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Old 08-11-2006, 12:51 AM   #1
masYPSI
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First low-tech


Hello, new to the site.

Well I'm planing on having a Planted Discus tank. I will soon be getting a 75g tank and plan to have about 1.5wpg. Need to know where to start. Been doing some research, so I'm only mostly in the dark.

My local tap water has a pH of 7.0-7.2. The water is hard; 150-300 ppm. I dont yet have gH or kH numbers. I plan to get the pH down to 5.3-5.8 and the gH to less than 8 deg. The temp. will be 84 deg F.

So what are some good starter plants and what type of substrate will work for plants in these conditions. Also what type of filtration will work with moderate water flow.

TIA
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75g, 3-56w t5s (11hrs, 5hrs full light), 74degsF, PH 6.8, Eheim 2217, siolmaster select, 3 Otto's, 14
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5 martii swords, Rotala roundfolia, Rotala macrandra, Rotala goias, 2 Java Ferns, 1 Anubia 'nana, 3 crispus, 1 Amazon Sword (narrow), A bunch of Water Lettuce, Ludwiga Repens,
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Old 08-11-2006, 12:56 AM   #2
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Welcome! you should propably get a cannister filter because of the tank size. I don't want to get into an arguement between filstar, and ehiem, both are very good filters. any amazon sword would look nice there. what kind of lighting will you get? the substrate depends on what color you want. If you want red, you coulg get flourite, black, onyx sand, there are many other substrates, like ada aquasoil, and soilmaster select.
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Old 08-11-2006, 01:01 AM   #3
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I live near you, in Commerce near Milford. I have a 90 gallon planted discus tank.

First off, you dont need to lower the ph at all. 7.0-7.2 is just fine. trying to keep it lowered will cause more harm than good. Next, what size discus are you going to have? I would suggest teenagers, and NOT juvies. Get them 4 inches or bigger for a planted tank. They will do much better and tolerate much more than smaller fish.

I use SoilMaster Select. You can get it from Lesco. It is about $15 for 50 pounds and you wont use even 3/4 bag. Aquasoil ADA, Eco Complete, and Flourite are also good. But they cost more too.

Are you going to have high tech or low tech?? I can tell you some low tech that work great for me:


crypts, anubias, java fern, moneywort, water sprite, wisteria, all kinds of swords, green temple, ludwigia. There are many more. If you go low tech, stay away from the reds.

I recommend you put in as many fast growing bunch plants as you can at first. This will help keep algae at bay. Once you get teh tank settled, then you can replace and rescape.

Good Luck!!! HTH
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:46 AM   #4
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Well I guess I will have a low tech tank. At least for the time being. As for lighting, I'm leaning towards the AH supply 2x55watt setup. I've seen this said on this and other sites. It should get me close to my 1.5wpg. Is that going to be enough? Now don't get mad are fluval canister filters the same as the Eheim and Filstar's? Cause I have never heard of either.

About substrate, is their need for layering. i.e. sand, quartz gravel, laterite, then top layer.
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75g, 3-56w t5s (11hrs, 5hrs full light), 74degsF, PH 6.8, Eheim 2217, siolmaster select, 3 Otto's, 14
ghost shrimp, 4 Red Phantom, 4 Black Phantoms, 20 White Clouds, 2 julidochromis marlieri, 1 farowella,
5 martii swords, Rotala roundfolia, Rotala macrandra, Rotala goias, 2 Java Ferns, 1 Anubia 'nana, 3 crispus, 1 Amazon Sword (narrow), A bunch of Water Lettuce, Ludwiga Repens,
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:22 AM   #5
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I like Fluval & Eheim. I have never owned a filstar, but there are peeps that swear by them.
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:58 PM   #6
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1.5 watts is perfect if you dont want to do CO2. Just make sure you use some excel.

As far as substrate, if you use layers, laeterite and flourite are good.

I wouldnt do layers on either ecocomplete or soil master. As far as the rest... others that use them will pipe in.

Eheim, fluval and rena filstar are all good canisters. It is a matter of preference. I like my filstar, it is quiet and VERY easy to use.
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:51 PM   #7
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http://www.simplydiscus.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=37

As Maralyn knows, check out the planted tank forum on SimplyDiscus.com for lots more info on planted Discus tanks.

