Planted Discus Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 05:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Red face Planted Discus Tank

Hey Guys,
I am new to this forum and this is my first post! I got into the discus thing about a year ago and decided that if I can keep discus alive, I should try a planted tank.

Setup:
29 gallon
Aquaclear 70 filter
36 inch Coralife 2x96 watt cf 6700K
3 bags of Fluorite
Stealth heater (Set at 82 degrees)
Hagen yeast based Co2 diffused into the filter intake
Fish:
4 3-4 inch discus
2 clown loaches
5 cory cats
8 cardinal tetras

I am in college so this is about as big of a tank as I can get away with in a dorm. In about a year I am moving into and apartment and have a 45 gallon at home waiting for me to take (hence the 36 inch light on a 30 inch tank) and the huge amount of fluorite.

So any way, I started off the tank and it was going fairly well until I had a massive outbreak of many types of algae, so I took the plants out that had it and cut back the lighting hours, from 12 to 8. I use flourish excel since I need more carbon for the amount of light but cant afford a pressurized Co2 system and I was told i keeps algae down, which it has.

My question now is, seeing that I have discus and the equipment I have, what can I do to maximize my growth? Right now I only have swords, which I hate, so I want to grow more but not spend the money and have them look awful. Any suggestions Please!!!! I spent a lot of money on the light and want to have a nice tank.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 05:49 AM
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That's a lot of light. Turn one of them off or alternate them.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
 
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I def. think i am gonna do that. Keep the suggestions coming!

I know thats a lot of light but why cut the light?
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 06:35 AM
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those discus will grow to big, they grow fast
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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I'm not worried about the size, they are small and I have the 45 gallon for them when I move to a place I can have that big of a tank. All I want is advice on my plants and my equipment and how to utilize them.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 03:54 PM
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Those discus aren't going to grow and you'll end up stunting them. Raising juvenile discus in a planted tank is not the way to go.

Go to simplydiscus.com and read their forums.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 04:07 PM
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I am using four 96W CF's on my 180 discus tank and it is plenty of light, so I can't imagine how yours looks with 2 over a 29! I know you have overhang, but one bulb should be enough even with the waste with at least 2.5 watts per gallon. At the light levels you are using you would have to optimize the CO2 and ferts to keep algae at bay. I would run just one bulb at about 8 hours as a start since you do not have access to pressurized CO2 and see what happens with your algae levels. That would be PLENTY of light for most plants to grow FAST!

Your four sub-adult discus are going to require frequent, massive water changes (50% every two days at a minimum) in the 29 or you will have growth problems (they won't grow!). Growing out discus in a planted tank is difficult in the best situations, but it is a rewarding challenge if done properly! Assuming they do reach adult size (6-7"), they will not be happy even in the 45, so hopefully you move to the apartment soon! That said, one of the prettiest sights I have seen in water is a well-planted discus tank! Good luck and keep us updated!

This thread shows my feeble attempt at a discus tank:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/fi...ew-discus.html

Steve
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice Steve. The 192 watts on the 29 does look pretty overwhelming! lol As for the stunting, this is a trial run for me, I am not trying to have full size, amazing discus that are perfect. The ones I have were not the best I could have gotten because I knew my intentions when I went into it. I raised the discus from 3/4 inch to where they are now (I underestimated my discus, the biggest is about 4 1/2 - 5 inches now) in a bare bottom tank. I know the water quality and time it takes to keep the discus (A LOT of water changes) which is why I am trying my hand at planted now. After this trial run is over, I want to eventually do a 150 show tank, planted with adult discus. As for being happy, I am yet to see discus as happy as these are. They all get along amazingly, spend most of the day playing in the swords and all have amazing appetites. I understand you guys are concerned for the fish but I already learned how to care for them, now I want help with the planted aspect.

As for fertilizers, how much excel should I use and when?
Would it be worth my money to get flourish iron and trace elements?
As for my Co2, since I have the aquaclear filter, I assume a lot of my Co2 is escaping from the water. Should I just take out the Co2 and just do doses of excel?
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 06:28 PM
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I don't know the exact answers and pardon the story but:

I know a guy who kept discus in a planted tank just fine. But, he wasn't so good with the measuring of excel and just would dump some in. One morning, he came down and most of his discus were dead...I guess they are somewhat sensitive to excel and I also imagine he overdosed it quite a bit.

