Spencer's 125G Planted Discus Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-15-2020, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Spencer's 125G Planted Discus Tank

First real post here, please be gentle... a year ago I had a betta in 5g with fake plants, and now:

Tank: Standard shape 125g tank and DIY lids made of ceiling egg crate plastic to allow more gas exchange

Filtration: Pair of Eheim Classic 600s aka 2217s filled with Eheim blue & white pads, Seachem Matrix & Eheim Substrat

Heaters: Pair of Ista inline 300w heaters at 28C

CO2 : CO2arts Elite regulator using 2 manifolds, an inline Niloc G diffuser on one side and an inline reactor on the other

Lighting: 3 AI Prime Freshwater (8in above surface), each cover 24in of tank length. Photo period: 1hr ramp-up 2 hrs after CO2 on, 6hrs on, 1hr ramp down w/ CO2 off.

UV Sterilizer: TMC Vecton 600 25 Watt

Substrate: 2/3 of the tank with 2.5-30in. of Mr.Aqua soil. Foreground topped with a thin layer of UNS Controsoil extra fine. The remaining area separated by dragonstone is Caribsea Sunset Gold sand 1.5in.

Flow: 2 small Hydor Koralias and 1 larger 3rd gen Koralia powerheads, 2 SS Jardli intakes with skimmers, 2 Jardli glass violet pipes (trying to aim CO2 lower - failing?). 3 air stones.

Decor: 2 large pieces of Mopani driftwood, one Manzanita branch, dragonstone, UndergroundRocks Rocky 3D backer

Fish: 8 discus, 4 angelfish, 24 cardinal tetras, 8 Congo tetras , 11 Sterbei Corys, 3 SAE, 2 bristlenose plecos and a small army of assassin snails(was 10, now about 30).

Dosing: PPS Pro (GLA dry ferts mixed as micro & macro solutions). Been dosing 6.5ml micros daily, but cut macros daily dose of 12.5ml to 3x weekly to reduce Nitrates. Planning to alter my recipe with less N next time I mix the macros.

Water parameters: With Texas tap water ~7.2-7.5 ph,[censored] high chloramines and ammonia, I mix in about 25% RODI and maintain a steady 6.6ph degassed, 5.6 fully gassed. No Am or Nitirites, Nitrates 25ppm. KH 1.5-2.0(3-4drops) and GH 80(4 drops), Phosphate 1.0. All measured with Fluval test kits. Do 25% water changes 3x/week.

Tank Start: July 2019.

Focus: While I love my plants, the health of my discus and other fish is my highest priority. This has led me to a minimum temp of 28C and lower CO2 levels than I'd otherwise run, as gasping is obvious at higher levels even with 3 air stones and highly ventilated lids. Pearling plants is a rarity. As I've played with light settings, I also notice fish hiding and more stressed when I crank up the lights to high levels. I'm happy to put in the work and would love a colorful heavily planted tank that balances the challenges of keeping healthy discus with the visible impact of the nicer planted tanks I see here and elsewhere. It's an interesting challenge!

Plants that have done pretty well:[censored] Tiger Lotus, Rotalla H'Ra, Rotalla Indica, Rotalla Wallichi, Myrio Green, Crinum Calamastratum, Bacopa Caroliniana, Red Rubin Sword, Apongeton Undulatas, Ludwigia Ovalis, Amazon Sword

Plants meh: Glossostigma(started really slow; now long runners spreading, but attracts black algae), Limnophila Heterophylla (grows fast and self-propagates, but leggy--stretching to lights), Anubias Nana(better lately, but still small amounts of blackish algae spots on some leaves).

Plants that have done poorly in this tank: Pink Panther Crypt tissue cultures(turned beige and crinkly leaves), Dwarf baby tears tissue cultures(uprooted a bit at a time before taking off), Bronze crypts(instant melt, roots still there for potential recovery), Corkscrew Vals(total melt), Assorted Buce[censored]in shadowed nooks & crannys(melted, turned blackish eventually, uprooted by fish), Ludgwia Super Red, AR mini and varigated, S Repens, Ammania Gracilis (These last few all perhaps not enough lights access, black browning crinkling of leafs)

New plants going in soon Hydracoytle Tripartita, Ludwigia Arcuata Narrow Leaf.
Current issues are:BBA on the 3D backer - tried spot spraying 2x dose of Seachem Excel directly on BBA during water changes; 4 applications, not much impact. spot-spraying hydrogen peroxide is my next tactic.Small amount of cyanobacteria on 3D backer, mostly just below the lights. Have been manually removing easily. Thinking of treating with recent increase of dark green and blackish algae on the dragonstone.

