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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
But first I need to decide on a tank lol. This will be a medium tech tank (prob co2 added), priority will be the fish—discus. I’ll have the tank up and running for months and stable before adding about 7 large adult discus.

I’m looking at either a standard 90 gallon and stand, which I’d have multiple canisters on, for about $900 or so total, or a Red Sea Reefer 450 (73g and 18g sump), $1600. I know the reefer is for saltwater, but the low iron rimless tank is gorgeous and the sump just makes for plenty of filtration options and easy maintenance--along with hiding equip...the 90 however has additional real gallons, plus I'd feel better leaving it on a vacay over a sumped tank. I'm absolutely torn lol

Money aside (I've saved up significantly for everything), can anyone lend a hand with pros and cons from your view? Any insight is appreciated!

I do like to run a bit overcrowded, with heavy filtration. Planning on:
7 discus
7 congo tetras (still undecided, sometimes a bit too rambunctious for the discus)
8 rams
25-30 cards
10-15 rummies (or maybe just all cards)
Combo of Kuhli loaches, cories, & SAEs, no more than 10 total

And for fun, some pics of the discus before (3yrs ago). I can’t however find pics of the tank after finally stocking 

Old Grow Out Tank




72g Display tank (eventually also had cards, rams and a clean up crew)
 

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geeze those prices you listed seem very very high. Stocking level is definitely teetering towards the too high side if you ask me. If I were faced with this decision I'd first have to choose if I wanted to nice planted discus tank or a nice planted community tank that happens to house a few discus. You've sort of got a foot in both worlds there. But you imply that your focus will be the discus. With that in mind, I'd setup a discus tank and worry about dither fish later. Maybe just one large school or cardinals.

But, if you're dead set on that plan, I'd be a bit concerned about having 8 rams in the tank together. Even in a heavily planted tank the fish are bound to cross one another's path....especially with the level of stocking you're considering. I'd also be concerned that a school of 10-15 rummy nose will essentially get lost in there. I'd choose one large school of either cardinals or rummy nose. Either way I'd pass on the congo tetras especially if you're concerned about them being too rambunctious for the disucs; which bring me full circle back to a decision of whether this is a discus tank or not!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
geeze those prices you listed seem very very high. Stocking level is definitely teetering towards the too high side if you ask me. If I were faced with this decision I'd first have to choose if I wanted to nice planted discus tank or a nice planted community tank that happens to house a few discus. You've sort of got a foot in both worlds there. But you imply that your focus will be the discus. With that in mind, I'd setup a discus tank and worry about dither fish later. Maybe just one large school or cardinals.

But, if you're dead set on that plan, I'd be a bit concerned about having 8 rams in the tank together. Even in a heavily planted tank the fish are bound to cross one another's path....especially with the level of stocking you're considering. I'd also be concerned that a school of 10-15 rummy nose will essentially get lost in there. I'd choose one large school of either cardinals or rummy nose. Either way I'd pass on the congo tetras especially if you're concerned about them being too rambunctious for the disucs; which bring me full circle back to a decision of whether this is a discus tank or not!

Thanks for the feedback! The $900 includes a basic aqueon tank at $299 and stand at $229 or so. Those seem high for you? Any idea what they typically go for locally? It got up to $900 for additional equip. Either way, good point. I think I'm leaning towards not splurging on the unnecessary overflow tank.

And thanks, valid points. I think I'll do away with the rummies and definitely start off with 4-6 rams. And to answer your question, the discus will be the focus, but I've had tanks where they thrive in a community as such as the one above. This included congos and rainbows in some. Had a really good experience with them (congos) together once, and the other had to take them out. Takes a little trial and error, but the effect can be beautiful if it works out. I'll be doing large water changes 3x a week and making changes based on them.

You've made great points and I'm definitely flexible with stocking, and also not adding everything at once and slowly seeing how things go... if I can just get a tank lol

Thanks again!
 

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If you think you might be eventually going to CO2, then I would roll with a setup that doesn't have a sump. Between the extra water surface and agitation, you will burn through your CO2 a lot faster.

I also think your sticking level that you have planned is too high. Rams are more of a centerpiece fish. Don't let them take away from your discus, or just get lost in the mix. If you really just have to have them, then I would just get a pair. If it was me, I would leave them out. I would also go with only one schooling fish. When you have more than one, they tend to just become a group of little fish that get in the way of your centerpiece fish. Personally, I have always loved the look of a nice group of cardinals with discus.If you go with kuhlis get at least 5 of them. Cories do best in groups of six or more. If you cut back on your billboard the way that I said, you could add a lot more than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Appreciate it man. I literally just pulled the trigger on a custom wood stand for the 90 at the fish store I go to here. Decent price and they'll make it in cherry. So it's official, going the standard 90 route.

Like you and the above poster mentioned, I'll stick to cards mainly, as I've experienced what you both mentioned previously--rummy or similar fish dillutes the effect. I'll have to continue to think about the rest, as I really loved the rams I had with my discus previously. I've always found the tanks with just discus and cardinals a little bland--to each and all their own lol. But I hear you both, I def don't want so much of a mix that the tank looks entirely out of sync.

In terms of a clean up crew, I've always just had cory's and ottos, etc. If cleaning fairly frequently, do people still really find it worth it to have them? Also from what I remember SAE's eventually wean off algae and on to the food fed. I mean in the end, they add to the bio load and waste levels as well.

Thank you both!
 

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It's not our tank, it's yours. If you like rams in there, then go for it. You are doing this to make you happy, nobody else. I shy away from SAE. I had one that liked the taste of my neons. I got rid of him (worst fish I ever had to catch. It took an hour and a half), and my neons stopped disappearing. With a heavily planted tank, you don't really need a cleanup crew. Cories and Kuhlies both have a lot of personality, and add fish to the lower level of the tank. Otttos are great for keeping broader leafed plants clean, and can fit into tight spaces to clean those out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not our tank, it's yours. If you like rams in there, then go for it. You are doing this to make you happy, nobody else. I shy away from SAE. I had one that liked the taste of my neons. I got rid of him (worst fish I ever had to catch. It took an hour and a half), and my neons stopped disappearing. With a heavily planted tank, you don't really need a cleanup crew. Cories and Kuhlies both have a lot of personality, and add fish to the lower level of the tank. Otttos are great for keeping broader leafed plants clean, and can fit into tight spaces to clean those out.
Yea I think I've actually just ruled out SAEs for the same reason I previously did Ottos. On rare occasion I've heard of them attaching to the slime coat of the discus. I've not had it happen, but rather not chance it. I may stick to small groups of kuhli's and cories just to add some life/activity as you mentioned.
 
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