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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Planted Tank Simplification Help

This may sound like an ignorant statement, but its not meant to be. Are there a certain set of parameters that will allow a planted tank to do well?

Here is my situation:
220 gallon Discus Tank
88 degrees F
6 96 watt 6700K Compact Flourescents
Pressurized CO2, 1 bubble per second

All I add is KNO3 to prevent green slime algae, but I will begin to add other suppliments as directed.

All I want/have are "easy plants": Sunset Hygro, Anubias, Green Crypts, but they always seem to get covered with algae on the leaves.

I will get some otos soon, and have 6 Siamese Algae eaters. Shrimp are not an option as the discus will eat them.

One problem that I have is that I have 9 fancy plecos in the tank, and they get feed a lot of sinking tablets at night. I will be selling these on aquabid shortly, so those additional nutrients will be gone in a few weeks.

Thanks,
Clay
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 04:34 PM
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First off your temperature could be considered a bit high for certain plants to grow, which is expected when you have a discus tank. Secondly you will have to fill that 220 gallon tank with a lot of plants in order to help battle the algae. I would stop dosing the KNO3 completely. The discus feces will provide enough so that you will not have to dose KNO3.

Get more plants in there (let us know how much of the tank is planted). Start doing KH2PO4 once you plant the tank real well along with some trace elements. Be careful though, you do not want your discus to suffer by high ferts being added to your tank.

Give us some more details on your tank.

-Ryan
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Well, in my 125 gallon, I had to dose KNO3 to prevent green slime algae. The Nitrates would go from 20-30 ppm to under 10 in a few days. The sunset hygro is a weed and takes in the nitrates very quickly.

Right now the tank is sparcely planted. Soon the whole back will be covered in sunset hygro. This will happen, its a weed. In front, I have several green crypts and 2 anubias.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
This may sound like an ignorant statement, but its not meant to be. Are there a certain set of parameters that will allow a planted tank to do well?

Here is my situation:
220 gallon Discus Tank
88 degrees F
6 96 watt 6700K Compact Flourescents
Pressurized CO2, 1 bubble per second

All I add is KNO3 to prevent green slime algae, but I will begin to add other suppliments as directed.

All I want/have are "easy plants": Sunset Hygro, Anubias, Green Crypts, but they always seem to get covered with algae on the leaves.

I will get some otos soon, and have 6 Siamese Algae eaters. Shrimp are not an option as the discus will eat them.

One problem that I have is that I have 9 fancy plecos in the tank, and they get feed a lot of sinking tablets at night. I will be selling these on aquabid shortly, so those additional nutrients will be gone in a few weeks.

Thanks,
Clay
Hi Clay,

That sounds like very high light for a tank that size. ~6w/g. The lighting rule of thumb breaks down on tank over about 125g. So, I would guess that to be the root of Your problems. Its not a wonder that Your are adding KN03 to a Discus tank! You can probably lose 3-4 of those lights and put yourself in a much better situation. Even with pressurized C02--I doubt You can get enough in the tank and I doubt You can get enough in there for the plants driven by that much light! Ferts, C02 and Light are all interconnected. Reducing the light will reduce the need for so much C02 and Ferts. Personally, I would try to find a light balance that will allow You to give the plants enough C02 and then balancing the fert quantity will be easy (that's actually the easiest part). Suggestion: Reduce the lights to 3x96w, keep an eye on the C02 in order not to "gas" your fish, and try to find a balance that will leave your nitrates in an acceptable range (10-20ppM???).

I would guess that P is short and that's why You are getting the spot algae on the leaves--That's how it usually works. Plus the anubias under that much light--I don't think the spot algae is avoidable!

C02: At 1bps on a tank that size You might as well figure that You have NO C02 at all. That's with a more norm light level also--with Your light level the C02 system might as well be in the garage! You are going to have to crank it up! Just do it over a few days time. I would guess that You should be able go to 6-8bps right now without a hitch though. And then just start working your way up from there. Do a little research here, so You have things sorted out in Your mind--Sounds like You have a beautiful setup, So I've no doubt that You don't want to gas Your fish. Just don't crank it up and then go to work for 12hrs. Do it when when You are going to be around. If You can't be around then crank it up a little and go slower.

