Could I get the optimum numbers all in one place? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-22-2006, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Could I get the optimum numbers all in one place?

I know I can dig around and find what I'm looking for, and am enjoying doing so and am learning a lot. I would highly appreciate, though, a few of you giving me what the 'best' numbers for all the 'usual'...gh, kh, pH, CO2, nitrates, TDS, etcetera, etcetera...are for a discus/plant tank. I will be keeping the temp up to around 84-86, and will be using RO water.

Opinions? Thanks!

Newt
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayorNewton
I know I can dig around and find what I'm looking for, and am enjoying doing so and am learning a lot. I would highly appreciate, though, a few of you giving me what the 'best' numbers for all the 'usual'...gh, kh, pH, CO2, nitrates, TDS, etcetera, etcetera...are for a discus/plant tank. I will be keeping the temp up to around 84-86, and will be using RO water.

Opinions? Thanks!

Newt
RO water has 0 GH and 0 KH so I hope you're cutting it with something or you'll run into problems quick, but I am sure you already know that.

the KH and pH are pretty much interconnected. If the KH drops so will the pH.

CO2 should be at 30 ppm.

Nitrates are something that there's no optimal amount of. Some folks keep them low to bring out the reds in some ludwigias and rotalas. Some keep them high just so they are sure never to run out of them.

As for GH, I grow plants just fine at 22 dH. The minimum safe value for GH is 3 dH.

Unless you plan on growing plants from the Tonina genus or plants like L. pantanal then you probably don't need to worry about your GH either. Just make sure it's not all calcium or you will need to supplement with epsom salts (magnesium). Check with your city for a water report. My water hardness is composed of about 3:2 ratio Ca to Mg.

Regards,
Barry
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 03:19 PM
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Barry, he's looking for ideal numbers for a DISCUS/planted tank.

don't think 22 dGH is suitable for discus to thrive.

I've never kept 'em but i'd like to someday. Having a one-stop-shop for discus parameters would be nice . . . . hinthint. . . . .
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 03:24 PM
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Total hardness [or german hardness] is usually not a big issue in keeping discus; alkalinity is a far more important factor in the breeding of discus. Alkalinity is sometimes referred to as carbonate hardness(KH)or buffering capacity. Alkalinity is the important factor in breeding discus and controlling the pH of the water.
from http://www.discuspro.com/aquarium3.htm. The same site also states that
Quote:
it is not necessary to drastically adjust the general hardness or alkalinity when you first start to keep discus unless the values are very high.
so I ask you, are you planning on using RO and reconstituting, playing "water doctor" as it is? If that's your plan, I ask you why? what's your water sources parameters?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esarkipato
Barry, he's looking for ideal numbers for a DISCUS/planted tank.

don't think 22 dGH is suitable for discus to thrive.

I've never kept 'em but i'd like to someday. Having a one-stop-shop for discus parameters would be nice . . . . hinthint. . . . .
Tank raised discus should be fine in 22 dGH. As long as he's not keeping wild caught discus then he'll be fine.

http://www.petfish.net/articles/Cich...Soft_Water.php

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On a final note, there is no right or wrong hardness to keep discus these days because they are tank bred through generations and have acclimatized to harder water. Just follow these guidelines and you should be fine.

Regards,
Barry
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayorNewton
I know I can dig around and find what I'm looking for, and am enjoying doing so and am learning a lot. I would highly appreciate, though, a few of you giving me what the 'best' numbers for all the 'usual'...gh, kh, pH, CO2, nitrates, TDS, etcetera, etcetera...are for a discus/plant tank. I will be keeping the temp up to around 84-86, and will be using RO water.

Opinions? Thanks!

Newt
Personally, this is what I do...

GH - 6
KH - 5
pH - 6.8 w/ co2 on, 7.6 w/ co2 off
Nitrates - 10-20 ppm
TDS - 370

For Discus, I would probably lower the KH to 3 and GH to 4 or 5.

Just my opinion.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. Ernie, my water tests at 20gh and 11kh (Tetra drop kit), and 8.3pH. I 'think' this is sufficiently hard enough to want to make me work on the water some, with an RO/tap mix.

Barry, I am 'probably' going to go for wild caught, as they are my favorites...working on a line for them as we speak.

Thanks for the opinion, Hypancistrus...this gives me a place to start. Where are you at in West Michigan...I moved to Florida from Grand Rapids about two and a half years ago. I don't miss the winters, but otherwise wish I was back in MI.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 06:38 PM
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Mostly good answers. As you know, I posted my levels on the SimplyDiscus.com site. I have tried for the optimum levels based on 30 years of Discus raising, and on compromises from reading all the Discus experts, as well as all the Discus sites I could find.