I'm a newbie with aspirations. Looking for general feedback (and encouragement, lol) especially:

1) comments from AI Prime Freshwater users on their light settings, learnings
2) suggestions from discus planted tanks owners on what works and doesn't in warm tanks and with discus & CO2
3) 3D backer owners on keeping them algae-free

Thanks in advance to everyone for your input! Sorry for the long-winded post, but it seems like this crowd wants all the details...Pics coming soon.

Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-15-2020, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbank View Post
First real post here, please be gentle... a year ago I had a betta in 5g with fake plants, and now:



Tank: Standard shape 125g tank and DIY lids made of ceiling egg crate plastic to allow more gas exchange



Filtration: Pair of Eheim Classic 600s aka 2217s filled with Eheim blue & white pads, Seachem Matrix & Eheim Substrat



Heaters: Pair of Ista inline 300w heaters at 28C



CO2 : CO2arts Elite regulator using 2 manifolds, an inline Niloc G diffuser on one side and an inline reactor on the other



Lighting: 3 AI Prime Freshwater (8in above surface), each cover 24in of tank length. Photo period: 1hr ramp-up 2 hrs after CO2 on, 6hrs on, 1hr ramp down w/ CO2 off.



UV Sterilizer: TMC Vecton 600 25 Watt



Substrate: 2/3 of the tank with 2.5-30in. of Mr.Aqua soil. Foreground topped with a thin layer of UNS Controsoil extra fine. The remaining area separated by dragonstone is Caribsea Sunset Gold sand 1.5in.



Flow: 2 small Hydor Koralias and 1 larger 3rd gen Koralia powerheads, 2 SS Jardli intakes with skimmers, 2 Jardli glass violet pipes (trying to aim CO2 lower - failing?). 3 air stones.



Decor: 2 large pieces of Mopani driftwood, one Manzanita branch, dragonstone, UndergroundRocks Rocky 3D backer



Fish: 8 discus, 4 angelfish, 24 cardinal tetras, 8 Congo tetras , 11 Sterbei Corys, 3 SAE, 2 bristlenose plecos and a small army of assassin snails(was 10, now about 30).



Dosing: PPS Pro (GLA dry ferts mixed as micro & macro solutions). Been dosing 6.5ml micros daily, but cut macros daily dose of 12.5ml to 3x weekly to reduce Nitrates. Planning to alter my recipe with less N next time I mix the macros.



Water parameters: With Texas tap water ~7.2-7.5 ph,[censored] high chloramines and ammonia, I mix in about 25% RODI and maintain a steady 6.6ph degassed, 5.6 fully gassed. No Am or Nitirites, Nitrates 25ppm. KH 1.5-2.0(3-4drops) and GH 80(4 drops), Phosphate 1.0. All measured with Fluval test kits. Do 25% water changes 3x/week.



Tank Start: July 2019.



Focus: While I love my plants, the health of my discus and other fish is my highest priority. This has led me to a minimum temp of 28C and lower CO2 levels than I'd otherwise run, as gasping is obvious at higher levels even with 3 air stones and highly ventilated lids. Pearling plants is a rarity. As I've played with light settings, I also notice fish hiding and more stressed when I crank up the lights to high levels. I'm happy to put in the work and would love a colorful heavily planted tank that balances the challenges of keeping healthy discus with the visible impact of the nicer planted tanks I see here and elsewhere. It's an interesting challenge!



Plants that have done pretty well:[censored] Tiger Lotus, Rotalla H'Ra, Rotalla Indica, Rotalla Wallichi, Myrio Green, Crinum Calamastratum, Bacopa Caroliniana, Red Rubin Sword, Apongeton Undulatas, Ludwigia Ovalis, Amazon Sword



Plants meh: Glossostigma(started really slow; now long runners spreading, but attracts black algae), Limnophila Heterophylla (grows fast and self-propagates, but leggy--stretching to lights), Anubias Nana(better lately, but still small amounts of blackish algae spots on some leaves).



Plants that have done poorly in this tank: Pink Panther Crypt tissue cultures(turned beige and crinkly leaves), Dwarf baby tears tissue cultures(uprooted a bit at a time before taking off), Bronze crypts(instant melt, roots still there for potential recovery), Corkscrew Vals(total melt), Assorted Buce[censored]in shadowed nooks & crannys(melted, turned blackish eventually, uprooted by fish), Ludgwia Super Red, AR mini and varigated, S Repens, Ammania Gracilis (These last few all perhaps not enough lights access, black browning crinkling of leafs)



New plants going in soon Hydracoytle Tripartita, Ludwigia Arcuata Narrow Leaf.