The only question on the plecos is: Are they plant eaters? If so, then You need to make a choice. If Not, then they may fit in well.....

Your problems right now are: Way too much light and virtually no C02. Reverse that and then it will be much easier for folks to help You sort out a fert routine.

What is Your intent with the discus in this tank? Are they just for Display? Are You trying to Breed them? ? ? ?

HTH


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 05:37 PM
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Yes, as suggested wisely, reduce light and reduce the temp.

82-84F is fine for these fish.
Quite fine, even Heiko has suggested so.

More light = more work.

I'd suggest using 2x96w for 10 hours and 4x 96 for a noon day burst for say 3-4 hours.

This will reduce algae greatly, allow you better CO2 demand from plants(less!) and slow the weed growth down.

All in all, that will reduce the management efforts!

I suggest if you feed well, most owners do with Discus, doing 2x a week 40-50% water changes are wise.

Dose thereafter, I dose KNO3 in any CO2 enriched tank although you may need perhaps only 1/2 as much as normal dosing of KNO3.......that's a good figure to use with Discus.

KH2PO4 and Traces, GH booster and good CO2 with moderate to low light works best for most.

Adding Zeolite, lots of filtration, large frequent water changes will reduce other issues.

I keep Whimple piranha, they like similar conditions and generate lots of waste as well. Many discus/Altum clients have come to me for their set ups over the years.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
The lighting rule of thumb breaks down on tank over about 125g. So, I would guess that to be the root of Your problems. Its not a wonder that Your are adding KN03 to a Discus tank!
Can you explain this a little more please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
I would guess that P is short and that's why You are getting the spot algae on the leaves--That's how it usually works.
What is P?






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Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
The only question on the plecos is: Are they plant eaters? If so, then You need to make a choice. If Not, then they may fit in well.....
Meat eaters...after I sell them, I plan to only have 2 small meat eating plecos in there, a gold nugget and 1 L-134.


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Originally Posted by Naja002 View Post
What is Your intent with the discus in this tank? Are they just for Display? Are You trying to Breed them? ? ? ?
Purely display


I guess in short your advice is to lower the light and increase the CO2 somewhat. What about the KNO3, I really fear/detest green slime algae.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
Yes, as suggested wisely, reduce light and reduce the temp.

82-84F is fine for these fish.
Quite fine, even Heiko has suggested so.

More light = more work.

I'd suggest using 2x96w for 10 hours and 4x 96 for a noon day burst for say 3-4 hours.

This will reduce algae greatly, allow you better CO2 demand from plants(less!) and slow the weed growth down.

All in all, that will reduce the management efforts!

I suggest if you feed well, most owners do with Discus, doing 2x a week 40-50% water changes are wise.

Dose thereafter, I dose KNO3 in any CO2 enriched tank although you may need perhaps only 1/2 as much as normal dosing of KNO3.......that's a good figure to use with Discus.

KH2PO4 and Traces, GH booster and good CO2 with moderate to low light works best for most.

Adding Zeolite, lots of filtration, large frequent water changes will reduce other issues.

I keep Whimple piranha, they like similar conditions and generate lots of waste as well. Many discus/Altum clients have come to me for their set ups over the years.

Regards,
Tom Barr
Any suggestion as to how many bubbles per second for the CO2? As for water changes, I do a 1 50% change per week. I know it's not as much as recomeneded, but I really don't have the time.

BTW, I love the thread on aquariacentral about the huge planted tank that you set up (with the discus).
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 06:12 PM
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Since time is an issue and you have a fair amount invested, then you shoukld consider automating the water change either totally or use a semi automated hard plumbed system.

Basically you turn a valve and it drains the tank in a few minutes, you turn another, it refills slowly. Not hard to add and much eaiser than hoses and buckets or a python.

You need to clean the tank often to keep dirty fish.
There's no way around that.

So make water changes as easy as possible.
A turn of a valve and a turn of another can drain/fill a tank this size in about 30-60 minutes while you do other work or whatever.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 06:26 PM
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Can you explain this a little more please?
Not sure how much You know at this point, so here's the basic run down:

Lighting Rule of Thumb: Xw/g=Low, medium or high light. This rule applies generally to tanks from 10g to about 125g--then, in either direction, it begins to break down. For tanks in that range: 1wpg generally does not work. 2wpg works and puts things in a Low-light range. 3wpg puts things in a Medium-light range. 4wpg puts things in a High-light range. 5wpg put things in a Very High-light range. More WPG=More C02, More Ferts, More Work, hassle and expense.

