View Full Version : New Setup - Long

12-17-2002, 03:25 PM
Trying to become less of a lurker here, so I thought I would let you guys know how my latest project is going.

I'm currently setting up a 240 US Gallon planted Discus tank. I got tired of "little" tanks and having to trim back my Big beautiful plants so much. I got the tank about 8 Months ago, and have been building an Oak Stand and Canopy from scratch. Quite a scary undertaking since it had to hold up about 2 tons and had to look beautiful enough for my wife to allow it in the living room. Don't worry, I have had the tank filled for over a week now with no problems and it sits directly on the foundation (around a foot of concrete).

I'm currently trying my hand at PVC plumbing, because I bought the Rainbow-Lifegard filtration system. A triple mech, 2 triple heaters, Sandbed, and external CO2 diffuser. This way I hope to reduce clutter in the tank to minnimum ?sp?. My only dilema is how to position the return tube to make sure of good circulation through the tank w/o too much surface agitation and keeping the piping from being visible as much as possible. My current plan is to run a tube along the bottom in back with holes drilled along the length of it pointing upwards. You guys will have to let me know what you think of that Idea. I've got about 500 watts care of AHsupply, and I found a new fish store here which gave me a deal on 20 Bags of flourite! I didn't do the undergravel heaters, since every few months I like to rearrange everything. I figured it would end up being more of a nusiance than anything else. Living here in Dallas, it probably wouldn't do much anyway. My planned tank inhabitants are as follows:
6 - 8 Discus
25 Cardinal Tetras
3 Pearl Gouramis
3 3-spot Gouramis
3 Moonlight Gouramis
5 Blue Rams
12 Cories (2 schools)
(My wife loves Gouramis)

Now I just need to find a good and inexpensive online plant store to get enough plants to break-in this big boy. Once it's broken in and I'm sure the plants are out-competing the algae. I'll work more on aquascaping with Driftwood and such. I assume it's best to start off with a tank packed with fast growers at first though.

Anyway, that's the plan. I'll grab a few pictures to post soon, and I'll keep y'all updated as things progress.

12-17-2002, 03:47 PM

It sounds like you're doing everything right, especially your assumption on the fast growers. I've got a tank full of different Hygrophilas, Rotalas, and Ludwigias...surprisingly it doesn't look too bad! :) Rather than have your spraybar pointed up try pointing it towards the front or even slightly down so it follows the slope of your substrate, you'll get better water-leaf area contact.

The only thing I would be sure to do would be put your plants in a week before anything else to let them establish themselves before adding any nutrients into the tank. Startup is also a good time to get your hard decor, wood and rocks, in place before planting do you disrupt your substrate as little as possible.

Other than that you've done everything the way I wish I had to start with. :) Keep the pictures coming..


12-17-2002, 04:07 PM
Here is a thread on online plant suppliers:


That is some setup, and like Phil, I can't wait to see pictures. Progress pictures are real good for helping others. I'd like to see the filter/CO2 diffuser setup too.
You've obviously done your reading and/or have a lot of experience and should be giving advice rather than getting it. The only thing that comes to mind though is maybe the depth of the tank. Lighting of course penetrates water poorly if the depth is three feet or more.
20 bags of Flourite, wow.

12-17-2002, 04:35 PM
Hehehehe. Ralph, those ahsupply setups would blind the sun if it looked directly into one. :) I'm willing to bet the 240 is 8X2X2..the perfect size tank. I'm working on an Amazon biotope for some Angels of the same dimensions. (dimentions? hehehe)

12-17-2002, 07:56 PM
Lighting is not my forte, I was right though that Ekar didn't need any advice.
Phil, are you up to doing a thread on lighting? Just a synopsis of what kinds of lighting are available and their benefits/drawbacks.

12-18-2002, 10:49 AM
Would you like me to?

BTW, Ekar; check out www.aquabotanic.com Robert's got all sorts of great plant packages. His Algae Buster assortment is very cost effective and is just what you're looking for. It's also good for getting credit at your LFS with plant cuttings..:)

12-18-2002, 05:45 PM
It's 8x2x2. I was thinking of posting a breakdown of what setting up a tank like this really costs(Which is a considerable ammount) and where I got everything from. I got my Reactor 1000 from aquabotanic. Very friendly. I have nothing but positive experiences shoping online. I just only order from places that I have heard many, many people recommend. I also call them. It's amazing how much smoother things go when you call versus ordering on the web or emailing them.