Current issues are:BBA on the 3D backer - tried spot spraying 2x dose of Seachem Excel directly on BBA during water changes; 4 applications, not much impact. spot-spraying hydrogen peroxide is my next tactic.Small amount of cyanobacteria on 3D backer, mostly just below the lights. Have been manually removing easily. Thinking of treating with recent increase of dark green and blackish algae on the dragonstone.



I'm a newbie with aspirations. Looking for general feedback (and encouragement, lol) especially:



1) comments from AI Prime Freshwater users on their light settings, learnings

2) suggestions from discus planted tanks owners on what works and doesn't in warm tanks and with discus & CO2

3) 3D backer owners on keeping them algae-free



Thanks in advance to everyone for your input! Sorry for the long-winded post, but it seems like this crowd wants all the details...Pics coming soon.


Sounds good cant wait for the pics


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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 03:08 AM Thread Starter
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Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-17-2020, 04:00 AM
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That tank is beautiful!!!!

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Please provide any advice on changing my macros recipe from PPS Pro standard recipe, based on what you seen in my images.

Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 08:00 PM
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Congratulations on balancing the needs of discus with a planted tank.Some of your plants are doing great!
Not many of us discus owners include Co2 in the mix, so I doubt you will get much response here on that combination working long-term. Not saying it cant work; because, obviously, you have been doing it yourself .
I have a low-tech planted tank that is a constant challenge to get things to grow because of-- like you've noticed-- too much light and your discus will hide from the glare. Like many other South American fish who reside in tannin stained waters, high light discourages them from swimming out from foliage. If you include lots of surface floaters like frogbit, this will help them to come out more. Mine often hang out under the leaves when the rest of the tank is well lit.
Temperature is a constant issue with a discus aquarium and growing plants. I hear you-- for some, I doubt that the use of Co2 will correct that.
Good luck to you and hope you have lots of people chime in here to help you!


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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Congratulations on balancing the needs of discus with a planted tank.Some of your plants are doing great!
Not many of us discus owners include Co2 in the mix, so I doubt you will get much response here on that combination working long-term. Not saying it cant work; because, obviously, you have been doing it yourself .
I have a low-tech planted tank that is a constant challenge to get things to grow because of-- like you've noticed-- too much light and your discus will hide from the glare. Like many other South American fish who reside in tannin stained waters, high light discourages them from swimming out from foliage. If you include lots of surface floaters like frogbit, this will help them to come out more. Mine often hang out under the leaves when the rest of the tank is well lit.
Temperature is a constant issue with a discus aquarium and growing plants. I hear you-- for some, I doubt that the use of Co2 will correct that.
Good luck to you and hope you have lots of people chime in here to help you!
Thank you very much. You've been such a great help to the community. As I've been getting up to speed on numerous issues, your comments frequently have been the most helpful and inspirational. So stay on your toes, you;re a role model!

It's a challenge for sure. Most often it comes down to a very narrow range between too little CO2 for the plants vs. too much for the discus. Each time I change the CO2 canister bubble levels and fish behavior both have to be watched closely. Luckily when shopping for CO2 gear, I was able to learn that "tank dump" would be a real threat, so I invested in a pretty good dual stage regulator from CO2arts.com. It wasn't cheap, but a necessary investment to protect my discus.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 03-22-2020, 08:18 PM
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Thank you very much. You've been such a great help to the community. As I've been getting up to speed on numerous issues, your comments frequently have been the most helpful and inspirational. So stay on your toes, you;re a role model!

It's a challenge for sure. Most often it comes down to a very narrow range between too little CO2 for the plants vs. too much for the discus. Each time I change the CO2 canister bubble levels and fish behavior both have to be watched closely. Luckily when shopping for CO2 gear, I was able to learn that "tank dump" would be a real threat, so I invested in a pretty good dual stage regulator from CO2arts.com. It wasn't cheap, but a necessary investment to protect my discus.
Thank you-- its good to hear that I have been useful to others.

This is a great community that we have here. Many members on TPT have specialty interests/knowledge in the hobby that you would be hard pressed to find in any of the other online forums.