Below 10g (nano) there is a need for More WPG in order to achieve the same effect, and above ~125g there is a need for LESS to achieve that same effect. Not sure why it works that way--but that's the way it is.

So, having such a large tank requires less WPG to achieve whatever level You seek. Having 6wpg put You in the Very High-Light range--even on a tank in the 10-125g range. On a tank the size of Your's--You are in a Super-Duper High-Light range. The plants are being driven very hard by that much light and need probably more C02 and ferts than You can supply. Hence--Reduce the lighting--Step 1. Then You will put Yourself in a position to actually be able to supply enough C02 and ferts. You are having Problems because everything is "Out-of-Balance". The first and only Step toward getting things in balance is: Reduce the lighting. Without that--You're sunk. You will never get it in order.

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What is P?
Phosphorus/Phosphates. Ferts need to be in balance also, but that will come after the lighting is reduced and the C02 is cranked up! Ferts are interdependent--a shortage of one will effect the ability of the plant to use the others. I.e., Insufficient P and K (potassium) will reduce the plants ability to absorb nitrates. You apparently have enough P and K to absorb all of the nitrates, but then come up short on the P also causing an imbalance resulting in the green spot algae that You see on the leaves. Because all of the N (nitrates) are being absorbed--You are seeing the slime algae. Everything is out-of-balance--Because You have WAY too much light.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
Meat eaters...after I sell them, I plan to only have 2 small meat eating plecos in there, a gold nugget and 1 L-134.
Doesn't seem to be any issues here---just personal choices.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
Purely display
In my eyes that makes everything much easier/simpler--no serious need to worry of the overall TDS, Gh, etc A Planted Discus Display tank is always much more Beautiful and impressive to me and makes everything much easier without the "Breeding Parameters". I've been around SD, and DAAH, etc and I really would like to see those folks update their thought processes. Yes, they can breed discus in a bare bottom tank--beyond that--most--of them are pretty clueless. But they are die-hard in their beliefs and there are "Wolf-packs" on those forums that come out in attack mode when someone goes against their dearly held belief system. So, if You want a beautiful Planted Display Tank--stick with us. In a yr You'll be able to go to those places and see exactly what I'm talking about.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
I guess in short your advice is to lower the light and increase the CO2 somewhat. What about the KNO3, I really fear/detest green slime algae.
Not "somewhat"--Crank It Up! Just follow the advice posted earlier so you don't gas Your fish. Its NOT that easy to gas Your fish, but there is an invisible line in the water--so just use some caution and keep reading and do a search or 3 on C02.

HTH


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 06:34 PM
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Any suggestion as to how many bubbles per second for the CO2? As for water changes, I do a 1 50% change per week. I know it's not as much as recomeneded, but I really don't have the time.

BTW, I love the thread on aquariacentral about the huge planted tank that you set up (with the discus).
As stated earlier: I would guess that You can go to 6-8bps without a problem. Even after You reduce Your light level--I doubt 6-8bps will will be near enough--but its a good place to start. Also, anything over about 4-5bps gets pretty hard to count, but You will adjust after You tinker with it for a bit.

On a Tank that size--You are going to need multiple C02 diffusion.

How are You diffusing that C02? How many Discus are in the tank? What size are they?

I'm not going to comment on a WC schedule at this point, because I am not experienced with High-Bioload fish and I think, at this point, More is Better until You get the light, C02 and ferts in order.

HTH


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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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As for CO2 diffusion, right now it is just an airstone, I had a nice glass diffuser in my old tank, but it broke. Perhaps I will split the tubing and go with 2 diffusers, and 6-8 bubbles per minute.

DAAH, I am not wild about that forum either. To me, they sound like "I am an expert with discus and therefore better than you".

As for water changes, I can do a 100 gallon change in under an hour using some hoses that I have set up. Perhaps I could up that somewhat, or just go up to a 75% water change. I believe I should do more, as the discus are not adults yet.

