. Naivé, yes?

I've since been taught, and actually learned, that this is not the best way to go with my first Discus tank!

The tank itself will be a 50 breeder...I know, smaller than suggested, but the size that will fit my existing stand.

Revisions to my Amano vision: let's hear some opinions... On the left, angling from front to back of the tank, a silaconed glass partition that will contain plant suitable substrate...divided into a couple zones for different plants. the partition itself will be hidden with some sort of stones, and then transition into the plant substrate. This planted area will have some driftwood, most likely planted with java fern or some kind of moss.

On the right, the same sort of partition, differently shaped, zoned for plants that the fish will enjoy. Smaller, I think, than on the left.

The remainder of the tank..bare bottom, to allow for easier food, feces, yucky stuff cleanup. And give the Discus the maximum of feeding and swimming room, and a couple of planted areas for them to feel safe. I could add another zone in the back, too, if it looks too empty.

Let me have it!
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still with me: 20g nano mixed reef, with 4 RBTA's, a silly clown pair..a Picasso & a misbarred black. Hammer & bubble coral, zoa's, gorgonians, seahorse pair h. Erectus, a couple small leathers. A full nano!
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:48 AM   #2
Diana
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Easier than all those dividers, plant in clay pots sold for flowers to maintain a bare floor area.
If you like the arrangement of potted plants you can go ahead and do a planted Discus tank, if you want. Discus are plant friendly, and can grow just fine in a planted tank. They do not dig into the substrate.

Another way to work the retaining wall idea:
Use thin acrylic and curve it across the whole tank in an arc that reaches from front corner, touches the back of the tank, and ends at the other front corner. I have a carnivorous plant tank set up that way. The water level is the same on both sides, but the carnivorous plants are in peat moss, about 5" deep. On the tank side is a thin layer of gravel. I have larger rocks (3" to 6" diameter) against the acrylic on the tank side.
You could make a retaining wall out of thin strips of rock and expanding foam filler. There is a black one for water falls that works well. The yellow-tan construction stuff is also aquarium safe when it is set up.

50 gallon tank will be fine for some Discus. Were you thinking of just Discus or adding some other fish?
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:50 PM   #3
BarbMazz
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Diana, thanks for the great ideas! I'll save to my tank planning file.

I'm thinking a school of cardinal tetras...a dozen or so?
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Old reefer who wants the challenge of a 50g breeder, planted discus tank.
still with me: 20g nano mixed reef, with 4 RBTA's, a silly clown pair..a Picasso & a misbarred black. Hammer & bubble coral, zoa's, gorgonians, seahorse pair h. Erectus, a couple small leathers. A full nano!
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:53 PM   #4
Diana
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At the absolute minimum a dozen. Twice that many would make a much more impressive school.

Although nothing but Discus can make a showy tank, too. Nothing to distract you from looking at the Discus.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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I've done the "acrylic retaining wall" thing in a 40g B tank before, in each of the rear corners of the tank. This setup works well but my advice for you is to be aware of how much it can impact the available swimming space, and to be careful to leave enough space for the discus - it's definitely doable, just something to be aware of. My "shelves" were probably much higher (8" off the tank floor) than yours will be because they were designed as foundations for basking areas for a small snapping turtle, but with high-growing dense plants you may achieve the same effect.

The other thing I noticed with my setup, with bare acrylic walls holding back loads of substrate, was how unnatural it looked. If you're going for a natural/NA look you may want to bury them in substrate, or use rocks or plastic or some other buried material to shape the substrate. In the past I've taken large-ish terra cotta pots from Home Depot, knocked off the rims with a hammer (not an exact science!) and used the half-moon shaped shards (sanded down first, needless to say you don't want any sharp edges) buried in the substrate to shape hills & ridges of substrate. Of course my Firemouths dug it right up, but that's a different issue
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