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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just started a new planted FW 90 gal tank (after decades in the SW hobby). The tank has an overflow system with a 20 gal trickle filter that holds two heaters and a return pump (rated at 350 gph for it's height).
The substrate is Eco Complete, the lighting with a Deep Blue hood using four T5 blubs (54 watts), Gieseman Aquaflora x2 and Midday x2. There are now about two dozen various Sword Plants with several pieces of pre-soaked bog wood for aquascaping. Fish so far include 4 Rummy Nose (lost 2), nine Corys and two small Albino Bristlenose.
The tank has been running for over 6 weeks and I have never seen any evidence of Nitrates, nitrites or Ammonia. PH runs 7.2-7.4 without additives.

Should I consider this tank cycled? Is the bio load to small to finish cycling?
Do you always trim plants who have dying leaves. All my plants have a lot of new growth, but some of the original leaves have browned.
I would like to add about 8-10 Rummy Nose, two small Twig Catfish and 3-4 large Discus. Not all once but I am not sure of the timing other than to add the smaller fish first.
Thanks. ( The photo is not great, there are still some tannins in the water from the wood, and I am working on tank photography!.)
 

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I like your wood, you are going to have a terrific jungle in there soon.

The bacteria only grow according to the food available. I suspect your tank is cycled for the bioload in there now and your plan to add fish in groups is a good one, what I have always done and I have never had any ammonia or nitrite show up in my tank either while stocking goes on.

Have you read up on discus and the planted aquarium? DiscusPaul has written a primer on the subject you might want to look through. I haven't, discus scare me!
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=152359

Trim off the browning leaves, they do the plant no good, are going to be where algae strikes first and are just plain not very nice looking.

Are you fertilizing the plants? Zero nitrate isn't so great for a planted tank. My first monster green water siege was cured by dosing with a little potassium nitrate! With all that light [how long are they on?] the plants will run out of stored food soon and be starving very soon. See the sticky in the Fertilizer and Water forum.

Are you using CO2? I read here that some people only need one bulb so light is low even for such a large tank or algae becomes an issue. See the sticky in the Lighting forum for information. To get a general idea of how much light you have I do like the second chart on this thread.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=105774

You may want to add some water circulation so the plants have access to nutrients and mulm gets knocked off the plants. When I started a planted tank 3x tank volume was suggested but these days 10x is suggested and I must say the closer I get to that 10x the nicer my tank looks. It can come from powerheads, doesn't need to be from the filter itself and all you are looking for is the leaves gently moving all through the tank, you may be fine with much less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks Kathyy.
My goal has always been Discus and I have read the links, and more. I share your trepidation but one thing I took away from the forums was to add near adult/adult discus to avoid having to feed out juveniles. So we shall see.
I do have lots of water movement. All the plants are moving in the current.
I dose with Flourish Excel every other day. I have not added any plugs to the substrate.
The lights are on a timer 2->4->2 for a total of 10 hours, the four on for 5 hours. I have only seen the slightest amount of brown algae so far, on glass only.
No Co2 and I wasn't planning on it...
Thanks for the homework.
And thanks for the welcomes.
SB
 

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with your lights, co2 might be needed just to help the plants outcompete the algae, but I'm not 100% sure

either way, you will need to dose a full regime because eco complete has no plant nutrients in it. I learned that the hard way because even though I like eco-complete, my plants did not start growing well until I added dry ferts in an EI schedule of dosing....although even then I believe that I need to add a ton of rootabs if I want to get the kind of growth I am looking for.
You will for sure want at least a ton of root tabs, seeing that you have swords which are heavy root feeders. The swords I have are not doing all that great since I have very little nutrition in the substrate :\ oh well

But yah, you are off to a great start, I would just ask for some exert opinions on if your setup will require co2 and would look for some opinions on dosing regimes.
 

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I made root tabs from clay and all the usual nutrients, NPK+micros from this thread. Too early to say whether they are IT or not but that is what I did. Since you are planning a heavy fish load the usual root tabs that are mostly potassium and micros may work just fine. Or if you happen to have Osmocote Plus which has micros and NPK you can make root tabs from that. Or even break Jobe's sticks in pieces and bury them deep under your sword plants.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=187077

4 full length T5HO bulbs over your tank is too much light unless you are using CO2. Excel is a great product and will definitely help reduce algae [ it may be the reason you have none] but it won't help the plants take in all that light. They will 'burn' up trying to grow with too much light and not enough carbon and the rest of the nutrients they need.

I am not sure the taller grassy plant is aquatic, looks like mondo grass to me. Or is it a variety of vallisneria?

My tank with 3x tank volume turnover was fine at the start but when plants grew in the water got quite still in spots. Guessing you will have to keep the leaves thinned out so the discus have room to swim so the water will be moving okay.

Forgot to write in the other post, I like the tannins in your tank, the bright blue of the discus would really pop against the tan and the bright red of the rummy noses will too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
All the plants are in keeping with an Amazonia theme. The Swords are all rated for strong light but I will change the timers to keep just two on for most of the day. The longer "grass" is also a Micro Sword.
The pump I have is rated for 700 gph but it does sit below the tank so I was "guesstimating" for lift. In fact the return is a single 3/4" pipe and I was thinking of making a spray bar to give a more uniform flow across the mid/upper tank.
I will do some trimming but I also like to minimize arms and hands in the tank, a hold over from reef days...
Sounds like time to get educated about fertilizers but I was hoping to avoid C02 ( but won't rule it out).
Thanks again
 
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