When all is said and done, there will be about 14 discus, 2 fancy plecos, 6 siamese algae eaters, some otos, 30 cardinal tetras and 1 betta (from a cup, to a 125 gallon, to a 220 gallon....lucky betta).
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
As for CO2 diffusion, right now it is just an airstone, I had a nice glass diffuser in my old tank, but it broke. Perhaps I will split the tubing and go with 2 diffusers, and 6-8 bubbles per minute.

DAAH, I am not wild about that forum either. To me, they sound like "I am an expert with discus and therefore better than you".

As for water changes, I can do a 100 gallon change in under an hour using some hoses that I have set up. Perhaps I could up that somewhat, or just go up to a 75% water change. I believe I should do more, as the discus are not adults yet.

When all is said and done, there will be about 14 discus, 2 fancy plecos, 6 siamese algae eaters, some otos, 30 cardinal tetras and 1 betta (from a cup, to a 125 gallon, to a 220 gallon....lucky betta).

I am not knowledgable with CO2 but 6-8 BPM seem a little low. I think 6-8 BPS(like someone else mentioned) would give the plants a sufficient ammount of CO2. After dropping your lighting down a bit of course.

Water changes sound fine, although I have not yet kept discus so I am unsure of this.

Not sure if the betta would be alright, it oesnt sound like too great of a match up. 14 discus vs. 1 Betta....you do the math


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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
As for CO2 diffusion, right now it is just an airstone, I had a nice glass diffuser in my old tank, but it broke. Perhaps I will split the tubing and go with 2 diffusers, and 6-8 bubbles per minute.

DAAH, I am not wild about that forum either. To me, they sound like "I am an expert with discus and therefore better than you".

As for water changes, I can do a 100 gallon change in under an hour using some hoses that I have set up. Perhaps I could up that somewhat, or just go up to a 75% water change. I believe I should do more, as the discus are not adults yet.

When all is said and done, there will be about 14 discus, 2 fancy plecos, 6 siamese algae eaters, some otos, 30 cardinal tetras and 1 betta (from a cup, to a 125 gallon, to a 220 gallon....lucky betta).
There is your problem. For a 220 Gallon tank using a simple airstone is not going to dissolve nearly enough CO2. You need to get a reactor or a better method to diffuse the CO2. You have high heat, high light, low CO2, not enough plants to fill the tank. Algae is a given in that situation IMHO.

-Ryan
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 07:19 PM
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As for CO2 diffusion, right now it is just an airstone, I had a nice glass diffuser in my old tank, but it broke. Perhaps I will split the tubing and go with 2 diffusers, and 6-8 bubbles per minute.
Hi Clay,

Not be be rude, but that's completely worthless on a tank that size--even at 6-8bps. You will need better difussion and on that size tank--multiple diffusers. The glass diffusers are workable, as are inline and internal. What and How is really up to You. Gas (C02) is just like water and electricity--they all follow the path of least resistance--so, just splitting that C02 line and adding a separate air stone--isn't going to work. You will need a multi-out manifold for Your C02 system. Rex Grigg can hook You up with everything You need.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
DAAH, I am not wild about that forum either. To me, they sound like "I am an expert with discus and therefore better than you".
SD is pretty much the same--most of the same folks anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
As for water changes, I can do a 100 gallon change in under an hour using some hoses that I have set up. Perhaps I could up that somewhat, or just go up to a 75% water change. I believe I should do more, as the discus are not adults yet.
Your water quality is Good now--its just way out of balance for a planted tank. And personally, I can see negatives to increasing WCs or leaving them at 1x/wk. Personally, I would shoot for 1x/wk over the long-haul, but not sure what to offer during this time of getting things in order. IMO a properly balanced Planted Discus Display Tank shouldn't need more than 1-2 WCs/wk. But that's Properly Balanced. That's were the Discus folks get lost, and just MO.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayT101 View Post
When all is said and done, there will be about 14 discus, 2 fancy plecos, 6 siamese algae eaters, some otos, 30 cardinal tetras and 1 betta (from a cup, to a 125 gallon, to a 220 gallon....lucky betta).
That doesn't seem like a High-Bioload for that size tank, but I have to relent to others with more direct experience.

HTH


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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-19-2007, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I meant 6-8 BPS. I'll see about getting 2 glass diffsers. Thank you for all of the advice.
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