About lighting, I have 110W(ahsupply) on a 29 gallon. When you crank up the intensity like that, you HAVE to stay consistent with dosing/Co2/WCs or algae comes in fast and hard. That's what planted tanks are all about though. You figure out what your tank needs and then you have to keep consistent with the maintenance. I can't even skip a WC on that 29 gallon. Could have something to do with my fishload also :o
I wanted to keep the Big Discus tank a little easier balance. I'm wondering if I'm not already overstocking this big boy.

12-18-2002, 08:42 PM
If you can, I think people would like to read all the details of setting up a tank that size, along with a cost breakdown. People who aren't planning a tank like that are probably dreaming about one. I like reading about what worked, what didn't work, and how you solved the problems. If you want to. Pictures are great too.
I like the light fish load approach (now ask me if I have a tank with a light fish load). It's much closer to plant/fish ratios found in the wild and probably better for the fish and the plants (though minimum schooling size is a factor too) and easier to maintain.

12-19-2002, 08:31 PM

Good to see another big planted discus tank! ;D

I'm currently trying my hand at PVC plumbing, because I bought the Rainbow-Lifegard filtration system. A triple mech, 2 triple heaters, Sandbed, and external CO2 diffuser. This way I hope to reduce clutter in the tank to minnimum ?sp?. My only dilema is how to position the return tube to make sure of good circulation through the tank w/o too much surface agitation and keeping the piping from being visible as much as possible. My current plan is to run a tube along the bottom in back with holes drilled along the length of it pointing upwards. You guys will have to let me know what you think of that Idea.
Get black coloured plastic if they can be seen inside the tank. I am assuming that you will be painting the background black as well. This will make them less conspicuous. I would not use spray bars, instead, have you thought about spliting the flow so it returns from each rear corner? Two smaller pumps might be better in your case as there is some redundancy built in. With one large pump, you wouldnt get any filtration during that time. Just a thought....
The discus in my tank love to swim against the current in between meals... :) They are swimming against the outflow of 2 x Eheim 2026 filters and loving it. However, it is also important to have large 'sheltered' areas so they can rest and eat easily.

I strongly suggest that you do not put gourami's and/or rams in there with the discus. They WILL outcompete the discus during feeding times. With the discus bickering among themselves during feeding times and the smaller and faster fish eating, smaller discus will suffer.

Get more cardinals....at least 100. That is what i have in my tank atm, but that number is 'barely' adequate....

Last but not least, get good test kits. Are you going to use a pH controller?

Best of luck!! I can't wait to see the pics!

Pics of my tank are here: http://www.pbase.com/b3dlam

12-19-2002, 11:35 PM
I was going to make the same suggestion about the larger number of cardinals. Watching a large school is one of the real advantages of a large tank. I spend as much time watching my 20 rummynoses (even stronger schoolers than cardinals) as I do my discus and I would love to have 50 of the tetras.
I have no idea about the gouramis but I haven't had problems with my rams. They are in a different tank from my discus, but they don't even outcompete my pencils. And mine are strong bottom feeders too. It could be just the two that I have though.
I also use your suggestion about offering two different flows. It is a basic rule of keeping wild pets is when possible, offer them choices. That goes for open space/hiding spots, a temperature gradient across the tank, different flow rates, strong lighting/darker areas, food choices, etc.

12-20-2002, 10:12 AM
I thought about the 2 pump system also. Due to space constraints and the filter system I chose, though I had to go with one. I always have a few well seeded sponge filters for emergencies though. I might try out splitting the flow to the corners. Beauty of PVC is it is cheap enough to try out different ideas(I do have the Black/Grey type for inside the tank). I currently have pearls in with my discus and they all get along just fine. My problem is usually the Discus eat their BW, BH, and other foods without too much help from the Pearls, and then the Discus proceed to eat all the flakes that I put in for the Pearls. By the way, have you guys ever noticed that most fish do not like the red flakes? I have never had Rams before though, and yes I too would like a larger school of Cardinals. Maybe I'll skip the Rams, but my wife has pretty much decided that there WILL be gouramis. Can't create any confilcts over fish in the marriage arrangement! Especially one who let's me put 240 in the living room.

12-20-2002, 10:21 AM
Sometimes life seems like a long series of compromises. The gouramis are a small price to pay for having a dream tank. You made the right choice.

yellow sub
12-20-2002, 02:38 PM

That all sounds great, a dream come true.

What puzzles me is that you are worried about the plumbing :o

What I want to know is how in the world did you get you wife agree to put the 240 in the living room :o

LOL, keep us updated, I would love to see some pics and live vicariously..


01-13-2003, 08:29 PM
Here is the tank.

