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Chickie_online
04-09-2014, 08:02 PM
Setting up my first big tank and I'm really interested in doing a Discus tank with a few other schools added in. I've read that bare bottom tanks are much better but I'm in love with a planted tank so I'd like to try to set up the planted tank first and then add in the discus. Looking for expert advice on how to do this. I'm gonna go with eco complete as substrate and relatively low maintenance plants (wisteria, java fern, java moss, sword, baccopa, etc). I'd like to add in some glow fish possibly, maybe some blue rams, a betta fish and possibly some tetras. Tank is a 55 gallon starter kit so I know I'll have to eventually upgrade the filter and probably the lights for a planted tank. What do I need. I currently test my other tanks at 7.5 ph tap water fills (well water). Our water tends to be on the harder side so what else do I need to test for other than ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and what kits do I need. I will not be doing CO2, but instead will be dosing with Flourish Excel and Flourish liquid frets and root tabs. TIA

musicmarn1
04-10-2014, 12:59 AM
Lights have to have to be upgraded and one pair of discus that like each other no smaller than 4" is the only way you wont end up with very small football shaped discus
Its what I wanted starting out too but I contained myself and grew them out until I had a pair to put in

Also never add discus to a newly planted tank, wait months trust me or trust planted tank.com or other far better plant people on here like Coree I love planted tanks but ive put in 14 months of bb to learn discus and plants seperately :D

Good luck and keep posting!

dirtyplants
04-10-2014, 05:03 AM
Also never add discus to a newly planted tank, wait months trust me or trust planted tank.com or other far better plant people on here like Coree I love planted tanks but ive put in 14 months of bb to learn discus and plants seperately

I am far from a expert, and my planted has been a 25 year experiment, it went through some rough times in the beginning. Now is pretty self sufficient. I am very cautious what I place into it. I really would recommend first QTing your Discus for 6 months while your tank minerals out. This will give you time to understand your discus's needs watch for problems and allow the nutrients to start being used up. It seems like and excess amount of time I know but if you do planted real planted the roots of the plants need to grow before they take up nutrients. My tank is also very wild looking I learned what plants work best with discus especially as they start getting big and what works well for my maintenance habits. I do WC like a bb tank because parasites multiple fast, and ridding a planted tank of parasites is so much more complicated. Like many people who do not recommend planted tanks I recommend a well established planted tank before adding in discus. I raised my discus from 2 inches but I have had years of experience raising fish in a planted, I have had many issues in the past so I learned the hard way at first. A planted will not be easier, and the relationships will be more complicated. There are many on this site with planted who will be willing to share their joys and their disasters. Hopefully you can avoid the issues others have had.

Chickie_online
04-10-2014, 06:05 AM
Thank you both for your input. I was planning at least six months before adding discus to establish the tank and let the plants take hold, but the more I read about it the more I get discouraged. The only tank I'd have to quarantine would be a five gallon and I know that's no good for discus haha! How often will I have to do water changes? I do once a week now since my life is pretty hectic. Will that be enough for what I wanna do? I don't mind doing the work, but don't want the fish to die! What water parameters should I monitor other than Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate?

pcsb23
04-10-2014, 07:15 AM
Setting up my first big tank and I'm really interested in doing a Discus tank with a few other schools added in. I've read that bare bottom tanks are much better but I'm in love with a planted tank so I'd like to try to set up the planted tank first and then add in the discus. Looking for expert advice on how to do this. I'm gonna go with eco complete as substrate and relatively low maintenance plants (wisteria, java fern, java moss, sword, baccopa, etc). I'd like to add in some glow fish possibly, maybe some blue rams, a betta fish and possibly some tetras. Tank is a 55 gallon starter kit so I know I'll have to eventually upgrade the filter and probably the lights for a planted tank. What do I need. I currently test my other tanks at 7.5 ph tap water fills (well water). Our water tends to be on the harder side so what else do I need to test for other than ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and what kits do I need. I will not be doing CO2, but instead will be dosing with Flourish Excel and Flourish liquid frets and root tabs. TIA
Have you done planted tanks before? If not learn how to do these first before adding in any discus.