One wrong answer above was that kH was more important than GH for breeding Discus. In fact, reverse that. Discus eggs react badly to calcium, both for fertilization and hatching. Calcium hardness over 108 ppm will result in minimal if any eggs hatching. However, calcium hardness at very low levels can (and has for me) resulted in problems with growing out Discus fry and in growing Juvies to adults.

While Discus can be kept successfully in a wide range of conditions, if you are going to go the RO route, might as well go for the optimal conditions?

Many would tell you not to do this. There is a good reason for this. The most important factor in Discus health is water changes. The logic is that if you have to mess with your water, you won't do enough changes, or somewhere along the line you will mess up in modifying your water and kill all of your fish. Many experienced people have done just this. The fact is that maintaining stable conditions, and doing the water changes are the most important factors in keeping healthy discus, so those who tell you not to fool with water parameters do have sound logic.

However, if you are OCD, you can make the ideal Discus water if you have an RO unit and a bunch of very good test kits, and understand what pH "Bounce" is.

Ideal parameters would be, for a planted DISCUS (does not apply to other planted tanks) show tank, between 4 and 6 dH calcium hardness, pH 6.4-6.6 with CO2 at 20-30 ppm. To do this kH would be ~ 1.5-3 degrees kH. TDS is unimportant unless you have a bunch of sodium chloride or other salt in your water. Nitrates should be around 10 ppm. Ammonia and nitrites should always be 0. PO4 should be about 1 ppm keeping to the 10:1 ratio most recommend. K should be somewhere between 2 and 20 depending on who you believe.

I mix RO with my tap water to make it 4 dH (70 ppm) calcium hardness for my planted show tank and 6 dH for my grow out tanks. I go to 2 dH for my breeding tanks. As long as I'm adjusting things, I use muriatic acid to bring the pH to 6.7. I keep that pH in all my tanks by buffering with sodium bicarbonate. This brings the kH to 1 - 1.5 dH or about 20 ppm.

In my planted tank, the pH without the CO2 would be 7.3 or so, and goes as low as 6.2 if I don't buffer it up with bicarb to kH 1.5 or higher.

Nitrates for breeding and grow out tanks are as low as I can keep them (well under 10 ppm). For the planted show tank, I hover around 10 ppm, for the plants, not the Discus.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2006, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayorNewton
I know I can dig around and find what I'm looking for, and am enjoying doing so and am learning a lot. I would highly appreciate, though, a few of you giving me what the 'best' numbers for all the 'usual'...gh, kh, pH, CO2, nitrates, TDS, etcetera, etcetera...are for a discus/plant tank. I will be keeping the temp up to around 84-86, and will be using RO water.

Opinions? Thanks!

Newt
Here is my opinion and by no means is it an expert one:

"Discus naturally live in water at a temperature of about 78 to 84 degrees F. with a pH of about 4.2 to 6 containing very little dissolved salt and minerals. Sometimes the pH is higher, but Discus prefer the warm rainwater of the rainforest". quote from:

http://www.aquariumfish.net/pages/amazon_001.htm

What kind of water do they need, 100% stable 100% of the time. High TDS and GH will kill wilds! They will acclimate to say a PH of 7.0 but will not stay healthy if that PH swings, would not recommend putting any additives in your water unless you have a way to ensure it is stable. A lot of discus owners that must put additives in their water have a storage area to treat and stabilize the water before putting it in the tank. Temperature swings are not as critical, my tank temp drops significantly during water changes, the fish get pissed but no worse the wear. After all, it rains a lot down there and that chills the water. If you are wishing to spawn your wilds keep in mind they take a lot longer to pair off and sometimes only spawn once a year.

Here are the different types of wild caughts:

http://amazon-exotic-import.de/Galle...4nge/INDEX.htm

As you can see there are many different strains and they come from different areas of the amazon. I will try to find the map I have and send you the link. The amazon is a very stable water source but temperature and PH do vary depending on the location. I would recommend you concentrate on fish native to Brazil and stay away from Peru. Additionally, the individual that you purchase wilds from is very important, they need to be quarantined properly and medicated, they will have parasites. The importer that sold me mine kept them for 2 months before allowing me to have them.

I do not wish to discourage you but you are taking on quite a challenge starting a planted tank and placing wilds in it. Keep in mind that they have been plucked from the amazon not spawned and raised in a domestic environment. Do not get me wrong, they are very hardy fish, contrary to what you usually hear but they will die very quickly if not given the proper environment and care. Recommend a whole lot of research into wilds, they do have differences from domestics. Bernd Degen's Wild-Caught Discus is a good book. Domestics have had a lot of the wild instincts bred out, that is why you see varying levels of cichlid behavior amongst domestics and why I keep wilds, they are predictable cichlids and the king.
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