So happy that you have found us.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-04-2020, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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So I have done two treatments of hydrogen peroxide, applied with a foam paintbrush, on the BBA on my 3D backer. It's working great, and most has died. Planning on doing a 3rd application tomorrow during my water change which will be larger than usual to get the water line lower in the tank.

Of course, if it isn't one thing it's another...My glossostigma, which has struggled in an area too shaded by taller stem plants, has adapted by sending runners forward off the soil substrate into the sand at the front of the tank. It's been growing like crazy, spreading to the front glass and to the right, but is already showing hard green spot algae, which is also recently increasing on dragonstone in the same area. With lots of plant mass doing well in the rest of the tank and only 6 hrs.of full lights daily, I'm unsure how to reduce it. Suggestions?

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Lucy the Super Red Bristlenose, a GAAS auction addition, has grown from about 1.25in to 2in. Confidence is up, with her(?) getting more visible by the day.
[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

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Last edited by sbank; 05-09-2020 at 02:55 PM. Reason: fixed images
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A couple have asked questions about how I setup the inline heaters, inline reactor & diffusor and my UV sterilzer, so adding some pics. The key to making it work for me was an "X" setup to allow the long link from canister to lily pipes to go across from one side of the cabinet to the opposite end of the tank top. Otherwise the combo was too tall to keep all the gear in the cabinet.







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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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A quick update. I was pleasantly surprised to see a baby sterbei a few weeks ago, as I never saw eggs laid and figured they'd be gobbled if there were any. Even more surprising about two weeks later I saw two young sterbei together. They've grown very fast and seem to be large enough that they are not likely to become a snack for the angels or discus. Haven't been able to catch them on camera yet.

On the tank balance front, I've noted comments from @Greggz and some youtubers and concluded that I need to increase phosphate levels to fight the green spot algae on my dragonstone and glossostigma. So last week I remixed my GLA macro solution upping the phosphate significantly and also reduced nitrogen by 25% to tweak down the nitrates a bit for both discus health and red plant coloration. After 3 doses this week of the new solution, I'm planning to test parameters this weekend and measure the impact.

I also did a major plant trim this week, replanting the top portion of many stems and removing the bottoms that were not getting enough light due to overcrowding. I removed about a third/half of the stems of rotala and myrio, as they were getting too thick. I had enough extra removed that I fully planted my wife's 75g with cuttings.

In earlier posts, I mentioned battling BBA with hydrogen peroxide. I've been spraying it directly on the BBA attached to the 3D backer during each water change (3x/wk) and about 90% is now gone. The rest is below the water line and will try syringe method or taking out more water to kill off the rest.

My next planned move is to add another 3-4 discus from Kenny's Discus once he is back on schedule. A 20g QT tank is ready and waiting.
Cheers!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 04:58 PM
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A quick update. I was pleasantly surprised to see a baby sterbei a few weeks ago, as I never saw eggs laid and figured they'd be gobbled if there were any. Even more surprising about two weeks later I saw two young sterbei together. They've grown very fast and seem to be large enough that they are not likely to become a snack for the angels or discus. Haven't been able to catch them on camera yet.

On the tank balance front, I've noted comments from @Greggz and some youtubers and concluded that I need to increase phosphate levels to fight the green spot algae on my dragonstone and glossostigma. So last week I remixed my GLA macro solution upping the phosphate significantly and also reduced nitrogen by 25% to tweak down the nitrates a bit for both discus health and red plant coloration. After 3 doses this week of the new solution, I'm planning to test parameters this weekend and measure the impact.

I also did a major plant trim this week, replanting the top portion of many stems and removing the bottoms that were not getting enough light due to overcrowding. I removed about a third/half of the stems of rotala and myrio, as they were getting too thick. I had enough extra removed that I fully planted my wife's 75g with cuttings.

In earlier posts, I mentioned battling BBA with hydrogen peroxide. I've been spraying it directly on the BBA attached to the 3D backer during each water change (3x/wk) and about 90% is now gone. The rest is below the water line and will try syringe method or taking out more water to kill off the rest.

My next planned move is to add another 3-4 discus from Kenny's Discus once he is back on schedule. A 20g QT tank is ready and waiting.
Cheers!
Ive been buying discus from Kenny for about 10 years now. Really nice discus. Unbelievable how much they have gone up in price in the last 10 years. Craziness.


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-09-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Ive been buying discus from Kenny for about 10 years now. Really nice discus.
Yes, Kenny is awesome, for sure! Great fish, super-professional service and shipping. Can't wait for his next shipment to come in......................okay, still waiting..............

Walking the tightrope of discus in a high tech planted tank.
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