Also, do a search on the plants forum on this site. Use plants and Discus as the search item.

Lots of plants do very well in planted Discus tanks.

I agree with Maralyn. Get some adult or near adult Discus. Don't try to grow out 2-3 inch discus in a planted tank. It's just not worth it.
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Old 08-12-2006, 02:14 AM   #8
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OK, I keep reading about not using chemical filtering with Discus. So does one leave it out and just use another bio pack. Or am I reading about breeding discus. Because for every site there's a different "style".

Should I not worry to much about "perfectly recreating" the Amazon.
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75g, 3-56w t5s (11hrs, 5hrs full light), 74degsF, PH 6.8, Eheim 2217, siolmaster select, 3 Otto's, 14
ghost shrimp, 4 Red Phantom, 4 Black Phantoms, 20 White Clouds, 2 julidochromis marlieri, 1 farowella,
5 martii swords, Rotala roundfolia, Rotala macrandra, Rotala goias, 2 Java Ferns, 1 Anubia 'nana, 3 crispus, 1 Amazon Sword (narrow), A bunch of Water Lettuce, Ludwiga Repens,
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Old 08-12-2006, 05:41 PM   #9
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The use of continuous carbon in a fish tank is hotly debated. The bottom line is that it leaches dissolved compounds back into the water, and for discus that are more susceptible to disease, it is beleived this is a prime cause of hole in the head disease.

In my filstar I use: size 20 and size 40 sponge, ceramic noodles, and a micron filter. This works great for all my fish. Also, I use a prefilter on my filters. This helps keep the filters clean longer. I just pop them off the intake tubes, squeeze them out each day and pop them back on.

Al pointed you in a great direction for planted discus tanks. This forum and that one are the two places I visit the most. Very good answers, very good folks, and alot of good reading!
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:06 AM   #10
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Great, thanks! Sorry had busy weekend. Well I guess I have a decent idea now of where to start. Couple more weeks and I'll be up and running.

One other thing, are all of the fert. calculator based on the assumption that you already now what levels everything is at. Also, what do think of the EI system? Or is it best to buy a good test kit?
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75g, 3-56w t5s (11hrs, 5hrs full light), 74degsF, PH 6.8, Eheim 2217, siolmaster select, 3 Otto's, 14
ghost shrimp, 4 Red Phantom, 4 Black Phantoms, 20 White Clouds, 2 julidochromis marlieri, 1 farowella,
5 martii swords, Rotala roundfolia, Rotala macrandra, Rotala goias, 2 Java Ferns, 1 Anubia 'nana, 3 crispus, 1 Amazon Sword (narrow), A bunch of Water Lettuce, Ludwiga Repens,
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Old 08-16-2006, 06:06 PM   #11
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No, not all calcs are based on what you know your levels are. to me, the EI method is the easiest and best for beginners. It is based on the premise that you add enough ferts so the plants want for nothing. And then you do a 50% WC to reset the levels so they dont get too high.

I am not a fan of testing to keep levels at one place. I only test to see if there is a deficiency if my plants or fish are showing need. IME most test kits dont do a good job. And you can test different parts of the tank and different results do to filtration etc.
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Old 08-16-2006, 10:43 PM   #12
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I'd go with the EI system, too.

I do check for nitrate, ammonia, nitrite, KH and pH, but this is for the fish not the plants. For the plants, I check KH and pH, but that is only to keep the CO2 level constant since I inject CO2. In a low tech tank, you don't need to check these.

After a couple of years of testing nitrates, K, PO4 after and before every water change, I can say that for the plants, if you are using EI, the levels you have, even if you have very accurate measurements, won't change very much.

Essentially, if everything is looking good, you don't need to test.

Since you have Discus, I might check your tap water for nitrates and ammonia, and make sure that you don't have lots of CO2 in your tap water, or low O2. But that is only if you're not going to age your water. If you age your water for 24 hours, only check for nitrates. Some people have very high nitrates in their tap water, and nitrates over 40 ppm are definitely not good for Discus. They can get that high with EI if you already have lots of nitrate in your tap water.
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