View Full Version : planted discus tanks

03-03-2003, 10:18 PM
i,m new to discus and have been reading as much as i can. i have been reading the postings and notice a stong divergance between those for and against planted tanks. i set up a 360 gal tank hoping to have a planted tank. karen randell says it isn't difficult but i want to suceed. my wife is getting irritated wanting to know my plans. i'm still not sure. i can see both sides of the issue.(psych backround). has anyone tried a planted tank? how about a powerhead to stir up the bottom so it can go thru the filter? my tank has a dual drain and i use aoversized wet dry and dolphin 3000. i have a uv and protien i haven't hooked up and won't unless i have to. help!!!! i want to drive to south fl and visit jack wattleys.to pick fish. i have a 55 i can keep them in for a while that is bare bottom.

03-03-2003, 10:41 PM
As my name implies, I am a NOVICE but I do keep a planted Discus tank with a reverse flow under gravel filter with two 170 GPH power heads. The reverse flow seems to keep the uneaten frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, etc moving and they adhear to the sponge and the discus pick them off. I do daily water changes of 10% to 20% and get very little if any uneaten food and I do move the gravel around a bit before I start my water removal.

The experts on this site are very opiniated in their belief in a bare bottom and no under gravel filter but nothing is ever set in stone as to what works for one and what they enjoy. I love discus and have for thirty years but if I had to maintain a bare bottom tank, I would give up as i enjoy the planted (plastic) and graveled tank as much as I enjoy the discus. Let me also say that I only one tank have no plans to have more than one tank and no plans to breed them.

I am sure that someone with much more experience with large tanks will give you some great advice. REMEMBER you are the one that will have to look at what you create on a daily basis and you are the one that will be taking care of it on a daily basis. GOOD LUCK!!

03-04-2003, 08:34 PM
Hi bryalk1, Welcome to Simply!

I have both bare bottom and planted tanks and I can see both sides of the issue. I would never tell anyone that they need to do it one way or the other. I think that BB tanks are cleaner and probably healthier than planted but if I could only have one it would be planted. There is more that I love about the hobby than just the fish. Growing them out in your 55 then when they get big putting them in the planted tank is probably the best way to go. Let us know if you decide on the planted tank and we can help you select some tankmates for them. Good luck.

03-04-2003, 09:34 PM
This dude has a 500g discus habitat....awe inspiring, isn't it?


It's definately possible. The question is are you really willing to do what you need to do to take care of a tank that big. If you're dedicated this group can certainly help get you going and work through the bumps.

03-05-2003, 02:30 AM
Awe inspiring is the word!
I have kept both bare and planted and now I only have planted. I enjoy the whole tank more than just the discus as well. There is more work however, esp. when the discus are young. You can't let your water changes go. So if you are a procrastinator you may want to start with BB tank (at least when the fish are young). But if you enjoy the whole aspect of a planted tank and don't mind doing water changes then planted tanks are the way to go.

03-05-2003, 03:47 AM
Envy your ability to sneak that 360 gallon tank into the house and convince your bride that it followed you home! I read you post and then read it again. I assume your wife is concerned about the big, empty box and what it's going to look like.

My wife has a bit of Martha in her. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she doesn't get inside stock tips but she wants things to mesh together and complement each other. I'm male, I recognize primary colors.

My personal preference is a planted tank and if your bride is like mine, she will prefer it also. It will help to get her involved in the process. Treat the aquarium like your garden or your house. Let her pick the fabric and motif while you guide her plant choices for withstanding the environment. Works just like the outside garden, she picks the plants and you plant the picks, mulch, weed...

Just take the time to plan it well, a tank that size would be an advantage to accessorize. Let's see, I'd need a stump, branches, underplant with carpet swords, a couple of focal amazon swords, maybe some giant val, strike up a relationship with Wahter to pick his brain....

03-05-2003, 05:56 AM
Who can argue with a group of wild browns gliding through the sword plants, hanging out under a driftwood branch. Even the discus look happy. It's too amazing.

Great posts everybody, I'm inspired, I think I'll buy a new tank.

03-05-2003, 07:28 AM
thanks to all the replies so far. its nice to know its not impossible. i guess my newest plan would be to visit wattleys and pick 10-12 grow them out in my 55 barebottom and then transfer over. at the same time i could let the planted 360 establish itself, add corys for a cleanup crew then rasboras per wattley. though i cannot locate any as of yet. anyone know where some rummys can be had nad is the plan reasonable. i figure my wife will be happy as the tank will have plants and some fish and the discus can be cared for easier in the 55. any other suggestions. i am in the orlando fl area. then of course if i get some that pair off i can put them in a 20 gal but i haven't told my wife that yet. i'm realizing this can become an obsession very easily. thanks again for the feedback

03-05-2003, 10:32 AM

How far are you from Atlanta? They're having their annual convention on the 12th/13th and I know a lot of discus guys who're going to be there, including yours truly. I'd love to sit down and talk planted discus aquaria with you. I'm contemplating a 180g Lake Tefe biotope.

Give Ken Davis a call or email he's the pres of the Atlanta club and he also imports discus, apistos, and tetras when his shipper shorts him. If you're looking for wild caught/wild type he's the way to go...he's a hell of a lot cheaper than Wattley.


BTW, your idea of setting up the plants and letting them establish while your little ones grow out is the way to go. :) I go with tetras myself though, probably Emperor or Cardinals rather than rasboras. I've got a school of 20 Harlequins in with my discus and they just don't quite go together visually. A school of Pencilfish would be really nice too, they're often found in the same place as discus.

03-12-2003, 02:44 AM
500 gal., 360 gal. I'm ssoooo jealous, green with envy!

but how do you clean and prune it...do you climb in? Do you have six metal hallide lamps swinging over the top? Man, I can only dream about something like that!!

My husband would start wheezing. :o

I do have something cool though....Red eyed Emperors, Nematobrycon Lacortei.

03-12-2003, 06:00 AM
the 360 tank has a hamilton combo set up with 4x55w pc and 3x 250 mh. i also have co2 and a very good monitor as well as a uv light. my wife is suppotive as she enjoys the results. i do not have ot heavily planted as i would have to take too much time. i'm still in the process of seeing what plants will work best with the least problems ???

03-12-2003, 12:40 PM
What are the dimensions of the tank, how deep is it?

03-12-2003, 07:58 PM
Hhmm... 360 gal....

That would be my ideal set up for planted tank!!!!! Right now, I can only dream... I think Scott and I have to buy a house first to actually fit one in....lol. One day..... one day.....

Cardinal and rummy nose would be excellent choices as discus tankmates. I have them in my tank, and they look excellent!! I love those corys too.... Good luck with everything and don't forget to show us the pics when you finish setting it all up.

Regards, Ari

p.s. growing little discus is definitely easier in a bare bottom tank, cause they grow better and faster. I have tried both in bare bottom and planted tanks. But, nothing looks better than adult discus in the planted tank, trust me!!