01-13-2003, 08:32 PM
Here is the CO2

01-13-2003, 08:46 PM
Here is the filter

01-13-2003, 08:51 PM
Here is some fish. - Lazy SAE

01-13-2003, 09:17 PM
SAE The fake Variety.

01-13-2003, 09:20 PM
Now for some Discus! A few disclaimers:
1) These are the first discus I ever bought, so they are runts, stunts, and bad genes galore! I love em though. They helped me through the learning process, and I haven't lost a one.

2) Newly introduced to the tank. bit cranky, ut all are eating fine.

That said. Here is the runt/stunt

01-13-2003, 09:22 PM
Here is his big brother the bully:

01-13-2003, 09:24 PM
The happy couple.

01-13-2003, 09:27 PM
And the King! also part of the couple.

01-13-2003, 09:51 PM
What an amazing tank. Very nicely planted, I like that you left some open sections, I tend to overplant and I need to learn some restraint.
Technically, I am really impressed. Can you explain your set up if you get some time?
Discus keeping is a learning experience. We have all bought the less than perfect fish (I wish that I had bought older fish) and all of us have given them less than perfect care to start. And many of us have killed our first fish. Yours have nice coloring though and some have nice shape. Make your photos a little smaller though (my program has an edit ability that lets me resize the pictures).
Thanks for posting

01-13-2003, 10:16 PM
What are the roots hanging down from the water surface, are they water sprite? I've seen frogbit roots that big too. They really help the viewer's illusion of being underwater.

01-13-2003, 10:41 PM
Awesome setup. That baby would look great in my living room.

01-14-2003, 09:10 AM

I love your set up.!! :D Someday I will have a planted tank as well...

Hope you don't mind that I edited your pics to a more manageable size.

Julz :)

01-14-2003, 10:51 AM
That's one hell of a filter system you've got going there Ekar! What is it exactly? I recognize what looks to be a Fluidized Bed, but what are the towers, and is that the whole thing or is there something under the tank?

I like your choice of plants too, those stemplants must be really easy to take care of. How often do you trim them, and do you trim and replant the tops or cut and leave the bottoms planted?

01-15-2003, 10:39 AM
The right half of the tank is plants out of my incredibly overgrown 29 gallon I tore down. The left half was a 100 - 150Gal plant assortment I ordered online. There has not been any aquascaping done yet. I am still waiting on wood and the rest of my flourite (short three bags). I cleared out 3 distributers of Flourite setting this guy up :)

The filter is 1" pvc. It comes out on the left side.
goes to the pump in the one picture
First tube is a mechanical filter
the next two blue tubes are 500W heaters
Then I tee off to a flexible tubing and the pvc end goes back in the tank
the flex tubing goes through the Sand Bed and then the Reactor 1000

It's amazing how slow the flow through the SandBed and the Reaector 1000 is. I don't know if it's my lack of Surface Agitation in the tank or the efficency of the Reactor, but at 1 bubble per second I had a Ph of 6 with a Kh of 2!! Obviously I had to slow the rate down. That was the same rate I had on my 29 gallon with a penguin 175 making surface waves and a decent internal reactor for CO2.

Sorry about the picture size. It was my very first posting of pictures, not to mention my very first taking of pictures!

I'll post follow ups and let everyone the problems I run into. There is always problems of some kind with a new setup expecially one this big.

I believe I have duckweed and water hyacinth floating on the top. They came in the package to help breakin the tank. I haven't decided if I am going to keep any of it though.

Did anyone notice the algae on the back glass and how it only went to a certain hieght and then stops? I believe that algae forms when you have a lack of nitrates (currently testing that hypothesis). Easy to remove, but it comes back very, very fast.

01-15-2003, 10:45 AM
not water hyacinth, but water lettuce.

01-15-2003, 12:53 PM
The algae will show up if you have a lack of either Nitrate, Phosphate, and/or Potassium. For your tank I'd recommend keeping your Nitrates at 7-8ppm, Phosphate at about 1ppm and Potassium at 20ppm. With all that lighting too you could do well to keep your CO2 in the 24-30ppm range.

It sounds like you've got the perfect filter/CO2 system there. Congratulations!!! :)

Watch out for the duckweed...if it's the little stuff I'd take it all out immediately or you'll never get rid of it. The Water Lettuce is Eichornia crassipinis if I'm not mistaken. That will get really large, about the size and shape of a head iceberg lettuce, but is a great plant to trade with pond people. How easy would it be for you to get Riccia fluitans? It's a wonderful floating nitrate sponge, and people are usually always looking for some in trade.