With your intended stocking and your comments in post #4, a 55 will be too small for adult discus. Ideally you want a minimum of 5 adult discus, preferably more. In a discus only BB tank 5 or 6 adults is for most people about right. Add in other fish and the plants and it soon puts more demands on maintenance. It can be done IF you have the knowledge and experience. Good luck either way :)

Chickie_online
04-10-2014, 07:51 AM
I'd even be ok with just 5-6 discus if I thought I could keep them alive!

Second Hand Pat
04-10-2014, 08:08 AM
I'd even be ok with just 5-6 discus if I thought I could keep them alive!

This statement alone is why you should learn discus and planted tanks as a separate skill set. As Paul suggest do them separate and learn the ropes of each. Knowledge, practice and patience is the key to success here.

Chickie_online
04-10-2014, 08:14 AM
I've got two planted tanks now for the last 8 months, not 55 gallons haha but 15's and they're ok.

Elliots
04-10-2014, 08:53 AM
One water change a week may not be good enough for Discus if they are adults. if you plan on growing out small discus with plants and one weekly water change please rethink that idea because you will have problems. If you want plants as I do, buy adult Discus. When you change water as often as you do with Discus you have to re-add plant food with every change. With plants you should have bottom feeders to eat what falls to the bottom so you do not have to siphon the bottom as much and with difficulty.

dirtyplants
04-10-2014, 11:07 AM
I'd even be ok with just 5-6 discus if I thought I could keep them alive!

Statements like this alarm me. Learn how to keep the fish alive and healthy before you complicate the world you and they live in. WC for a planted is as much as with a bb in IMO. The reasons for doing them is different. In a planted that has been properly adapted for discus the plants help keep the nutrient levels down and the water healthy, but you now change the reason for the water changes, it is for parasite control. I learned a very long time ago that water changes are a must for parasite and bacteria control. No two planted tanks on this forum can be treated the same. Soil, sand, gravel, type of plants, lighting, water quality, hardness, pH, high tech, low tech, type of companion fish, where you purchased the fish from, size of tank, shape of tank, co2, varies for each tank making it extremely individual. Planning is just as important, design your tank, before you add your fish, know the plants requirements.
I placed a hydroponic system on top of my tank for filtration originally planned for vegetables to grow on the top, I did not take in the factor that vegies need high nutrients and a massive amount of light, none of which is good for discus. So I had to change the plants and return my garden to the soil.
Learn which plants can live well with a growing discus, it will save headaches down the road.
My recommendation is to walk before you run.

pcsb23
04-10-2014, 02:40 PM
I suspect that the statement was a little tongue in cheek. Either way, the 55 won't be big enough unless you radically change your plans.

Mas84
04-10-2014, 06:00 PM
Setting up my first big tank and I'm really interested in doing a Discus tank with a few other schools added in. I've read that bare bottom tanks are much better but I'm in love with a planted tank so I'd like to try to set up the planted tank first and then add in the discus. Looking for expert advice on how to do this. I'm gonna go with eco complete as substrate and relatively low maintenance plants (wisteria, java fern, java moss, sword, baccopa, etc). I'd like to add in some glow fish possibly, maybe some blue rams, a betta fish and possibly some tetras. Tank is a 55 gallon starter kit so I know I'll have to eventually upgrade the filter and probably the lights for a planted tank. What do I need. I currently test my other tanks at 7.5 ph tap water fills (well water). Our water tends to be on the harder side so what else do I need to test for other than ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and what kits do I need. I will not be doing CO2, but instead will be dosing with Flourish Excel and Flourish liquid frets and root tabs. TIA

I say got for it! I have and fingers crossed all goes well. The only way you can learn is by making mistakes and i'm hoping that any mistakes i make won't be major one's. From all the research i have been doing over the last 6 months i have learnt three things.

1) Do more water changes
2) Do more water changes
3) Do more water changes

Elliots
04-10-2014, 07:27 PM
Sam, you left out do large water changes.

dirtyplants
04-11-2014, 12:26 AM
1) Do more water changes
2) Do more water changes
3) Do more water change

Gotta love it:)