First off, sorry for the long post, its about 2.5 weeks into it.
So about a month ago I purchased a 75g 48"x18"x20" that came with a stand and a cascade 700 canister filter. My plan was to create a high tech planted tank with co2 and everything. I loved the carpet look and that was my main goal at the time. I then started to think about what kind of livestock I wanted to keep. After days an hrs of research, I came to conclusion that I wanted to care for discus. I then decided to stick with a low tech planted tank so I can have higher quality care for the discus instead of having to worry about the plants too.
So I flooded the tank about 2.5weeks ago. About 1.5 weeks prior to that, my good friend (JAYGEE) let me setup my filter on his fully cycled tank and also gave me about 5-10g of his water. He also added the fluval bio max which is suppose to build beneficial bacteria and help with ammonia and nitrite spikes. The rest of the water is 100% RO water.
So prior to deciding on building a discus tank I already purchased 4x 9L bags of ADA Amazonian which I probably would of went with regardless of it being a low tech tank. I also purchased a AquaticLife 54wattx4bulb T5 HO with moon lights and built in timer. I wish I could of purchased a two bulb to save me some money but I figure it shouldn't be an issue, because if I fail at discus I will be going back with my original build of a high tech tank.
So since I am using ADA and I know if buffers so I wanted to flood it as soon as possible to get it cycled, so I just ended up putting a few low light hard plants inside.
On the first initial setup of plants
Broad leaf sag
My first initial water parameters using API liquid test:
Ph <6.0 (as low as the kit goes)
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 10 ppm
Ammonia - 1.0
GH/KH - both at 143.7ppm
So far there has been no ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate spikes. The only thing fluctuated was my nitrate. After 3-4 days it went up 20ppm, and another 3-4 day passes and nitrate is at 40ppm. I do 15g water change with aged tab water with API dechlorinator which also removes chlormine. The nitrate went down to 20ppm. The ph went from 6.0 to 7.0 but within 2 days dropped to 6.4 and every other day it fluctuates from 6.4-6.6. And ammonia went down to 0.50 but slowly rose up to 2.0 never going higher.
The driftwood didn't float, I was able to boil the top half, so it was boiled for 6hrs. I then put it in the tub and filled it with boiling hot water and I let that sit for another 2hrs. The Damn thing didn't float so I ended up attaching a few rocks to it to keep it down. I also purchased two nice sized slate rocks which were boiled for just a few mins.
Initial setup pic off the tank.
This weekend I added more plants immediately dropping the nitrates down to 10ppm.
New plants added
Red combia (was cheap and looked really nice but didn't know much about them until I researched them when I got home. I know, they might not make it)
I was really hopeing that the dwarf sag would give me that carpet look but I can see now that it will more then likely wont work out as the ones I bought were 6+in tall which I trimmed it about 1-2inch down. I will more then likly be pulling them all out and giving narrow leaf micro swords a try as they look exactly like DHG. Part of my goal is still accomplishing a carpet look.
On my first intial setup I was running only 2x 54w 10k bulbs. One of them weren't producing the light it was suppose to but after some wiggling it finally worked. I then realized this weekend that the one that was having problems was till not producing enough light still and was greatly dimmed. I just assume that it hasnt been working since the beginning as my plants where growing well and not in the best condition. I purchased a replacement and also purchased 2x 54w 6,700k bulbs and I added both to the fixture. I knew it was a bit much but thought I give it a shot. The next day it looks like some diatom algae has growth on some of my vals. I immediately turned off the 2x 6700k ones and left the 10k ones on. I had my lights set for 8hrs and 1hr of moonlight for viewing pleasures. I changed the light period to 6hrs a day and still the same amount of time for the moon light. I also dosed seachem flourish just yesterday despite having some algae. I figure the cut in light period will help but correct me if I am wrong.
Also a few days ago, I got impatient and researched that danios are damn near impossible to kill. I wanted to make sure it does not give my tank a negative impact on the bio bacteria so I added only 6 and feeding them only frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and this veggie that came with the lunchbox mix from petsmart. They are doing great but two of them are now bloated. No scales are protruding. Maybe there pregnant? Anyways, they are all very active and eat like pigs.
A few more things to add in the future when ready is a eheim 2217 and two 250watt heater, one on each side. For plants the only thing I plan to add is the narrow leaf micro swords for carpet. For livestock I plan to add 8-10 rainbow fish and a few dozen amano and cherry shrimp to pick up the leftovers from the discus. The driftwood in there creates lots of shelter for them and I hope they will reproduce faster then the discus can clean them out. Discus will be the very last livestock to add.
Few conerns if someone dont mind helping me is, do you think two 54w T5 HO 10k is efficient to grow my plants to the fullest without creating a algae problem. If not, what kind of bulbs should I use? Another concern is where are my ammonia, nirite, nitrate spikes at? Is the fluval biomax preventing that? I doubt my tank is cycled just from leaving my filter on my friends cycled tank for 1.5 weeks as well as adding the 5-10g of cycled water he gave me or could it be? Also on the algae part, how should I go about it assuming my lighting is okay? Should I still use flourish once a week? Cut my photoperiod down even more? I'll try to take a pic later when I get home for everyones input on it.
My current parameters
PH - 6.4
Ammonia - 1.0ppm
Nirite - 0ppm
Nirate - 10ppm
Pic of how it currently sits.
Any comments, recommendation and advice is welcome and appericated! Thanks!
Sorry for any typos and errors.