Are you a member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Aquarium Society? If not, I highly recommend it. They're one of the top clubs in the country with some very top notch aquascapers.

01-15-2003, 11:08 PM
Ekar, I'm on the same learning curve with the photo posting. Julz was nice enough to go in and repost them (I was afraid that I would erase them).

How long have you been keeping fish? That set up is amazing.

Biotypical, our forum algae expert will help you with the algae, it's usually (always?) a matter of balance, and I'll second his comment on duckweed (it has very small leaves).

01-16-2003, 11:09 AM
I have been keeping fish for about a year and a half. Algae is usually always a lack of me maintaining my tank. Work can suck me in for a week at a time where I can't do anything but feed the fish and dump in some TMG :(

I really want to get to know the plants I have a little better. I have to get out of the habit of throwing them in, if the do well they stay, if they don't, I pitch em.


02-03-2003, 07:35 PM
Just an update.

Work sent me to Vienna, Austria for two weeks, and I came home to some Green Water (didn't trust my fish feeding friend to dose things like KNO3). I also have my two pairs of Discus breeding at each end of the tank. They must have gotten used to their new surroundings.

ps. In Vienna, their home improvement stores have a better selection of plants and plant supplies for the aquarium than any aquarium store I have been to in Dallas, TX. (and I have been to about just about every one of them :) I think our aquarium stores in the US could use a good kick in the rear as far as planted aquariums go....

02-03-2003, 07:42 PM
Fish actually like green water, it's the owners who don't. Do you think that the turbidity had anything to do with the breeding?

Europe has been ahead of us for years in the aquarium development. Phoenix is an absolute wasteland for fish stores.

Glad you're back, good luck with your new breeding program.

02-20-2003, 12:05 PM

Did the blackout method to clear GW after big WC. Forgot that dead algae = lot's of bacteria = no oxygen! Lost 2 of my babies! Oh well sometimes you learn the hard way. I learn the hard way twice. GW is gone now and all the fish are doing fine. I am currently in the process of getting 50 Cardinals and 2 groups of 10 cories from boxlotfish. Ordering a few extra in case of some losses along the way. Driftwood is in the tank and doing well. I hope to get some updated pictures after I get the cardinals in(after quaranteen?sp? period).

See ya!

02-20-2003, 02:25 PM
Wow!! :o :o :o

Ekar_Ogrit, your tank is absolutely awesome! ;D I would love to have a tank that big, but I'm afraid the saltwater bug would bite again and I'd be forced to make yet another reef. ::) Sorry to hear about the green water incident, but glad you got it under control. And thank you for keeping us informed as far as how your tank is progressing. For the time being, watching it come along is as close as I can get to a tank that size.


02-20-2003, 02:28 PM
Everybody I know that has had fish for very long, has at least one learning experience story. I was on my way to having a large school of tetras when I had one. It really hurt. You're lucky you only lost two.

02-20-2003, 11:39 PM
Ekar_Ogrit, you have a lot of guts ordering Cardinals online. They have a very low tolerance and usually have a high death rate. You tank is beautiful. I am currently trying to plant a 125 so I can only imagine what a challange yours is. Good luck.

02-24-2003, 09:57 AM
Got my PMDD from homegrownhydroponics. Looks like nice quality lab grade stuff. My step-father is a farmer and I had some agro K2SO4 and this stuff from homegrown looks a lot different. (fine ground white powder vs. opaque nuggets)

Anyway, now that I am dosing a monster tank. I thought I would run some rough numbers by you guys to make sure I am in the ballpark here.

This is what I figure I need to dose initially to get my current nutrients into the correct range (220 Gallons):

K2SO4 :: 2 Tablespoons
MGSO4 :: 3 Tablespoons
KNO3 :: 1 Teaspoon
Trace :: ?????

Got the trace from homegrown, but I am still using up my Seachem flourish. I still need to mix a trace solution and figure out the dosage.


02-24-2003, 10:59 AM

It looks like you may be running a little lean on the KNO3. I add 1/2-3/4 tsp to my 90 to bring it to 5-7.5 ppm Then again, if your plants are doing well and your algae isn't a problem why change things? :)

02-24-2003, 04:56 PM
oooh, I want to see more pictures! (cardinals or not)

Just beautiful. I'm so jealous of a large, planted tank like yours :P

P.S. I always try to keep at least one tank going with green water for baby rainbowfish. They have such tiny mouths that vinegar eels and microworms are too big!

02-24-2003, 09:32 PM
Yeah, I would like to see some more pics too. Please?