Discuscape - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2005, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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What sup everyone.

Over the last year I have had a planted discus tank and had great success. I have yet to give the detials of how and when I went about everthing but today I plan on telling everyone how I did everything from setup to eye candy.

First off I went and bought a new 55 gallon tank w stand and in no mind had any idea I would get into discus. I through some rocks in the tank and bought some oscars and pacus and one datinoid. 8). After 2 months the fish were to big and the pacu kept eating any plant I put in there so I gave up on big fish. I then found interest in haveing a fully plant tank once seeing many amazing tanks online and especially Amanos tanks. I slowly procured the supply's I need such as a Compact floro light (corallife 120watt), graval that would actually feed the plants ( florabase seacheam), A nice peice of driftwood from florida driftwood, And some anubus, and java ferns. The tank looked something like this.


I found some SAE and put them in the tank as well as acouple otto cats.
THe next 2 weeks was pretty much hell as I learned what BG algea was and BB algea. 8(. I soon learned all about co2. So I made a DIY co2 thingy and sent it into my filter. Day 4 into co2 the BB was dieing but, so were my fish. I had know idea that the co2 could kill my fish and saw that my PH was at 4.0. I immedialy went online and found out about the relationship between KH and PH and Co2 and also learned that a DIY on a 55 was not going to cut it. I then bit the bullet and bought a JBJ regulator with Bubble counter and some ozone proof tubing, and bought a 5 pound co2 tank from a local welding shop. All together it was around 200 bucks. I setup the co2 sending the tube into the intake of my fluval 304. Setup was pretty easy with all the knowledge I gained for the internet. I just started co2 slowly and waited intill I had a steady Ph of 6.6. I had to add alittle CC to the filter in order to get the co2 concentation I wanted and havent had any PH crashes in 5 months. I put a timer on the light and selaniod to go off and on at the same time. You definatly don't want co2 running all night. Thats asking for PH crashes and very low O2 levels. I resently had my co2 turn off an hour before the light turns off just so the isint any extra co2 floating around when the plants start useing O2.

I didn't like how fluval baskets were setup so I changes the filter to my liking. Here is a detailed decription of what I did to it if any one wants to do it them selfs. I beleive it works 10 fold better and mixes co2 like the best reactor.

Anyways back to the tank, I put a surface skimmer on the tank but that didn't work out because it just got clogged so I just throw it into the closet. It was worth a try.

At this time I went to the LFS to buy some Fish food when I saw Discus in a tank. I immediatly thought that I could definatly handle discus so I bought some hex ridden, tape worm filled discus, for to much money and threw them into my planted tank. 2 days later 2 of them died which left me baffeled. I was amazed at how fast they died. I went to the internet for answers and found Simplydiscus.com. I learned all about why my discus died and then how to pick discus and were to buy them from. I desided to put the one discus that was still alive into a 10 gallon BB tank and trow some Prazipro at him. He past tapeworms and I worked on makeing my disease ridden Planted tank up to par. I Pottasium Permaganted the tank for 2 weeks which put a real hurting on my plants so I trimed them down and bought more plants which I also PP'ed at 2 tsp per gallon for 10 mins before I put them into the tank. Even after that some snail made it in but I keep them under control with my finger of god (smush). So after all of this the tank balenced and the roots took hold.

Next I learned about all the ferts that I was missing. I was wondering why the plants seemed to stop growing like they used to and the algea was comeing back. I learned about the 10-20 to 1 ratio for Nitrogen to phosphate. I had thought that discus had to live in 0-0-0 water, but learned that a nitro level of 10-20ppm is fine. As soon as I started doseing Phosphates and nitrates the plants started growing again. I started doseing Pottasium as well due to the way people rave about high pottasium levels and since then I have not had to wipe the tanks walls very much at all.

I picked up some riccia from a not so local fish store, but it was worth it. Here is what the tank looked like after I bought the riccia. O I also put the one surviving discus though a metro treatment and put him back into the planted tank just to test the water and see if my PP treatments work at killing off the nastys.

I kept a close eye on the fish and he seemed to be doing great alone and was eating and acting normal. I went and bought some pigmy chain swords, and some tropical sunset, some red and greem cabomba, a waffle sword. and some ludwiga red.

