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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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what comes 1st?

I am hoping to have a 135 gal. planted discus tank. The water temp that I will need for the discus is 85 degrees. I know I won't have alot of plants to choose from.
At the moment, I don't have the fish or the plants. I was hoping to get knowledge on what i should put in 1st. The plants, or the fish.
I did put in Eco complete for a substrate.
no my questions are, what plants would do well in a tank with discus, what lighting would be proper for both, and what should i put in the tank 1st, the fish or the plants
thanks alot
mark
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 05:39 PM
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plants...

Fish shouldn't be put in until the tank is cycled, either by fishless cycling (adding small doses of ammonia to encourage bacteria that break it down to establish) or having a heavy plant mass that is well established (also called silent cycling, where you have enough plant mass to consume the ammonia spike).

Heck, for some folks, plants come before water (dry start method).

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Last edited by mattinmd; 09-14-2015 at 05:43 PM. Reason: added dry start...
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maybemark View Post
what plants would do well in a tank with discus, what lighting would be proper for both
Amazon swords...lots of different kinds to choose from.
While your tank is cycling, search "Discus biotope" both here and Google.

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Originally Posted by mattinmd View Post
plants...

Fish shouldn't be put in until the tank is cycled, either by fishless cycling (adding small doses of ammonia to encourage bacteria that break it down to establish) or having a heavy plant mass that is well established (also called silent cycling, where you have enough plant mass to consume the ammonia spike).

Heck, for some folks, plants come before water (dry start method).
+1

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 05:50 PM
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Fishless cycling > Plants > Add Ammonia > Wait >Add Ammonia > Wait >Add Ammonia >wait for 0 Ammonia > then Fish
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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thank you for helping me determine what i need to do. I have other fish tanks, I was planning on putting in water from the other tanks to start my bio load, not alot of water.
My tanks are healthy and well established. My fish smile, I would say they are very happy.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 09:01 PM
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Well, the water won't really carry much in the way of bacteria, so using that won't really do a whole lot to jump start your cycle. The bacteria you need are biofilm and live on things, not free floating. Used filter media is best here. Plants, ornaments or gravel are second best.

Transferring water also won't do much bio-load wise, as the ammonia in it will be mostly broken down into nitrate by the bacteria from the established tank.

Transferred water should provide some fertilizer value to the plants.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 09:05 PM
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To add a little bit to what plantetra said, I'd make sure you have 0 nitrite (not just ammonia) in the tank, especially before adding the discus.

As for plants, you can also try Anubias plants as they do well in warm waters too. I'm pretty sure Java Fern (both up to 82F) also grows well in those conditions.

If you want, I have both of those plants if you don't want to purchase them. I could send you a package for you to test out.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 11:46 PM
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I only keep planted tanks, often without any fish but I have to say one of my favorite aquariums is a large discus tank with just fish and tons of driftwood a few floating plants with nice roots and maybe some rocks.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-14-2015, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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that is very nice of you for the offer
from what I am understanding, I will need my water temp up to 85 degrees. This is what discus like.
I thank all for letting me know that just the water won't be enough. i could change a filter cartridge out from either my community tank or cichlid tank
thanks all
Mark
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 01:48 AM
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I have started new tanks by sharing a small amount of filter media from an established tank to jump start the population of nitrifying bacteria.
If you remove about 25% of the filter media from an established tank, then the donor tank should not have a problem with an ammonia spike. The remaining bacteria can handle the ammonia and grow fast enough to replace the ones you have removed.
If you have several tanks, then take 25% of the filter media from each of the healthy, established tanks. Pool this in the new filter, then do the fishless cycle.

Here is the fishless cycle:
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana
I went ahead and took some media from 2 tanks and put it in the new tank
Mark
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-15-2015, 08:34 PM
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Since you have no fish or plants yet would it be feasible to move the filter from your 135 to one of your established tanks and let it run there for a while? Seems like it would be a pretty effective way to seed some bacteria in it.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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I could do what your saying on moving the wole filter, but what i did was to change the cartridge. How long do you think I should keep that in there?
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 01:28 AM
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As long as you feed it he bacteria, either by adding ammonia, or letting a pinch of fish food rot in the tank, you should be fine keeping the old cartridge in the new tank. Takes a couple weeks for bacteria to fully establish, so if you can keep it up that long, all the better for your fish.

Before adding discus, I would start with a few hardier fish in there. You can temporarily move fish from one of your other tanks, or buy new fish you intend to be permanent companions.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 03:13 AM
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Read the fishless cycle above.
Follow the instructions.
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