So, the story is not to say don't use it, rather just be careful and perhaps watch how they react to it at first. I'm sure if used properly, it wouldn't cause such problems.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2plants View Post
As for fertilizers, how much excel should I use and when?
Would it be worth my money to get flourish iron and trace elements?
As for my Co2, since I have the aquaclear filter, I assume a lot of my Co2 is escaping from the water. Should I just take out the Co2 and just do doses of excel?
You may want to look at some of the ways of dosing ferts with bulk chems. With the water changes you are doing and the price of the liquids, dry will be significantly cheaper. I use slightly modified EI dosing, with lower nitrates to make the discus more comfortable (being on the safe side!) and keep my red plants happy.

On the Aquaclear, keep the tank as full as possible to minimize the amount of disturbance from the water flowing out of the filter. That will keep from losing some of your precious CO2.

I am not a fan of Excel except to fight some algae types and never had any luck with it as a sole carbon source.

Steve
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-08-2008, 08:02 PM
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I really suggest you go over to simplydiscus.com and read up a bit. Not caring about having perfect show quality discus is one thing, but stunting discus is cruel and harmful to the fish. It is not impossible to keep discus in a planted tank, and if you have adult discus, it isn't particularly difficult. However, juvenile discus require pristine water conditions and a lot of food. These are conflicting requirements. Young discus won't grow very well on flake food (if they eat it at all), and all discus should really be fed on beef heart and black worms. These are high quality, but extremely messy foods that will foul up the water quickly, especially when you feed them 6 or 7 times a day. This is why discus have a reputation as being hard to keep fish. Because juvenile discus have high food requirements, you need to change the water frequently (as stated before, in a 29 gallon, you would need to do something like a 50% water change at least once a day, if not more). In addition, discus have space requirement unrelated to the water quality. I would recommend you have at least 10 gallons of space for each discus. Keeping discus alive is not hard as people make it out to be. Growing them out to the size of dinner plates is. Please, for the sake of the discus, use the 45 gallon tank, not the 29.

I would really recommend you do some reading on both discus and planted tanks before you attempt this. There are people who have been keeping discus and planted tanks for many years separately who still have not mastered this combination. For starters, I would recommend you study light, co2, macro and micro fertilizers. Start here: http://www.rexgrigg.com

Nothing alone keeps algae away. It is the right combination of light, co2, and nutrients that allows plants to use everything better than and before algae.

As for CO2, you can have it work with your AC. Keep the water topped off, high enough so that there is no splashing on the AC return. More importantly, you need a better diffusion method than just putting it into the intake.

I am surprised no one has mentioned it before, but you need to get rid of those clown loaches. There is absolutely no way that they will work in a 29 gallon except for temporarily. They grow to be 15". The cories are a good idea, as they clean up food quite well. I would be wary of adding cardinals in with your juveniles. Young discus are not particularly aggressive eaters, so you want to watch them and make sure they are getting enough to eat, and not having the cardinals beat them to it.

Plants are not a bad addition to a discus tank at all, it is the substrate that puts discus keepers off. Discus keepers prefer bare bottom tanks because it allows them to clean the excess messy food out during the water changes easily.

I'm sure you wouldn't want to mistreat your fish, so just look into it a little more

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Ok I will do that, for now, what do you recommend for fertilizers and the excel?
Also, what kind of Co2 diffuser would be most effective?
Can you guys give me some advice on plants that will thrive in these conditions and be easy to keep?
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 05:49 AM
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<--thinks New2Plants has been keeping these discus for about a year already...and has stated they understand water change requirements as evidenced by keeping discus for a year...
<--thinks that if these fish are at least a year old, then they are growing to be breeding age...and nearing 5 inches anyway. I don't consider them to be exactly the same as someone trying to grow out some 2 inchers in a planted tank.
<--thinks it has been stated that the 45 cannot be used because dorms tend to be pretty strict about that sort of thing. And if New2Plants were to set it up at their parents or something, I can imagine it would not get the water changes needed...Yes I do agree at their size, the 29 is probably a bit crowded, but I'm not sure what can really be done about that? Unless the dorm supervisor would enjoy a planted discus tank in the lobby...

Just trying to stick up for the new person here, it isn't nice to jump on them, and also miss some items they mention.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-09-2008, 08:43 PM
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Ah ok, I missed the part about being in a dorm. Get out of the dorms ASAP! Best thing I ever did. MUCH cheaper. I understand about the space restriction, though. Try to get the 45 to fit. I managed to get a 55 in here

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-10-2008, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by New2plants View Post
Ok I will do that, for now, what do you recommend for fertilizers and the excel?
Also, what kind of Co2 diffuser would be most effective?
Can you guys give me some advice on plants that will thrive in these conditions and be easy to keep?

Anything on my questions?
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