After some research I learned better food for my fish then BW's and started ordering CBW's and picked up a big thing of color bits. I started a ruitien of color bits in the morning and night and CBW's at lunch.

At this point I went and picked up a 29 gallon to QT some new fish. I picked up a nice wild (which I put directly into the tank because I knew it was clean)and some small turk reds which I started metroing , just in case. In the mean time I got the fish buying bug and bought some cardinal tetras ,and some kullie loaches and had no were to QT them so I just threw them into the tank. BIG mistake. It left me with 6 dead cardinals and discus coverd in ich. I am still in the process of removing the ich useing Cupermine which has actully not done as much dammage to the plants as a thought it would. In fact the only thing I see is alittle algea on the glass. The fish have no ich after 4 days but I plan on leaving the cupermine in there for 20 days.

THis is what my tank looked like 1 month ago.

THis is what it looks like now
In the end if you do your home work, owning a planted discus tank is pretty easy. If you start the planted tank and wait intill it is completely stable(co2 20-30ppm , nitrate around 10, phos around 1, amonia around 0, PH steady around 6.4-8) then you should have no problems.

This is just how I maintain my tank

W/C twice a week at 50% ( straight tap water)( vacuum litely every time)
I add usually 15ml of nitrate
5 ml of phosphate
15 ml of pottasium
15ml trace
7 ml iron

I clean the filter every month but I have a sponge on my intake so not much gets into the filter it self. Even water if I don't clean the sponge every week. 8P.

On the 29 BB tank I have 2 sponge filter and a whisper 20
I do W/C every 2 days at 40 %
I wipe the sides down and vacuum the filters for debis
Seems to keep everthing under control and the fish are really growing fast.

Anyone have any suggestion and ro question please let me know.
I will get some more pic's up soon.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 09:17 AM
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Very nice. Good luck with your Discus. How long your riccia took to grow like this? I just receive some today and was curious.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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You will be throwing a large handfull of it away every week after about a month. It is definatly my fastest growing plant. Only thing I suggest is put it close to you light and it will pearl more. And, also, let alittle float around. It will mulitpy 3x as fast floating on the surface. I let a handfull float around in my dads tank with no co2 and withing a week it covered the top almost enough to block the light out completely.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2005, 04:00 PM
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Hey tiptoptank - Sound's like you went through a heck of a learning curve. But you did it quickly, and your end product is beautiful! Congratulations!

It's enough to make me think a bit harder about trying discus myself. Thanks for sharing this!

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 12:12 AM
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The tank looks great.
Thanks for fluval tip.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2005, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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The discus were worth the troble. I look at my dads planted tank that I setup that does not have discus and it simply isn't as good. The discus add a large affect on the tanks over all apeal. Even people that come to my house that don't even know what discus are say that my tank is more apealing then my fathers. Even though from a planthead piont of view my dads tank is thought out better and more dutch stye. Which many think is amazing

I will post pics of my dads tank tonight some time to give you an idea.

As for the fluval, the mod I designed for it really made the filter perform. I wouls suggest it to anyone. It's easy, it works, it's really cheap, and you don't phiscaly modify the filter in any way. It just gives you more room for media and stops the piontless bypass.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 05:04 AM
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Wow you sure had some bad luck with those Discus. Hopefully you are out of the woods now. That prefilter sponge idea is a good one. I read about that one on Simply Discus and I'm glad it did. It really helps the filter run longer without getting plugged up. So how are the SAE working out with the Discus? I was thinking of getting some for my Discus tank, but was concerned they may latch onto them and eat the slime coat. Also just curious what temp you keep your tank at.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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The SAE are perfectly fine with the discus and I keep the tank at 82-84 deg's
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 06:31 PM
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That's good to know. Thanks!

BTW the tank is real nice.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-31-2005, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Also on a side note I have just finished a Prazi treatment on the tank and learned that it does lower O2 levels to much during that night. So, if your going to use a prazi product on your planted tank I would suggest leaving a air stone in at night. Besides for lower o2, the treatment worked great with no plant problems. Everything kept growing just stop pearling is all. Itreated for flukes but one fish passed a 12 inch worm. Poor guy 8(
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